Natural Remedies for Parkinson's: How Common, Popular, and Well-Known Are They?

Jenn Hoskins
29th June, 2024

Natural Remedies for Parkinson's: How Common, Popular, and Well-Known Are They?

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by Université Laval, Canada, found that 36% of people with Parkinson's disease use natural health products to manage their symptoms
  • Popular natural health products among users include coffee (16%), cannabis (13%), and turmeric (10%)
  • While 71% of participants are interested in learning more about natural health products, only 39% are aware of potential interactions with their prescribed medications
  • Just 39% of users have discussed their use of natural health products with healthcare providers, highlighting a need for better communication and education
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia. Traditional treatments primarily focus on symptomatic relief through dopamine replacement therapies, which may lead to side effects and do not slow the progression of the disease. This has led to increased interest in non-pharmacological approaches, including the use of natural health products. A recent study conducted by Université Laval, Canada, aimed to explore the prevalence and awareness of natural health product use among people with PD[1]. The study surveyed 367 individuals with PD to determine how many used natural health products, their interest in these products, their awareness of potential herb-drug interactions, and whether they consulted healthcare professionals regarding their use. The findings revealed that 36% of respondents used natural health products to alleviate PD-related symptoms. The most popular products were coffee (16%), cannabis (13%), and turmeric (10%). Additionally, 71% of participants expressed interest in learning more about these products. However, only 39% of users were aware of potential interactions with prescribed medications, and just 39% had discussed their use with healthcare providers. These findings align with previous research highlighting the ongoing search for alternative therapies in PD management. For instance, a study by the Movement Disorder Society Evidence-Based Medicine Committee reviewed various interventions for motor symptoms of PD and found that while several treatments are useful for symptom management, none prevent or delay disease progression[2]. This gap in treatment efficacy has likely fueled interest in natural health products. Moreover, ethnopharmacological studies have documented traditional uses of medicinal plants to treat PD-related symptoms. Research in Nepal identified 35 plant species used across different ecological regions to alleviate PD symptoms, indicating a cultural and environmental influence on traditional medicine practices[3]. Similarly, studies among the Pikuni-Blackfeet and Lumbee tribes in the United States have documented the use of various plants with potential neuroprotective properties[4][5]. These studies suggest that traditional knowledge may offer valuable insights into alternative PD treatments. The Université Laval study underscores the importance of awareness and communication regarding natural health products. Given that only a minority of users are aware of potential interactions with PD medications, there is a clear need for better education and open dialogue between patients and healthcare providers. This is crucial because natural health products can interact with prescribed medications, potentially leading to adverse effects or reduced efficacy. In conclusion, the use of natural health products among people with PD is common, but there is a significant gap in awareness and communication about their potential interactions with conventional treatments. The findings from Université Laval emphasize the need for further research into the health benefits and safety of these products, as well as the importance of integrating this knowledge into clinical practice to ensure patient safety and treatment efficacy.

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References

Main Study

1) Natural Health Products for Symptomatic Relief of Parkinson's Disease: Prevalence, Interest, and Awareness.

Published 28th June, 2024

https://doi.org/10.3233/JPD-240102


Related Studies

2) International Parkinson and movement disorder society evidence-based medicine review: Update on treatments for the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

https://doi.org/10.1002/mds.27372


3) Nepalese traditional medicine and symptoms related to Parkinson's disease and other disorders: Patterns of the usage of plant resources along the Himalayan altitudinal range.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2014.02.016


4) Pikuni-Blackfeet traditional medicine: Neuroprotective activities of medicinal plants used to treat Parkinson's disease-related symptoms.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2017.01.001


5) Lumbee traditional medicine: Neuroprotective activities of medicinal plants used to treat Parkinson's disease-related symptoms.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2017.02.021



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