Q & A Library
Are There Natural Remedies for Multiple Sclerosis?
I have been suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) for several years. Do you have any suggestions for natural remedies to help someone like me?
Answer (Published 2/14/2002)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most baffling of all diseases – we know very little about what causes it and what factors influence its progression and outcome. MS begins with localized inflammatory damage of the myelin sheaths surrounding the nerve fibers due to an attack by the immune system. The resulting damage interferes with nerve impulses and can lead to symptoms such as muscle weakness, loss of vision, and a variety of other neurological impairments.
Although considered an autoimmune disease, it is not clear what causes the immune system to attack nerve sheaths. Researchers have been studying a possible viral trigger, but this would not explain why MS is more common among those who live in northern latitudes and uncommon in those near the equator. Additionally, scientists are unable to explain why there are so many different forms of MS, why some people have transient symptoms that never return, while others experience cycles of exacerbation and remission. In some people MS is relentless, leading to complete disability and death.
A drug called beta-interferon has become the conventional treatment for MS patients, especially those with the remitting variety. It can slow the progression of the disease, but is expensive and produces unpleasant side effects. Really effective medical treatment is still not available for most patients. I like to work with patients who have MS because of its variability and potential to go into remission, as well as its responsiveness to stress reduction, mind/body treatments and changes in lifestyle.
These are a list of suggestions I recommend for my new patients to experiment with, so give it a try and see what works best for you.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.