Natural Remedies and Alternative Medicine for Myasthenia Gravis

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2021

Many people reach for non-prescription drugs to treat an illness and its side effects, and people with myasthenia gravis (MG) are no different. Natural remedies may also be called complementary medicine or alternative medicine.

Some commonly searched natural remedies for MG include:

  • Magnesium
  • CBD oil
  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Elderberry
  • Frankincense
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Ayurvedic treatment

Researchers have proven that certain nutritional supplements and other remedies can help with the symptoms of many other diseases, but not myasthenia gravis. There is no science to support using any complementary therapy to treat MG.

Current research

There is little research out there about treating MG with natural remedies. Most are small studies and are not double-blind, controlled trials, which are the gold standard of medical research. Examples include:1-4

  • One woman in Brazil saw her severe MG go into remission after taking massive doses of Vitamin D. She continued to take her regularly prescribed MG medicines in addition to taking the Vitamin D while being closely monitored by her doctor.
  • A group of 14 studies included 1,039 people with MG and found that Chinese herbal medicine, when used with conventional Western medicine, improved symptoms in some people. However, it was hard to know and compare the herbs used and quantities that people received.
  • Word-of-mouth reports say that acupuncture helps with eye weakness and fatigue. A group of Chinese doctors are studying acupuncture to try and document whether it helps or not, what types, and how often it should be used.
  • Magnesium supplements and foods high in magnesium should be avoided by people with MG because it can trigger flares.

Medical marijuana and CBD oil

More people than ever are trying medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) to treat a host of health conditions. CBD is a substance extracted from marijuana that does not produce a high. Research shows that marijuana and CBD help some people with cancer pain and nausea, multiple sclerosis, and seizures.5

However, marijuana and its derivatives have shown no benefit to people with MG or any other autoimmune condition, according to a statement from the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America. A quick look at social media reveals that some people say it works for them, while others say it has no effect or makes their symptoms worse.5

Be sure to speak with your doctor before trying any complementary medicine or nutritional supplements, no matter how harmless it sounds. MG is notorious for being triggered by a wide variety of medicines, foods, and drinks.4

Other natural options

There are still plenty of natural options you can choose to support your health if you have myasthenia gravis, such as:6

  • Taking rest breaks during the day
  • Developing good sleep habits
  • Eating nutritious foods (but not too much)
  • Getting as much physical activity as your energy allows
  • Reducing stress with mindfulness training, yoga, or meditation
  • Spending time with supportive friends and family

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