Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease in which certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord slowly die. These nerve cells control the muscles that allow you to move the parts of your body.
People who have ALS gradually become more disabled. Its causes remain unknown, but the disease runs in families for one in ten patients.
The first sign of ALS is often weakness in one leg, one hand, the face, or the tongue. The weakness slowly spreads to both arms and both legs. This happens because as the motor neurons slowly die, they stop sending signals to the muscles. So the muscles don’t have anything telling them to move. Over time, the muscles get weaker and smaller.
There is no cure for ALS, but treatment can help you stay strong and independent for as long as possible.
Herbal therapies for ALS are aimed at regenerating the damaged nerves, vitalizing blood to soften the sclerosis, and getting enough blood to the affected muscles. Some formulas were proven to be effective in treating patients with ALS such as:
“Yisui Tang” is made with tortoise shell, deer antler gelatin, rehmannia, dipsacus, cuscuta, atractylodes, licorice, astragalus, psoralea, cibotium, achyranthes, tang-kuei, peony, millettia, phellodendron, and anemarrhena.
“Huqian Wan”, a traditional formula, contains rehmannia, tortoise shell, peony, anemarrhena and phellodendron.
The research has shown that one of the most active ingredients of ginseng, Ginsenoside Re, has potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and protective effect on nerve cells in symptomatic ALS animal model. It also decreased specific, death-related protein levels in affected cells.
Cheng Yongde had treated total of 46 ALS patients from 1980 to 1996. The participants received acupuncture treatments for 1-3 months and herbs (tien-chi ginseng and deer horn glue as the main ingredients) designed by the author for 6-24 months. The effective rate was 41 out of 46 patients, around 89%. Similarly, there were a few clinical studies which showed that electroacupuncture has proven to be effective in reducing inflammation in damaged nerve cells in ALS animals.
- Cai M, Yang EJ. Ginsenoside Re Attenuates Neuroinflammation in a Symptomatic ALS Animal Model. Am J Chin Med. 2016;44(2):401-13.
- Jiang JH, Yang EJ, Baek MG, Kim SH, Lee SM, Choi SM. Anti-inflammatory effects of electroacupuncture in the respiratory system of a symptomatic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis animal model. Neurodegener Dis. 2011;8(6):504-14.
- Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon. Treatment of Amyotropic Lateral Slerosis with Chinese Medicine. Link.
- Yang EJ, Jiang JH, Lee SM, Hwang HS, Lee MS, Choi SM. Electroacupuncture reduces neuroinflammatory responses in symptomatic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis model. J Neuroimmunol. 2010 Jun;223(1-2):84-91.