Today's herbal supplement of interest: Skullcap. - Ataxia UK

Ataxia UK

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Today's herbal supplement of interest: Skullcap.

sunvox profile image

A while back I was arguing with someone about which herbal flavonoid was best for helping clear toxic proteins from the brain. At the time my research pointed to EGCG (Green Tea extract) as my herb of choice. Since that argument a study came out showing that high levels of EGCG were potentially harmful to the liver so I stopped taking EGCG and stuck to just drinking Green Tea. Happily I came across an alternative herb yesterday that seems to hold equal if not better promise.

First if you are new to my posts or unfamiliar with the science behind what causes many forms of ataxia, I want to explain that a toxic protein that doesn't link properly with your body's natural waste removing cells is the major cause of many neurological disorders including many ataxias, plus Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Prion or polyQ disorders. All of these diseases share the common trait of a protein in the brain that "mis-folds" or forms oligomers. As it turns out there are many molecules that can attach to all these different "mis-folded" proteins and thereby allow the body to clean the proteins out of the brain before they become toxic. In addition by a happy coincidence, it often turns out that such molecules have other benefits far beyond clearing toxins from the brain such as anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation properties (that means they help your body repair damage at the cellular level). I believe that natural herbs that are proven in the lab to help clean out mis-folded proteins MAY help people with ataxia. I also strongly believe in the work of Dr. Bredesen that when a patient combines several different supplements along with diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes the impact on neurodegenerative disorders can be almost miraculous. Here is a link to his seminal paper:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

But, that is not the point of today's post. Today's post is about the herb, Scutellariae Baicalensis. Way back in 2004 researchers in China found the herb could stop the bad protein involved with Parkinson's from forming toxic clumps. Here is that paper:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?te...

Since then there have been many papers studying this herb, and researchers came to realize it had broad therapeutic potential for other mis-folded protein disorders. Here is a paper outlining that theory.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/244...

Best of all this herb has 2 safety studies done in humans:

sciencedirect.com/science/a...

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/273...

In those studies the researchers administered 200 to 2800 mg per day of baicalein to the patients and saw no toxicity in the liver or kidney.

However . . .

All the studies I found to date including those in animals and humans all seem to use the pure form of the molecule, baicalein. In fact the latest human study used a synthetic form they called beta-baicalein and not the natural root. That's the bad news. The good news is that this herb has been studied for a myriad of conditions from cancer to arthritis to heart disease and of course neurological disorders so there is plenty of research showing that the natural herb contains 20-25% baicalein which does in fact end up in the blood stream for some length of time. A brief side note - it appears to cause drowsiness is some folks.

I came to be interested in this herb because Simon of Science of Parkinson's wrote an article: scienceofparkinsons.com/201... so if you are looking for a more thorough discussion on the topic I suggest starting there.

As for me I think I will add this to my list of daily supplements perhaps starting with 2 pills of the Swanson supplement taken at night ( amazon.com/Swanson-Full-Spe... ) which will mean I am taking 800 mg of the natural root and that should equate to about 200 mg or so of baicalein, but as I have said time and again NEVER try something based on some internet comments without first discussing the topic with your doctor.

11 Replies

thanks for sharing

Very interesting - thank you x

Can't you get the benefit just by drinking GREEN TEA??Good Post.

sunvox profile image
sunvox in reply to benning

Thanks :D

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For sure people with neurological disorders get some benefit from drinking green tea. That has been proven in numerous studies ( scienceofparkinsons.com/201... ), but as I mentioned in my opening comments, I am a big believer in Dr. Bredesen's theory on Integrative Therapeutics ( integrativepractitioner.com... ) which says that putting together many different therapies enhances the effectiveness. Green tea alone won't stop the progression of ataxia, but when combined with several other "therapies" perhaps it IS possible to stop progression. I try to pick the best "therapies" and combine them together.

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In my combination I use:

1) 30 minutes of treadmill running at 80% max heart rate 3 times a week. I use this exact type, amount and level of exercise because there is scientific proof that it and ONLY it stops progression of a neurological disorder. That means not 70% heart rate, not 20 minutes, not cycling and not boxing, but 30 minutes on a treadmill at 80% max heart rate. ( webmd.com/parkinsons-diseas... ) In addition there is scientific evidence that the reason this exact amount of exercise is effective is because it reduces toxic protein buildup in the brain. ( sciencedaily.com/releases/2... ) ( europepmc.org/articles/PMC3... )

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2) A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables.

youtube.com/watch?v=zz4YVJ4...

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3) supplements: (amounts shown are total daily intake)

once a week .1 g powdered mannitol taken intranasally

daily squirt of Xlear in each nostril - xlear.com/xlear-sinus-care/

25 g trehalose AM in coffee

750 mg daily of Niagen (3 pills AM 3 pills PM)

2000 mg Taurine (1 pill AM, 1 pill PM)

600 mg theracurmin (1 pill AM, 1 pill PM)

1000 mcg B-12 (methylcobalamin) (1 pill AM, 1 pill PM) (contains mannitol)

100 mg pteropure (1 pill AM, 1 pill PM)

1000 mg thiamine HCl/vitamin B1 (2 pills AM) - (Solgar brand)

2000 IU vitamin D (1 pill AM)

100 mg magnesium L-threonate ( 2 pill PM) (Life Extension NeuroMag)

800 mg Chinese Skullcap (2 pills PM) (note: I changed my mind from above)

and you can find the scientific studies explaining why I have chosen these supplements in my post here: healthunlocked.com/ataxia-u....

Joe :D

benning profile image
benning in reply to sunvox

Thankyou for your detailed reply.

How do I post video's on here from youtube??

Hello there

I am getting worse and bike every day for 30mins getting my heart rate to over 80 for at least 20mins. Why do you stay not to bike only treadmill will work?xx

sunvox profile image
sunvox in reply to Litty

Hi Litty -

Two things. First I think biking is great, and if that's what you can do then you should keep it up! Second, the study didn't test biking and now that I have been doing this for a while I feel that there is something to do with retraining the brain in terms of gait. I run for 30 mins and then walk fast for 5 mins. I can tell you that after the fast walk is done I feel more balanced. I know that my balance is not "normal", and I can for sure say that I feel different after working on the treadmill. I will add that I also do leg lifts (sitting on a machine then straightening my legs and lifting a weight set on my ankles) followed by squats using a kettle ball as a weight.

Any exercise is better than no exercise so if biking is what you can do then I say stick with it :D , but I do think the evidence is strong in support of using a treadmill. Like I said I believe there is something about "gait training" that one simply can't get with other types of exercise.

All the best - Joe

P.S. I thought I should mention that I live with a "bad tummy" every day. Not sure if that makes any difference to you, but the simple fact is I see that as a small price to pay for slowing my disease down.

Litty profile image
Litty in reply to sunvox

Thank you so much for reply - lol I knew it would be good xx

Merry Christmas to you and your family xx

Thank-you so much for your detailed input, it is so appreciated!!!!

It's been just a few months of my diagnosis SCA-2, my UK neurologist left me absolutely floored with a nothing you can do, come back in a year, call if your symptoms progress! Not what a energetic, go getter 34 year old wants to hear.

I'm so grateful for the forum to explore beyond a bleak prognosis. I've since followed Dr. Walhls Paleo plus diet, yoga, balance exercises & running as advised and I feel so good, some days the wobbles are there, especially if tired, but I feel positive for the future.

Do you mind me asking if your protocol continues to keep your symptoms at bay?

sunvox profile image
sunvox in reply to wil_ka

Hi Wil-ka,

I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but I urge you to fight your condition with all you have.

Yes, I continue to do better and better. In fact, I was just commenting in a PM to another person that I haven't felt this good in more than a decade. I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that my alternative therapy is a powerful treatment for neurological disorders. I also believe it is the combination of all that I am doing as well as my persistence over time that is key.

I wish more people would simply try my complete regimen for several months and see for themselves.

Joe :)

Oh I am so elated! The current state of our Health System is so unsupportive, if only a diagnosis came with a regimen to kickstart everyones ability to heal naturally.

Thank-you again Joe!! Karen

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