| ||Naturopathic Medicine: Stroke||
Allium sativum (good old garlic; eat one clove daily). Garlic is
high in the two amino acids that contain organic sulfur compounds (Cysteine
and Methionine) which help render fat soluble toxins more water soluble.
Thus, garlic helps rid the body of toxins through the channels of urination,
defecation and perspiration. Garlic also helps dissolve fatty stores in
the body, where toxic wastes are more likely to accumulate.
Arnica montana (toxic in high doses internally, use the homeopathic
mother tincture, a 10:1 dilution of alcohol to plant material) 25 drops
three times daily for shock or brain tissue changes, and to prevent further
Capsicum frutescens (Cayenne pepper) following stroke. This remarkable
culinary herb is a classic, and powerful, "alterative" which means
that it regulates an imbalance which has gone awry in either direction.
In this case, if your stroke is ischemic (due to a clot cutting off proper
blood flow to the brain) the Cayenne will stimulate the return of blood
to the cerebral tissues. If, on the other hand, your stroke is hemorrhagic
(a bleed inside the skull), the Cayenne will act as a local styptic (stenching
blood flow). The best way to take Cayenne for maximizing your circulatory
power is a hearty pinch in a small glass of water first thing each morning.
You may want to find a small jar with a lid to shake up this firy-hot and
tasty little toast. Especially great on cold days; it will keep your feet
and hands warm for hours. Try to find organic (non-sprayed, non-irriadiated)
Cayenne at your local health food store, and buy several ounces in bulk.
Crataegus spp. (Hawthorne, white and black). This botanical is perhaps
the most useful of the heart tonics, and works particuarly well to strengthen
connective tissue, which is needed post-stroke for damage repair. It also
works very well to digest fat, and will lower cholesterol if taken regularly.
Eat the berries raw, or use a teaspoon daily of the tincture.
Ginkgo biloba (standardized extract of Gingko leaves) is used all
over the world to increase circulation, particularly to the brain. Because
of this action, Gingko is widely used to promote long and short-term memory
capacity. It does this by dialating cerebral blood vessels.
Trifolium pratense (Red clover) is high in natural coumarin, a blood-thinning
agent. Do not use in hemorrhagic stroke or if you are already on a prescription
anticoagulants. However, you may want to switch to clover if your aspirin
a day is bothering your stomach, or if you object to being maintained on
pharmaceutical medication. Fresh Red clover sprouts work as well (you need
at least a handful daily, in a salad or sandwich) as the tincture form.
Please do NOT wean yourself off prescription drugs without consulting
with a qualified healthcare professional.
Can Chinese Medicine Help After I've Had A Stroke?
There are varying diagnoses of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that could
describe what we in the West call "stroke." In TCM, the doctor
or acupuncturist looks at the interaction between your constitution -- that
is, what genetic/physical characteristics you were born with that impinge
on your total health -- and the disease complex. In conventional medicine,
the doctor is more likely to focus solely on the disease. Therefore, the
first order of business with a Traditional Chinese Medical treatment is
to arrive at the correct diagnosis, and select acupoints and/or herbal medicine
accordingly. The following "patterns" are some of the more common
TCM diagnoses which cover the symptoms of stroke: Penetrating Wind; Liver
Fire; Phlegm, esp. Heart Misted by Cold Phlegm; Yang Shi (Excess); Yin Xu
(Deficiency); Liver Yang Rising Causing Liver Wind; Stirring of Liver Wind.
These perhaps do not mean much to someone who has not studied TCM, but
are given to begin to familiarize you with a new vocabulary, and so that
you can recognize that these unfamiliar concepts are not mumbo-jumbo, but
thoughtful assessments of your condition, based on a tradition over 3,000
Some of the best known points to restore consciousness after a stroke are:
Just a few of the major points are being given here. Many more may work
for you, depending on your TCM diagnosis, the style of the doctor, and your
sensitivity to needle stimulation. After consciousness is regained, the
following points may be additionally considered:
- Gall Bladder-20. This very important point is called "Wind
Gate" and is located at the nape of the neck, on either side of the
big muscles that hold the head onto the shoulders. This is an area of the
body that is especially important to protect during a change of seasons.
The term stroke is transliterated in Chinese as "Wind Stroke."
The Chinese believe that all evil external influences that could disrupt
our health come into the body through "Wind." Gall Bladder-20
is a point at the back of the head which is particularly susceptible to
being penetrated by Wind. So, wear a scarf on a windy days and don't sit
in a draft. By needling these points, one on each side of the top of the
spine, pathogenic "Wind" may be cleared. In addition, the Spirit
can be awakened, the Brain function clafiried, the "Heat" rising
from the Liver cooled and the balance between the Qi (vital energy which
runs through the meridians; a Yang substance) and the Blood (a Yin substance)
can be restored. A powerful point.
- Governing Vessel-20 is located right at the top of the head and is
often "pecked" with the thin needle to draw a tiny drop of blood
to revive consciousness.
- Governing Vessel-26 is also on the midline of the body, and in this
case directly above the upper lip. This point is famous for restoring consciousness
after an epileptic seizure, but works well for shock of any kind. You can
even work this point very effectively by pushing with your little finger
into the horizontal groove between the bottom of the nose and the upper
lip, firmly, at a 45 degree upward angle, until the stroke victim wakes
up. In terms of Chinese Medicine, this point works by dispelling Wind,
calming the Spirit, clearing the senses and eliminating "Mist"
(can be psychological cloudiness or excess fat) around the Heart.
- Heart-5 is another point, located in the soft crook of the elbows,
which pacifies the Spirit, regulates the Qi of the Heart, brings "Fire"
down from the head and relieves stiffness of the tongue and slurred speechfrom Wind-stroke.
- Kidney-1, the beginning of the Kidney merdian, is located on the
bottom of the foot, where the pads of the toes meet the arch. Although
not the most comfortable point to needle, it works well to pacify the Spirit,
restore collapsed Yang, revive consciousness, clear Fire and Heat (especially
in the head), and nourish Kidney Yin (and thereby suppresses Liver Fire).
One of the most interesting treatments to come out of the more modern Chinese
approach to stroke rehabilitation, is the acupuncture technique used to
restore normal speech function. Although this may sound disconcerting,
be open minded and consider the following: as soon as possible after the
stroke, the sufferer who has resulting speech impairments (aphasia) will
receive a course of 10 or more treatments of TONGUE acupuncture. The doctor
or acupuncturist will grasp the patient's tongue with a piece of gauze,
and lift it up gently to insert a long needle quickly and momentarily deep
into the underside of the tongue at two points just outside the big veins
that run under the tongue. Often the beginning of improvement will occur
after the first treatment.
- scalp acupuncture is excellent for restoring physical function post-stroke.
The limbs are affected on the opposite side of the brain from where the
stroke occurred. So, if your right leg is paralyzed or partially paralyzed,
you need to get scalp acupuncture on the LEFT side of your head, in the
leg area. If you have a sensory deficit in the leg (that is, you can't
feel pain or temperature) you will need to be needled in the leg sensory
area. If your deficit is motor (can't control muscle function in the leg,
a much more serious problem) you need to get a needle in the leg MOTOR area
of the scalp. Scalp acupuncture is an entire TCM subspecialty. In China
there are numerous doctors who specialize in this scientific art, particularly
because it is one of the most effective tools known to TCM for restoring
nerve function. Other points, on the body, to help minimize post-stroke
- Heart 7, near the inner wrist, as a general sedative -- it has a
regulating effect on the inner organs and nourishes Heart Xue (Blood).
- Kidney 6, below the inner ankle pacifies the Shen (Spirit) and stabilizes
the Will; nourishes the Heart; cools and clears Heat; clears Xu (Deficiency)
Fire; and stimulates adrenals.
Another, extremely potent, aspect of TCM is the use of Chinese medicinal
herbs, either loose and brewed into "soup" or formulated in pill
form, and sold as "patents." Specific for stroke are:
How Can Homeopathy Help With Stroke?
- Ren Shen Zai Zao Wan (Tsaitsuowan) (patent) combined with Da Huo
Luo Dan (patent) treats Liver Wind Stirring which refers to strokes with
symptoms such as facial paralysis, limb paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness
of limbs, pain, limb contractures, poor articulation and speech output problems.
Administer as soon as possible after the stroke, once bleeding is stabilized.
- Xiao Huo Luo Dan to treat numbness, paralysis, muscle spasms.
- Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang for hemiplegia, deviation of mouth & eyes,
difficult speech, salivation, frequent or incontinent urination.
- Zhen Gan Xi Feng Tang to treat thrombosis due to Liver Wind Stirring.
- An Gong Niu Huang Wan (patent) for the TCM diagnosis Fire Toxin
with Heart Agitated by Phlegm Fire.
- Salvia Shou Wu (patent) plus Styrax 14 (patent)
Please read the section on Homeopathy in the Introduction to Modalities.
Homeopathy is a complex medical science in which minute doses of plant,
mineral and animal substances are used, effectively, to treat many types
of illness. Homeopathic remedies that may be choosen for the stroke patient
are described below. Please consult with a qualified homeopath or naturopathic
doctor to help select the best remedy for you.
What Are Some Subtle Energy Medicine Approaches To Help Before, Or After,
- Arnica montana for the stroke which gives a cerebral lesion similar
to a bruise, or a frank hematoma (for post acute crisis survival).
- Belladonna is given when the face is flushed and you have a throbbing
headache, the pain of which is worse with light, noise, any jarring movement,
lying down and in the afternoon, but better in a semi-erect posture.
- Kali muriaticum can absorb the clot (for post acute crisis survival).
- Natrum muriaticum for when the face is pale and you have a throbbing
headache, nausea, and vomiting.
- Nux vomica is the remedy for when the stroke occurs after a heavy
meal or too much alcohol; and you feel vertigo followed by a momentary loss
- Opium for when the patient is unconscious, breathing heavily; when
the face is dusky and cyanosed (blue, due to lack of blood.)
- Sulphur is for the heavy red-faced beer-drinking type, who complains
of feeling heat on top of his head.
- Veratrum album is given when the clinical picture is one of collapse;
shock, sweating and cold; with a cold sweat on the forehead.
Many people have derived great comfort from a series of remedies developed
by a British physician, Edward Bach. These remedies are similar to homeopathic
remedies, but are made exclusively from flowers. Some of the flower essences
commonly chosen post-stroke to minimize central nervous system damage are:
Other people choose to work with color, either by wearing clothes of certain
colors, or by using colored plastic gels in front of light sources in the
home or office environment. Immediately after stroke, the following colors
have shown therapeutic benefit:
- red clover
purple (helps to lower blood pressure by three pathways: vasodilation,
slows heart rate, and helps to calm kidney and adrenals) applied to the
face, neck and chest.
|A graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, she completed both the Naturopathic and Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine programs. Her preceptor work (similar to residencies) took place in Seattle, West Virginia and China,......more