The Mayo Clinic defines an essential tremor as a central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic shaking or rhythmic muscle spasms. These essential tremors may occur in nearly any portion of the body; however, the most common areas of shaking are isolated within the hands, head, arms or legs. The majority of essential tremors are caused by some form of genetic mutation, and scientists are still undecided as to what mutation causes this condition. Treatment plans for those with essential tremors may consist of synthetic prescription medications and possibly surgery; however, certain herbal remedies may be utilized upon the consent of your doctor to help reduce or relieve shaking.
Skullcap has been traditionally used as a mild relaxant, anti-anxiety herb as well as a natural remedy to help ease convulsions, such as those found with essential tremors. While current scientific research is inconclusive regarding its effectiveness for treating convulsions, due to the calming properties found within this herb it may be beneficial for those suffering with essential tumors. The American Botanical Council reports the King's American Dispensatory recommends this herb to help treat tremors and convulsions. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests consuming 1 to 2 g of American skullcap per day or drinking two to three cups of freshly brewed skullcap tea per day.
The use of passionflower for anxiety and seizures has been used in the Americas and throughout Europe, and this herb is commonly used for its relaxing qualities in modern day America. Scientists are unsure as to why this herb is beneficial for anxiety, but it is believed passionflower increases the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, within the brain. By lowering brain GABA levels, brain cell activity is calmed, thus resulting in a relaxed state. It may be possible to reduce the severity of essential tremors by consuming this herb; however, the actual effectiveness of passionflower for tremors is unknown. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests consuming this herb as a tea. To do so, pour 1 tsp. of dried passionflower into 8 oz. of boiling water and allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and consume three to four servings per day.
Valerian has been used to treat nervous restlessness, anxiety and insomnia for thousands of years, and it continues to be among the most popular herbal remedies to promote relaxation. As with other calming herbs, scientists are unsure as to the actual reason why this herb works, but it is suggested it increase the GABA chemical in the brain, and the FDA recognizes valerian as generally safe for use. MedlinePlus reports valerian is commonly used to help treat mild tremors, thus it may be an effective natural remedy for essential tremors. Consume valerian tea by pouring 8 oz. of boiling water over 1 tsp. of dried valerian root and allow the tea to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Consume up to three times per day.
Traditionally, kava kava was used as a ceremonial drink throughout the Pacific Islands; however, it is more commonly used as a relaxing agent. It is unclear as to why kava kava promotes a relaxed state; however, the University of Maryland Medical Center states this herb is capable of treating nervous disorders, anxiety and insomnia. While kava kava is possibly effective at treating essential tremors through its calming effects, users must be careful as this herb does carry a risk of liver damage. Only consume kava kava under the direct supervision of your healthcare provider.
- Mayo Clinic; Essential Tremor; August 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Skullcap; Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D.; February 2009
- American Botanical Council; Skullcap; Gayle Engels; 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Passionflower; Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D.; March 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Valerian; Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D.; February 2009
- MedlinePlus; Valerian; March 2011