There are more than 20 different types of tremors affecting different areas of the body. The most common type of tremor is the essential tremor, also known as benign essential tremor. These tremors usually do not progress, and are not the sign of more serious disease. However, they can be embarrassing, and may even affect such areas of daily life as writing and eating. There is no cure for essential tremors, but certain herbal therapies may alleviate symptoms.
Herbal therapy for essential tremors focuses on reducing nervous and muscle tension, which may help control the tremors. Essential tremors respond well to a reduction in caffeine levels as well as an increase in nutrients such as Vitamin B complex and the minerals magnesium and calcium. Vitamin B complex is often depleted in people who overuse caffeine.According to the National Institutes for Health, Vitamin B complex, and especially vitamins B12 and B6 (folate), support the nervous system. Magnesium supports both the nervous system and the muscular system. Using herbal remedies which support the nervous system as well as muscular system may help alleviate the symptoms of essential tremors.
Useful Herbs for Essential Tremors
According to the University of Kentucky, certain herbs can contribute to essential tremors. However, this does not mean that there are not herbal therapies which may help essential tremors. It is important to remember that not all herbs are the same, and while some stimulate the nervous system, others relax the nervous system. Caffeine is an herb which stimulates the nervous system, and should be avoided in people with essential tremors. There are several herbs which support the nervous system and have very low toxicity. Herbs to consider include passion flower, skull cap, oat straw and lady’s slipper.
Passion flower is helpful when used with L-dopa (levodopa), a common drug prescribed for Parkinson’s disease. Though Parkinson’s disease and essential tremors are not related, they do share tremors as a common symptom. Passion flower has been proven to be an effective support in reducing passive tremors in conjunction with L-dopa. Although it works better in conjunction with the drug, it also will reduce symptoms on its own. Passion flower is useful for reducing stress and anxiety. Essential tremors may become more pronounced during times of stress and heightened emotion, so passion flower may also help reduce tremors by reducing anxiety. Passion flower is very good for insomnia, however, and will induce drowsiness.
American skullcap (S. lateriflora) is an excellent herbal choice to support the nervous system. However, almost all recent research has been done on the Chinese herb, skullcap baicalensis. This type of skullcap is good for lowering blood pressure and treating hepatitis. American skullcap is the type useful for supporting the nervous system. Recently, there have been cases of liver damage related to skullcap use. According to the Encyclopedia of Herbs, this is most likely due to an adulterant. It is important to buy skullcap from a reliable source.
Oat straw contains many vital nutrients that support both the nervous and muscular systems. It is high in calcium, magnesium and potassium as well as iron. Oat straw is also useful for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and depression. It is a strong, general tonic with no known side effects. Both the grain and the straw are useful, though oat straw is the more common herbal remedy. Oat straw boosts energy and is relaxing.
Lady’s slipper is a North American herb which combines well with passion flower, oat and skullcap. This herb is not as common today as in the 19th century and earlier, mostly due to its high cost and rarity. Lady’s slipper is a very effective herb for insomnia, making it a good choice for nighttime but a poor choice for tremors during the day.