Peripheral neuropathy is a common problem that can result from a variety of health problems. It can result from nerve damage caused by metabolic or hormonal changes, mechanical compression, or even the toxic effects of some medications.
Because the causes of peripheral neuropathy vary, so do the symptoms. Each person with peripheral neuropathy may have a different presentation, making the diagnosis more difficult. However, the most common symptoms are numbness and tingling in the limbs, pain in some areas of the body, and even changes in the functioning of certain internal organs, such as changes in bowel movements.
Once the person has been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, the primary treatment would be to cure or manage the underlying disease. For example, in diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the primary treatment would be to treat the diabetes by trying to control the blood sugar levels. In practice, managing or controlling the underlying disease is not always an option. Take the example of chemotherapy, which often leads to peripheral neuropathy.
Modern medicine has very few options for treating limb numbness or painful peripheral neuropathy. Most doctors would start with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and in severe cases they may prescribe opioids. In some cases, doctors may use anti-seizure and antidepressant medications. The problem with most chemical drugs is low efficacy and a high number of side effects. Not surprisingly, traditional or alternative medicine plays an important role in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy.
Chinese herbs and peripheral neuropathy
Chinese herbal medicine is perhaps one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world. It has evolved a lot over the centuries. Like many other traditional medical systems, it has a particular approach to diseases.
Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years, and in the last few centuries, its use has spread to many countries outside of China, including the United States. In recent times, many studies or clinical trials have been conducted, and most of the studies have demonstrated the
Chinese herbs in peripheral neuropathy. There is substantial evidence that certain Chinese herbs and their extracts can relieve pain, improve nerve conduction, reduce inflammation, and help nerves recover.
Chinese herbs are non-addictive, they act by reducing oxidative stress and free radicals, they help regulate the metabolic disorder, activate protein kinase C, they help reduce advanced glycation end products. Chinese herbs can also help to increase the levels of nerve growth factors (NGF), insulin-like growth factor-1, these herbs have a positive effect on microcirculation and hemodynamics. Chinese herbs can inhibit various inflammatory responses; they can reduce the levels of endothelin, reduce the production of cytokines, suppress inflammation. Chinese herbs have been shown to have analgesic effects, thus helping in painful neuropathy.
Chinese herbs or Chinese herbal medicine has a special role to play in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy, considering that current conventional medicine has many limitations.
Like other traditional systems of medicine, Chinese traditional medicine looks at the body as a whole; it has a universal approach to disease. It does not believe in treating only the symptoms, but in treating the root cause. According to traditional Chinese medicine, peripheral neuropathy occurs for four reasons:
- Chronic diseases lead to yin deficiency and burning of fluids, resulting in an empty It increases the viscosity of blood, leading to blood stasis, blockage of channels and tendons.
- Foods high in sugar and fat disturb the balance of spleen and stomach. It leads to dampness, accumulation of phlegm and thus aggravation of stagnation.
- Because of the weakness of the liver and kidneys, the sinews and channels suffer from a lack of nourishment.
- Yin deficiency leads to Yang deficiency, causing internal coldness and macrovascular coagulation.
All of these factors reduce the flow of qi (vital energy) and disrupt the flow of blood to the muscles, channels, and tendons. Disturbances in qi, yin and yang lead to blood stasis and phlegm accumulation, and the goal of any herbal therapy in Chinese medicine is to correct this balance and thus cure the disease at the root level.
Traditional Chinese medicine is quite complicated, and thus the prescription of Chinese herbs requires years of experience, it is not something that can be done by yourself. To get the right prescription of herbs, it is always better to consult the specialist. Furthermore, it must be understood that Chinese medicines are mostly the combination of various herbs, the use of the single herb is uncommon. Some of the Chinese medicines may also contain non-herbal extracts.
Some of the most common Chinese herbs used to treat peripheral neuropathy are Ordinal Milkvetch Root (Radix Astragali seu Hedysari), Suberect Spatholobus Stem (Caulis Spatholobi), Peony Root (Radix Paeoniae Rubra), Sichuan Lovage Rhizome (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong), Danshen Root (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae), to name a few.
Some of the most commonly used Chinese herbal medicines (each containing several herbs) are Guizhi Shaoyao Zhimu Tang, Xiaoke Tongluo Capsule, YiqiWenyanghuoxue Tang, Tangpingluotong Yin, and many more.
In conclusion, one must understand that Chinese herbs can help in cases where other methods have failed. However, it is important to know that self-medication with Chinese herbs is not possible and it is better to consult a specialist in this field.