Edible Essential Oils Baltimore MD
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White Marsh, MD
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Housecalls - Herbal Help for Dementia, Edible Essential Oils, Stress and Your Adrenals
Q Can a substance called galanthamine help people with dementia?
A The evidence is looking good. Numerous studies in recent years have shown that galanthamine, a little-known substance derived from the snow daffodil flower, can help treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, says Jay Lombard, a neurologist at the Brain Behavior Center in Nyack, New York. Doctors are also using it to fight Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, and autism. It’s thought to work by boosting the levels of two brain chemicals, acetylcholine and dopamine.
But although it’s available in supplement form, Lombard cautions that it’s not a do-it-yourself remedy. In high doses, he says, it can cause nausea, diarrhea, ulcers, and even heart problems.
The best bet for someone whose loved one suffers from dementia, he says, is to ask about a prescription for a galanthamine-derived drug called Reminyl. The dosage is usually 4 milligrams, twice a day.
Q Is it dangerous to eat essential oils?
A Some people think that these fragrant oils—which are usually rubbed onto the skin in diluted form or inhaled to ease headaches and other everyday health problems—are even more powerful when taken orally.
But unless you’re being guided by an aromatherapist with specific expertise in administering the oils by mouth, it’s not such a good idea, says Gabriel Mojay, principal of the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy in Atlanta. Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from plants; as with a drug, if you take too much of one, or if it isn’t completely pure, you might experience unwelcome side effects.
Certainly there are cases in which taking these oils orally can be helpful—even some physicians recommend peppermint oil to ease irritable bowel syndrome, for instance.
If you’re interested, Mojay suggests that you seek out an aromatherapist with extensive experience in this area. The problem is, you’re unlikely to find many in this country who’ve had that sort of training. (You’d have better luck in France.)
A safer way to get the benefits of plant medicine, Mojay says, is to take your herbs in the time-tested forms of tinctures or teas.
Advice about adrenals
Q Is it really possible to burn out your adrenal glands when you’re highly stressed?
A It’s possible, but for most of us, pretty unlikely. True adrenal burnout means that these glands stop working altogether. That happens only with rare conditions like Addison’s disease, not from everyday stress.
But stress can cause a host of problems by way of the adrenals, which sit on top of your kidneys and pump out stress hormones (including adrenaline and cortisol) when you’re feeling anxious or strained.
When stress becomes chronic and severe—think 80-hour workweeks, never-ending deadlines, and a sick relative at home—your adrenals can go haywire. In some cases they churn out exceedingly high levels of stress hormones, and in some cases not enough of ...
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