21 Proven Natural Treatments For Peripheral Neuropathy

natural treatments for peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition involving damage to the peripheral nerves. Around 20 million individuals in US alone experience some types of peripheral neuropathies. [1]

Nerve damage interrupts the communication with that part of the body and the nervous system thus impairing function of the body part or organ.

Neuropathies can be acute or chronic. The symptoms may arise suddenly, worsen and then resolve slowly as the nerves heal.

However, in chronic conditions, the symptoms may take a while to develop and manifest and progress slowly. Some individuals may experience relief for a while after which the symptoms return.

What are the common causes of peripheral neuropathy?

According to NIH, they are 100 types of peripheral neuropathy, and each has different symptoms. The most common classification is mononeuropathy (one major nerve is damaged) or polyneuropathy (multiple nerves are damaged).

The most common causes of neuropathies and their associated classification include [2] :

  • Idiopathic: No known cause
  • Diabetic: A result of diabetes complications
  • Hereditary: Due to genetic lineage or sudden genetic defects
  • Toxins or due to medications: A result of exposure to certain toxins, or intake of certain drugs, alcohol
  • Inflammatory or Infectious: This could be due to infections (HIV, Lyme) or Autoimmune conditions (Lupus)
  • Systemic/Metabolic: Due to pre-diabetes, alcohol, nutritional deficiencies,
  • Compression: Such as carpal tunnel syndrome or amyloidosis
  • Others

What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Chronic neuropathic pain is the most prominent symptom of peripheral neuropathy. This is different from inflammatory pain that we commonly experience as a result of injuries or joint aches. (Read more on Causes and Symptoms of Neuropathy)

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain include:

  • Tingling and prickling sensations in the hands or feet
  • Numbness
  • Electric shock like feelings
  • Abnormal sensations
  • Pins and needle feeling
  • Stock and glove feeling
  • Burning pain
  • Heightened pain response or hyperalgesia
  • Pain in response to slightest touch or allodynia

Chronic nerve pain may cause other symptoms such as sleep and mood disturbances. Autonomic symptoms may occur such as sweating abnormalities, orthostatic hypotension, early satiety etc.

Motor symptoms such as muscle weakness, reduced muscle function and reflexes, twitching, loss of muscle mass, cramps, etc. may occur.

What is the conventional treatment for peripheral neuropathy?

Treatment for neuropathy focuses on treating underlying causes of the disorder as well as the symptoms.

Changing lifestyle habits, eating a balanced diet, rectifying nutritional deficiencies, reducing toxin exposure, limiting alcohol intake are few of the measures.

Oral medications are prescribed for nerve pain such as antiepileptics like pregabalin and gabapentin or antidepressants such as amitriptyline or duloxetine or even opioids.

Topical agents such as lidocaine (anaesthetic) or capsaicin gel can be prescribed for localised pain.

However, oral therapies provide satisfactory nerve pain relief in about 30-40% patients, and they also tend to experience significant adverse effects.

The annual healthcare costs for patients with neuropathic pain is three times that of the cost for patients without neuropathic pain.

As a result, more and more patients with peripheral neuropathy are looking forward to natural remedies and alternative treatments.

This post lists some effective and proven natural treatments for peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain.

21 Proven Effective Natural Remedies For Peripheral Neuropathy

Natural remedies for peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain include:

  • Dietary supplements: Antioxidants, Amino acids, Vitamins such as Alpha Lipoic Acid, ALCAR, Magnesium, Omega-3s
  • Herbal supplements such as Lion’s Mane mushroom, Turmeric
  • Natural topical agents for localised nerve pain relief such as Capsaicin, Peppermint essential oil, St. John wort oil
  • Alternative therapies such as Acupuncture, Aromatherapy Massage, Tai Chi

These natural remedies should be utilised as add-on therapies to improve the outcome of conventional treatment rather than a replacement.

Please consult a health practitioner before initiating any natural therapy for peripheral neuropathy.

A] Antioxidants For Neuropathy

Oxidative damage or oxidative stress (imbalance between prooxidant and antioxidant agents in the body) can contribute to nerve damage in peripheral neuropathy. Here are some potential antioxidants that benefit in peripheral neuropathy treatment.

1.Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)

Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the go-to dietary supplements for peripheral neuropathy treatment. It is also referred to as thiotic acid.

The antioxidant property of ALA helps protect from nerve health from toxicity and supports natural nerve repair. It benefits in diabetic neuropathy by protecting nerves from oxidative damage caused by high blood sugar levels. ( Read 5 Proven Benefits Of ALA For Neuropathy)

It also benefits in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy by protecting from chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity.

ALA is clinically proven to help with chronic pain conditions and also helps lower nerve pain.

A study published in Journal of Diabetes and its complications, 2009 explore the effect of switching patients with painful diabetic neuropathy from ALA to gabapentin and other conventional painkillers for relieving nerve pain. [3]

It was observed that 45% of the patients switched to gabapentin could not take the medicines due to intolerable side effects and 55% did not respond to gabapentin treatment.

The frequency of outpatient visits increased in the gabapentin group. Overall it was observed that switching from ALA to conventional therapy led to increased side effects, higher frequency of outpatient visits and higher daily costs of treatment.   (Read & Buy ALA Supplements for neuropathy)

Quick Gist: ALA is a potent antioxidant and a common dietary supplement recommended for peripheral neuropathy treatment. It particularly benefits in diabetic neuropathy.

ALA protects from nerve damage and alleviates nerve pain in peripheral neuropathy.

2.N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

N-acetyl cysteine is a derivative of amino acid cysteine. It is an antioxidant precursor- it serves as a raw material for producing one of the powerful antioxidants in our body-glutathione.

It lowers oxidative stress and is thus found to benefit in diabetic neuropathy.

NAC also regulates the activity of neurotransmitter glutamate and this property supports its’s anti-neuropathic pain action. (Read 5 Evidence-Based Benefits of NAC For Neuropathy)

Lin et al. have demonstrated that NAC treatment can reduce the incidence of oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy in patients receiving oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy. [4]

In a pilot study, NAC supplementation in addition to opioid analgesics for treating chronic neuropathic pain resulted in slight improvements in pain and mental health in patients with neuropathy. [x] (Read and buy NAC Supplements for neuropathy)

Quick Gist: N-acetyl cysteine shows potential benefits for peripheral neuropathy treatment such as lowering oxidative stress and reducing nerve pain. Pre-clinical studies suggest that it may also support remyelination and repair of damaged nerves.

3.Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 is present in our body and used as a fuel for cellular respiration. It exists in two forms: ubiquinone or the oxidised form and ubiquinol or the reduced form. (Read 6 Potential Benefits of CoQ10 for Neuropathy)

Studies suggest that CoQ10 levels are low in patients with diabetes and also in those battling cancer.

Pre-clinical studies suggest that CoQ10 supplementation may lower oxidative stress and improve pain relief action of common medications prescribed for nerve pain. [5]

CoQ10 supplementation may benefit as a natural remedy in conditions like diabetic neuropathy, alcoholic neuropathy, drug-induced neuropathy and neuropathic pain arising from metabolic disorders such as metabolic syndrome or hypercholesterolemia.

A study published in Biofactors, 2005 revealed that CoQ10 supplementation reduced statin-induced peripheral neuropathy. [6] (Read and buy CoQ10 supplements for neuropathy relief)

Quick Gist: CoQ10 is found to combat oxidative stress in peripheral neuropathy, and as an add-on therapy it may improve the therapeutic outcomes of conventional therapy for neuropathic pain. However, these findings need to be validated by adequate clinical trials.

B] Herbs For Neuropathy

Herbs, if used with caution, can help improve outcomes of conventional therapy for peripheral neuropathy.  (Read Top 15 Research-Backed Herbs For Peripheral Neuropathy)

They have pleiotropic actions- a single active compound present in the herb has multiple biological activities and can target several biochemical pathways to relieve nerve pain and damage.

Most herbs contain more than 100 active compounds. When using herbs as therapeutic agents, ensure that you buy quality supplements and preferably standardised extracts.

Here are a few of the best herbs that you can take for peripheral neuropathy relief:

4.Lion’s mane mushroom

Lion’s mane mushroom is a valued medicinal mushroom in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It contains many active ingredients such as hericenones, erinacines, polysaccharides, etc.

Though not evaluated in clinical trials, this herb does possess nerve regenerating potential. Lion’s mane mushroom extracts increase the levels of a neurotrophin specifically Nerve Growth Factor.

Neurotrophins are proteins that support nerve growth and development. By boosting Nerve Growth Factor levels, lion’s mane mushroom supports natural recovery and repair of damaged nerves in peripheral neuropathy. ( Read 4 Promising Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom For Neuropathy)

Studies in animal models suggest that the capacity of Lion’s mane mushroom extract to support nerve regeneration is comparable to that of vitamin B12. [7]

By regulating neurotrophin levels, Lion’s mane mushroom may also assist in reducing neuropathic pain naturally. [8] (Read and Buy Lion’s Mane Mushroom products for Peripheral Neuropathy)

Quick Gist: Lion’s mane mushroom exhibits nerve regenerating potential that can help repair nerve damage in peripheral neuropathy. Though not validated in human studies, Lion’s mane mushroom can be utilised as an add-on herbal therapy for nerve pain and neuropathy.

5.Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the popular herbal anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents. Curcumin is one of the active ingredients present in turmeric that has been actively researched for its therapeutic benefits.

Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action that helps protect nerve health from toxicity. (Read 6 Science-Backed Benefits Of Curcumin For Neuropathy)

Its blood sugar lowering property may benefit in diabetic neuropathy treatment and prevention.

As a natural anti-cancer agent, it may help combat chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity and reduce the incidence of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.

Curcumin helps relieve nerve pain by regulating various factors in our body such as our endogenous opioid system, neurotransmitter activity, activating pain relief targets in the spinal cord.

In a clinical trial involving 141 patients with neuropathic pain, treatment with Lipicur – a formulation containing curcumin, lipoic acid and piperine for eight weeks helped lower neuropathic pain by more than 66%. [9]

Curcumin treatment also lowered the use of analgesics by 40% in the patients with neuropathic pain. (Read and Buy Curcumin Products For Peripheral Neuropathy)

Quick Gist: Curcumin found in turmeric is a natural pain-relieving agent. As a herbal remedy for neuropathy, curcumin helps lower nerve damage by combatting inflammation, oxidative stress and toxicity.

It is proven to relieve nerve pain naturally and also exerts neuroprotective action that benefits nerve health.

6.Gingko Biloba

Gingko Biloba is an ancient medicinal tree native to China. Gingko supplements are popularly used as memory boosters. (Read 4 Potential Benefits of Gingko Biloba in Peripheral Neuropathy)

The leaf extract of the tree has multiple components, but the most researched ones are ginkgolides and bilabolides.

Researchers from Georgetown University, Washington DC have demonstrated that Gingko extracts can reduce the incidence of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and reduce nerve pain in patients being treated with oxaliplatin chemotherapy. [10]

Treatment with Gingko Biloba extracts EGb 761 is proven to reduce neuropathic pain and other symptoms in patients with diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy. [11] (Read and Buy Gingko Biloba products for Peripheral Neuropathy)

Quick Gist: Studies in humans have reported that gingko supplements help reduce symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and also benefits in chemotherapy induced neuropathy.  It’s neuroprotective action serves as a natural defense against nerve damage.

7.Medical CBD

The medical use of Cannabis sativa is now prominently highlighted by online media and researchers. However, there is still a debate whether the therapeutic benefits of the plant outweigh the possible health concerns associated with its use.

CBD oil is popularly used for chronic pain relief. Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol are active components derived from the plant that show therapeutic potential as natural painkillers for chronic neuropathic pain.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, unlike other cannabinoids, is not psychoactive.

The review study published in Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, 2018 highlights that cannabis-based medicine may increase the number of people achieving 50% or more relief from neuropathic pain in comparison with the placebo. [12]

The quality of evidence available was rated from very low to moderate. There was not enough evidence to comment on whether the use of cannabis-based medicines increased the frequency of side effects.

But there was a possibility of developing psychiatric conditions or nervous system-related side effects with the use of medical cannabis. Further research is warranted.

Quick Gist: Cannabis-based medicines show promising potential for treating chronic neuropathic pain. CBD oil is used for chronic pain relief; tetrahydrocannabinol present in CBD oil contributes to its pain relief action.

Further research in the form of clinical trials regarding the use of medical cannabis for diabetic and non-diabetic neuropathy is warranted.

C] Vitamins & Nutrients For Neuropathy

Nutritional neuropathies occur as a result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency. (Read 10 Evidence-Based Vitamins & Minerals For Peripheral Neuropathy)

Vitamin supplementation is an effective natural treatment that can reduce nerve pain and improve the therapeutic action of conventional treatment.

Here are a few essential nutrients that may help reduce symptoms of peripheral neuropathy:

8.Vitamin B

B complex vitamins are essential for optimum nerve function and repair. (Read 5 Proven Benefits of B Complex Vitamin For Neuropathy)

Patients with diabetes tend to have vitamin B deficiency, and one of the reasons for this is the chronic use of metformin.

Excessive alcohol consumption also depletes the body of B vitamins. Bariatric surgery may also lead to reduced absorption of B vitamins.

Combination of B vitamins (B1, B6, B12) help relieve neuropathic pain possibly by regulating neurotransmitter action. They also play an essential role in nerve regeneration.

Vitamin B supplementation improves therapeutic outcomes of conventional therapy. (Read & Buy Suggested B complex supplements For Peripheral Neuropathy)

Co-administration of gabapentin and B complex is found to reduce neuropathic pain and improve quality of life more effectively than gabapentin alone. [13]

Benfotiamine is a derivative of vitamin B1, and unlike B1 it is a fat-soluble compound.(Buy Benfotiamine For Peripheral Neuropathy)

Multiple studies have confirmed that benfotiamine alone or in combination with vitamin B complex effectively reduces neuropathic pain. [14] [15]

Quick Gist: Supplementation with vitamin B complex is an effective natural remedy for resolution of neuropathy symptoms and nerve pain especially in case of deficiency. B vitamins can benefit in diabetic neuropathy and alcoholism associated peripheral neuropathy.

9.Vitamin D

Around 15% of the world’s population is experiencing vitamin D sufficiency or insufficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with chronic pain.

The sunshine vitamin also plays an important role in the optimum functioning of the nervous system. (Read 4 Evidence-Based Benefits Of Vitamin D For Peripheral Neuropathy)

A research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine highlights the role of Vitamin D as a natural analgesic for patients with type 2 diabetes and nerve pain. [16]

Patients with Vitamin D insufficiency were treated with 2059 IU cholecalciferol tablets for three months. Vitamin D supplementation brought about a significant reduction (48%) in nerve pain scores.

Vitamin D supplementation may only be necessary in case of deficiency or insufficiency. Please consult your doctor to identify a dose of vitamin D that would benefit your health condition. (Read & Buy Suggested Vit D Supplements For Peripheral Neuropathy)

Quick Gist: Vitamin D supports optimal nerve function. Its deficiency worsens neuropathy symptoms.

However, vitamin D supplementation for neuropathy relief may only be necessary in case of deficiency or insufficiency.

10.Vitamin E

Vitamin E deficiency is rare and occurs only in case of inherited disorders or conditions involving malabsorption of dietary fat. (Read & Buy Vitamin E Supplements For Neuropathy)

A few case reports have suggested that high dose vitamin E supplementation for long periods (9 months-2 years) helps resolve symptoms of neuropathy and neurological complications resulting from Vitamin E deficiency. [17] [18]

A study published in Pharmacological Reports, 2014 demonstrated that addition of Vitamin E to standard therapy (pregabalin and blood sugar lowering medicines) for diabetic neuropathy results in a significant reduction of nerve pain. [19]

Quick Gist: Vitamin E deficiency is rare, but it can lead to neurological complications such as peripheral neuropathy. Vitamin E supplementation is found to lower neuropathic pain in diabetic neuropathy.

Vitamin E deficiency can be mitigated by dietary changes for most of us; supplementation may be necessary only in individuals who have issues with absorption and metabolism of Vitamin E.

11.Magnesium

As far nervous system functioning is concerned, magnesium can serve as a miracle agent. Individuals with peripheral neuropathy tend to have a magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining neurotransmission. It is also a natural nerve pain relief agent. It supports nerve regeneration and repair. (Read Can Magnesium Help In Peripheral Neuropathy?)

A study published in Magnesium Research, 2004 revealed that magnesium supplementation, in case of chronic deficiency, halts peripheral neuropathy progression in type 1 diabetes patients. [20]

It may also help protect mental health and improve sleep in patients experiencing neuropathy pain. (Read & Buy Suggested Magnesium Supplements For Peripheral Neuropathy)

Though not evaluated in clinical studies, many individuals have reported relief from chronic nerve pain after using topical magnesium oil. A foot soak prepared from Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) works as a home remedy for relieving nerve pain in the feet.

Quick Gist: Magnesium supplementation, in case of deficiency, is an effective natural remedy for neuropathic pain relief. It works as a natural analgesic and supports nerve repair.

12.Omega-3 Fatty acids/Fish oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from the diet. They play an important role in maintaining nervous system function: supporting brain development, maintenance of blood-brain barrier, regulating inflammation in the brain, supporting neuroplasticity and maintaining structural properties of the neuronal membrane.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the most important omega-3 fatty acids.

EPA and DHA help in peripheral neuropathy by maintaining the structure of nerve cells and relieving nerve pain. The protect nerve health from toxic agents and also support nerve regeneration. (Read 4 Proven Benefits of Omega-3 For Neuropathy)

Fish oil and algal oil are excellent sources of omega-3s. A study published in Current Diabetes Reviews, 2017 highlights the benefits of fish oil for diabetic peripheral neuropathy treatment.

It can reduce progression and reverse diabetic neuropathy. It lowers inflammation and offers neuroprotection thus supporting nerve regeneration. [21]

High dose omega-3 supplementation is found to treat chronic neuropathic pain effectively. [22]

However, high dose omega3 supplementation may not suit every individual, especially if one is taking blood thinners. Please consult a health practitioner to identify a dose of omega-3s that would suit you.

Omega-3 supplementation can benefit as a dietary supplement for diabetic neuropathy and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy treatment. (Read & buy Omega-3 Supplements for neuropathy relief)

Apart from just supplementing with omega3s, it is also important to lower omega-6 fatty acids in the diet. Maintaining a healthy omega-3/omega-6 ratio can help protect peripheral nerve function.

Quick Gist: Omega-3s serve as a neuroprotective agent and help protect nerve health in peripheral neuropathy. They can curb inflammation and oxidative stress and also help in nerve regeneration in peripheral neuropathy.

D] Amino Acids For Neuropathy

Amino acids not only form the building blocks for proteins but are also involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters (brain chemistry) not only regulate mood but also influence pain sensations.

Here are a few amino acids that may benefit as adjuvant therapy in peripheral neuropathy.

13.Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid that breaks down fats in the body to provide fuel for cellular energy production. (Read 4 Evidence-Based Benefits of ALCAR For Neuropathy)

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter in our brain that is involved in various functions including pain transmission and neuropathic pain. Glutamate receptors are proteins that are activated when glutamate binds to them, and they help in carrying out various functions associated with glutamate.

ALCAR activates these glutamate receptors to relieve neuropathic pain naturally. Acetyl-L-carnitine is also a potential natural treatment for nerve regeneration. [23]

A study published in Diabetes Care, 2005 reports that ALC (1000mg per day) is effective in reducing pain and improving nerve regeneration and sensory nerve function in diabetic neuropathy.  [24]

Patients with HIV tend to experience antiretroviral toxicity induced neuropathy as dose-limiting toxicity of HIV treatment.

Hart et al. has demonstrated that add-on therapy with ALCAR for 33 months helps improve nerve regeneration and reduces the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in patients with HIV. [25] (Read and buy ALCAR supplements for Peripheral Neuropathy)

Quick Gist: Acetyl-l-carnitine helps lower neuropathic pain naturally and supports nerve regeneration in peripheral neuropathy. Studies in humans have confirmed the benefits of ALCAR in diabetic neuropathy and HIV associated neuropathy.

14.Taurine

Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain and spinal cord and is a part of almost every tissue in the body.

Taurine plays an essential role in overcoming insulin resistance which makes it a potential therapeutic agent for diabetes and its associated complications. [26]

Studies in animal models indicate that taurine can be a potential natural remedy for neuropathic pain relief. [27]

Obrosova et al. conducted a study to examine the effects of taurine in an animal model of early diabetic neuropathy. [28]

Taurine was found to reduce oxidative stress and markers of oxidative damage. Taurine levels were lowered in diabetic population and supplementation with taurine rectified this deficiency.

Diabetes led to a decrease in Nerve Growth Factor levels (a protein essential for nerve development), and taurine supplementation prevented this decrease.

Researchers concluded that the antioxidant action of taurine could benefit in diabetic neuropathy treatment.

Quick Gist: Pre-clinical studies indicate that taurine can fight oxidative stress and lower nerve pain. These pharmacological properties of taurine can benefit in diabetic neuropathy treatment, but they still need to be evaluated in clinical trials.

E] Natural Topical Nerve Pain Relief

Various natural agents can be applied topically for nerve pain relief. They provide temporary relief from nerve pain, but with regular application, this effect can be prolonged.  (Read 10 Proven Topical Natural Remedies For Nerve Pain)

Natural topical agents can serve as effective home remedies for nerve pain; they can reduce the burden of oral medications for neuropathy but are not meant to replace conventional therapy.

Here are a few natural agents that you can use topically for nerve pain relief:

15.Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the active principle that imparts pungency to the chillies. Depending on the concentration used and the frequency of application of capsaicin can help relieve nerve pain.

It interacts with ion channel or biological gateways in the cell (called Transient Receptor Vanilloid Potential 1) to desensitise or inactive the nerve fibre from sensing pain.

This inactivation is transient and reversible and does not cause damage to the nerves. (Read more about the research on Capsaicin and Neuropathic Pain)

Current research suggests that 8% capsaicin patch can serve as a second line of treatment for neuropathic pain.

A meta-analysis study published in Clinical Therapeutics, 2017 showed that the nerve pain relief action of 8% capsaicin patch was more potent than oral medications pregabalin and gabapentin and had similar efficacy as duloxetine. [29]

Also, capsaicin patch was found to be safer for patients than oral medications.

You need to consult a doctor to apply the 8% capsaicin patch. It can bring about a 50-80% reduction in pain, and the analgesic effect can last for 3-5 months.

Capsaicin-based creams are also available at concentrations of 0.025% and 0.075%. One drawback of using these creams is that their analgesic effect does not last as long as that of the 8% patch.

You need to apply the creams frequently (2-3 times a day at the most) to prolong the nerve pain relief effect. Capsaicin-based creams can help as home remedies for nerve pain in dire situations.

Capsaicin creams should be applied with caution; it may cause burning or stinging when it comes in contact with sensitive areas such as eyes and nostrils. (Read about the use and safety of Capsaicin for neuropathic pain).

Quick Gist: Application of 8% capsaicin patch is found to relieve nerve pain as effectively as oral medications prescribed for neuropathic pain in peripheral neuropathy.

Topical low concentrations capsaicin creams can be used to relieve mild nerve pain naturally. It may help improve sleep and quality of life in peripheral neuropathy patients.

16.St. John’s wort oil

St. John’s wort is nature’s most potent antidepressant. Our brain chemistry or neurotransmitters that affect our mood also regulate pain sensations.

St. John’s wort holds the potential to regulate neurotransmitters, and this makes it a potential natural remedy for neuropathic pain. (Read 4 Evidence Based Benefits Of St. John’s wort For Peripheral Neuropathy)

More clinical trials are needed to confirm its safety and effectiveness as an oral herbal supplements for neuropathy.

Traditionally in Europe, Olerum Hyperici is used to relieve rheumatic pain and to treat bruises, wounds and cuts.

Olerum Hyperici is the oil extract of St. John’s wort flowers. The fresh flowers are macerated in olive or sunflower oil and exposed to sunlight for 2-3 weeks. The final product is a red colour oil. [30]

The primary active compound extracted in the oil is hyperforin and adhyperforin. Other constituents include monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and hydrocarbons. Hypericin and pseudohypericin are not extracted in the oil.

Active compounds present in St. John’s wort have anti-inflammatory action comparable to that of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, indomethacin. [31]

Diabetic foot ulcer is a complication of diabetes characterised by severe ulceration and neuropathy in the feet.

As per the findings of two case reports, topical application of St. John’s wort oil can remedy diabetic foot ulcer. [32] [33]

Two patients with diabetic neuropathy and severe diabetic foot ulcers were treated with a topical application of St. John’s wort and neem (Azadirachta indica) oil.

Within 4-6 months of treatment, significant recovery of diabetic foot ulcer and complete reduction in neuropathic pain was observed. (Read & Buy St. John’s Wort Oil For Peripheral Neuropathy)

Quick Gist: St. John’s wort oil has natural analgesic property and can be an effective home remedy for nerve pain. Its topical application is found to heal diabetic ulcers and reduce nerve pain.

17.Essential oils

Essential oils are concentrated extracts of natural oils present in plants. These oils are rich in various active compounds that have multiple proven health benefits.

However, the possible toxicity associated with their oral use (some essential oils are not edible) limits their efficacy.

There is quite a bit of confusion about whether essential oils benefit or not but as far as pain relief is concerned the topical application of essentials oils can be effective. (Read Proven Benefits of Essential Oils for Neuropathy and Nerve Pain relief)

A study published in Journal of Nursing Scholarship has highlighted that aromatherapy massage can be used as a part of neuropathic pain management regimen. [34]

A blend of five oils was used: rosemary, geranium, lavender, eucalyptus and chamomile. The massage therapy was provided a week thrice for four weeks.

The pain score in the treatment group reduced from 6.5 to 2.0 while in the control group it reduced from 6.0 to 5.5. Improvements in quality of life were observed.

Topical application of chamomile essential oil and lavender essential oil is found to relieve neuropathic pain in nerve entrapment disorders. [35]  [36]

Greenway and colleagues have reported that topical application of geranium oil temporarily reduces nerve pain in patients with postherpetic neuralgia. [37]

Topical application of (10% menthol) peppermint oil can be an effective natural remedy for nerve pain relief in peripheral neuropathy. [38]

For more details check my list of top effective essential oils for neuropathy and nerve pain relief.

Quick Gist: Essential oils can help in peripheral neuropathy by reducing nerve pain naturally and improving quality of life. The temporary pain-relieving effect of oils can improve mood and sleep and reduce dependence on painkillers.

F] Alternative Therapies For Neuropathy

Alternative therapies can help improve therapeutic outcomes of conventional therapy for peripheral neuropathy.

Here are a few complementary natural treatments that may benefit in neuropathic pain relief:

18.Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture

Acupuncture has been practised for over 2000 years in China. It helps relieve nerve pain and regulates serotonin levels to induce pain relief. (Read 6 Proven Benefits of Acupuncture For Neuropathy)

Acupuncture is found to support nerve regeneration by boosting levels of neurotrophins (proteins essential for nerve development).

Bailey and colleagues have demonstrated that acupuncture therapy once a week for ten weeks lowers neuropathy symptoms in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy. [39]

A significant decrease in neuropathy symptoms such as burning pain, aching pain, numbness and allodynia was observed with acupuncture therapy.

Electroacupuncture is a variant of traditional acupuncture where acupuncture points are stimulated with small electric currents passed between a pair of acupuncture needles.

Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have reported that acupuncture therapy for 20 weeks helps lower nerve pain in patients experiencing thalidomide- or bortezomib-induced (chemotherapy) peripheral neuropathy. [40]

Electroacupuncture and acupoint injection with vitamin B12 are proven to improve nerve function and reduce nerve pain in diabetic neuropathy. [41]

Quick Gist: Acupuncture and electroacupuncture are effective alternative therapies or more importantly adjuvant alternative therapies for neuropathic pain and peripheral neuropathy treatment. Pre-clinical studies suggest that acupuncture induces analgesia and supports nerve repair.

19.Yoga

Yoga can help in the prevention of peripheral neuropathy by boosting antioxidant defences, lowering inflammation and possibly halting disease progression to prevent complications.

This is concerning diabetes. Three-month yoga practice is found to lower oxidative stress and improve blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes.  [42]

Such metabolic improvements with regular yoga practice may aid in the prevention of diabetic neuropathy.

A study published in International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2018 highlighted that 1-hour practice of yoga twice a week improves overall well being in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. [43]

Yoga practice improved sleep, stress management and neuromuscular function in the study population.

Please do not practice yoga when you are experiencing chronic neuropathic pain. Also, it is advisable to perform yoga asanas under a yoga teacher’s guidance.

Performing an asana incorrectly or choosing a pose that does not suit your health condition may worsen or even cause neuropathy.

Quick Gist: Yoga practice may help bolster mental health and improve overall well-being in individuals with peripheral neuropathy. Yoga should be used as a tool to prevent neuropathy.

Do not practice yoga without the guidance of a yoga teacher, especially if you are facing severe nerve pain.

20.Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a mind-body exercise originating in China. It is also referred to as ‘meditation in motion’.

It focusses on the Chinese philosophy ‘Qi’ which is an energy force that traverses the body is blocked in a disease like conditions and practising tai chi is one of the ways of removing these blockages to allow ‘Qi’ to flow through the body.

Tai Chi can be adapted to suit anyone’s requirements. It is best to consult a professional Tai Chi teacher and expert to understand what moves would suit for neuropathy relief.

Practising Tai Chi for 12 weeks (1 hour twice a week) is found to improve blood sugar control, quality of life, balance and even neuropathy symptoms in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. [44] (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York), 2012)

Researchers from Louisiana State University, USA have found that long-term practice of Tai Chi (24 weeks) improves physical performance parameters in patients with peripheral neuropathy. [45]

Quick Gist: Tai Chi seems like a potential alternative therapy for improving posture and stability in peripheral neuropathy patients. It can help in the prevention of diabetic neuropathy.

21.Massage and Aromatherapy

Therapeutic massage is being actively researched upon as a potential complementary and alternative therapy for certain health conditions.

Massage techniques play an important part in traditional Chinese and Indian medical care. Apart from relieving pain, massage therapy may also induce relaxation and improve sleep.

Massage therapy can be thought of as a palliative care technique for peripheral neuropathy.

Two-week therapy involving Thai foot massage is found to improve balance control and foot sensation in patients with diabetic neuropathy. [46]

A case report published in Support Care in Cancer, 2011 described how massage therapy helped reduce tingling, numbness and nerve pain in a patient who had developed chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. [47]

Previously I have highlighted the benefits of essential oils for peripheral neuropathy. Essential oils can be used as home remedies for nerve pain; but not as a replacement for conventional therapy.

Combining essential oils or aromatherapy with massage can help lower nerve pain more effectively than massage alone.

In a study involving 46 patients with painful diabetic neuropathy, treatment with aromatherapy massage three times per week for four weeks led to a reduction in neuropathic pain. [48]

The essential oils used were rosemary, geranium, lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile. Significant improvement in the quality of life was also reported.

Massage therapy seems to be a potential natural treatment for painful neuropathy, but one of the challenges in utilising this therapy is allodynia.

Allodynia is a symptom of peripheral neuropathy wherein the individual experiences significant pain in response to light touch. It is important for the massage therapist to decide what would be the right line of treatment for such cases.

Quick Gist: Massage therapy is an effective natural treatment for relieving nerve pain in peripheral neuropathy. It can serve as an add-on therapy.

Using essential oils for massage can effectively reduce neuropathic pain. In case of severe neuropathy, it is best to consult a massage therapist about what treatment would suit your health condition.

Precautions

Here are a few precautions to keep in mind when using natural remedies for peripheral neuropathy.

Natural remedies for peripheral neuropathy should be used as add-on therapy to improve the therapeutic effect of conventional therapy.

When using herbs, opt for good quality supplements preferably containing standardised extracts or patented extracts to lower the risk of contamination and drug interactions.

Some herbs have certain properties such as blood thinning or immunostimulating action that may not suit your health condition. Avoid the use of such herbs.

When opting for vitamins, consult your health practitioner to identify the right dose and formulation of vitamins that would suit your health.

Certain herbs and amino acids can influence our brain chemistry and may increase the tendency to develop mania if one is susceptible to it. Please use such supplements with caution.

Maintain a 3-4 hour gap between taking a dietary supplement and any other medication to reduce the risk of drug interaction. Please consult your doctor about any possible drug interactions with the natural remedy that you plan to use for neuropathy.

When using topical agents for nerve pain relief, please conduct a patch test first to rule out sensitivity. Dilute essential oils before using them. If you are using pungent agents such as capsaicin, consider using gloves if needed and avoid contact with sensitive areas.

Alternative therapies can augment the therapeutic effect of conventional therapy, but it is very important to consult a licensed practitioner or teacher about what therapy would suit you.

Conclusion

Natural treatments for peripheral neuropathy are potential modes by which one can improve the therapeutic effect of conventional therapy.

Supplementation with nutrients such as B vitamins, Vitamin D, omega-3s and magnesium can provide the vital elements that are required for optimum nerve function and help repair nerve damage naturally.

Herbs like turmeric and Lion’s mane mushroom have pleiotropic or multi-faceted actions that help target various biochemical pathways to bring about nerve pain relief naturally. They also offer neuroprotective action that helps protect nerve health from toxicity.

Amino acids like ALCAR are being looked forward to as a promising agent for nerve regeneration and neuropathic pain relief.

Antioxidant supplementation such as CoQ10 and ALA are particularly useful for cholesterol or high-fat diet induced peripheral neuropathy.

Alternative therapies like acupuncture and tai-chi focus on other aspects such as improving mental health and quality of life of individuals who are battling severe nerve pain.

When used wisely, natural remedies for peripheral neuropathy and nerve pain can bring about significant improvement in symptoms of the disorder and overall health of the patient.

Please consult your doctor before using any natural treatment for neuropathy. If you have used any natural remedy for neuropathy, do let us know about it and share your experience by leaving a comment below.

Discover science-backed natural remedies, herbal supplements and alternative therapies for peripheral neuropathy and nerve pain relief.

Shruti has been a health and science writer for the last 5 years. She founded Salubrainous.com to fuse her love for human biology research and desire to create crystal clear mental health awareness.
If not writing articles here, Shruti spends her time reading more research, conducting insilico studies and doing yoga.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.