zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Herbs for Postherpetic Neuralgia

by
author image Robyn Hughes
Robyn Hughes has been writing since 2008 about health, nutrition, fitness and botanical medicine. She is a naturopathic physician and freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in cognitive science from Indiana University and a doctoral degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore.
Herbs for Postherpetic Neuralgia
White flowers on the medicinal plant, meadowsweet, growing in a grassy field. Photo Credit Filosoff/iStock/Getty Images

Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles. It occurs when your peripheral nerves are damaged during a shingles infection. Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Approximately 20 percent of people with shingles develop this long-term condition. Discuss all aspects of your care, including herbs as a treatment option, with your physician before making decisions about your treatments. Understanding the risks associated with herbs can help you avoid unwanted side effects.

Postherpetic Neuralgia

Most cases of shingles self-resolve within several weeks. However, if your pain remains after your shingles rash and blisters vanish, you probably have postherpetic neuralgia. Postherpetic neuralgia causes several characteristic symptoms, including burning or jabbing pain, heightened sensitivity to light touch, numbness, itching and muscle weakness or paralysis. The pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia may be agonizing and excruciating, and it may significantly affect your daily living activities.

Helpful Herbs

Certain herbs possess pain-relieving properties and may help treat painful conditions such as postherpetic neuralgia. Corydalis, Jamaican dogwood, meadowsweet, valerian and kava kava may help reduce your pain. Other herbs may be helpful in treating shingles and postherpetic neuralgia too, including St. John's wort, oat straw and skullcap. Licorice extract has also been used topically to help treat postherpetic neuralgia.

Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet is one herbal remedy that may be useful in treating postherpetic neuralgia. The primary constituents in this herb are salicylates, which are compounds that possess a chemical structure similar to aspirin. Meadowsweet has anti-inflammatory and analgesic, or pain-reducing, action. It is a plant indigenous to certain regions of Europe and Western Asia. The leaves and flower tops of the meadowsweet plant are used in herbal preparations.

Recommendations

In addition to using herbal remedies and other treatment methods prescribed by your physician, consider keeping your stress levels low to help speed your recovery. Chronic stress decreases your immune system's ability to ward off infection. You should also consider eating foods that contain significant amounts of vitamin B6, including bananas, nuts and sweet potatoes. A cleansing fast may be helpful in treating this condition, although you should always discuss the proper procedures for fasting with your doctor beforehand.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.