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Schizophrenia

General characteristics

General characteristics

Schizophrenia is an umbrella term used to describe a psychotic disorder or episode that impacts on thinking, emotions and behaviour. Symptoms include hallucinations, voices or audio phenomena, visual abnormalities, intellectual deterioration, depression, weakness and fatigue, withdrawl from normal life, delusions and physical problems such as speech or movement difficulties. The condition may be acute or chronic.

Causes are unknown but a link with excessive levels of the neurotransmitter has been noticed as well as changes in the frontal cortex of the brain, disturbed flow of cerebro-spinal fluid and an overall imbalance of key chemicals within the brain. It may also run in families, be triggered by an extremely stressful event, result from poor nutrition (deficiencies such as zinc and B vitamins) environmental pollution, pineal gland calcification (often caused by excessive intake of fluoride in toothpaste or water supply), gluten intolerance and celiac disease, high copper levels, high free radical damage (with low intake of anti-oxidants), blood sugar imbalance and thyroid imbalance or disease. Children born to mothers that have contracted flu during the middle stages of pregnancy are said to be more likely to develop schizophrenia in later life.

Natural healing objectives are to correct any nutritional deficiencies or intolerance and to identify any other possible physical causes such as thyroid disease/imbalance. Good psychiatric help should also be sought.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

A diet that is rich in fresh whole foods and very low in junk and refined and processed foods is essential. Toensure that free radicals (which are produced naturally by the body but more so when the diet is poor) are not adding to your symptoms, good amounts daily of fresh vegetables, fruits and the like will provide good amounts of anti-oxidants that are needed to neutralise the harm caused by free radicals.

Zinc and manganese rich foods should be eaten regularly. These include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, shellfish (such as oysters and crab), beans, blackstrap molasses (take a tablespoonful daily), dried fruits, egg yolks and onions and garlic.

B vitamins are crucial to the healthy functioning of the nervous system so a daily supply of all the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) is essential to help maintain and strengthen nerve functions. Good all round sources include whole grains, green leafy vegetables, yeasts and fermented foods and organic animal products like grass fed beef and eggs.

More and more sufferers are finding a significant improvement in symptoms by adopting a gluten free diet. That does not mean you have to buy expensive gluten free products, just avoid any grains that are high in gluten such as wheat, oats and similar.

Avoid sugar in its many forms, especially refined sugar.

Eat foods rich in essential fatty acids such as seeds and nuts and oily fish.

Avoid the use of foods and products that contained hydrogenated and refined fats and oils.

Avoid coffee and alcohol.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is known to help improve the memory in schizophrenia.

A good all round tonic tea to help could include ginkgo, nettle, st johns wort and gotu kola in equal parts. Take 3 cups daily (do not take if you are on medication from your doctor).

Barberry root contains a substance, berberine,  which is known to help several neuro-degenerative and neuro-psychotic disorders including schizophrenia. Dosage is 2ml of the tincture in a little water up to 3 times daily.

Other nervous system herbs such as chamomile, skullcap, passionflower, jamaican dogwood, valerian, rosemary, ladys slipper, hops, wild lettuce and pasque flower may also help to reduce symptoms. Choose several from the list and take in tea or tincture form (equal parts) as daily nervous system relaxers.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Consider switching to a fluoride free toothpaste and filter your drinking water accordingly if your supply is fluoridated as fluoride is linked to pineal gland calcification.

Music therapy shows positive results for some people with schizophrenia.

Take a capsule daily of a plant oil such as evening primrose, hemp or starflower oil.

Take regular gentle exercise such as walking or swimming.


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