Alcohol, Tobacco, and Parkinson's Disease

A forum for all questions about Tibetan Medicine. No more posting in this forum until further notice.
Post Reply
Former staff member
Posts: 8966
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Parkinson's Disease

Post by DGA » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:45 pm

Everyone knows how strongly tobacco use is condemned in Tibetan Buddhism generally. (strangely, though, I once met a man who completed the 1000 day kaihogyo, and he was the happiest chainsmoking bodhisattva I've ever encountered.) Smoking is held to pollute and soil the channels & the winds. Bad idea.

There's some evidence to suggest, though, that tobacco use may help with some very specific medical conditions. Schizophrenics often smoke or chew. Parkinson's patients do the same. It's thought that this is a form of self-medication: nicotine affects dopamine, and both PD and schizophrenia are in some ways dopamine disorders.

Where's the question already?

My grandfather died at the age of 92, a frail and shaky old man, but still coherent. For the second half of his life, he had tremors in his hands and feet. For the last twenty years, he couldn't hold a coffee mug, struggled to feed himself, and was increasingly stooped forward, although he could use a tablesaw skillfully into his 70s. He presented as an archetypal PD patient, but he didn't have the kind of difficulty someone like Michael J Fox has had, and he wasn't medicated for PD. He did use tobacco (smoking a pipe and later using snuss, snuff, or just nicorette gum). His speech and cognition improved dramatically when we insisted he drink exactly one bottle of beer per day, beginning around 10am, and nursed through the day.

I'm in my mid-30s and I'm getting the same symptoms. My MD wanted to prescribe some meds for me (Propranolol) but I declined them. I'd like to hope I can get along on the one-beer-a-day Barney Fife method, if I'm facing the kind of situation my grandfather was in. It's premature to speculate on this, but what I'd like to know is this:

*I'm not a tobacco user and I don't intend to become one. But if it helps with certain conditions, can there be a justification for its use in the practice of TM?

*In dealing with these tremors, is this something known in the TB literature or is this one of those "urban problems" like autoimmune diseases or chronic allergies? I'm not sure what to do but I'd like to address it before I'm eating through a straw.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:58 pm

Re: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Parkinson's Disease

Post by lazzara399 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:58 pm

Tobacco has long been used by Native American cultures, in Soma-like rituals as a vision inducing drug. Also in Native American Shamanic healing - generally a form of soul retrieval and reintegration. Of other American Holistic Healers / Spiritualists, I have studied, Edgar Cayce is the only one I can cite who mentioned it in a non-condenming fashion. He said something to the effect that it can be beneficial for some people, if used in moderation.

As a Bon Buddhist in America - I see this issue as one of the Great East-West Divides, at least in terms of herbal / plant based remedies. Marijuanna is one of the others. Personally, I'm of the school, do not judge another's poison, nor their medicine. Generally, the two can be one and the same.


User avatar
Posts: 1601
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Parkinson's Disease

Post by ronnewmexico » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:13 pm

Last edited by ronnewmexico on Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.

purple rose
Founding Member
Posts: 4143
Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:59 am

Re: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Parkinson's Disease

Post by purple rose » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:41 pm


The Tibetan Medicine Forum, as pointed out in the Guidelines is for members to ask questions of and receive answers specifically from those who are qualified Tibetan Medicine practitioners.


Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests