This Book Review first appeared in New Dawn Magazine issue 159, November-December 2016. © Brett Lothian.
Herbs & Nutrients for Neurological Disorders: Treatment Strategies for Alzhiemer’s, Parkinson’s, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Migraine & Seizures.
By Sidney J. Kurn, M.D. and Sheryl Shook, Ph. D.
Herbs and Nutrients for Neurological Disorders is an outstanding and much needed book that deals with some of the greatest blights of our modern world and lifestyle. This thoroughly researched and clinically tested manual for treating neurological disorders is a must have for any practitioner working in health care or anyone that has been touched by these horrific and debilitating illnesses, which is far too many of us. Step by step, the authors take the reader through the important factors these disorders have in common, the importance of sleep, to the possible causes and contributing factors to these illnesses and to the herbal and nutritional treatments that have been shown to have exciting results. This book highlights once again how important diet, lifestyle and making informed choices are in the maintenance of good health and well being in an increasingly polluted and poisonous world.
Firstly, the authors provide a guide for how to use this book, explaining how the book was initially compiled from lectures and handouts introducing practitioners, patients and their families to the judicious use of supplements in various neurological disorders and how each chapter arose in slightly different contexts and varied in terms of the description of the disorder and the relationship of the herbs and nutrients to the underlying disease mechanisms. This variety reflects the enthusiasm of the authors for certain topics, particularly regarding disease mechanisms, prompted by new discoveries in neurological science. The book has been designed so that it is useful for the reader to firstly read the summary section of each chapter and then go back and read the detailed science behind the treatment options, or you can just read it cover to cover like I did.
Next, importantly the authors discuss the factors all six disorders have in common, the contributing factors , such as inflammation, free radicals, MSG, Aspartame, toxic pesticides, environmental pollutants, heavy metals, mitochondrial dysfunction, genetics, epigenitics, and treatments such as nutrients, cannabinoids and the microbiome. These are problems all of us face in our modern world which has unfortunately, largely shifted the environmental debate away from toxins, pollutants and a lack of basic nutrients in our top soil, to the non toxic and environmentally beneficial carbon, in the climate change debate.
Sleep is discussed as it’s importance in all aspects of health is paramount and an important factor in the development and treatment of these neurological disorders. Numerous recognised sleep tests are provided for the reader to gauge their levels of healthy sleep and the authors also provide techniques and practices to improve sleep length and quality. Far too many of us do not get enough quality sleep in our hustle and bustle, time poor lives at great risk to our health and future prospects of developing a neurological disorder. It is a society wide issue that certainly needs to be addressed for our worlds common health.
Each chapter focusing on the six neurological disorders breaks down the diagnosis, current treatments, causes, factors involved, dietary considerations, supplementation and herbal treatments. Some of the technical language and medical concepts can be a little hard to follow for the uninitiated, but the basic jist can always be understood. The authors summarise each chapter in easy to understand language and the treatment protocols are very easy to follow. Many of the beneficial herbs such as turmeric, gingko biloba discussed and other supplements recommended are easily obtainable for most people. Marijuana which is recommended in almost all cases obviously will require some much needed and long over due law reform before it is available in this country medicinally, well, legally anyway.
The authors offer Herbs and Nutrients for Neurological Disorders as an introduction to the vast naturopathic literature regarding these common neurological disorders. Much of this literature appears in mainstream, peer reviewed speciality journals, yet the implications remain largely un-integrated into standard medical practice. This is a loss for the patient, the practitioner and the practice of medicine as a whole. The patient loses the benefit of simple, inexpensive remedies and medicine becomes increasingly technical, expensive and unavailable to all. A truly integrated medicine cannot afford to ignore any potential treatment because of financial, political or paradigmatic reasons. We all lose in the end, encumbered by an increasingly expensive and less effective system of medicine.
The authors hope, that this book will help clear the way and empower the reader in pursuit of his or her better health. It certainly gave me a far greater understanding of these neurological disorders, how they are caused and what I can do to help prevent and treat them. Highly recommended for health practitioners, neurological disorder sufferers, friends and families and anyone interested in maintaining good neurological health.
By Brett Lothian