Herbal and Ayurvedic remedies may provide new treatment options for diabetes patients suffering from neuropathy. This is according to a review conducted by Indian researchers of studies exploring natural remedies for diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes mellitus. It is caused by damage to a diabetic patient's nerves, likely due to a combination of different factors
such as metabolic factors, autoimmune factors, neurovascular factors, lifestyle factors, mechanical injury to nerves and even inherited traits.
Experts estimate that around 60 percent to 70 percent of patients
with diabetes mellitus develop some form of neuropathy. In addition, the risk of developing neuropathy increases as the patient grows older, with higher rates observed in patients who have had diabetes for at least 25 years.
With this in mind, researchers from Integral University
in India conducted a review of existing studies on various alternative remedies for diabetic neuropathy, including herbal and Ayurvedic remedies.
Their findings were published
in the Journal of Dietary Supplements
Herbs can help address diabetic neuropathy
The researchers noted that while there are various medicinal formulations that can reduce the harmful effects of diabetes and its complications, herbal ones are preferred as they have fewer side effects and lower cost.
With this in mind, the researchers reviewed studies that looked at herbal remedies for diabetes and whether they had any positive effects on diabetic neuropathy. These studies identified the following plants as having analgesic and neuroprotective effects against neuropathic pain:
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.)
- Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
- Dates (Phoenix dactylifera)
- Grapes (Vitis vinifera)
- Amla (Emblica officinalis L.)
- Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus L.)
- Talimkhana (Hygrophila spinosa)
- Bitter apple (Citrullus colocynthis)
- Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.)
- Sweet flag (Acorus calamus)
- Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
- Olives (Olea europaea)
- Jambolan (Eugenia jumbolana)
- Velvet bean (Mucurna pruriens)
- Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-greacum)
- Balsam (Momordica charantia)
- Rubber tree extract (Calotropis procera)
- Onion (Allium cepa) and garlic (Allium sativum)
- Mexican arnica (Heterotheca inuloides)
Ayurveda against diabetic neuropathy and diabetes
The researchers also reviewed studies that investigated the use of Ayurvedic medicine against diabetic neuropathy and diabetes.
They acknowledged that the mechanisms of diabetic neuropathy are still poorly understood. As such, treatment currently focuses on alleviating pain. Studies also point out that the first line of treatment
for diabetic polyneuropathy is the management of diabetes itself.
The studies were able to identify a number of Ayurvedic medicines and treatments that were effective in addressing either nerve damage linked to diabetic neuropathy or diabetes itself. These Ayurvedic treatments include:
- Ghana vati
- Bhoonimbadi choornam
- Sapta-avartita guduchi taila and padabhyanga
- Swarna bhasma and dashamoola kwatha
- Dashmool extract, pushkarmool extract and hingu
- Dashamooladi rasayana compound
- Atibalamula and bhumyamalaki
Other remedies against diabetic neuropathy
Beyond herbal and Ayurvedic treatments, the researchers also looked at studies exploring other alternative remedies for diabetic neuropathy.
They reported that consuming coffee, black cumin seed (Nigella sativa
) oil, evening primrose oil, cinnamon oil, as well as foods rich in B vitamins could help address diabetic neuropathy. Traditional Chinese Medicine formulations like baimai-san and aconitum were also found to help with the disease. (Related: Treating diabetic foot pain with alternative remedies
Based on their review, the researchers concluded that various herbal, Ayurvedic and alternative remedies show promise in treating diabetic neuropathy. They also noted that more research should be conducted on these remedies and treatments to allow for the development of innovative new therapies against diabetic neuropathy and diabetes.
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