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Addison’s Disease – Symptoms, Causes & Herbal Remedies

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Health Condition: Addison’s Disease

What is Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is a disorders of the adrenal glands. A disease causing failure of adrenal gland function, in particular deficiency of adrenal cortical hormones, mainly cortisol and aldosterone. Commonest causes are tuberculosis and autoimmune disease. Addison’s disease occurs in all age groups and both sexes, and can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Addison’s disease

The symptoms of Addison’s disease are abdominal pain, muscle weakness, vomiting, low blood pressure due to dehydration, tiredness, mental confusion, loss of weight and loss of appetite. Vomiting, dizzy spells (dizziness), fainting and nausea. Increased dark pigmentation around the genitals, nipples, palms and inside mouth, moodiness, decrease in body hair and inability to cope with stress.

Persistent low blood pressure with occasional low blood sugar.

Crisis is treated by increased salt intake. Research project revealed a craving for liquorice sweets in twenty five per cent of patients.

Causes of Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease are caused by problems of underactivity in the function of the adrenal glands.

Continued use of cortisone drugs for arthritis and asthma, etc., damage the adrenals. These drugs cause them to shrink in size and not work properly. When the adrenals are shrunken they can underproduce and cause Addison’s. There is a way you can pinpoint whether or not your adrenals are functioning normally:

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– The systolic is the first number in a blood pressure reading, and the diastolic is the second. For example, 120/80. The systolic should be 10 points higher when you are standing than when you are lying down.

– Lie down and rest for 5 minutes, and then have someone take your blood pressure. Then stand up and have it immediately taken again. The blood pressure will probably be somewhat higher.

– But if it is lower when standing than when laying flat, the adrenals are not working properly. The lower it is, the worse the condition of the adrenals.

adrenal glands

Adrenal glands (they sit atop the kidneys)

Treatment of Addison’s disease

  • Maintain a good nourishing diet. Include Seamoss, Kelp for trace minerals. Fresh, raw, and cooked greens, fresh fruits and green juices, onion should be included.
  • Do not eat meat.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, sugary foods, fried foods, processed or junk foods.
  • Avoid stress! This is very important, for stress is hard on weak adrenals. Take time for meditation, deep breathing and journaling.
  • Stress released ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone) through the pituitary, which can raise blood pressure, stores sodium and excretes potassium. It also results in water retention in the tissues.

Herbal Options for Addison’s

Herbs with an affinity for the adrenal glands: Parsley, Sarsaparilla, Wild Yam, Borage, Chaparral, Gotu Kola. BHP (1983) recommends: Liquorice, Dandelion leaf.

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Alternatives Teas: Gotu Kola, Parsley, Borage, Balm.

Tea: Combine equal parts Balm and Gotu Kola. Preparation of teas and tea mixture: 1 heaped teaspoon to each cup boiling water: infuse 5-10 minutes; 1 cup 2 to 3 times daily.

Tablets/capsules: Seaweed, Sarsaparilla, Wild Yam.

Supplementation: Extra salt.

Video: Addison’s disease

References

Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine – Thomas Bartram
The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – Sherry Torkos, B.Sc. Phm.

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