Complementary and alternative therapies
Complementary and alternative therapies for MS may be potentially beneficial, ineffective or harmful
Last updated: 26th October 2021
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are treatments that generally fall outside the realm of conventional medicines. Current areas of MS research focus on the efficacy of a diverse range of treatments, from cannabis to vitamin supplements, and yoga to acupuncture. Studies suggest that these therapies are used by a large proportion of people with MS and often used alongside conventional medication.
Potentially beneficial therapies
Several CAM therapies may provide relief to some MS symptoms and some may also have disease-modifying effects. Yoga may provide relief from MS fatigue, while various mind/body approaches may be beneficial for several symptoms including anxiety, depression and pain.
Harmful or ineffective therapies
Dietary supplements considered to be potentially harmful therapies for people with MS include skullcap, germanium, chaparral, comfrey, kava kava, echinacea, ashwagandha, alfalfa, astragalus, cat’s claw, garlic, Asian and Siberian ginseng.
CAM therapies found to be ineffective include hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) and bee venon therapy.
Download MS in focus magazine on complementary and alternative therapies (you will need Acrobat Reader to view these files):
- MS in focus 15 Complementary and alternative therapies Chinese [PDF, 3MB]
- MS in focus 15 Complementary and alternative therapies English [PDF, 1MB]
- MS in focus 15 Complementary and alternative therapies Français [PDF, 2MB]
- MS in focus 15 Complementary and alternative therapies Deutsch [PDF, 2MB]
- MS in focus 15 Complementary and alternative therapies Español [PDF, 821 KB]