Q: A family member has been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and we are looking for effective natural remedies. Also are there any essential oils for peripheral neuropathy pain?
A: While there’s no cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are treatments, especially holistic ones, that work very well. My husband has diabetes and as a consequence of that, suffers from diabetic peripheral neuropathy. And a dear friend is a breast cancer survivor who suffers from chemotherapy induced neuropathy.
Recent statistics show that about 20 million people in the United States have some form of peripheral neuropathy (source).
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition resulting from damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves that transmits information from the brain and the spinal cord to every other part of the body.
These nerves become damaged by any number of things:
- Physical injury
- Repetitive Stress
- Diabetes or other disorders of the endocrine system
- Diseases of the circulatory system
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Cancer and/or chemotherapy treatments for cancer
- Poisons or other toxic substances
- Some medications
Ultimately, any condition impairing blood flow to the nerves and depriving them of the oxygen and nourishment provided by blood flow can lead to neuropathy.
It’s like depriving a plant of water. That plant is going to die. When the nerves become damaged because they have no oxygen, peripheral neuropathy is the result.
What are the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?
Not all patients have all symptoms but the most common are:
- Numbness and tingling
- Prickling sensation
- Muscle weakness
- Abnormal sensitivity to touch (imagine not being able to sleep because the sheets touching you is too painful)
- Burning pain
- Muscle wasting and atrophy
- Impaired digestion, urination, sexual function
Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy
There are a variety of treatments for peripheral neuropathy:
- Treating the underlying cause
- Proper diet and exercise to give the body what it needs to fight back
- Various medications such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), narcotics and some anti-convulsant and anti-depressant medications
- Topical agents such as lidocaine or capsaicin for pain
Natural Alternatives for Peripheral Neuropathy
If none of the above sounds appealing to you, there are natural alternatives.
Related: The Benefits of CBD Oil for Women
Natural and holistic alternatives give the body what it needs to get back to balance and heal itself. Rather than just addressing symptoms, you address the root cause of the problem and have a better chance of not having recurring symptoms. You don’t just take a pill, feel better… and then the problem starts all over again.
Here are some natural alternatives to consider in addition to getting your diet and exercise under control:
1. Try an organically grown CBD Oil. Women suffering from chronic pain such as fibromyalgia or certain types of neuropathy such as post-chemotherapy neuropathy, and even multiple sclerosis have shown improvement in their pain levels with CBD oil (source).
2. Vitamin supplements such as Vitamins B, B1, B2, B6, B12 and D may help to address any vitamin deficiency contributing to your peripheral neuropathy.
3. Some herbal alternatives for pain and inflammation are:
Always consult an herbalist for a complete examination and work up to determine your particular constitution and arrive at the proper herbs for your body.
Essential Oils for Peripheral Neuropathy
Yes, I know, it took a bit of reading to get to this but I have seen essential oils truly benefit my husband and my friend (and many of her friends at MDAnderson Cancer Center) with their neuropathy symptoms. These plant based oils do not TREAT neuropathy. What they do, however, is give the body what it needs to help right itself and that’s where the relief of symptoms occurs.
You can make a blend of essential oils for peripheral neuropathy by combining:
1 part organic coconut oil
3 parts frankincense essential oil (for its anti-inflammatory constituents and benefits to the skin)
3 parts cypress essential oil (for its constituents benefitting the circulatory system and to relieve swelling)
1 part lavender essential oil (for its constituents assisting in cell renewal and healing)
You can make this blend in quantity and keep it in a brown or blue glass bottle with a dropper. Apply several drops to the affected area morning and night.
A blend of any of these oils may help to provide relief from neuropathy symptoms and help the body get back to balance and begin to heal itself. You can also diffuse these oils if you prefer not to use them topically OR you can do both – aromatic (aromatherapy) and massage.
The beauty of herbal alternatives and essential oils for peripheral neuropathy is your ability to customize their use to what works for you.