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The Various Herbs Used for Neuropathy and What They Do 

There are many different herbs being talked about in getting relief from neuropathy. What are they really? 

It is important to understand the right dosage and the strength of the extracts used in formulas. It can vary a lot. 

Here is a list of the various herbs, what they do, how long can they be taken, and any side effects.

THIS LIST IS NOT COMPLETE. We are still doing research on the various herbs and what they do. 

Aloe Vera : This African native plant is used to treat various skin disorders like burns, wounds and infections. The juice extracted from this plant helps to improve blood and lymph circulation.

Arnica : This plant is commonly seen in Europe and other countries with large yellow flowers. This plant contains sesquiterpene lactones as active components which are useful to reduce inflammation and pain. It can stimulate the activities of white blood cells and improve blood circulation. It is used as a homeopathic pain killer. 

Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) Root: This herb is used to promote the healing of bones. It has a calming effect on the body. It helps mental cognition, concentration and memory. It is useful for fatigue, aches, and frequent urination. It increases physical endurance and sexual function. It is thought to help diabetic neuropathy because it improves overall well-being. It can slow down the de-myelization of a damaged nerve as it is an anti-oxidant. It doesn't repair the nerve but can make the condition more tolerable. 

Side effects: Ashwagandha is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth short-term. The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Don’t use ashwagandha if you have a stomach ulcer. Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases

Interactions with medications: do not take with medications that decrease the immune system, aka immunosuppressants (corticosteroids,Imuran, Rapamune, etc.) sedative medications (benzodiazapines - Klonopin, valium, ativan, etc.) CNS depressants (donnatal, ambien, etc.) Thyroid medications (minor interactions) See WebMD for more information. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist who can check their databases. 

California Poppy: The promo for using this herb for neuropathy says that it can be just as effective as Vicodin for relieving pain but is also natural and crucially non-addictive. 

Cayenne Pepper : This spicy dried chilli powder is a natural pain reliever. The chemical called Capsaicin found in this is a pungent substance that allows to transmit more neurotransmitters and it can temporarily inhibit nerve pain. It contains many essential vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin B besides minerals like Potassium and Calcium. If applied plainly on skin it will give mild burning sensation.

Corydalis Yahhusuo: Claims are made that it alleviates nerve pain, anxiety and insomnia… more research is being done, but it is helping to relieve pain, not repairing nerves. 

Cramp Bark (Vibumum opulus) Extract: It is used for gastrointestinal, genitourinary and skeletal muscle spasms. It can use useful for menstrual cramps when there is a large blood flow. It is used for asthma and may help with morning sickness, and other female problems including preventing miscarriage. It can relax the skeletal muscles and is good for leg cramps. 

Side effects: May cause gastroenteritis. It cannot be taken with blood thinning medicatio becuase there is coumarin parts in the plant. It may cause hypotension in large doses or even in average dosages. Don't use it if pregnant without being treated by a qualified health car professional.

Cypress: Cypress plants are large trees found all over the world. It is abundant in Greece, Italy, Iran and some other Mediterranean region. The oil take from this plant is used as antispasmodic and antiseptic.

Evening Primrose: This herb is widely seen in US, the primrose oil is taken from the seeds of this plant.

Feverfew: It can help bring down a fever, treat aesthma, psoriasis, pre-menstrual disorders, and arthritis. Its main use is to prevent migraine headaches and lessen their severity. It is thought to help control neuropathy symptoms. 

Feverfew is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used short-term (up to four months). The safety of feverfew beyond 4 months’ use has not been studied.

Side effects might include upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation. bloating, flatulence, nausea, and vomiting. Other reported side effects include nervousness, dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, joint stiffness, tiredness, menstrual changes, rash, pounding heart, and weight gain.

Interactions: Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Feverfew might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking feverfew along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. 

Before taking feverfew, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver. such as amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and pantoprazole (Protonix); diazepam (Valium); carisoprodol (Soma); nelfinavir (Viracept); and others. Some medications that are changed by the liver include diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), ibuprofen (Motrin), meloxicam (Mobic), and piroxicam (Feldene); celecoxib (Celebrex); amitriptyline (Elavil); warfarin (Coumadin); glipizide (Glucotrol); losartan (Cozaar); and others. Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with FEVERFEW. Feverfew might slow blood clotting. Taking feverfew along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

See WebMD for more information. 

So, okay for use short term only. Feverfew will not, however, repair a nerve.

Ginkgo: The leaves of this plant contain substances that can thin the blood and help to improve muscle tone in the walls of the blood vessels. This can greatly help to improve the blood circulation. 

Lobella: boosts circulation and helps support your nervous system.

Oat Straw Extract: Oat straw and the grain have also been prescribed in the treatment of a wide range of nervous conditions and help mood. It has also been shown to help with the exhaustion related to neurological pains or insomnia. Wild oat extract has the ability to reduce the effects of two enzymes tied to depression the same way some prescription medications do. It is also used for sexual enhancement and may help with lowering cholesterol and helping a person stop smoking. 

There are no known drug or nutrient interaction associated with the use of oat straw but if you are allergic to oat flour it could be a good idea to stay clear of any products containing oat straw. Because oat straw contains gluten those suffering from celiac disease, or have a gluten intolerance should avoid it in any form. 

Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) Extract - Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) was used traditionally in the Americas and later in Europe as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. It is still used today to treat anxiety and insomnia. It has been said, by those trying to sell this herb for neuropathy that this herb helps cut off the “pain signals” sent to your brain every minute of the day. There is nothing about repairing of nerves.

Peppermint: This is hybrid plant commonly found all over the world. The peppermint oil is widely used in toothpastes and chest rubs because of its medicinal properties. When applied tropically it gives a soothing and cooling effect on skin.

Prickly Ash Bark: stimulates and exerts a gentle strengthening effect on the entire body. 

Skullcap (Scutellaria Lateriflora) Extract - Skullcap is used for trouble sleeping (insomnia), anxiety, stroke, and paralysis caused by stroke. It is also used for fever, high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), rabies, epilepsy, nervous tension, allergies, skin infections, inflammation, and spasms. 

None of these herbs build healthy nerves.  

See also The Problem with Using Herbs for Neuropathy

 

Read:   How to build Healthy Nerves?

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