5 Nervine Herbs That May Aid Damaged Nerves
Nerve damage can cause tingling pins and needles, burning sensation, pain, numbness and weakness. There are different causes of nerve damage including diabetes, autoimmune disorders, nerve injuries, certain drugs and nutritional deficiencies.
Treating nerve damage and pain starts with identifying the underlying cause of the problem, and while in many cases it may not be possible to cure completely, there are some approaches that can slow down its progression and reduce the symptoms.
Besides conventional medicine, several alternative therapies have been used to improve nerve damage and pain, aka neuropathy. One form of these alternative remedies is the use of medicinal herbs that have nervine properties.
A nervine can be generally defined as any botanical preparation that has a positive therapeutic effect on the nervous system. There are different types of nervines including tonics, relaxants and stimulants.
Many nervine herbs have potential neuroprotective and neuroregenerative effects and may be considered as complementary therapies for neuropathic patients. While none of these herbs has been conclusively proven to be effective, some of them are supported by anecdotal evidence and promising results in preclinical studies.
So without further ado, the following is a list of the most popular nervine herbs that may help improve neural health and function, heal damaged neurons, and/or protect against further damage.
Note: These herbs are available over the counter and are generally considered to be safe, however, it is advised that you consult with a doctor before taking any herbal supplement to discuss its potential efficacy and safety for your case.
Ginkgo biloba tree leaves have multiple uses in traditional medicine across the globe. This herb seems to owe most of its healing properties to its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.
There is a good amount of evidence suggesting that ginkgo biloba can protect against nerve damage and may be beneficial for people suffering from diabetic neuropathy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Bacopa monnieri is a small flowering plant native to many countries and particularly renowned in India, where it has several applications in Ayurvedic medicine. It is commonly used as an adaptogenic herb to reduce stress and anxiety.
A few studies revealed that bacopa monnieri possesses neuroprotective properties and can be useful as a cognitive enhancer, especially for older people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline.
One animal study showed that bacopa may also be helpful in the management of neuropathic pain, however, its efficacy for this purpose has not been clinically proven in humans.
Turmeric is a culinary spice and an alternative remedy used all over the world. Curcumin is the main bioactive component of turmeric which has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain.
Curcumin helps the body fight oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which are factors that can contribute to nerve damage, neurological disorders, and other chronic diseases. There is also limited evidence that long-term supplementation with curcumin may help control neuropathic pain.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane mushroom (hericium erinaceus) is a type of tooth fungi, aka bearded tooth fungus, which is used as food and medicine. Both the fruiting body and the mycelium (roots) of this mushroom are used as a dietary supplement with several suggested health benefits.
The primary medicinal value of lion’s mane mushroom seems to stem from its ability to induce the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF): a neuropeptide that regulates the growth and maintenance of certain nerve cells.
More human studies are needed to draw solid conclusions on the efficacy of lion’s mane mushroom for neuropathy, but considering the promising results from current research, and the lack of significant side effects/risks associated with this mushroom, there is a good reason to suggest it is worth supplementing by people suffering from damaged nerves.
Passionflower (passiflora) is commonly used in tea or supplement form to promote rest and relaxation. Research shows that this herb possesses sedative and anxiolytic effects, which supports its use as a natural sleep aid.
Although passionflower is not known to have a particular therapeutic effect on damaged nerves, one animal study found that it may be useful in managing diabetic neuropathic pain, suggesting that this is a safe herbal remedy worth considering.