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ClusterBusters

les genser

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Everything posted by les genser

  1. les genser

    a potential new option

    TO ANYONE VISITING THIS THREAD FOR THE FIRST TIME: After a year of development, a finalized (to date) version of this herbal protocol is available which will save you a lot of reading. Here is the link: http://www.clusterheadaches.com/cb/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1322547210 The file is also available on the general board as 'new big licorice root file from Les Genser'. To begin with, let me first salute all of you for being proactive in your response to CH. Anyone who is waiting for the mainstream medical establishment or big pharm to come up with a ‘cure’ is waiting for Santa Claus. There simply are too few of us for them to care, and anyway they are very busy working on a better boner pill. Every current med used for cluster was developed for other purposes, but you probably know that. If only white millionaires suffered from CH you can safely bet they would have something on hand by now. Most medications prescribed now are of limited effectiveness, have absolutely horrific side effects and are hard for the body to tolerate. Few of them actually target primary causatives. There are actually people now who are having holes drilled in their heads, getting their hypothalamus wired up like a Borg, and that is the best the medical establishment can do?? I don’t blame the patient; I understand completely, but WTF? In any event, this post is intended as a rather long-winded introduction regarding what I believe to be a new specific therapeutic approach . I originally posted it about a week ago on the CH.com board, but they do not seem highly amenable to alternative approaches. I'm glad I thought to look here. I would like to talk a bit first about causation . Clusters are not vascular headaches as they are usually defined, in that the pain of a CH does not arise due to thrombosis or edema of cerebral (or peripheral) blood vessels. This does occur (sometimes) but it is secondary, not causative. Cluster headaches have a single, demonstrable cause. A periodic energetic disturbance in the hypothalamus (think of it as similar to trying to tune two radio stations in at once) results in a cascade of hormone release and/or depletion (nobody really knows which, for sure) which is slightly different for every sufferer, although the generalities are the same. The trigeminal nerve and the oculomotor nerve pass directly through the hypothalamus, and they are right in the path of this shit storm. The disturbance in the hypothalamus (which synthesizes and controls the most powerful chemicals in the human body and is responsible for more things, physical and emotional, than anyone has time for here) is translated into frantic signaling by the nerves, resulting in the skullcrappity smacking pain we all know and love, again different in minor ways from person to person depending on where the disturbance is in the hypo. and which nerves are most directly affected. There is, by the way , nothing wrong with your hypothalamus. You can look at it side by side with that of a non-sufferer, you can scramble them and spectrographically analyze the chemical content and they will be no different in any significant way. This is because even though the hypothalamus is the most direct proximate cause of CH that you can actually see, the actual cause is energetic. This may be going off the reservation for some folks, but the hypothalamus is physically situated at the exact juncture of the fifth and sixth Chakras. The fifth Chakra is considered to be the channel of communication between the body and the greater environment, and the sixth and seventh Chakras are a person’s connection to that environment. Oddly coincidental for a several thousand year old system, isn’t it, considering what the hypothalamus actually does? The disturbance in the hypothalamus, by the way, is well documented. The actual cause of it is not. Chronic, or frequently repeated pain does funny things. It affects cellular memory and behavior ‘downstream’ from the source. An increase in mast cell (histamine) mediated activity (allergic-type reactions) results; muscles swell up and tense, causing pressure on blood vessels which attempt to swell up themselves to maintain flow rate. Nerves in all these areas become feedback loops; these are your secondaries. Because there are no pain receptors in the hypothalamus and the progress of the attack is so rapid it is sometimes exceptionally difficult to discern cause and effect . Thus, thermal disturbances (hot flashes etc.) and possibly auric events (due I believe to the direct coupling of the optic chiasm to the hypothalamus) are frequently perceived after secondaries set in. It is necessary to decouple the pain response from the actual event in the hypothalamus to experience the actual sequence, but I have been able to do this. Now most of you probably know that no analgesic known has any effect on cluster headaches, up to and including opiates (morphine and yes heroin HCL included;- personal experience). This is not hard to understand if you accept that the hypothalamus is the sole actual culprit in initializing CH; there are of course no pain receptors in the brain and the hypothalamus in particular as the brain’s chemistry set would have to be virtually immune to outside chemical influence with a few IMPORTANT exceptions; also since the pain signals are going mostly out, analgesics at remote receptor sites would likely not do shit. And, they can cause serious rebound events. I don’t propose to even discuss individual drugs, most of which are highly toxic and dependency causing crap with no business in a human body except to say this: No drug or substance which does not act directly on the serotonergic neurotransmission mechanism of the hypothalamus has a snowballs’ chance of affecting CH. Enter the psychedelics; LSD, LSA and mushrooms all, of course, do what they do because they metabolize into indoles which are almost exact mimics for serotonin, and they bind to serotonin receptors more readily and tenaciously preventing reuptake of the real thing. And of course, as you all know or you wouldn’t be on this board, they work. Central and South American shamans have prescribed mushrooms for probably thousands of years. I have personally used both mushrooms and LSD to abort clusters. There are only two pesky problems: Such substances are illegal to buy or possess (as an herbalist I am incensed at the very notion of making plants ‘illegal’; what crappity smacking arrogance, implying that god makes mistakes) and second they are also expensive. I believe I have finally found something cheap and legal that works as effectively on the serotonergic system as mushrooms; extract of licorice root. I have to pause for one minute to explain that I have had cluster headaches for 37 years; they have been episodic and borderline chronic; then in 2003 I achieved remission of sorts with trigger point acupuncture. Then, two years later they came back on the other side, and since that time they have gotten progressively worse. For the last three years they have been chronic, with remission periods of no more than a week or two. Until I broke this cycle, I had been experiencing between three and six hits a day, with usually three at night at two hour intervals. When seriously triggered, I would have the 24 hour marathons with short breaks. I do not use pharmaceuticals anymore (used to take lots back in the day) ; I was treating with ice, acupressure, relaxation techniques & breathing. To cut to the chase: Using a licorice root tincture I have completely aborted my chronic CH. I have been free for three weeks; during this period I have experienced exactly one quasi-headache which lasted about eight minutes and disappeared (I had been exposed to heavy environmental triggers all day previously). Do the research yourselves; just google licorice root. It is a very effective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; it has a balancing effect on many other hormones, it stops cortisol depletion and it reduces mast cell activity. It also is a fine and gentle antidepressant. An Israeli University study in 2003 found that licorice root is a more efficient serotonin reup inhibitor than virtually any prescription drug then available (still, actually). To be completely thorough, the headaches disappeared instantly, metabolic disturbances continued for about a week and a half (hot flashes, etc, duration usually about ten minutes) mostly at night and these are now almost completely faded. Anyway, I have gone on far too long and I beg your indulgence(s), so here are the particulars: PLEASE: this is NOT an attempt to give anybody medical advice. This herb, as herbs go, is powerful and should NOT be taken by people with certain preexisting conditions, among them hypertension , osteoporosis, renal disease, cirrhosis, or by pregnant women. People taking MAO inhibitors or certain other antidepressants should also not take it as it vastly increases their effect. In other words, ask your Doctor. I could find nothing in the literature that indicated it was harmful in the amounts I am using. 1. Use ONLY a whole plant extract ( tincture) of licorice root,{Glycyrrhiza glabra}. I use one I made myself, but good high quality tincture is available at any health food store and many pharmacies, Whole Foods, Mom’s , etc. . Get the best one you can find; it should be about $20 for 2 oz. . Label should say 1:5 (that’s the potency) and 30%-40% alcohol by volume. Do NOT use teas, candy (which isn’t real licorice anyway, its anise) or anything other than a whole plant extract. This is very important. 2. I took a standard dose for the first two weeks, that is 2 milliliters (about thirty drops) three times a day. After two weeks, I cut it to 1 milliliter three times a day and I will continue to titre it down with the aim of being off it completely after four weeks. 3. I am taking it in conjunction with a Skullcap tincture. (Same dosage as the licorice). This is not completely necessary, but Skullcap is a beautiful and gentle nervine/anti stress tonic for a frayed nervous system ; very relaxing. Let me emphasize three things: 1. I am not interested in selling anybody anything. I have to say that because people on the CH site jumped instantly in my shit when I posted this there which I found strange and off-putting. Do I sound like I’m selling something? 2. I am really not interested in having chemistry set / reductionist / organic chem .201 discussions about this stuff, though I am quite capable of it. Nature made it, I don’t need to defend it . I am merely reporting that it works, and works well. 3. That having been said, I will be more than happy to answer any questions I can about what I did and why. As I’m sure all of you will understand immediately, I was so excited when this stuff actually worked I was beside myself. I’m so used to disappointment, I kept waiting for it to stop working. I share it in the hope it will help someone else.
  2. les genser

    New Here!

    I will leave it to the busting experts here to advise you re: dosing levels. What you are not being told is that busting may not be effective for you at the moment for a variety of possible causes. As you probably know, the psylocin indole replaces serotonin in receptors which results in less uptake and more stable serotonin levels. If your serotonin levels are low to start with, busting will do nothing for you. Busting does not prevent or mitigate other channels of causation such as the wake cycle histamine dump, or chronic pain loops and neuralgias in affected nerves. If I may offer any advice, while you are waiting to dose again, think more globally. Strengthen your body's ability to mount an anti-inflammatory defense; if you are overstressed (a wild guess) your B vitamins are especially depleted and you cannot mount a defense without them. Are your liver and your adrenals compromised? if you are chronically stressed, again big yes. Do the research and do what you can for them. Do not make the common mistake of the 'modern patient' conditioned to believe that "popping two in the mouth" as Carlin used to say will of necessity solve your problem. I know it doesn't feel that way, but cluster affects and hurts your entire body and you absolutely cannot long-term fix it without considering yourself from the neck down.
  3. les genser

    Do C.H. go away with age?

    O2 has been accepted mainstream medical practice for 30 years. It is unconscionable that people still have to fight to get it. Maybe it has to do with the fact that God holds the patent on oxygen, not Sandoz.
  4. les genser

    Question about a supplement

    OK a little harsh. I certainly do not mean that people who consume energy drinks are idiots, but the people who make them certainly hope that's the case. Know why crack is bad for you? It's not the high at all; its the return swing of the pendulum. I have sung this song before: Every thing you put in your body that has a physiological effect has a reaction attached to it and the ass behind the pendulum is directly proportional to the degree of the initial effect. The higher you get, the lower you go. And yes, it really is exactly that simple. Every drug, every non-food material you ingest that produces an effect does this. The organism will return to dynamic balance no matter what you put in it; it is its purpose. This is why the less you load the pendulum, the better off you will be in the long run. Even competent physicians do not seem to understand this seemingly fundamental principal of rebound to everyone's loss. Contrary to apparent logic, you do not want to use the solution with the most caffeine, the most taurine, mummy dust or whatever. It is hitting a finish nail with a sledgehammer, one that will hit you back. Take this or leave it, but it is based on 42 years of experience: Do the least you need to do to control your CH and thereby minimize your exposure to rebound. Always remember the principal of balance;.. your body does. Rebound, by the way, not always instant or even close. Lipid friendly compounds, other metabolites can show up and wreak havoc 48 hours after ingestion, sometimes longer. Most people on regular pharmaceutical scheds. experience them all the time and aren't even aware. Seriously though, every one of those energy drinks righteously sucks.
  5. les genser

    Question about a supplement

    I would like to concur with and second Ricardo's impression. It is of course my opinion, but 'energy drinks' are made by and for idiots. Their marketing techniques, when I have been unavoidably exposed to them, bears this out if an inspection of their label doesn't do it for you first. Unadulterated caffeine in the form of coffee is much better for you; guarana is even better. Coffee contains fourteen other alkaloids in addition to caffeine, guarana only contains caffeine. If you experience a hypoglycemic dip prior to or during attack, forget the corn syrup or the artificials which all seriously suck. Try this: a spoonful of frozen OJ concentrate; hold it on your tongue against the side of your hard palate (roof of mouth) affected, helps abort in mere minutes and as the stuff melts it restores your metabolism. Staying away from artificial over processed crap that is bad for you only seems like new age "alternative" hippie bullshit until you actually try it and find out that it works.
  6. les genser

    Newbie in cycle

    Since you asked; Depakote is poisonous garbage, marginally useful (if at all) as an anticonvulsive and the chemical equivalent of stabbing your liver every day with a rusty icepick. It is an example of an annoying trend among neurologists, doubtless instigated by their drug reps, to push antiseizure meds on cluster patients despite virtually no evidence that they are in any way useful beyond their own (I'm certain) trustworthy 'science'. Look it up; reading the list of side effects should loosen your bowels faster than a visit to Taco Bell. Verapamil is as long term useful in cluster as goose shit on a pump handle, and bad for you to boot. The best advice you are likely to get is immediately above. Educate yourself; don't take anyone's opinion as fact.
  7. les genser

    Say What!?

    The hypothalamus is located physically at virtually the exact junction of the 5th and 6th chakras; considered the bridge between the upper chakras (connection to higher self, bridge to divinity) and the lower chakras which express and reflect how we relate to the material world and our place in it. Its physical purposes reflect this duality as well; not only does it control purely physical processes (if any such thing exists) but is instrumental in emotional functioning as well which reflects the wisdom of the heart, truly our 'higher' cognitive center. What does this mean? I refuse to refer to cluster as a beast or a demon. We carry it within ourselves; it is not extrinsic to us; and this is nearly impossible to express in language but it cannot be overcome until it is accepted. Do you remember the old French folktale of the beauty and the beast? I think this also means that cluster cannot be overcome by purely reductionist scientific means. It cannot be piecemealed; the entire global person must be considered...people are not machines. And, I certainly understand and concur with Purple's intuition; I have felt this way for some time. It has purpose, although what that purpose may be is hidden and wil require a greater wisdom to explain.
  8. les genser

    Say What!?

    Isn't it nice to know that now that those nice neurologists have solved the problems of all the real people with terrible pain that they have time to figure out and actually publish (ta da!!) a fictional diagnosis for a fictional character. Its a good thing that Harry's headaches (which I personally diagnosed previously as PDES, or plot device expository syndrome) spontaneously remitted, or we might have been exposed to their fictional treatment protocol, which would of course have worked flawlessly since after all, this is fantasy. Spare us all. Hey Renee... your friend is on to something. One would think the opposite would be true, but I have a teacher who says categorically that as a soul (or person within one lifetime) evolves, life becomes more and more difficult as your perception and sensitivity increase. It is a doctrine I have come to unequivocally accept.
  9. les genser

    New Here!

    You need help NOW so lets not dance around here. 1. Oral triptans are generally useless anyway and you don't want to be on them to do any of this stuff, they are not helping you stop taking them. 2. Use the O2 to abort, open your sinuses as fast as possible; use cayenne (instructions in the licorice root protocol cuts abort time in half), use cold air, use ice. Stand outside (no coat) breathing as deeply as you can at a slow even rate until you are literally shivering severely; it forces your metabolism into a 180, you will feel better. 3. Program yourself to get up and attack the inflammation as quickly and vigorously as possible with as many tools as you have. 4. Even if you wish to eventually bust, while you wait for the mailman get yourself licorice root tincture (read the protocol, be off the triptans first!) and use it ASAP. It is the most efficient herbal anti inflammatory agent there is, it can cut your incidence by 80% in days and the viciousness of your attacks in 20 minutes. There is virtually no downside, no side effects. The very least it will do is improve your mood. This is not second hand information. I have had clusters, episodic and chronic, for over 40 years. This is the best cluster killer I have ever found, including LSD and the psylocibes. 5. I am not at all sold on the D3 thing. As an anti inflammatory regimen, it doesn't impress me but this is not the place for this. This is better and FAR faster resultwise: Take a good B complex supplement (they might say 'stress formula') and then ADD Pantothenic acid (B5) at 20X the rate of the other "B's"; example if there is 10mg of B6, say, you want to take 200mg of pantothenic acid. Why? well, pantothenic acid is required by the body to manufacture cortisone. Chronic stress depletes pantothenic acid levels to the point where you become simply incapable of manufacturing cortisone, which is the body's first line anti inflammatory agent. You simply cannot effectively respond to cluster without it, and it is a sure bet that MOST cluster people have deficiencies here. Licorice root, by-the-by, very efficiently prolongs the action of cortisol (metabolite cortisone) in the body by preventing its uptake in the liver. 6. Many of us have felt as you do at one time or another; death seems a release and a viable option. I know I have been there, more than once. It does give you a certain perspective. No doubt it takes courage to live with the uncertainty and unspeakable pain of this syndrome, as is certainly true of many other chronic conditions as well. You are far from helpless. You are certainly not powerless. Remember this: This syndrome is not who you are. There are many options here; once you feel better and can breath, you will find something that works for you, or a variety of somethings, and trust me on this, life will get so much better. I hope some of this is useful to you, and I truly hope you feel better soon.
  10. les genser

    Newbie in cycle

    Sorry you are in pain, but you are in the right place. Other more worthy folks usually do this but in case you come online before they get to you, here's the short version: Read everything you can on this site's archived information because knowledge is your very best friend. Do that first, acquaint yourself with O2 therapy for aborting and find a doctor to prescribe it. Then everyone here will climb over each other to help you. One word of admittedly unsolicited advice, but I can't help it: Steroids are poison, they don't work (as you've apparently discovered for yourself) and they will F you up for life. Verapamil, still regularly prescribed, also sucks; it requires heavy doses to be "effective", its usefulness degrades the longer you are on it and the side effects are abhorrent. Don't take any drug just because a doctor says so; they frequently have no idea what they are actually prescribing and why, they are going by the playbook. Do the research yourself; it is your body. You are not alone, many here have considered death a viable option at one time or another, or wished for it. Admittedly it takes courage to live with this degree of pain; true not only of cluster but many other things. I think lots of us relish the chance to kick it to the curb in a cloud of dust (figuratively speaking, of course). Take heart, you are in good company.
  11. les genser

    Do C.H. go away with age?

    Your doctor is blowing sunshine up your butt with a soda straw. There are no rules, and there is no way to know. I got them at the same age you did and its going on 41 years now. It is a very individualistic syndrome and it presents differently in everyone. Now that I have thoroughly depressed you, be of good cheer. Jeebs is right; if there is any one place you stand a chance of keeping your friend caged, this is it.
  12. les genser

    Back again

    As I said, that is the million dollar question. When someone answers it, CH will finally be curable as opposed to manageable, and not before. It is hopefully universally acknowledged at this point that episodic cluster attacks are definitely related to and instigated by circadian rhythm disturbances; lets call them errors. This rhythmic cycle regulates activity periods and sleep cycles and the hypothalamus is the principal time keeper. When the wake cycle fires, the hypothalamus does many things through other neurotransmitter (largely but not exclusively serotonin) networks; it stokes the fires, orders up breakfast for the soon-to-be active muscles, and starts nudging you towards wakefulness. It ordinarily will fire about ten minutes before you naturally wake up. (If you have ever been awakened by a night hit unaccountably flushed or overheated, that's why). Your body is already cruising along merrily and bang, the A hole drill sgt. is in your face smashing trash can lids together. Picture if you accidently set your alarm to 3AM instead of 8. You would be a bit confused, a bit pissed, and maybe have trouble settling again. But all this is secondary to that first dump of histamine and its lighting of the fuse. This happening between 1 1/2 to 2 hours after going to sleep is fairly common. Repeating at roughly two hour intervals through out a bad night is also sadly common. I have had far too many of them; most of us have. And to reiterate, no one on this plane of existence has any notion at all why this happens. Going out on a limb, I think the most that can be said is that the 'malfunction' if you can call it that is the physical analog of an energetic imbalance in the HPA axis, likely caused or aggravated by deeply held unconscious chronic stress (see the work of Dr. Gabor Mate; I cannot over praise this man's work..specifically "When the Body Says No"). As to causation, I think your notion is correct. No one thing is probably responsible for any given attack. Again, this is probably familiar to most of us as we attempt to abort, "what did I do/not do/eat/smoke/drink/stress over/etc etc to set this F-er off?" and while its a fun way to pass the time in hell, it is rarely illuminating; well not totally true as the truth about personal triggers can be explained in terms impossible to ignore. In the case of the young lad above, I believe the most likely primary trigger in this case was the nap itself, a fairly large percentage of CH people can be triggered in this way.
  13. les genser

    Back again

    Conventional antihistamines are of no use. There are a few reasons for this; First, when the neurotransmitter histamine fires its already too late, secondly antihistamines take too long to work and an attack is far gone before they reach effective levels and they can lead to rebound. You are better off vigorously attacking the inflammation as quickly as possible. Cold air, rapidly raising O2 demand with strenuous aerobic activity to raise BP (it only sounds counterintuitive, it works). This will help open sinuses; if they are closing up reversing this will abort an attack in half the time and lower the pain considerably. Nothing works faster than cayenne pepper properly applied; its anaesthetic and stimulant qualities are immediately effective; it will clear sinuses in minutes and unlike oxygen tanks you can carry it in your pocket. Brief instructions for use are found in the section on aborting in the licorice root protocol. Hope this is useful.
  14. les genser

    Chronic vs Episodic

    Dr. Sewell is absolutely correct re the artificiality of the distinction. The cycle within the chronicity is usually hidden, but I believe the only difference between chronics and episodic people is that between periods, a chronic does not revert to 'normal' sensitivity levels; this has been shown by the difference in mast cell numbers in chronics... they do not go down as in episodics, so a chronic person is always prone to what he refers to as 'spontaneous' attacks (they aren't really spontaneous or random at all, but thats nitpicking). Based on my own unscientific sampling of one, I have definitely seen that when I was able to remove my own chronicity, the underlying periodicity became very obvious; I certainly know when I'm in one and am able to act accordingly. Thanks Jerry.
  15. les genser

    Back again

    Try not to be too upset. It doesn't necessarily mean a cycle is starting up all though obviously the potential is there. Naps are frequently triggering; they confuse circadian patterns and when the wake cycle in the hypothalamus fires, it releases histamine as a neurotransmitter. The wake cycle itself causes the metabolic flush, the histamine sloshing around the nerve sheathing triggers the headache by nerve induction. Why the wake cycle fires at seemingly random times is the million dollar cluster question; that it predictably fires during naps means your son needs to add this to his store of trigger wisdom. I sincerely hope he is feeling better.
  16. les genser

    O2, useless. Why?

    Hey Ting. I think the guys above may have a clue.. I'm no O2 expert and I may be completely wrong but I think it may be the cardio. Doing heavy exercise results in saturating your tissues with Oxygen and accompanying capillary dilation and this state persists. O2 works as an abortive because non-worked muscle doesn't need the extra oxygen and it results in vascular constriction, cutting off the inflammation response. That could be why smoking first (vasoconstrictor) helps the huffing along if your capillaries are naturally dilated. Cold air does the same thing as it pulls energy from your periphery to heat your core to warm the air, and at the same time it causes capillary constriction reducing inflammation in the palate and sinuses. It is just a thought, but perhaps you might try suspending the heavy exercise for a bit and see if that makes a difference. Hope you feel better.
  17. Hi all. What follows may ruffle some D3 fans; but at the outset please bear in mind: a)this is only my considered opinion b)no one is under any obligation to listen to it c) I will absolutely not engage or respond to any kind of argument; I'm just putting information out there, do with it what you will. After looking into the D3 protocol in some depth, I have with a good deal of help reached the following conclusions: 1. The D3 itself is of little use. Although many people may in fact be somewhat deficient in serum D3 levels, this can be addressed through diet. Although D3 in excess is not toxic, neither is it therapeutically beneficial and amounts more than the body requires are continually balanced and excreted. Although there is some evidence to suggest that D vitamins are supportive of anti inflammatory activity, there are better ways to achieve this result (see below). 2. The principal benefit of the regimen appears to be the resulting alkalizing and pH balancing of the body through the additional supplements. The advantages of a balanced system in combating any chronic syndrome are well known. This result is also best and most lastingly achieved through adjustment of the diet itself. 3. Of immediate value to a CH person would be adding a general B complex vitamin, and a separate supplement of pantothenic acid (a B vitamin) at 20X the rate of the general supplement; i.e. if the general contains 10mg of B2, B6 etc., take 200mg of pantothenic acid. Do this only at the onset of episodic cluster periods and not for more than three or four weeks at a time or B deficiencies may result. Stress, especially chronic stress as experienced by people in more or less constant pain or the anticipation of it, depletes pantothenic acid levels in the body and this substance is vital to synthesis of natural cortisone which I probably do not need to explain is the body's first line anti inflammatory defense; low levels of pantothenic acid leave the body incapable of mounting an effective response to a cluster headache. Periodic hypoglycemia may be indicative of low pantothenic acid levels. If any of this is of interest, consult a nutritionist, not a doctor. Stress, and especially stress held in the body is significant in what we call shadows as well. I have found two herbs which completely and thoroughly remove shadows and prevent their recurrence;.. Agrimony and Cinquefoil. These plants are close relatives and have virtually identical therapeutic properties. Their signature indications include frantic pain and tension headache, and of course stress. I used the Cinquefoil with unequivocal and excellent result. Both of these plants are available commercially; please be aware of my previous statements re:vendors;.. don't get it off Amazon, buy organic from small makers who care. The Cinquefoil, according to some sources, is said to have more anti-inflammatory activity, but I can't compare the two having not experienced the Agrimony. Having tamed the shadows, unless I can herbally un-stupid the government I think I'm about done. I sincerely hope this information is of use. Best wishes to all, Les G.
  18. les genser

    vitamin notes/stress/shadow busting

    I'm not surprised at the lack of recognition. Although both Agrimony and Cinquefoil have long pedigrees of use in herbal medicine (Dioscorides and Plinius extol their virtues and they were in common usage at the beginning of the 20th century) for some reason they dropped out of mainstream herbal practice. This is a pity, as Matthew Wood and other prominent modern herbalists have used one or the other of these plants (they are considered interchangeable) in practice with excellent and consistent results. They are used especially in conditions of severe pain resulting in 'holding of the breath', tension, neuralgias, and stress. (Sounds like shadows to me). Both of these plants are tinctured fresh and usually wildcrafted which does not lend itself to commercial mass production as it is time consuming and labor intensive. And I apologize, I should have included this important stuff in the first post: There are no known contraindications for either plant. In acute situations, a standard dose would be 1/2 teaspoon taken in a little water; additional doses of 5 drops may be taken at 30 minute intervals until the pain recedes (I'm referring to shadows, which tend to be persistent). I found that taking the cinquefoil in combination with licorice root and skullcap (1/2 teaspoon of each) was extremely effective on days when I felt trouble lurking.
  19. les genser

    vitamin notes/stress/shadow busting

    Hi Ron; hope you and Michael are well. I could only find one maker of cinquefoil that looks ok, place called Sunstone Herb farm.
  20. les genser

    How to prevent CH cycle, all advices welcome

    Hi Sanni. I have made a rare foray onto the net today. In reference to CH father's posts above, all I can add is : 'what he said'. Jerry should really be knighted (Order of the Icepack?). I too suffered terribly with muscle complications, unattended they become triggers of themselves. If you have access to it, acupuncture- particularly the type referred to as 'trigger point' is amazingly effective (put me in remission for over a year). If you can't get acupuncture, at least look into stretching exercises for the neck, scalenes and upper back. I still do them when necessary, and they help a lot. On the subject of verapamil, I have written (ranted? raged?) about it quite a bit. I have very deep concerns about using licorice root while on it; its playing ping pong with your circulatory mechanisms. Your system reacts to V. by attempting to regain its' 'normal' pressure; that's why tolerance develops. Licorice root, via a potassium/sodium mediated process in the capillaries, causes a slight elevation of blood pressure by making them less 'leaky'; this is one of the ways it functions as an anti-inflammatory. I have concerns that the interaction and compounded effects of licorice and verapamil and the resulting systemic confusion could potentially lead to rebound of a most unpleasant kind. That being said, if what you are doing is helping you, be cautious and be aware. I am distressed that doctors continue to prescribe verapamil for cluster despite recent (and some not-so-recent... 20 years old!) advances in the understanding of the mechanisms involved. No one believes clusters are vascular headaches anymore, except in a very secondary sense. The effort required to remove yourself from it would be well worth it. Hope this is helpful; time to go back up the mountain.
  21. les genser

    a potential new option

    I stopped by here yesterday to see if I could be useful, and did something I never do, I checked out the boards on CH.com. It was basically endless permutations of 'the doctor tried this chemical/that chemical' and 'this chemical is no longer working but I'm on to the next' and so on. It bothered me all day. I was reminded of an often co-opted Sufi story: A man is walking down a street at night when he sees his friend, the Master Nasruddin, on his hands and knees under a streetlamp. He asks whats wrong and the master says he has dropped his key. So, being a good friend he gets down on his hands and knees and starts looking too. After some time, he asks the master where he was when he dropped the key, and Nasruddin says back in the alley. So the friend, exasperated, says why aren't you looking there? and the Master replies 'because the light is better here'. Check out and read the excellent FDA post/interview that Ricardo put up, and then realize that as damning as that interview is, it is the tip of the iceberg. Note that he said, as I'm sure many of you know or suspect, that doctors don't read labels, they prescribe based on information provided to them by drug companies. The pharmacological training received by doctors is virtually nonexistent considering they spend most of their time pushing drugs on people. Almost everyone who comes to this site has done so because they are tired of having been used as walking chemistry sets to no good purpose, they are unwilling to accept inadequate treatment, and they know there are better choices and dammit they will go out and find them. Let those who choose to, stay under the streetlamp. I will be back in the alley with you guys.
  22. les genser

    Big licorice root file from Les Genser

    Big hello to all. I have to thank CH Father for posting the previous for me as I had no idea how. Last spring I reported that I had interested a local herbalist who was on the board of the American Herbalists Guild in coauthoring a report on the licorice root protocol for publication and review; we were supposed to work over the summer, but I never heard from her despite her professed interest and I am not the type to chase anyone. So I did it myself, and the more or less final version is whats in the link above. I am submitting it for review to the faculty of the school of herbology I am currently attending. The founder of the program is an author of international reputation and a patron saint of modern western herbology. They encourage this sort of thing, even from relative noobs. We will see what happens. The paper was written to be intelligible to people unfamiliar with cluster, and it is as complete as I could make it. I will make myself available for about a week or so to answer questions, take shit or both; probably at odd hours. I hope everyone is doing well.
  23. les genser

    really really exausted...very little sleep in days

    Back off the caffeine, you are rebounding big time. You need to break the immediate cycle and abort now; in your neck of the woods finding busting materials should be very possible, but first things first: 1. You might want to try to stay away from heat and heat treatments. Try Ice, cold packs, frozen vegetables, anything, immediately at the site of the most obvious pain. If its in your upper palate, use ice water, hold it and spit. Immediately applied cold can abort by itself, if you can catch it quick. Put the ice on and keep it on as long as necessary. 2. Try not to hyperventilate. Breathe consciously and slowly and stress and linger on your actual exhale, long but shallow inhale. This technique can deflect perceived pain. 3. I understand not wanting to move only too well, but the exercise point is valid, it diverts blood volume away from cranial vessels, so try this, but only in the early stages of an attack, doing it in the midst of a full blower is torture: Do about 15-20 quick push ups, then stop and hold about halfway down...for several moments, then repeat a few times. This can also naturally increase your body's oxygen demand. 4. You mentioning that your episodes commence after a cold or allergy type event leads to this suggestion: Examine your lifestyle for triggers. Most episodics can drink alcohol, for example, except when in cycle. Somewhere around here is a list of common triggers, cigarettes are a huge one, so is alcohol, marijuana.. (basically all the fun stuff). Cutting triggers can make a difference in as little as 48 hours. 5. You don't say what if any meds you are taking, and that could qualify this suggestion, but simple aspirin (real aspirin, not tylenol or alleve) can help with your secondary triggered pain, it also has vasoconstrictive effect and it thins down your blood volume. The relentless night shit is the absolute worst. I lived where you are now for many years, and I fervently hope you feel better soon. Don't despair, they are absolutely right..it gets much better.
  24. les genser

    Is there Anything else out their to stop This!!!!!

    Again, Brew..your point that V. wouldn't be of much concern when starting busting is well taken; I would just add a couple of things to consider. 1. Experiencing V. effects like Jeff describes above, even milder ones maybe, while simultaneously experiencing psychotropics could lead to panic attacks, or at the least a very unpleasant experience. 2. Psylocibe indole, LSD, LSA all have what might be thought of as a second tier effect on the circulatory system and subsequently everything else the end result of which is 'relaxed' blood volume. This is certainly dose dependent and V. may or may not make this scary; which I realize is saying exactly nothing, but I think the possibility should be considered. 3. Anyone considering licorice root as an option MUST be off verapamil and normalized prior to starting. They do not mix well and I'm pretty sure I understand why, but it can lead to absolute skull-f-ed by molten pig iron experiences that are better done without.
  25. les genser

    Is there Anything else out their to stop This!!!!!

    I apologize for the delay in reply; band practice. Brew, I am not a doctor either in the respect that I completely accept and honor your experience with verapamil. And I also know that B. is correct; some people get good results, sadly but frequently not lasting. You are obviously not wrong in this, and perhaps that was an unfortunate choice of word. I cannot help but notice, however, that all of your references to verapamil are in the past tense. As someone trained to see physiologic systems in an integrated way, I do believe it is a mistake to prescribe Verapamil for cluster. It achieves its effects in a kind of roundabout way which usually requires fairly large doses, its effects are globally systemic in that it acts everywhere, in places where you really don't want or need sluggish vessels, causing many 'side effects'. Side effects is a misnomer; this is what this drug does. Any drug that the body develops tolerance for should be looked at very carefully. Tolerance, in one sentence, results from the organism attempting to overcome and compensate for the action of the drug, requiring more of the drug to achieve the same effect. I believe the body's wisdom in this should not be ignored. Rebound is another concern. It is a cousin of tolerance in that the body in compensating for the drug, swings the pendulum too hard as drug levels drop, and since the verapamil does not affect in any way CH associated neuralgias (trigger loops such as trigeminal, or shadow areas, etc) they are still there and can be vicious and lasting. I believe the symptoms that verapamil effects have much better and less harmful alternatives available, even in the official pharmacoepia. Remember, verapamil is a blood pressure medication, originally intended for persons with hypertension, to normalize their pressure. What happens when it is given to someone with normal pressure? It can make abortives far less effective. Anyway, its just my opinion; just throwing it out there, like seeds. I do believe this, though, for what its worth: No drug or medicinal substance that does not directly restore balance in the hypothalamus and HPA axis is going to cure or remit cluster headache.
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