Ayurvedic medicine stemming from the ancient Indian medical system relies on a holistic approach to health and wellness, integrating natural herbal remedies and supplements into treatment methods. This system of care still remains an integral part of the healthcare approach many parts of India still use today, while it has been spread and adopted in communities throughout the world, often used to supplement other alternative methods of care. In fact, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), an estimated 240,000 American adults use Ayurvedic medicine today.
While there have been far fewer documented and heavily researched areas of Ayurveda in comparison to modern pharmaceuticals, there have still been a number of well-designed experimental settings that strongly support the case for Ayurvedic medicine’s effectiveness. For example, one study observed the same reductions in pain and improvements in function in a group of participants with knee osteoarthritis who were given ayurvedic compounds against a control group who was given conventional drug treatments. Other studies have outlined the effectiveness many ayurvedic herbs have had on treating and controlling diabetes. And while for many serious illnesses and medical conditions conventional pharmaceutical drugs may be necessary, ayurvedic treatments and supplements can prove to be highly effective in aiding in speeding up recovery, improve drug effectiveness, and produce other advantageous benefits.
Ayurvedic Herbs and Nerve Strength
As we get older, many people experience muscle fatigue, weakness, or limitations in mobility, oftentimes due to the degeneration of nerve signaling from the brain and down through the spinal cord to muscles in the body. However, this doesn’t always just occur as we age – other forms of nerve weakness may be caused by a pinched nerve, low blood sugar, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions.
According to a study published in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, the use of ayurvedic herbal medicines to treat neuropathic pain has been growing throughout the world. Many of these herbal compounds are known to reduce inflammation (which can cause nerve pain and mobility inhibition), while others are recognized for their ability to improve communication between cells in the brain and the nervous system.
Here are just a few of the herbal ayurvedic remedies used to treat nerve weakness and neuropathic pain.
This herb is a perennial plant that comes from the sunflower family. While it’s commonly used in cooking for its flavorful characteristics, it has been used to treat pain management and inflammation for hundreds of years. In one study that observed the effects of Tarragon on pain management for individuals with Osteoarthritis, researchers found it to be an effective alternative to traditional pain medications used to treat this condition. In addition to aiding in the treatment of nerve weakness and pain, Tarragon is also recognized for its ability to improve sleep patterns and regulate rest.
If you’ve journeyed into ayurvedic medicine before, it’s likely that you’re already familiar with this powerful plant. Turmeric is an herb that belongs to the ginger family, and is recognized for its powerful benefits on easing inflammation, possibly preventing heart disease, and reducing the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in Turmeric, and is the compound that is responsible for most of the benefits it can have on health. Many studies show that curcumin is an effective herbal remedy for improving the health status of the elderly by delaying aging and significantly reducing inflammation. Other studies have revealed its efficacy on specific neuropathic pain ailments, such as patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, turmeric has also been studied to have a similar level of effectiveness against pharmaceuticals like Prozac used to treat depression. As an all-around powerhouse of an herb, turmeric is a supplement you should consider for its multitude of benefits on both the body and the brain.
3. Gingko Biloba
If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ve also probably encountered information about Gingko Biloba before as well. This herbal remedy is native to traditional Chinese medicine, and has been harvested for its health benefits for over a thousand years. Along with providing a powerful array of antioxidants, this plant has been studied to be highly effective in fighting ageing-related diseases. This means that it is not only effective in strengthening and protecting brain cells against diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, but it has anti-inflammatory properties that can aid in treating nerve weakness. Some studies even show that Gingko Biloba may increase perceived well-being, mood, and mental performance in humans.
4. Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Holy Basil is regarded as one of the most predominant herbs used in the ayurvedic tradition. In fact, according to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, it is also one of the most studied herbs in western research settings. As an adaptogen, Holy Basil is recognized for its ability to help humans and animals adapt to stressful situations and regulate mood. With regard to neuropathic pain specifically, studies have shown that Holy Basil is attributed to a decrease in oxidative stress and calcium levels in rats with injury-induced neuropathic pain. Studies like this reveal Holy Basil’s potential to be used to treat nerve weakness naturally.
5. Phyllanthus Niruri
Also known as Gale of the Wind, this plant is a weed found in many coastal areas, and is harvested for its leaves and fruit that can be extracted and used as herbal medicine. Along with many antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, studies have also revealed that Phyllanthus is highly effective in reducing inflammation and stomach ulcers. However, this plant is most widely recognized for its role in improving liver health. In fact, studies have revealed that Phyllanthus can even be effective in protecting the liver against damage caused by pain medication such as acetaminophen.
Not only does this beautiful plant smell incredible, but Rosemary extract is also widely recognized for many health benefits ranging from increasing circulation and easing stress, to stimulating hair growth and repelling certain insects. Like most of the other herbal remedies mentioned on this list, it has also been researched for its effectiveness on reducing inflammation. For example, one study performed on rat subjects revealed that Rosemary Essential Oil (REO) had significant anti-inflammatory effects in a number of hot-plate tests. On another study using human participants with rheumatoid arthritis, 15-minute knee massages were administered three times every week for two weeks, with one set of participants receiving a rosemary oil blend with their massage. The group that was given the rosemary blend experienced a 50% decrease in knee pain and inflammation, compared to the 12% decrease experienced by the group who did not receive the rosemary oil blend.
7. Valerian Root
While Valerian Root is most commonly recognized for its benefits on rest and sleep, a multitude of research also reveals that this plant is also effective for treating nerve weakness. As an herb native to Asia and Europe, the flowers from this plant were traditionally used to make perfume many centuries ago. However, Valerian’s root portion has been extracted for thousands of years to produce teas and powders that have a number of benefits on the body. In fact, Valerian Root has been studied to produce protective effects on the nervous system for patients experiencing Parkinson’s Disease. While inflammation and oxidative stress are regarded as the contributing factors for neurodegeneration in this condition, Valerian Root extract has shown to be effective in protecting vulnerable cells.
8. Alstonia Scholaris
Alstonia is a lesser-known tropical tree that is native to the Indian subcontinent and parts of southeast Asia and Australia. While extract from the leaves of this plant is commercially available in traditional Chinese medicine (for the treatment of chronic respiratory diseases), it is also known to be effective in reducing inflammation and treating nerve weakness. For example, one study that observed mice in hot-place experimental settings found that Alstonia significantly produced both anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
A Note about Potential Drug Interactions
If you are considering an ayurvedic remedy for nerve weakness and you are already taking prescribed medications to treat your condition, talk to your doctor before starting an herbal regimen. While the majority of herbal supplements on this list are unlikely to cause adverse interactions with most medications, it is possible that some herbs may reduce the effectiveness of certain drugs.