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a potential new option

les genser

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Just another daily follow-up. . .made it through a second consecutive night with zero headaches. I woke up at 4am feeling a little "twinge", but it never developed into anything. So, the tally since starting on the licorice five days ago:

Now, I understand that my headaches have not been as severe as many of yours, and I am naturally very drug-sensitive, so I may be an exception here. I'm not ready to call the licorice a miracle cure or anything, but it does change something. And any change is positive, in my opinion. Kinda like in the movie Predator. . ."If it bleeds, we can kill it."

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One more update, one week into this experiment. After three totally pain-free days, I threw my schedule off with a trip to Philly yesterday. The early-morning flight didn't bother me.

After sitting through endless meetings, I got a small shadow at about 2pm, the time my usual afternoon crap starts. I pressed on, and it never developed into anything.

Last night, back at the hotel, I got hit pretty hard at 8pm. It got to about a 7, I didn't take anything, and it faded fairly quickly. Made it through the night just fine, and all day today, including the flight back to Pittsburgh.

I am feeling some shadows today, but so far no pain. So, one week of licorice and absolutely no other supplements or drugs, the results are pretty positive.

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Another 24 hours pain-free. (Closer to 36 hours, I guess). That's nine days of licorice tincture @ 3x a day. . .2-3 severe headaches per day have morphed into 2-3 moderate headaches in a week. I have learned not to let my guard down with this thing, but I've never received such a great return on a $12 investment.

Now, with the understanding that the licorice somehow disrupts the roller-coaster of serotonin that effs up the hypothalamus, I may also add the high-dose D3 supplement to my regimen to address the inflammation issues that cause the pain. I've totally removed myself from all other supplements in order to give the licorice a fair evaluation, so I'd be starting with a nearly-clean slate.

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Hi, I'm Rob in North Vancouver, BC

Cycle remissions have stretched to 2 yrs, from one and cycle length jumped from 2-3 weeks to 6 -8 for three last 3 cycles. 

Found CH.com 10 years ago and had immediate success in the following cycle with Sansert.  the next year it was less effective but then I discovered Imitrex and also Dr Robinson in Vancouver (neuro) who recommended Verapmil and continue Imitrex to abort.  The next two cycles were relatively manageable with noticeable changes in patterns and times.  It was in this period the cycles moved to 2 yrs.  Doses recommended were 120 mg verapamil 2-3 times per day.  I took 2x v per day starting when the first sign of the cycle returned, and maybe 8 injections over the middle 4 weeks, rarely more than 1 in a 48 hr period.

Forward to Feb 8th, 2011 

Cycle start was not easy to interpret, didn't start the v at first, so not sure if that was significant in this cycles symtoms and patterns.  The first three weeks seemed familiar, and used Imitrex when the stronger K's came along.  It doesn't take more than a handful of K's until I reach for the Imitrex.  I remember the days before I knew  what this was. 

There has been significant enough change in this cycle to cause alarm and I was getting concerned that like the sansert, the v was losing its touch. Imitrex use had doubled and in one stretch it was every day.... so back to CH.com and catch up on the latest.

I like the idea of natural treatments.  I like the taste of organic food.  I hate than Monsanto is trying to corner the agribiz market.  As a social democrat I support  community first, I don't trust MSM and if you want the truth go find it yourself.  We are our own best doctor.  So I too have enjoyed this thread by Les.  I have always sensed that this is a place of truth and compassion so thanks to everyone here who have helped so many.  And you, Les Genser, are what we in Canada call a beauty. 

I hope any of my experiences/experiments will add to the value of your research.  I told the neuro from what I've read, I consider myself lucky.  I've responded well with meds and live a full life between cycles, and I've taken that success for granted, until now anyway.  The risk reward for short term use of meds hasn't been an issue but as I've said it's time to re-evaluate.

Just the facts man...

With this cycle all askew, I upped the v to 3 x 120 mg per day and have used more imitrex than before.  Then after reading about your tincture, cut back on the pills.  I did not completely detox when i started the Licorice dosing.  But I'm only using the tincture now and for 4 days, only 1 significant HA.  Aborted with Imitrex no rebound so far.  How much time can pass and still call it a rebound?  The one today was killed with the Canadian version of the energy drink, my first "Beaver Buzz."  Label says lots of caffeine, my second favorite beverage, the first, will remain nameless durring this cycle...

I'm sensing the end of this cycle may be near, beyond 8 weeks would be new...  but it's evolving, or I'm evolving, or I'm just dizzy... but I will prepare for the next cycle armed with all this new information, Licorice tincture, Oxygen (never tried it) and in BC those mushrooms grow naturally so should be easily accessible.  I'm going to read more about the RC seeds too.. any short cuts to info?

I'll reply again in a week to update an as required.  Happy to answer any questions or talk about the Canucks winning the Stanley Cup or sailing...

Thanks again to those who were here 5 & 10 years ago.  Wow, lot of advances.  Very impressive stuff.....   

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I'm going to read more about the RC seeds too.. any short cuts to info?

I think you're asking about general info, Rob, not just RC info.  There's a lot of info in the Clusterbuster files that you can access at the bottom right side of this page, under "File Jump." 

I'll give you some short cuts in a moment, but since you say you've never tried oxygen, I think that's where you ought to put your efforts first.  It works, it's safe, it's the first-line medically recommended abortive, it's fully legal when prescribed, and for all those reasons it should be relatively easy for you to get from a doctor (although too many doctors have proven me wrong on that one).  I think most people here would agree with me that it's the best way for you to prepare for a future cycle, or deal with the present one if it continues.  You might want to skim this first (or even read it with some care):  http://www.clusterheadaches.com/cb/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1299901790

Here's a good file about RC/LSA (other ones by TommyD contain additional information):  http://www.clusterheadaches.com/cb/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1290128974

Here's a highlights package (with a link to another page about oxygen):  http://www.clusterheadaches.com/cb/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1298051886

Here's a summary of Les Genser's thoughts:  http://www.clusterheadaches.com/cb/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1298659068

And here's an interesting thread about Vitamin D3 from ch.com:  http://www.clusterheadaches.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1291969416/50

It's a great community here.  Read up; ask more questions; you'll get answers.

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Many thanks mate, and I agree.  Oxygen should be my next choice for abortive.  I'll get busy reading and hope to keep the dumb questions to a minimum...    Licorice looks to be a recent addition to the fight, has anyone had a chance to try it from the start of a cycle?  Or are we a bit early for that?   

Much obliged in BC.

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Neil Young. Rush. Joni Mitchell. Mounties!! I love friggin' Canada. Seriously, keep the Stanley Cup and welcome. I have a few thoughts for you, if you are open to them.

First, ditto to what CH Father said re: oxygen. I have no personal experience of it, but most knowledgeable folks here swear by it. I would much rather see you abort with O2 than with triptans. I have said elsewhere I do not know what the interactions with triptans would be per se since I'm not sure exactly where they are acting. Licorice root should not be used with drugs which act on the HPA axis such as SSRIs or corticosteroids, since Licorice root is itself by definition a substance which acts within the HPA axis..

My brain screams rebound at me whenever I consider Imitrex. It is just a personal prejudice. I am certain that O2 has much lower incidence of rebound potential, if it has any at all. It is certainly better for you from a metabolic point of view.

Verapamil should not be used with licorice root, ever, as it will confuse hell out of your body. The results would be unpleasant at the least. The prescribing of this drug is based on mistaken reasoning. Lowering the blood pressure, so the theory goes, will reduce the flow and subsequently the edema and ensuing pain of a headache. It is a case of cart before horse. The various inflammation reactions characteristic of cluster headaches put pressure on blood vessels, resulting in edema (its squeezing the garden hose) and another layer of pain. I do not like verapamil for quite a few reasons, many of which are mentioned elsewhere. Unless you have high blood pressure, you have no business eating it.

Licorice root, by the way,is thought to be anti-inflammatory in that it both inhibits the breakdown of cortisol (natural adrenaline-produced steroid) and reduces mast cell activity, both of which are important in reversing histamine mediated reactions.

A Shortcut to Mushrooms: If you can get them wildcrafted in BC, search no more. They are a much more reliable source material of the ring with the zing than anything short of Swiss moonshine. Calculating a dose is a much surer thing.

The tincture has seemed to work best for people who are not on other regular meds, other than pure abortives. Within a very short time, it should reduce dramatically the need for abortives. While I personally was chronic for years, I believe the best time to start with the tincture(s) ( I really do recommend the skullcap/licorice combination; its a glass of orange juice for your mood) is at the beginning of a cycle. I would be optimistically curious to learn if that is correct.

Beaver Buzz? That is just wrong on so many levels I am struck dumb. But it is really f-ing funny.

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Mike Myers, Dan Akroyd, Martin Short....  Celine Dion...   Ok, sorry about that last one.  Trey Parker has done a good job roasting her for all of us. 

In Canada we love the beaver of course, our national animal.  Mates for life, works real hard, chops down trees and stops just short of pressing wild flowers, Beavers, they're OK...

Beaver Buzz is the real thing, a Canadian energy drink.  Here's the jingle on the radio....  "Grab a beaver and get it done."  Truth.  Probably something on you tube somewhere, should you need proof or tune into the Team 1040 Sports Radio, Vancouver.  "A valued Sponsor, I'm sure."

So what is it Wednesday?  My last Verapamil was Friday morning 7 am.  Started the licorice at 4 pm, and a night cap before bed.  3 delicious shots a day since.  No Imitex since Saturday.  Shadows still hanging around, but a brisk walk or... wait for it, a Beaver Buzz got it done. 

I'll need to get to the Chiropractor soon as my neck, shoulder and this incredible knot under my shoulder blade are the gift left behind. When I was young....  pause for a moment....  I remember treating headaches with adjustments and it worked.  They weren't fully developed CH cycles as I would later know them, but at the moment there is a direct connection with that fargin knot and the pain in my head and neck.  Not even Dr Ho can remove it... 

So by all means, I'm open to your thoughts.  Call me Mr. G Pig, make me write bad cheques, but "momma don't take my licorice root away...  "  (Sung ot the tune of Kodachrome , Paul Simon..)  I don't feel any ill effects from the V or the Itrx behind me.  Who can say long term, but my intake over the years has been relatively light don't ya think?  8 weeks every 2 years, and no apparent side effects, no discomfort really, just no real energy to spare during the cycles and that's now coming back.   While I'd like to wait until all the facts are in, I think leaving the Verapamil and Imitrex behind is solid advice.  My success with those meds notwithstanding, I want to prepare for the next cycle and not to jinx this one, I hope the remission continues present patterns.   Having options is comforting.  For 3 out of 5 cycles I responded very well to those medications.  I'd like to know what the reason for that is, but I think I can be far less stressed about the next cycle as far as the prescriptions go.  That also fits in with your observations about health in general.  I think you''re spot on with those external factors, and I'll add that in this Global/Corporate economy of endless growth, sorry, greed would be the correct term, the external factors are significant.

Consider the phrase: " There is no such thing as job security."  Too little time and space here to expand a life time of research, but this is a big lie.  A big Fat Corporate CEO, downsizing efficiency jingle to plant fear and to rule with fear.  How else could GWB be elected twice?  See: loss of rights and deregulation in the monetary system.  I give you Goldman Sachs, Enron and the new math of acounting.

No such thing as job security means you will work for less and you'll both get jobs too if you don't already.  It pits worker against worker, and neighbour against neighbour.  I gotta get me mine first.  This slow and subtle change in society has had devasting effects on our health, well being and now threathens even sustainabilty...

...said the Canadian lefty with his universal health care programs and endless miles and miles of wilderness...

It's basic truth.  Do the math, follow the money, and as someone with better math skills than I  once said, the definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviour and expecting different results.  Republicans, Conservatives, Dems and Liberals, Labour parties.  They are the same.  Is it the system or is it corruption?  Only you can answer those question, just tell me  you won't let a television set decide how you vote!   Of course, on the other hand, there is endless material for late night talk shows and comedians everywhere.  The humour will get more raw, as the banks reposees your houses.  As the price of food rises, monsanto and Cargill can set the market as the patent corn in Mexico...   Actualy that was someone else trying to patent Basmati rice in India, but the shoe fits...

What does it all mean?  Really it's pointless to cure anything if the world we live in sucks.  So play nice and take your turn in line.  Those 10 things we learned in kindergarden are realy all we need, throw in the golden rule too, that's a good one.   Our constitutions have been amended and legisated into worthless paper so tear those up and burn them. 

When I hear awarness like what Les has written this is what I see.  That's what it means to me, and that others are finding truth, and with that knowledge and the understanding of how a society should function.  Tolerance is important and community/family is the key. Diversity was and will continue to be the key to life on this planet and we owe everything to it.  Everything.  Diversity.  Other Species.  Genetic material. 

oh shit I'm late for my tantric investing seminar...

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There is Celine Dion, true, but your average is still way up there. I'm not dissing Beavers, either.. its just I can picture the commercial involving downing one and racing outside to gnaw down a birch or two. My inner twelve year old thinks its totally hilarious.

I appreciate your sentiments, and although it is somewhat beyond the scope of this place, may I add that Monsanto is the corporate antichrist. No company needs a private mercenary army unless they are up to no good, and they are Satan's own whores. I don't think we get the leaders we deserve; I think we get the mold that sneaks in and grows while we are paying attention to other things.

In this world the only thing we may truly change is ourselves, and everything else will flow from that. We have decided to not be complacent clients of inadequate medical practice, and look at all the good things that have happened. There is still time for us to be a successful species.

As for the bad guys, I hope they know their Hooters lyrics:

(not Canadian, sorry, Philly)

'All you sitting in high places;

It's all gonna fall on you'.

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Come to think of it I have been craving bark lately... 

By all means, a great addition for describing Monsanto, people need to hear it. 

Change = Learning + Application.  While we're changing/evolving ourselves, we should grab a few accomplices along the way.  Not just those people we surround ourselves with, but some republicans too!  Denis Leary for example...  Wish Canada could claim him but we'll settle for adoption. 

"Complacent clients", I like that.  Sums up a lot. 

When you think of our species successes, what do you see?  Technology has to jump right off the page.  Music, the arts, comedy included, thought, dreams and the ability to chase them.  I'd like to think we could add longevity to the list, one day.  If reptiles can do it for millions of years or more, with that pea size brain....

Beware the evils of exponential growth, or for the bankers, compound interest. 

Thanks for the latitude off the main topic and the reason we're here.  I'm enjoying the research on the herbs and will probably try some of the skullcap too.  But what to do between cycles, what is a good maintenance program?  Along with organic eating when possible, the odd bit of exercise and being our own doctors, this will take some more research and experimentation.  Replace search for fountain of youth with search for fountain of free beverage choice #1 which shall remain nameless for the duration of this cycle...

Again, many thanks. 

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I think if we have truly effective remedial treatments, between cycles (a concept I don't remember) they become like snow shovels: just lean it against the wall, forget it and go on living your life. Its there when needed. So much of the psychic torture of CH comes precisely from never knowing when and if it will manifest. I have found that just having the ability to do something effective to stop attacks has reduced the associated stress and anxiety immensely; chronic stress at subconscious levels is prime causation of many ailments.

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Just curious. . .is anyone out there still experimenting with licorice tincture? It seems to have slipped completely off the radar, and I was looking forward to some additional long-term experimentation with this.

We are a strange lot. . .seems like we can only give a new option a few days before declaring it ineffective (myself included).

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One week anniversary today.  Recap: 7 days no V, 6 days no Imitrex.  Usually a couple of shadow like, periods per day but they don't last more than 15- 30 minutes.  Head feels better, shadows feel like  radiant heat and some ocular irritation, minor stabbing, K2 maybe?   

Think I'll have a quiet little party now and enjoy another iced cap and a delicious licorice shake.      

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One week anniversary today.  Recap: 7 days no V, 6 days no Imitrex.  Usually a couple of shadow like, periods per day but they don't last more than 15- 30 minutes.  Head feels better, shadows feel like  radiant heat and some ocular irritation, minor stabbing, K2 maybe?   

That's awesome news. . .congrats! I'm still trying to make sense of my two-week experiment. I went totally pain-free for about a week. . .then got CRUSHED last Saturday, repeatedly. Since then, I've had one hit per night, always strong and short, but the time kept moving back. 8pm, then 10:30pm, then 1:30am, then 5am. Yesterday, I got hit three times during the day, and I was preparing for a long night. . .and nothing. Pain-free all night.

So, I can't really say things are "better" yet, but they are different.

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People do seem to be trying, see above.

I have used nothing else except the licorice/skullcap combination since December, first 3X daily as therapeutic dosing and after 3 weeks as needed. Here is what I believe based on my own and others' experiences:

1. It will work best when pharmaceuticals are not present or half lived out of system. Some drugs interact badly with the licorice, notably SSRIs and triptans.

2. The tincture seems to interrupt CH in the hypothalamus itself. Triggers (shadows) are not eliminated, but are manageable and do not escalate.

3. As a result, you can clearly identify your triggers and adjust your behavior accordingly. Not that I have, mind you. My list now includes wood smoke, cigarette smoke, pot, alcohol, gypsum dust and other things. If I do not expose myself to those things, I don't trigger at all. If I do (and I'm frequently dumb enough to) then I get #2 above. The worst I will experience now is something like an allergy/sinus attack, histamine mediated.

I am working on a combination which will address those as well, and I have some ideas but I need to wait until things start to grow up here.

4. In cases where the tincture has not worked, I have usually been able to pin it on some variety of #1 above. Or people are using it in combination or as an adjunct to pharmaceuticals. This will not work, I don't recommend it and it could be harmful.

5. In terms of pure percentages, the licorice root stops most if not all headaches when used correctly. This is better odds then you get from absolutely anything being pushed on us by doctors. I am not counting hallucinogens. I know imitrex is roughly 30 bucks per dose. I don't even know what other stuff costs, but I assume its a lot. Jeez, even hallucinogens and seeds are expensive.

6. At 20 bucks for a month's supply, licorice root seems almost too good to be true, doesn't it?

7. I know from long experience that crushing chronic pain results in pattern behavior; the things we take, the habitual ritual treatments. We do them because they are familiar and comforting even when they are not effective. It is very human, but not very smart. The best of the pharmaceuticals has a success rate barely 20 percent above placebo effect, yet people continue to shovel them in. We deserve better.

8. Doctors suck at pain. I'm sorry, but its a fact. They even suck more at figuring out where pain comes from. It has never been a priority for modern medicine. I'm not dumping on them; medicine excels in many areas, but pain is not one of them. It frustrates them no end.

9. It doesn't seem to me to be an insurmountable leap of faith to try a twenty dollar treatment when establishment medicine is not offering anything better.

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Didn't see your post until I had finished my manifesto. I think you need to look at last Saturday in light of #2 and #3 above. I have had similar stuff happen. Did you do anything different, were you exposed to anything? I have had four hour sinus attacks; these probably would have been twenty hours of cluster agony four months ago.

I would say (stupid expression, isn't it? I am saying...) that if it changed your pattern, or reduced severity and frequency, or both, then you are getting positive results. Everyone is different, and retuning the hypo may have some roller coaster effects at times for some folks.

The stuff doesn't come from Hogwarts, you know. Give it a break. :)

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Licorice root is not something you want to be taking all the time, as a preventative. I would be uneasy about taking it at therapeutic doses for more than 4-6 weeks for two reasons: First, the possibility of cumulative adverse effects as detailed elsewhere (see, you have to read it anyway) and second, receptor number and type and quality in the hypothalamus would begin to be affected as I believe they are with long term pharm use. That is exactly what we wish to avoid.

The tincture works very quickly and you should be able to nip your cycle in the bud. If you are fortunate and get 'early warning' shadows, start it then.

As I am a chronic, I don't have experience of shutting down a cycle personally so the more data the better.

Try this as a protocol:

1. At onset of cycle, take as directed 3X daily, with skullcap if desired (I would).

2. When you no longer notice shadows cut down to two doses per day. Eliminate the one during the period you get hit the least (morning, afternoon) but do not eliminate the evening dose.

3. If you remain PF, eliminate everything but the evening

dose and you can cut that too after 3 weeks or so.

4. Shadows and triggering events will not completely disappear, and in fact you will notice them more because they are not camouflaged by a cluster. A single dose of tincture when this happens is insurance against escalation, but if you're not near it when it happens don't panic, its happened to me and you can abort the triggers other ways. The licorice root metabolizes quickly and does not linger in your system, but the beneficial effects seem to last way past its active half life.

Let us know how you make out.

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Les, I see you posted while I was preparing this.  Thank you for answering Arcan so quickly and thoroughly!  Arcan is taking verapamil: Would that affect the licorice root's efficacy?  Arcan is considering imitrex: I think you have said that that would likely interfere.

I'd like to add my own two cents of curiosity.  As I understand it, you took the licorice root 3 times a day for about two weeks, and then you cut back quickly (because of the powerful potential effects of the LR), and then you stopped taking it except as an occasional "antidote" for conditions that typically trigger you, or as an abortive when you felt triggered.  So it seems that, unlike practically everything else that people here use, licorice root might be basically a "one-and-done" preventive, with small usage later to prevent/abort in particular circumstances.

We know that it worked for you when "in cycle" (since you were intensely chronic), and it seems to have worked for some episodics when in cycle -- but is there reason to think that if taken out of cycle at your original levels (3x/day for 2 weeks) it might have a long-term preventive effect?  Or even if taken out of cycle for longer periods at lower levels (1x/day for several months) it might have such a preventive effect?

I suspect your answer might be "I don't know; hasn't been tried."  But I'm wondering whether theoretically it seems to you that the anti-CH effects might occur whether or not one was in cycle -- it kind of seems that way considering your experience.


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A short rant, because I have to. Time magazine just ran a special on pain, many of you have probably seen it, and by and large it was ok until I got to the 'alternative treatments' article which was written by an idiot. After noting that many herbs had names which sounded like they came from 'The Shire' and completely ignoring proven analgesic herbs his conclusion was that the effectiveness of herbal remedies is not supported by medical science. This would be the same medical science, presumably, that extensively uses morphine (opium poppy), cocaine (coca), digitalis (foxglove... 'discovered' by an English doctor who weaseled the secret out of a witch. True story) and literally hundreds of others in daily use. WTF? I was pissed and was close to writing a letter to the editor, but I decided to go on living my life instead. And rant here. One mourns the sad state of journalism in this country.


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We are experiencing internet phone tag.

1. You are right completely, Licorice root should not be used with near or around verapamil. I am really quite adamant about this, and I will gladly take whatever crap anyone wants to give me, but verapamil should only be prescribed for hypertension (and there are better drugs for that too) and never for cluster headache. I could go on for pages with reasons why, but suffice it to say that it is rote prescribing, an off label use of a dubious drug, loaded with potential deleterious effects, based on faulty understanding of CH causation and etiology, and it does NOTHING that can't be done by Oxygen or meditation for that matter without any side effects. If your doctor gives it to you, tell him to take it.

2. Imitrex is another one. Also, do not use licorice tincture in its presence. Another bastard child drug, it acts downstream of the hypothalamus to shrink blood vessels as a 5HT serotonin agonist. This is effective treatment for migraine, in which the vessels swell and the edema gets locked in for hours. Not so much for cluster; its like throwing darts blindfolded. Sometimes it works. It does not address any causative factors of CH. No pharmaceuticals in current use do. Licorice root, as a serotonin uptake inhibitor, would have unpredictable and probably unpleasant interaction with imitrex.

As to your other musings, I think I may have touched on them, but it would be perfectly safe to take licorice root once a day as a tonic, but I don't know if it would be effective or necessary.

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Didn't see your post until I had finished my manifesto. I think you need to look at last Saturday in light of #2 and #3 above. I have had similar stuff happen. Did you do anything different, were you exposed to anything? I have had four hour sinus attacks; these probably would have been twenty hours of cluster agony four months ago.

Thanks, Les! As someone who has been totally chemical-free for this entire journey, I'm pretty confident that I'm a decent guinea pig.  :)

Now, as for disruptions in the usual routine, that's what I'm trying to figure out. I haven't identified any highly-reliable triggers at all, except red wine. I rarely drink anyway, but it seemed like red wine would always trigger CH (histamine reaction?) However, the one thing that DOES seem to get out-of-whack when I'm getting hit is my SLEEP cycle. When my sleep gets interrupted, things start to happen. Bad things.

That being said. . .after a few nasty hits on Friday, I was totally pain-free all weekend. Odd.

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We are experiencing internet phone tag.

As to your other musings, I think I may have touched on them

Let me try to prevail on your kindness and restate my musing. You took LR for one high-dosage period, a stretch of two/three weeks, at least as far back as last December. You are chronic.  Since that time you have not had to re-dose at high levels, but only have taken LR in small amounts as a precaution or as an abortive.  This suggests to me that maybe one high-dosage 2/3-week period is preventive regarding future CH attacks.  Do you think that if an episodic took LR 3x/day for 2 weeks when out of cycle, that might prevent a next cycle?  Or do you think that CH somehow has to be present (that is, that an episodic would have to be in cycle), for LR to have an effect?

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Hey Les!

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, however I respectfully disagree with this part:

it does NOTHING that can't be done by Oxygen or meditation for that matter without any side effects.

I can't speak for meditation though (youtube only advised me to focus on my breath :/), but the second day I was on verapamil I had 3 attacks, the next day 1, and the following 2 (including today) I have been attack-free, just some minor shadows. I'm just getting started though, and so is the CH, so I figure it won't be long untill the vera isn't enough. However, I can't say anything about how safe this treatment is (no noticeable side-effects yet though).

It seems you're quite busy, but if you could show me a thread or some research that confirms the problems with vera, I would gladly show it to my neurologists and discuss your licorice treatment with them as a substitute (they are also affiliated with a university, so doing research on this treatment wouldn't be too hard for them either).

Also, what CHfather said :P


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For CH Father: I may be entirely wrong, but after thinking about this I believe that in episodics the hypothalamus is 'synched' except when in cycle and therefore would not benefit from any kind of prophylaxis. If there's nothing wrong, the licorice root is just going to improve your mood and detoxify your liver.I do think a protocol like the one described above started early in an episodic cycle would abort it completely. One of the things that perplexes me the most is what the essential difference is (and there has to be one) between episodic and chronic people. I suspect it may have something to do with the sensitivity of the 'feedback loops' that trigger us, which would of course vary from individual to individual.

For Arcan:

Love the name. Feels like addressing the Vulcan ambassador. Anyway, verapamil side effects are extensively documented. Just Google it, and be assured unless you are in fact a Vulcan you will experience many of the effects listed if you stay on it long enough. You will also have to increase the dose as you develop tolerance. "Tolerance" in drug speak is misleading. You are not 'tolerating' a substance, your body is trying desperately to normalize its function in the throes of chemical invasion. Verapamil is used primarily to treat cardiac arrhythmia, angina and hypertension. It relaxes smooth muscle (blood vessels) resulting in dilation (note this) which lowers blood pressure. Some genius decided it would be valuable in cluster and migraine because in those conditions, edematous blood vessels cause pain. That's correct, as far as it goes, but its ass backwards. In cluster, blood vessels swell because the surrounding tissues (muscle, mucous membrane, sinuses, etc.) become congested and tense and restrict the flow in the capillaries, which swell up in order to maintain flow. Ever kink a garden hose and see what happens to the pressurized side? same thing.

When the fire department shows up, they don't spray the smoke. Verapamil does not address the cause of your pain at all, it is a drug of diminishing returns, its prescription is based on a mistaken perception of CH etiology. It is fundamentally useless for us and yet is prescribed by the truckload.

This is a fact: No pharmaceutical in current use addresses the known causative factors in CH. They only affect 'downstream' symptoms and do not reduce the number or character of subsequent hits. I believe in many situations through rebound (the system trying to normalize) they make subsequent hits worse.

LSD, psylocibin containing mushrooms, LSA containing plant materials, BOL 148 and the humble licorice root all act directly on the actual causes of CH. Anything which does not act directly within the HPA axis is spraying the smoke.

Always remember the research behind these drugs, including their efficacy and safety, has been paid for by the pharm companies, and the dickless wonders at the FDA pretty much take their word for everything since they have no means of doing anything else. Doctors are not pharmacologists and take the word of a sales rep with a BA in marketing (Google Bill Hicks while you're at it). To paraphrase Mel Brooks, drug companies have killed more people than Cecil B. DeMille. These are the people who invent drugs, and then invent diseases for the drugs to "cure". You trust them, right?

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