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USING OF SABAL SERRULATA, SERENOA REPENS AS ALTERNATIVE THERAPY OF MIGRAINE AT WOMEN

         L.V. Litvinova

        Migraine is currently a condition whose symptoms can only be warned about, but not averted. The most commonly-encountered and characterisic of migraine amongst these symptoms are episodic and regular attacks of strong, debilitating head pain in one side (and occasionally in both sides) of the head. Migraine-induced headaches are not associated with a rise or sudden drop in arterial blood pressure, the onset of glaucoma or an increase in pressure inside the skull, but the patient remains vulnerable to serious head trauma, stroke and brain tumours, and sufferers liken the pulsing nature and intensity of the pain to vascular headaches rather than tension headaches.

           A widespread chronic complaint, migraine is present in 10% of all diagnosed cases of illness, according to official figures, and exists in 5% of cases of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed illness. It has been noted that women are more likely to suffer from migraine than men, the condition tending to be passed down the maternal line. Attacks of migraine may be only occasional, depending on the severity of the condition, but they generally appear between 2 and 8 times a month.

          Academics have established several catalysts for the onset of migraines, among them stress, physical or nervous overload, nutritional causes (such as cheese, chocolate, nuts and fish), alcoholic drinks (usually beer, red wine and champagne), ingestion of concentrated hormone supplements, sleep (deprivation or excess) and changes in the weather or climactic conditions. However, no full explanation of the pathophysiology of migraine has yet been found.

          The existence of a hormonal cause for the onset of a migraine attack was the basis for our current research. The experimental group consisted of 5 female volunteers aged from 34 to 61. According to their questionnaire answers, all began to suffer from migraines upon reaching the age of sexual maturity, and all experienced an increased frequency of attacks during periods of stress.

          The theory to be tested was that regulating the background level of hormones in the women's bodies would either reduce the frequency of attacks or eliminate them entirely. The extract of the fruit of the dwarf palm of the genus Serenoa Repens, also known as Sabal Serrualata and Saw Palmetto, was chosen as the substance to be used to regulate the women's hormone levels. The plant's black berries were used to treat a wide range of complaints associated with the endocrine system in traditional Native American medicine for thousands of years, and today the extract is used as a treatment for abnormal hair growth and polycystic ovary syndrome. Phytosterols, the biologically active component of the extract, do not cause a change in the balance of hormones in the blood and have no effect on the hypophyseal portal system. Especially worthy of note is the fact that the extract has no side-effects and has excellent nutritional, tonic, adaptogenic and restorative properties, a level of safety which makes it ideal for use experiments with groups of volunteers. Our research paid particular attention to the extract's primary property, its ability to normalise the function of the endocrine glands and reduce the levels of masculine hormones in women.

          The female volunteers were given capsules containing a dose of 0.2g of saw palmetto extract. They were unaware of the name or contents of the capsules, which they took once daily at mealtimes. Each volunteer kept a diary to record the time and duration of migraine attacks. 

          During the first month the ingestion of saw palmetto extract resulted in three of the five women experiencing a 50% reduction in the frequency of migraines and a reduction of several hours in the length of each attack. The two other women experienced no migraines whatsoever during this period. It was proposed that the group continue to take the capsules in the same way for a second month, during which time only one woman experienced no migraines, but the frequency of attacks dropped to twice a month, with a length of around three hours. During the subsequent, third month of extract treatment none of the volunteers suffered any migraines. 

          It has been statistically shown that migraine in women can cause either a periodic or unpredictable loss of the ability to work, which may require that the patient be classified as disabled  as a result of her inability to work sufficient hours in the week, or even as a result of total incapacity. As explained above, taking a dose of 0.2g of saw palmetto extract once daily at mealtimes reduces the number and duration of migraine attacks, and causes them to cease entirely once the extract has been taken for a three-month period. Saw palmetto extract is therefore an inexpensive alternative therapy for migraine and requires further investigation.

         Published by: Литвинова Л.В. ИСПОЛЬЗОВАНИЕ ЭКСТРАКТА ПЛОДОВ КАРЛИКОВОЙ ПАЛЬМЫ САБАЛЬ В КАЧЕСТВЕ АЛЬТЕРНАТИВНОГО МЕТОДА ЛЕЧЕНИЯ ПРИСТУПОВ МИГРЕНИ У ЖЕНЩИН // Материалы V Международной студенческой электронной научной конференции «Студенческий научный форум»

URL: <a href="http://www.scienceforum.ru/2014/9/6824">www.scienceforum.ru/2014/9/6824</a> (дата обращения: 07.03.2014).</p>

         Article PDF: article_in_Russian

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