Peripheral Neuropathy: Treating it the Natural Way

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of people with peripheral neuropathy (PN) who gather monthly to learn about their ailment and support each other. When I walked in to the room where this meeting was held, I was struck by the wide range of folks suffering with the symptoms of this disease. You see, there are hundreds of different types of peripheral neuropathy affecting people from every walk of life. Although the incidence of peripheral neuropathy is not known, the Neurology Channel estimates that it affects at least 20 million people in the United States, and that almost 60% of all people with diabetes suffer from the condition.

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy range from numbness, tingling and weakness to paralysis and bullet-biting pain. The causes of peripheral neuropathy are numerous and include viruses, environmental toxicity, chemotherapy, nutritional deficiencies, and—the most common cause—diabetes. Because this is such a difficult problem to treat, many people with peripheral neuropathy have turned to natural medicines for relief. Let’s discuss some of these treatment options.

First of all, if you have diabetes, please, please, please control your blood sugars! In this instance, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. (Take a look at part one and part two in my series on diabetes for a refresher.)

Toxicity from medications, alcohol, heavy metals, organic solvents, pesticides and herbicides play a role in many of the root causes of peripheral neuropathy. The liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, and digestive tract are all exit routes for toxins. Here are some ideas how you can support these organs and reduce the toxic burden in your body:

  • Try a castor oil pack treatment. Better yet, do this daily for a month. (Next month, I’ll explain this amazing treatment in detail.)
  • Take 100 deep belly-moving breaths per day.
  • Drink a lot of water. The general rule is to calculate half your body’s weight and drink that many ounces of water a day. For example, a 120-lb. woman should drink 60 ounces.
  • Stay active. Move your body every day, even if it’s a simple activity such as going for a walk.
  • Make healthy choices. Eat a diet rich in organic food.
  • Try N-Acetyl Cysteine. This supplement helps your body produce glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps detoxify the body.

In addition to reducing toxicity in the body, it’s essential to address other root causes of peripheral neuropathy such as inflammation, viruses, and oxidation. The following natural treatments are helpful:

  • If you are diabetic or have had chemotherapy, you may also want to consider taking alpha lipoic acid. You can find this powerful antioxidant at your local health food store. Studies show that 600 mg per day can be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of PN. (Remember to always monitor your blood sugars if you are diabetic. Sometimes these natural medicines can drop your blood glucose levels.)
  • CoQ10 can be effective in managing the symptoms of PN. It is also good for heart and brain.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish and flaxseed are “food” for the nervous system. When our nerve cells are well nourished, they are more capable of transmitting healthy nerve signals. In addition, Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in all tissues of the body.
  • St. John’s wort is an herb which is good for nerve injuries, especially to the fingers and toes. It can reduce burning or shooting pain. It has also been shown to be effective for mild depression. (Do not use if you are taking antidepressant medication.) Big bonus: it is anti-viral.
  • Passionflower is an herb which can be useful for restlessness, agitation, and muscle twitching, and spasms. It helps with nervousness as well. It is not appropriate for pregnant women.
  • Oat seed has been beneficial for some people with numbness and weakness of their limbs. It is a mineral-rich herb and very safe.
  • Nettle is a nourishing herb that is rich in minerals. It is particularly good for PN with a “stinging” sensation. Be patient. It takes a couple weeks to work. It is also anti-inflammatory and effective in reducing for hayfever and allergies.
  • Ginkgo biloba is useful for PN symptoms due to poor circulation. Use caution with medications which increase bleeding like aspirin or ibuprofen. Never take ginkgo with the drug Coumadin (warfarin.)
  • If you are one of the many people who deal with the symptoms of PN, I hope this information will be helpful. Have a happy and healthy holiday season.

    Take care of your (whole) self—

    Amy Bader, ND


7 months ago, said...

Thank you for the information, I had chemotherapy three years ago and my doctor just prescribed me Gabapentin, but I read all the side effects and I decided not to take it. Thank you again


about 1 year ago, said...

Precious advice,thanks


over 1 year ago, said...

Thank you for the information! I am interested in the caster oil pack treatment for peripheral neuropathy. Can you send it to me or direct me to the article(s)?


over 1 year ago, said...

Excellent article. I have idiopathic Neuropathy and and trying to help the pain the natural way. Marie J.


over 1 year ago, said...

I have a nice or (not so nice) case of peripheral neuropathy that basically makes hands and feet tingly, numb-(contact with any surface on skin is incredibly uncomfortable) to sharp stabbing pain on the bottoms of my feet. Currently managing it with oxycodone 5mg 3xday but am due to request a dosage increase or pill count increase per cycle to 5mg 4xday or oxycodone 10mg. This happened to me due to cirrhosis of the liver and retaining alot of water in limbs and abdomen. They started me on the oxy instead of something else due to the metabolizing via kidney rather than the liver. Currently looking for information about things I can do at home during a flare up to get it to be manageable without increasing my oxy intake in a clear case of what would be called self-medicating. I want to keep my Oxy dosages and use as close to what it was when I started taking it and have no interest of upping dosage to the point where I am taking more than 30mg per 24 hours. Any ideas that anyone has for things they do at home to relieve the pain are what I'm looking for.


over 1 year ago, said...

Does L arginine does that help neuropathy ?


over 1 year ago, said...

I am in so much pain I want to scream. I cry a lot. I am going to try some of these natural remedies. I am praying to God they work. I will let you know the out come...


over 1 year ago, said...

I did develop all this symptoms after I my hip was replace do you this is the cause for for this Thank you


over 1 year ago, said...

I have no diabetics but was diagnosed about six years ago.I am at the end of my tether.In so much pain don't know what to do next.Tried so many tablets.Feeling really down.My daughter gets married this year so I have lovely things to look forward to but just don't know how I will manage.


almost 2 years ago, said...

I got diagvosed with peripheral neropathy 6 years ago, no answer I thought maybe acupuncture might help no diabeties levels are all fine im confused


about 2 years ago, said...

Thank you, I'm thankful for coming across your shared information. I hope this helps.


over 2 years ago, said...

I underwent GJ AND TRUNCAL VEGOTOMY IN Jan 1978. Of late I was frequently having complaints of low Hb levels. I was under examination for low Hb (6.5 to 7.5 g/ dL) level at Dept of Gestroentrology, Sitarama Bhartia Hospital, New Delhi, India. Endoscopy and Colonoscopy was done. No abnormality was observed in Colonoscopy. However, endoscopy revealed nodule at GI SITE. Biopsy was done. Results suspected malignancy and therefore biopsy was done once again. No abnormality was reported. However, I became unconscious within two to three hours of biopsy and was taken to emergency wing from OPD. The Hb level came down to 4.5 g/dL so blood was transfused. However, I was discharged from the hospital after four days of treatment . Hb level was restored to 9 g/ dL. However, my condition detoriated same night and therefore was admitted to Appllo Indraprastha Hospital , New Delhi next day. Hb level was found out to be 4.5 g/dL. All possible tests related to diagnosing reasons for low Hb levels were conducted. Like : 1. endoscopy of upper GI AND biopsy for Iron deficiency anemia. --------- no abnormality. 2. Folate (Chemiluminescence): > 20.00 ng/ml 3. Ultrasound whole abdomen: normal. 4. CT Angiography of abdomen: all normal. 5. Colonoscopy : exact cause of bleeding could not be identified. Diagnosis: ------ possibility of a vascular lesion was suspected. Advised: Thalidomide 50 mg---- 100 mg, pentocid 40 1----0, FeriumXT 0-------1, Zavit. 1-----0 Besides, I was administered five units of blood at Hospital. When Hb level stabilized at 8 g/dL was discharged after 15 days, Hb having stabilized. I was under treatment with of thalidomide from November 2012 to March 2013, for obscure GI bleeding. The thalidomide administration was stopped as I developed tingling, numbness, wet floor feeling , feeling of gloves and stockings, sensation of electric current etc. I was advised : Nervigen D initially for three months and then Gabapantinine 200 for two months. Since there was no improvement , I consulted Neurologist at Apolo Indrsprastha Hospital New Delhi. I was advised following tests: 1. S. B12, S.Vi+D3 2. NCV, UL+VL, S+M Conclusions are: 1. Vit B12 > 2000 pg/ ml 2. Vit D. 32.40. nmol / L Evaluated for Sensory deafferentation ataxia. Conclusions: 1) Sensory NCVs revealed a background axonal peripheral neuropathy , moderately severe in the arm/ hands, and severe in the legs/ feet, mostly symmetric. 2) In contrast , motor NCVs in all limbs , and bilateral F- waves ( APN/AHB) were Normal. 3). The ability to elicit robust H- Reflexes suggests possible myelopathy (SACD). Stopped all earlier medicines and now prescribed: A. Maxgalin 50 O----O B. Tayo 60K 1 tab/ wk for 2 month. I had no past experience of obscure GI BLEEDING prior to first biopsy. I had no past experience of peripheral neuropathy symptoms before I was administered thalidomide. My query : Can some specialist advise me if I am going to be normal as I was before administration of Thalidomide. I am 64 plus. I stopped smoking in 1992. I stopped drinking in 2003 April. Please advise.


almost 3 years ago, said...

Very good I got peripheral neuropathy from medicine go afib, and warfrin! Gabapentin makes me sick! I would appreciate the opportunity to particapate thank you geneo


over 3 years ago, said...

;) to early to tell! ;)


over 4 years ago, said...

plus acetyl l carnitine 1000mg twice per day R-alpha lipoic acid (instead of alpha lipoic acid) 200mg twice per day curcumin 400mg per day


about 5 years ago, said...

These are all for only minor conditions. I wish I knew a better solution myself!


over 5 years ago, said...

where can i bye these harbal products . an could u please explain the nanes of the products


about 6 years ago, said...

Hello there presently I am taking Amitryptiline 10 mg and now my doctor wants to add Cymbalta 30 mg. Is this safe?