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Parkinson's Movement
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Gou Teng helps with my tremors .

Hi everyone came across Gou Teng and have been trying for the last 3months.

I find it does help with my tremor and energy.

Thought I’d post and see what you think, I had never heard of it . Wishing everyone the best 🙂

Can you tell me about the Chinese herb gou teng, which I understand is helpful in treating some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Do you think it’s worth a try?

– NOVEMBER 15, 2016

cats claw

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Gou teng, also known as cat’s claw, (Uncaria rhynchophylla) is reputed to have anti-spasmodic properties and has been used in China for more than 2,000 years to treat “the shakes,” a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the part of the mid-brain responsible for muscle movement. Degeneration of these cells results in a reduction in levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine causing the tremors, rigidity, slow movements and difficulties with balance characteristic of PD. Parkinson’s progression can be slowed and symptoms managed with the drugs L-Dopa (Levodopa) and Sinemet (Carbidopa). L-Dopa is converted to dopamine in the brain, and Sinemet prevents L-Dopa from being broken down before it reaches the brain.

One Chinese study of gou teng’s effects on Parkinson’s symptoms included 55 patients who were randomized to take a combination of traditional medicinal herbs including gou teng or a placebo for 24 weeks. Results showed that the participants who took the herbs were able to sleep better and had more fluent speech than those who took the placebo.

The Chinese investigators suggested that gou teng may ease PD symptoms by helping rid brain cells of an accumulation of a protein called alpha-synuclein. Too much of this compound may be to blame for the nerve cell degeneration. The drugs currently used to treat Parkinson’s don’t reduce or eliminate alpha-synuclein accumulations.

The researchers reported that a gou teng component, called isorhy, was able to help reduce cellular levels of alpha synuclein, and that it worked as well for this as rapamycin, an immunosuppressant drug being studied for Parkinson’s treatment. Unlike rapamycin, which can have serious side effects, the Chinese researchers note that gou teng has been used for centuries with no apparent detriment.

Another Chinese study published in 2013 found that a combination of 11 herbs including gou teng taken three times a day for 12 weeks effectively improved sleep dysfunction in PD patients, and that the improvements lasted for an additional four weeks.

A 2015 review of 27 published studies involving data on 2,314 patients explored the effectiveness and safety of traditional Chinese medicine as an adjunct to conventional treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It concluded that the Chinese therapy was generally safe, well tolerated and could significantly reduce the side effects of conventional treatments. However, the authors concluded that more well-designed studies are needed to clarify the exact effect of traditional Chinese medicine on PD patients.

Based on what I’ve read, gou teng appears to be safe for use with Parkinson’s disease. If you’re interested in taking it for relief of symptoms, I recommend consulting a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to help determine the optimal dosage.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Sources:

Li Min et al, “Treatment of Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease with Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Pilot Clinical Study”, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011,

Dingfang Cai et al, “Therapeutic effect of Yang-Xue-Qing-Nao granules on sleep dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease.” Chinese Medicine, July 27, 2013, DOI: 10.1186/1749-8546-8-14

14 Replies
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Two Parkinson acquaintances highly recommend Chinese herb

Tian Ma Gou Teng Wan [Gou Teng for short ?]

One takes 4 pills as needed, for tremor relief within the hour.

MarcP

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Do you know how long they are tremor free ?

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Don't know but I'll ask. I suspect it is a matter of hours. MarcP

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Is seems it might interfere with other supplements:

everydayhealth.com/drugs/cat's-claw

Cat's Claw Interactions

Avoid taking other herbal/health supplements such as casein protein, coenzyme Q-10 (ubiquinone), fish oil, L-arginine, lycium, or stinging nettle. Combining cat's claw with any of these substances may cause your blood pressure to get too low.

Do not take cat's claw without medical advice if you are using a medication to treat any of the following conditions:

any type of infection (including HIV, malaria, or tuberculosis);

anxiety or depression;

asthma or allergies;

cancer;

erectile dysfunction;

heartburn or GERD;

high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a heart condition;

migraine headaches;

psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders;

a psychiatric disorder; or

seizures.

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There is Cats Claw which is "Uncaria tomentosa" this is NOT the Gou Teng which is "Uncaria rhynchophylla" This is important and can get confused

I should of pointed this out . Hope this helps

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Oh, thanks! Good to know. Sorry about that.

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Duplicating twotutts42's reply:

WARNING: There are 2 types of cat’s claw with very different effects:

Uncaria rhynchophylla vs Uncaria tomentosa.

The Chinese Herb GOU TENG for tremor relief is the former:

Uncaria RHYNCHOPHYLLA

MarcP

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I had purchased it last year and used for a while with no significant impact on my symptoms. it's 1:20 standardized extract and was taking 1+1 gram a day

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Where did you buy it from

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Ali express

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Wonder if it can be taken alongside LD/CD and mucuna..

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I take mine in powder form with hot water . 2 tsp in water as drink and again the same in afternoon. I also take my madopar as usual. If my tremor bad in evening I take before bed. So far I’ve had nothing bad in side effects. I had to buy mine from a Chinese herbalist near me as couldn’t seem to buy the correct Gou Teng from internet. I hope this is of some help. I think the Cure Parkinsons site did a small trial which was quite good . Everyone different but it does seem to help mine, and most of the time stops my tremors within half hour and they don’t seem as bad especially at night. Hope this helps .🙂

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I did more research for me. It is contraindicated for people who take fish oil, co q 10 and have high cholesterol. Sure sounded promising

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Uncaaria rhyncophylla is the Chinese herb not to be confused with uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw). 2 different sests of chemicals. The former has had some interesting studies on PD including one where it got rid of alpha synuclein.

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