Wednesday, March 7, 2012


What is Essential Tremor?
Essential Tremor (ET) benign condition of the nervous system that causes a rhythmic shaking.  It involves small, rapid movements usually in the hands but can also occur in the head, eyelids, or other muscles.  ET is sometimes confused with Parkinson's.  However, the shaking in those with ET is usually happens during movement whereas the shaking in those with Parkinson's usually occurs when there is no movement (hands on lap or by the side).  The tremor rarely affects the legs or feet. People with ET may have trouble holding or using small objects such as silverware or writing utensils.  Everyone has some tremor but the movements are so small that they are not noticeable.  ET is more common in people older than 65 but can happen at any age.

What Causes Essential Tremor?
Tremors occur when there is a problem with the nerves that supply certain muscles. Some research suggests that the part of the brain that controls muscles movements does not work correctly in patients with ET however the exact cause is not known.

ET can also occur with other brain and nervous system problems such as parkinson's disease and certain nerve conditions passed down through families.  Many times, ET occurs in more than one member of a family.  When multiple family members have ET, it is called a Familial Tremor. This suggests that genes may play a role in its cause.  You only need to get the gene from one parent to develop the tremor. Familial Tremor often starts in early middle age, but may be seen in people who are older or younger.

What are Specific Symptoms of Essential Tremor?
1)  Head nodding
2)  Shaking or quivering sound to the voice if the tremor affects the voice box
3)  Problems with writing, drawing, drinking from a cup, or using tools 
4)  Occur when you move (action-related tremor), and may be less noticeable with rest
5)  May come and go, but often get worse as you age
6)  May get worse with stress, caffeine, and certain medications
7)  May not affect both sides of the body the same way

How is Essential Tremor Diagnosed?
Your doctor can make the diagnosis by performing a physical exam and asking questions about your medical and personal history.  A physical exam will show shaking with movement, usually small movements that are faster than 5 times per second. There are usually no problems with coordination or mental function.

The following tests should also be performed to rule out other reasons for the tremors:
1)  Smoking and smokeless tobacco
2)  Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
3)  Alcohol withdrawal (suddenly stopping alcohol after drinking a lot for a long time)
4)  Too much caffeine
5)  Anxiety disorder
6)  Use of certain medications including all medications that contain caffeine
7)  Blood tests and imaging studies (such as a CT scan of the head, brain MRI, and x-rays) are usually normal.

What Medicines are there for the Treatment of Essential Tremor?

The following pharmaceuticals are commonly used in the treatment of ET.  Like all prescription medication, they come with their own set of problems or side affects.

A)  Propranolol, a beta blocker - side affects of Propranolol may include fatigue, stuffy nose, slow heart beat, and worsening of asthma.
B)  Primidone, a drug used to treat seizures - side affects of Primidone may include drowsiness, problems concentrating, nausea, problems with walking, balance, and problems with coordination.
Other medications that may help with tremors include:
C)  Antiseizure drugs such as gabapentin and topiramate
D)  Mild tranquilizers such as alprazolam or clonazepam
E)  Blood pressure drugs called calcium-channel blockers such as flunarizine and nimodipine
F)  Botox injections, given in the hand, have been used to reduce tremors by weakening local muscles.

Can Surgery Help with Essential Tremors?

According to the National Institute of Health, in severe cases, surgery may help.  Focusing high-powered x-rays on a small area of the brain (stereotactic radiosurgery) and implanting a stimulating device in the brain to signal the area that controls movement.  For more information, see the links below.

Are There Any Natural Remedies to Help with Essential Tremors?

Before trying any natural remedies, you should eliminate any factors that may be causing your tremors or causing your tremors to get worse.  Anxiety, stress, caffeine (in some medications), smoking, and alcohol can all cause tremors.  Hormone imbalances and a brain tumor can also cause tremors. Some medications can also cause tremors or cause them to be worse so talk to your doctor and pharmacist. Do NOT change or stop medications on your own.  

Step One: Stress is the number one cause of all diseases. Since ET is a neurological disorder, stress can be the main or contributing factor. If you have chronic stress in your life, all the natural supplements in the world won't get rid of all the tremor until you resolve the stress. If you hate your job, quit or start looking for a new one. The process of looking for a job will reduce stress alone. If you are in a bad relationship, get out. If you don't know what is causing your stress, then meditate and/or practice yoga. Meditation brings clarity to your mind and relaxes the nerves. Once the chronic stress in your life is gone, then move on to the next step. 

Nutritional supplements that calm the nerves are worth trying.  The first recommendation is omega-3s fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids coat the myelin of the nerves. Omega-3s help keep the neurons healthy and reduce inflammation.  Inflammation may cause symptoms to be worse as it does with most conditions in our body. The modern American diet has too much omega-6 compared to omega-3. Take a good quality cod liver or fish oil. If you are vegan, you can take flaxseed oil but it does not work as well as fish oil. 

The second recommendation is to take a balanced B-complex. Be sure to get a good quality balanced B-complex in a whole food form if you can afford it.  A dose of 50mg-100mg is a good place to start.  You can also start with a lower dose such as 25mg but you may not see results as quickly. B vitamins are nerve vitamins. If you are a Vegan (not a good diet for someone with tremors), then take extra B12. B vitamins are found in whole grains, egg yolks, peas, beans, leafy green vegetables, dairy (organic milk and cheeses), and poultry.  B vitamins are NOT found in processed foods.  If you eat mostly processed foods, it's time to change your ways.  Stay away from white flours and white rice like you would poison.

Garden for Life, New Chapter, and Alive sell whole food supplements. If you can afford them then great. Now Foods also has good quality supplements at much lower prices. They also have the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) quality seal. The GMP quality seal means you know the supplement was made in a safe, clean environment and what the label says is in the bottle is actually in the bottle. 

The third recommendation is the mineral magnesium. Magnesium, like many minerals, is low in our diet due to poor soil conditions. Magnesium is so calming that too much of it works as a laxative (like Milk of Magnesia).  Foods high in magnesium include sesame seeds, beans, nuts, and leafy greens.

The fourth recommendation is the herb Valerian.  Valerian is an herb that calms the nerves and helps you sleep.  It is the herb from which the drug Valium is derived.  The difference between the two, however, is potency.  In the Valerian or natural form, it has a milder affect on the body.  Valerian is best taken before bed to help you relax and sleep better.  

The fifth and sixth recommendations are the herbs Skullcap and Passion Flower. These are also calming like Valerian but can cause dizziness. Therefore, these herbs are not recommended for those prone to dizziness but may be worth a try for those with no prior history.  Starting a lower dose is recommended.

None of these remedies should interact with each other.  However, before taking any herb or supplement, you should talk to your health care provider especially if you are on prescription meds because some herbs may interact with them (usually make them more or less effective). 
You can buy these supplements and others through Amazon by clicking on HFC Store at the top of the page, then Health Fitness Cafe Store, and then on the link called Essential Tremor to the left of the page.  You can also click on Essential Tremor Supplements at the bottom of this page.  All the work is done for you.  We have chosen the best quality supplements at reasonable prices that Amazon has to offer.  We have also included other supplements not discussed here that may be helpful. Just read the description under each product for more information. You will also find some great calming herbal teas.  The herb teas will have the the same herbs at a much lower strength than the bottled herbs.  We do not receive any money from these companies.  Only a very small percent comes from Amazon.  You will pay the same price here as you would going directly to  So if you do decide to purchase, please support us by doing so through our store so that we can continue to bring important news on essential tremor and other health related topics.  

Suggestions for Making Daily Activities Easier

1)  Buy clothes with Velcro fasteners or button hooks
2)  Cook and eat with utensils that have a large handle
3)  Use straws to drink
4)  Wear slip-on shoes and use shoehorns

Disclaimer:  This blog is for educational purposes only.  Any changes in diet, movement, medications, or nutritional supplements should be approved by your primary care physician.

For more information on ET, see the following sources:

Image: m_bartosch /


  1. Great post. Thanks.
    Any info or thoughts on ketogenic diets with movement disorders?
    Pubmed has a few studies that show promise but they are small studies.

    1. Thanks. There has been some research using the ketogenic diet especially as it relates to Alzheimer's. It is definitely worth a try for those with essential tremor and other movement disorders. I will do some more research. Thanks for your comment. Donna

  2. It's good to know that the treatment for essential tremor is developing. Taking up medications like Tremadone can greatly help in decreasing the movement. Choice Public can be considered on this matter.

  3. There are some essential oils that are supposed to help like nutmeg & narcissus. Although, it gets kind of expensive.

    1. Thanks. I will look into it. I am still doing research and will be updating this post. Donna

  4. Been dealing with this all my life. I get a lot of criticism about it. But, I just tell people I can still thread a needle much of the time. Until I came here I never new there was help for this sort of nerological problem. Over time I've just learned to deal with it. I've had these "tremors" since I was a child. I'm now 36. Its tough sometimes.

    1. I*'m not sure why anyone would criticize you. This is not something you can help. I hope some of my suggestions help you. Good luck.

  5. Thank you for perfect explains that you offering.I hop that that you succeed in life yours.
    I learned so much about this disease and remedy ways.

  6. I would like to know from where I can get best PCT supplements at low-priced rates. Please advise me any online store if you know, those giving this nutritional supplements..

  7. I am not a user nor do I know enough about PCT supplements to recommend them. Amazon seems to be the lowest price for most supplements.

  8. This was so helpful! I get very embarrassed or nervous what people will think when I am out.. Which makes my tremors worse.. It really does suck sometimes :( I was asked to take a picture and couldn't because my hand wouln't stop shaking I was already so nervous that night cause I was meeting the guy I like.. It's so frustrating and I'm afraid somebody will ask and ill get upset cause I can't control it

    1. I was so embarrassed also everyone saying have you eat...yes...are you your shaking. I think I lost my job because of it haven't worked in two weeks now..just the bullying and laughing needs to stop and I'm 26 years old..I went to eat couldn't keep nothing on the fork maybe one day there will be a cure. Stay strong and I'll keep you in my prayers

    2. I am so sorry you are both going through this embarrassment. People can be so cruel and ignorant. Jessica, have you been tested to rule out medical conditions? You are very young to have ET. Do you have relatives with ET? I'm wondering if your tremors are environmentally or medically caused. There is a condition called Wilson disease that is treatable that can cause tremors. I doubt that's it because it is rare but you never know. Anyway, supplements with GABA, chamomile, passionflower, and 5-HTP (not to be taken with antidepressants) can also be very helpful for tremors. There is a new device for eating that is suppose to counter the tremors. It is expensive, though, at $295. The website is I will be writing an update soon on ET so check back. This is a very popular topic on my blog so you two are not alone. Good luck to both of you. :)

    3. I have inherited ET from my father. I am now 77 and have started having the first signs when I was around 50. It started in my right hand but then moved to my left hand while my right hand is not that bad. I have found that a glass of wine or tot of whisky BEFORE I start eating helps a lot. But I do this only when I dine out in a restaurant. I try to eat food which I can eat with just a fork, such as pasta, using my right hand. When I eat meat and have to also use a knife, I find it a bit embarrassing due to the clicking sound of the knife when cutting the meat !

  9. Hello Frndz...
    Great Information! Nice post,it is really very helpful for me.One of the few articles I’ve read today.I’m saying thanks

    Holistic medicine

  10. Mostly no Benign Essential Tremor Treatment is needed and tremors may be relieved by some simple measures such as resting well, avoiding caffeine, avoiding stimulants present in over the counter medications and avoiding temperature extremities. Medical treatment of benign essential tremor includes beta blockers such as propranolol,atenolol,metoprolol, nadolol and aotalol, anti-seizure medications such as primidone, gabapentin and topiramate, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics such as clonazepam and alprazolam, tranquilizers and botulinum injections. Surgery is another option. There two surgical procedures that can be done. First procedure is deep brain stimulation having side effects such as motor control, problems with speech, balance, headaches and weakness. Thalamotomy is the second option. Physical therapy to improve muscle strength, control and coordination and occupational therapy to help adapt living with benign essential tremors is suggested.

  11. I've been dealing with essential tremors for a long time now. I've tried a variety of treatments with so-so results, but recently I've been using a product called TremorAid that I purchased on Amazon with great results. I read some Tremoraid Reviews on a forum where someone was speaking well about it so I decided to give it a try. I purchased it here:
    Thus far I have to say Tremoraid is the best natural treatment that I've tried thus far. Happy with it, and will continue to take it.

    1. Thanks. Good to know about this product. It makes sense because the product has GABA, magnesium, N-acetyl cysteine (helps support GABA), and skullcap. GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, is commonly low in people with ET. Magnesium is low or deficient in the average American diet and skullcap is a nervous system relaxant herb. Magnesium is critical to the health of the heart and central nervous system. Keep me posted on your continued progress.

  12. Spamming is prohibited on this blog so please do not do it. Your comment will be removed and flagged as spam. All other comments and legitimate suggestions are always welcome.

  13. Hi I think I have ET but have not been officially diagnosed. I looked at this blog and bought Tremoraid. I also cut out caffeine, and am trying to relax, not get anxious and eat right as well as get sleep, but with life in general it is hard. I wait tables and am going to school ( hopefully to be a nurse) My old doctor ( I recently moved to go to school) talked with me about it over the phone and prescribed me propranolol. I haven't started on it because the side effects scare me (especially the depression part as I suffer from it, which my doctor knows about). I like the tremoraid and think it might be helping - kinda hard to tell if it is that or the other things I am doing. I am really nervous about starting the propranolol, any thoughts anyone?

    1. Before taking prescription drugs, I would try natural methods first and rule out environmental and dietary factors first. Are you taking any medication currently that may cause tremors such as decongestants, antidepressants, amphetamines, or thyroid medication (hypothyroid)? Do you have exposure to any chemicals in your work or home? Do you have high exposure to electromagnetic fields. If you carry a cell phone, it should be shut off when not in use and especially when sleeping. Fatigue, stress, and lack of sleep can cause anxiety and trigger tremors. Sounds like your doing a lot. Tremoraid has good ingredients but it is expensive and does not have enough magnesium for anyone, never mind someone with tremors. Imbalance of estrogen can cause tremors. You should have your hormone balances checked especially if you are over 35, when estrogen levels fluctuate. My recommendation is to add at least 400 mg of magnesium (up to 800 mg) and take it close to bedtime. Magnesium will help with sleep. If you take over 400 mg (might want to at first to get levels up), divide the dose between morning and night. B-complex and omega-3 supplements are also very important for the nervous system and brain neurons. You can also try taking melatonin an hour before bed. Are you eating well? Besides caffeine, stay away from sugar, aspartame (causes tremors and destroys brain cells), and modern wheat. Modern wheat messes with the gut because it has been engineered to have very high gluten. Substitute spelt wheat or non-gluten flour products instead. Although I do not have celiac disease, I get headaches and anxiety if I consume modern wheat, sometimes for days. Never fails. You can click on my store at tab above for supplements. I also have a book coming out soon on ET. I have been researching this topic since I wrote this blog post because so little is known or written about on the condition and it is my number one searched post. My book will have much more information so check back in a couple of months. Take care and I hope some of my recommendations are helpful.

  14. My physician recently diagnosed me with ET though I have been suffering from tremors for a number of years. I'm 42 and remember having tremors for at least 5-6 years, though the intensity has increased over the years.
    Last week I suffered from a condition wherein I can feel tremors not only in hands and speech but also in my legs. I've not come across any information on the internet that anything like this is associated with ET.
    My doctor got a lot of pathology tests and ultrasound of abdomen as well as chest x Ray but couldn't find any reason for the condition. I've been testing for the last 5 days and the improvement is there but quite slow. My question is that it's there any past record of tremors in legs ?
    Also my daughter, 16, has been experiencing tremors in hand for a number of years. Is it possible that it is ET and she has inherited the gene from me ?

    1. She could have if you have familial ET. However, it is rare for a 16 year old and even a 30 something year old to have ET. Not impossible but rare. Did one of your parents have ET? You can be tested. I'm wondering if there is something in your environment. Do you live in an area where they spray herbicides or pesticides from planes? Are you new a cell tower or electrical power plant or poles? Do you consume MSG or aspartame regularly? Diet soft drinks can cause neurological problems. I have a book coming out soon on essential tremor. However, the book covers tremors in general because many things can trigger them. If you take any meds, did your tremors start shortly after? You may be severely magnesium or b12 deficient. You should at a minimum take 400 mg of magnesium twice a day and a b-complex plus other supplements mentioned in my post. I have just completed a book on ET that should be released by the end of the year. It has a lot of information on ET and tremors. What can cause them and what you can do about them, both conventional and natural methods. It will be very helpful in narrowing down what may have triggered yours. I will post a comment here and a new post when it it released. Let me know how the supplements work.

  15. Correction: I've been resting for the last 5 days

  16. Hi Donna Marie,

    I am 32 years old. I am suffering from hand tremor from my school life. Previously I felt when I did some work in front of some people. Recently, it might be worse even in resting condition. Could you please give me some suggestions in this regard?