What is essential tremor?
Essential tremor is a common neurological condition characterized by uncontrollable movements due to the activation of muscles necessary for movement or maintaining posture. They typically occur in the hands and arms, but can also affect other parts of the body, including the cervical region. Unlike other similar pathologies, essential tremor is not accompanied by cognitive deficit.
In France, approximately 300,000 people suffer from it, and 30,000 (10%) have a severe, even disabling form, which can lead to a significant daily disability. Although essential tremor can manifest in childhood, the risk of developing it increases with age.
Researchers believe that the cause of this pathology is genetic in 50 to 70% of cases, with mutations affecting the D3 receptor gene of the nervous system. However, genetic factors are not sufficient to explain all forms of essential tremor, suggesting the influence of other environmental factors.
The precise mechanism of this pathology remains partially unknown, but recent scientific research puts forward the hypothesis of the predominant involvement of the cerebellum. More specifically, the Purkinje cells present in this brain region seem to be more or less altered in people with essential tremor, sometimes with an abnormal reduction in the number of these cells as well as an alteration in their morphology. .
Non-pharmacological methods against tremors
Non-pharmacological methods are generally recommended in addition to treatments prescribed by the attending physician.
A new study published in the journal Cochrane highlights the benefits of certain sports for patients with Parkinson's disease and, more broadly, pathologies that involve disabling tremors on a daily basis. This meta-analysis, which analyzed the conclusions of 156 clinical trials involving 7,939 patients with Parkinson's, explains thatthe practice of physical activity contributes to a significant reduction in the symptoms of the disease , including tremors. Dance, water aerobics, swimming, tai chi and yoga are mentioned in particular.
The greatest improvements were seen in the severity of motor symptoms, especially in exercises that focused on improving gait, balance, movement, as well as in multi-exercise and polyarticular training.
Aquatic activities, as well as endurance and muscle strengthening activities, seem to be the best suited to the management of this pathology.
Meditation and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety associated with tremors
Meditation and relaxation play a decisive role in alleviating essential tremors by directly targeting stress and anxiety, two known causes of this disorder.
Individuals who suffer from this neurological disorder are often confronted with stressful or anxiety-provoking situations, which have the effect of aggravating their symptoms and intensifying their tremors. It is indeed a vicious circle: chronic stress can cause chronic tremors, and these tremors can in turn generate stress, especially in public.
The practice of meditation and relaxation prevents excessive mental activity and induces a state of relaxation. These methods release both physical and mental tension, helping to reduce the amplitude of the tremors significantly.
Breathing techniques to better stem the phenomenon of tremors
You often notice that breathing becomes choppy and shallow during an episode of tremor, which can increase stress levels and make the tremors themselves worse. By using specific breathing techniques such as deep, abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing, the individual can soothe their nervous system and restore their internal balance.
Food supplements against tremors
Certain food supplements, plants and other molecules found in nature seem to act against essential tremors by activating several mechanisms of action.
The omega-3s help, for example, restore the fluidity of cell membranes and stimulate the activity of neurotransmitters, essential elements for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3s.
Vegetarians can opt for Perilla oil, which is abundant in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of plant-based omega-3.
Magnesium is also an interesting option, provided that it is assimilated by the body, preferably in the form of fat-soluble salt associated with vitamin B6. This combination promotes optimal magnesium absorption and utilization, helping to lessen tremors more effectively.
Vitamin D also appears to reduce the intensity and frequency of tremor episodes, regardless of their cause. Studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce the number of seizures in epileptic patients.
Finally, the leaves of Ginkgo biloba, an ancient tree abundant in China, contain flavonoids that have a direct effect on the neurological system by regulating its activity. The exact mechanism is not precisely known. These leaves, consumed in a decoction for example, reduce the tremors characteristic of certain degenerative neurological diseases, in particular Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Essential oils against tremors
Ylang-ylang essential oil, extracted from the majestic Cananga odorata tree, is renowned for its powerful tranquilizing properties. It helps to relieve anxiety, stress and nervous tension, all of which can cause and/or aggravate tremors. This essential oil also seems to fortify the nervous system, consolidating its resilience and stability.
Lavender essential oil is also a valuable ally for improving the quality of life of people suffering from essential tremors. Its sweet, floral scent has a calming effect on the mind, helping to reduce restlessness and tension that can aggravate tremors. It will also promote healthy and restorative sleep.
#4 CBD against tremors
CBD oil shows promising potential to fight tremors in a natural and non-invasive way. Studies have shown that the cannabinoids found in hemp oil, including CBD, CBC and CBG, have the ability to target and regulate receptors in the endocannabinoid system responsible for muscle movement throughout the body, including understood in the brain. By regulating these receptors, CBD oil promotes relaxation, reduces inflammation and soothes symptoms of tremors.
A study published in March 2021 by the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen and published in the prestigious journal Nature Neuroscience, for example, highlighted the link between tremors and the spinal cord. In this clinical study, cannabinoids were injected into the spine of several rodents. The results were surprising, with a reactivation of certain neurotransmitters that stimulate neuronal functioning and the transmission of physiological information involved in mobility. This study joins the conclusions of a research work carried out in 2019 by the University of California.
CBD for essential tremor: dosage and use
People who suffer from essential tremors can consume CBD in two different ways to limit their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
CBD in sublingual
CBD oil is packaged in small vials fitted with a pipette to facilitate its dosage. Simply place a few drops of oil under the tongue, wait a minute (or a minute and a half) and then swallow the remaining liquid, if any. Taking CBD oil sublingually against tremors allows the benefits of the molecule to be activated just a few minutes after consumption, since the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes are found directly into the bloodstream, thus avoiding the hepatic passage and the digestive passage which degrade, dilute and delay the effects of the molecule.
Oral consumption of CBD
People who want to put CBD to good use for tremors can opt to take it orally, either:
- By seasoning everyday dishes and drinks with a few drops of CBD oil;
- By directly swallowing a few drops of CBD oil;
- By ingesting CBD capsules.
Oral consumption is more practical and more discreet, but it has the disadvantage of diluting and delaying the appearance of the first beneficial effects.
CBD for tremors: what dosage?
There is no universal dosage for CBD, as several factors come into play, including your weight, your history with CBD and hemp products, and the sensitivity of your endocannabinoid system.
One thing is certain: always start with the lowest dose, monitor the effects felt, and increase the dose gradually until you reach the desired goal. Also, CBD does not act from the first take. You will have to be regular.
Start for example with one drop of CBD oil 10% under the tongue, three times a day, then gradually increase the dose every five days until you reach three drops, three times per day. In general, an amount of 25 mg per day is sufficient for people whose symptoms are not severe.
Here is an indicative table that you can use as a reference, with the following assumptions:
- Concentration: 15% CBD Oil;
- The 10ml bottle contains approximately 200 drops;
- Each drop therefore contains 7.5 mg of CBD;
- The doses given in the table relate to one intake, which you will need to renew two to three times a day.
Low dose (drops/take)
Average dose (drops/take)
High dose (drops/take)
45 - 60
60 - 75
75 - 90
CBD for Tremors: Key Takeaways
If you suffer from tremors, these natural methods can help reduce the frequency and intensity of symptoms:
- Physical exercise, including activities such as dancing, water aerobics, swimming, tai chi, and yoga;
- Meditation and relaxation reduce stress and anxiety, which can make tremors worse;
- Specific breathing techniques such as deep and abdominal breathing help calm the nervous system;
- Some dietary supplements such as omega-3, magnesium, vitamin D and Ginkgo biloba will be of great use to you;
- Essential oils like Ylang-ylang oil and lavender oil balance your mood and alleviate chronic stress;
- CBD oil has shown promising potential to alleviate tremors, by targeting and regulating receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Finally, remember that these natural methods do not replace the medical treatments prescribed by your doctor. Rather, they will be used as a complement.
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