Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a medical condition that affects an estimated 3% of the population. Night sweats, sweaty hands and feet, dripping sweat from the face or excessive underarm sweating may not sound like such a big deal if you have never experienced it, but drenched clothing is embarrassing as is sweat dripping off your nose and chin when the person next to you is totally comfortable.
Aside from the social ramifications and embarrassment, excessive sweating can be very disruptive. Night sweats can be so severe you wake up with a drenched pillow and sheets, your hair or pajamas soaked through. Hands can sweat so much that simple tasks are difficult. Imagine trying to do paperwork, type on a keyboard, shake hands, dress your child, or turn a doorknob.
According to conventional medicine, the cause may be an underlying medical condition or it may be caused by a mild dysfunction of the nervous system. If doctors cannot find an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, menopause, Parkinson’s disease, medications, certain cancers, hyperthyroidism, etc., they really don’t know the cause. As usual, not knowing the cause does not get in the way of the medical profession treating the symptoms.
Current conventional treatments include the following:
- Antiperspirants: Many use over the counter antiperspirants. Others use prescription grade aluminum chloride solution on the hands, feet, underarms, and hairline. It is believed that they work by absorption of the active ingredients and plugging up the sweat glands. The body recognizes the sweat glands are plugged and stops producing sweat. Despite many claims made over the past decades to the contrary, The National Cancer institute denies any link between aluminum and cancer (specifically breast cancer), and the Alzheimer’s Association denies any link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s.
- Iontophoresis: Used for the hands and feet, this is a process where hands or feet are immersed in a tub of water. A low dose of electricity is passed through the water. The patient feels a tingling sensation. Patients initially receive 2-3 treatments per week. Subsequent treatments are needed once a week to once a month. If this treatment works, patients may choose to purchase the device to treat themselves at home.
- Botox: Botulinum toxin injections are said to inhibit sweating. Shots are effective for 4-5 months.
- Pharmaceuticals: Oral medications must be taken with care as they inhibit sweating so well patients can overheat.
- Surgery: Surgical procedures include severing nerves to affected areas as well as removing sweat glands.
Obviously, we can’t recommend any of these treatments.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
If no cause of excessive sweating can be identified, primary hyperhidrosis is diagnosed. The current belief for the cause of primary hyperhidrosis is that a particular type of sweat gland, the eccrine glands, are overstimulated by the nervous system. There does appear to be an inherited or genetic predisposition, therefore a mutated gene may be indicated.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is diagnosed when a cause or trigger for the excessive sweating is identified. Triggers or causes include:
- Certain prescriptions like anti-depression medication
- Certain illegal drugs
- Withdrawals from drugs or alcohol
- Certain infections (like TB, HIV)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Blood or bone marrow disorders such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Smoking (marijuana, tababccoo, smoking anything)
- Mercury poisoning
- Lymphatic Infection
- Endocrine Infection
The truth is, there is always a cause. Doctors, especially Western conventional doctors, are just not good at finding causes for ailments. From a holistic perspective, there are a couple of direct causes of excessive chronic sweating. Oftentimes the body is running hot due poor liver and kidney health, which makes the blood sluggish causing poor circulation. There is a host of hormonal imbalances that can cause it. Like with every disease, sickness, or ailment, there are always many causes, but it all comes down to cellular malfunction due to toxicity and a lack of nutrition.
In my experience, if the sweating is significant and common, it’s always an endocrine system issue. While this article goes into some tips and tricks to reduce accessive sweating and detoxify the body, Holistic Guide to Healing the Endocrine System and Balancing Our Hormones may be a better fit, especially if there are symptoms for other illness.
Picture a car engine that’s struggling to produce enough power, getting hotter and hotter as it tries. If one were to get the body to stop sweating without addressing the cause, like removing the car’s radiator, this could be dangerous. And excessive sweating can also be the body’s last-ditch effort to rid itself of enough toxins to keep functioning. Another reason for excessive sweating can be an endocrine system flaw, causing the body to sweat when it does not actually need to. On the other hand, this indicates a very toxic body, and arguably, is just another case of the body being overwhelmed and needing to detoxify through sweat glands.
In other words, anyone who suffers from hyperhidrosis is dealing with an extremely toxic body.
Alternative Treatments Begin with Diet and Detox
Seeking an herb or a natural supplement to “get rid of the problem” mimics the conventional path. To heal the body, it is important to treat the whole body through a combination of nutrition and detoxification and allow the body to heal itself. Hyperhidrosis indicates a body with much wrong. As Raymond Francis states, “One cell, one disease,” and this wisdom proves to be true. In every case of disease something is wrong at a cellular level.
We begin with nutrition. A plant based, whole food, organic diet delivers the most bioavailable nutrition. The healthiest diet consists of 80% fresh, raw, organic produce, more vegetables than fruits, healthy fats, and plenty of clean water. If meat is eaten, it is important that it be organic. This means preparing your own food. Do not trust businesses to do it!
Last, but not least, it is vital to stop polluting the body. Soap, deodorant, shampoo, hair colorings, lotions, powder, make-up – everything you place on your body is absorbed. If you put chemicals on your body, chemicals will seep into your body.
Whatever you inhale enters your body. Smoking, chemically scented perfumes and air fresheners (included scented candles), off-gassing from chemically treated furniture, carpets, paints, glues, etc. Do not pollute your environment. Purchase supplies, building materials, and furniture wisely with indoor pollution in mind. You should be sleeping 8 hours a night. Is your bed filled with chemicals? Or have you purchased an organic mattress?
Back to the food you put in your body. Avoid all fake food! Eliminate all artificial flavors, coloring, and preservatives. No MSG. GMOs, or trans fats. Limit or eliminate alcohol and caffeine. If you have any kind chronic condition, there is a good chance your gut is sick and overrun with Candida.
If all of these dietary restrictions sounds like too much to consider, just simplify it. Eat real food! If it comes in a box, a can, or a bottle, trade it in for something that comes right off the vine or the tree. Real food heals the body.
More specifically, your diet should consist of huge, diverse salads with fresh herbs, cranberry lemonade, and fruits and nuts in moderation. Try some quinoa stir fry’s, rice and beans, and other whole food options for diner. Check out Detox Cheap and Easy Without Fasting – Recipes Included.
As mentioned, everything you place on your body is absorbed. Consider this when picking out clothes. Unnatural fabrics play havoc on our endocrine system and our lymphatic system. You can’t rid the body of toxins well with a layer of toxins on the skin. Natural, breathable fibers are a must.
This also includes bedding and mattresses. Breathable, all natural fibers with no toxic off-gassing may be just the trick to getting a dry nights sleep. There is a huge toxic load we contend with when we sleep on conventional mattresses, or with conventional bedding and clothes.
Sweat may be just what an excessive sweater needs to quit excessively sweating. For anyone dealing with hyperhidrosis, a serious fitness regimen is in order. Squats, yoga, and running are awesome exercises to stimulate organ and system functionality to facilitate detoxification.
Supplemental Alternative Treatments for Hyperhidrosis
Once the need for proper nutrition and detoxification has been addressed, supplementation to speed the process can be considered.
Vitamins & Minerals
B vitamins should be considered first and foremost. Hyperhidrosis indicates severe hormonal imbalances. Anyone with hormonal imbalances has a problematic endocrine system and needs B vitamins.
Vitamin D is a potent modulator of the endocrine system. After diet and exercise, improving vitamin D and vitamin B levels almost always eliminates hyperhidrosis. But with a very toxic body, there is more work to be done.
Herbs for Hyperhidrosis
Witch hazel is a powerful astringent that can be applied in liquid form to the skin. Traditionally, witch hazel was used to for insect bites, irritated skin, and bruises. Some are reporting witch hazel can help eliminate excessive sweating as well.
Burdock helps to jump start the endocrine system and the lymphatic system, and some claim that burdock actually helps the body to redirect sweating fluids through lymph nodes, kidneys, and bowels.
Astragalus, from northeast China, has many health benefits, and one of those benefits is balancing and reducing sweat response. Excessive sweating is often thought to be the result of an unhealthy spleen. Astragalus can help heal and detoxify the spleen.
Sage is typically considered one of the best herb to treat hyperhidrosis. Sage is an adaptogen, which calms the nervous system and helps the body deal with emotional and physical stress. Sage contains lots of thiamine and magnesium. These minerals soothe the sweat glands and calm the nervous system. Sage also contains rosmarinic acid which is known to inhibit sweat.
Schisandra grows in China and in the Unites States. The tiny red berries from the tree have many beneficial medicinal properties. The berries are also an adaptogen, which helps the body to cope with stress and reduce excess sweating.
Though not really an herb, asparagus has been used traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat excessive sweating. Asparagus contains the chemical, asparagin, that decreases sweat production.
Chronic illness tells us the body is heavily burdened and radical changes need to take place to achieve homeostasis. When hyperhidrosis is present, it is a good indication that the body is in serious trouble. Health starts in the gut. If you sufer from regular excessive sweating, your body is way over-taxed and it’s time for an overhaul. Check out How to Detoxify and Heal the Lymphatic System and Holistic Guide to Healing the Endocrine System and Balancing Our Hormones. While the aforementioned supplements can help alleviate discomfort without side effects, anything short of a holistic approach will result in new ailments.
- Schisandra chinensis (wu wei zi • Wise Woman Herbal
- Shillington’s Nerve Sedative Formula
- Female Hormone Support – Gaia Herbs
- Salvia officinalis – Sage – Wise Woman Herbals
- Sage Oil 100% Pure – NOW
- Also check out Intestinal Tract, Endocrine System, and more Hyperhidrosis
- How To Make Your Own Natural Deodorant at Home – Recipe
- Detox Cheap and Easy Without Fasting – Recipes Included
- How To Detoxify and Heal From Vaccinations – For Adults and Children
- Excessive sweating – overview – Medline Plus
- Hyperhidrosis: Diagnosis and treatment – American Academy of Dermatology
- Hyperhidrosis – Mayo Clinic
- Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis) – Causes, Home Remedies – healthisright.com
- Aluminum chloride solution – Drugs.com
- Hyperhidrosis – Causes – NHS