Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – A Chinese Medicine Perspective
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease of the nervous system in which communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Its effects can range from relatively mild to devastating. The symptoms may mysteriously occur and then disappear. In the worst cases, a person with MS may be unable to write, speak, or walk. During an MS attack, inflammation occurs in areas of the white matter (pale-coloured nerve tissue) of the central nervous system in random patches called plaques. This is followed by destruction of myelin, the fatty covering that protects nerve cell fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin allows for the smooth, high-speed transmission of electrochemical messages between the brain, the spinal cord and the rest of the body. When myelin is damaged, neurological transmission of messages may be slowed or blocked completely, resulting in diminished or lost function.
Signs and Symptoms
¡E Weakness and loss of muscle
¡E Tingling, numbness, dizziness
¡E Blurred vision
¡E Heat sensitivity
¡E Loss of bladder control
¡E Memory loss, problem-solving difficulties
¡E Mood disturbances
TCM Pattern Differentiations
OverviewDuring the acute period, a common pattern presentation is kidney and liver yin vacuity with concurrent phlegm and blood stasis. In addition, treatment with steroids tends to give rise to pathogenic fire which exacerbates the already present yin vacuity. Treatment includes herbs that nourish kidney and liver yin, transform phlegm and move blood. Over time, kidney yin vacuity is likely to change into a vacuity of both yin and yang. Thus, herbs are added that supplement yang. Also, more stasis moving herbs may be needed, including herbs that move liver qi. As stasis may transform into heat, heat clearing herbs may also be added.
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*Reproduced with kind permission from Health World Limited – Australia and New Zealand
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