Suffering from severe migraines

I am a sufferer of migraine for about 30 years and have tried numerous remedies. Recent blood tests have shown that my “Gamma GT is 223”.

Apparently, the reference range should be less than 60. I am a 53-year-old male, non-smoker.

Because of migraine I am constantly taking painkillers, paracetamol, etc., and am now worried that all this medication is causing problems elsewhere.

I would be grateful if you could direct me towards some alternative course of action.

>> There are a number of reasons why Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) levels become elevated, however, one of the most common triggers is use of certain painkillers.

Alcohol is another typical culprit, due to the effect that it has on the liver, although non-alcohol related liver conditions may also raise GGT levels.

GGT is contained within liver and pancreatic cells, and this can leak into the bloodstream when the cells become damaged due to liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver tumours, and jaundice, myocardial infarction, heavy or chronic alcohol use, pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis and viral infections such as Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Reye’s Syndrome.

Along with pain medications, GGT levels may rise as a result of some anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and Phenobarbitol.

As far as natural remedies for migraines go, the herb feverfew (tanacetum parthenium) is relatively well known and widely used as a preventative measure. Studies have shown that 100mg daily provides a suitable dose of the active constituent. While this may help in preventing migraines, it isn’t the best for treating an existing migraine.

To treat an existing migraine, or even if you feel one coming on, the herbs skullcap (scutellaria lateriflora) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) have been shown to help.

Use 1 heaped teaspoon of dried skullcap and 1 level teaspoon of dried rosemary with two cups of boiling water, and steep for six to eight minutes before drinking. Take a maximum of five cups daily.

If you only have one of the herbs, that is fine — either works well.

To reduce your current pain levels without painkillers try the Bowen Technique.

This is a delicate and non-invasive therapy, which utilises a series of gentle pressures applied to specific areas to aid in the relief of muscular, skeletal and nerve conditions.

For more information regarding this technique, see www.bowenireland.com.

¦ My 10-year-old son has been diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, and he can’t seem to leave the bumps alone. Is there anything natural that we can use to help heal this condition?

>> Molluscum contagiosum is caused by the largest virus known, the DNA poxvirus.

While it is highly contagious in that it spreads rapidly due to picking, scratching and the like, it is only mildly contagious to others.

Keep your son’s nails short, to reduce the damage and spread of the tiny waxy bumps, and let him know that the more it spreads, the longer it will take to heal.

Keeping on top of the scratching and picking also helps to reduce the potential for infection.

Left alone this condition will disappear of its own accord, however it can take anywhere from six to 18 months to do so.

Neem is an excellent remedy for this condition, plus it helps to prevent infection by inhibiting the virus itself. A Vogel has a soothing Neem cream which will also take care of the itching.

This preparation is made using a neem tincture, along with plant oils and other herbal extracts and is available from health stores where 50g costs €6.75.

Use as often as required.

Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to feelgood@examiner.ie or send a letter to: Feelgood, Irish Examiner, City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork.

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