3, 2, 1...Herbs to the restless leg rescue!
A subscriber writes in and asks:
"My mother has restless leg syndrome. She is 86 years old and it is difficult for her to sleep. Her doctor prescribed Mirapex (Pramipexole) 0.125. She takes 1 tablet before bedtime. It is not that effective. Do you have any herbal recommendations that may help?"
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common and uncomfortable condition for which western medicine does not generally offer many solutions. It is not well understood, though we know that it involves nervous system misfiring which causes symptoms including itching, muscle tension and more.
RLS may be associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies, so, it's a good idea to get some basic blood work to check for deficiencies such as iron and vitamin D.
Pramipexole works by producing effects similar to dopamine and since that isn’t working for your mother I recommend considering a herbal and nutritional approach to calm & soothe the nervous system, here are some options that I have seen help many of my clients:
1. Magnesium: this extremely important and calming mineral can be a game changer for those with RLS. I recommend taking it internally as well as topically, before bed (i'll get to dosing below).
A calcium deficiency is also associated with muscle tension. Aim for 1,000 mg of calcium per day, taken with the magnesium around dinner time. This liquid Cal:Mag product by Integrative Therapeutics is high quality, well tolerated and easily absorbed and conveniently has both calcium and magnesium in equal ratios. Drink this with dinner for best assimilation.
Externally, I recommend applying this magnesium cream on the feet or legs before bed. If the recommended dose isn’t effective, feel free to increase the dose as it is very safe and many people are deficient in magnesium.
2. B Complex - B vitamins are crucial for nervous system health and deficiencies are associated with muscle twitching and tingling. My clients love this Thorne Basic B complex. Take 1 cap with a meal.
3. Herbs that tonify and relax the nervous system:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): this Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb supports sleep, nervous system and adrenal health. I recommend adding this high quality powder from Banyan Botanicals to warm milk with some cinnamon and enjoying before bed.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). Passionflower is soothing and calming to the nervous and musclature systems. Enjoy this tasty and calming Sleep & Relax tea by Gaia Herbs an hour so before bed. It contains passionflower and other soothing herbal nervines, including chamomile and lemon balm, as well as licorice, an herbal adaptogen that tastes delightfully sweet. You can make it concentrated to avoid drinking too much water and thus having to get up to pee during the night!
With the above recommendations, your mother should notice results within a few weeks.
Good luck and sweet dreams,