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Ask the Herbalist: Nerve Problems

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QUESTION: Do you know if there is anything that will help tarsal tunnel?

ANSWER: Though not as much is written about tarsal tunnel, my thoughts are the treatment would be the same as for carpal tunnel. (I would get a diagnosis and make sure you have tarsal tunnel and not a neuroma which can manifest the same symptoms)
          Aloe Vera, devils claw, yarrow and yucca will help restore flexibility and reduce inflammation. Capsicum for pain relief. Marshmallow Root to soothe and soften the tissues and promote healing.

My question is what do you recommend for an injured nerve. The C-5 nerve root in my neck was injured in surgery eight years ago. This has caused weakness and muscle atrophy in my left shoulder. Is there any hope at this point? What protocol would you suggest?

ANSWER:  Nerves are funny things. Are you seeing a good Chiropractor? That would be my first suggestion. If you had damage to the spinal column, you need to make sure everything is properly aligned before you try other things. Ginseng, Nettle and oats are the herbs that are most often used for nerve tonics.

I had read St. John's Wort is good for nerve damage. What do you say?

St. John's Wort is for healing and depression, not damaged nerves. For damaged nerves, Chamomile, Skullcap, Wood betony , Ginseng, Nettle and Oats seem to be the herbs of choice. Of course, you need to ensure that you're feeding your body the very best things you can.

You will be able to find many things on herbs on the internet and it's not for me to validate them or invalidate them. I am just one more source. I think as an antidepressant and an aid in the healing and function of neurotransmitters, St.John's Wort is well documented. Most of the things I've read use it in conjunction with other practices like the story on polarity treatment. I can't find anywhere that someone took only St. John's Wort for nerve replacement or regeneration and had it well documented. I don't know the extent of your injuries, the symptoms you're experiencing, medications you might be taking etc. So when you asked for the best herbs to help with the nerves and said it wasn't a case of a spinal injury that could be aided by chiropractic manipulation, I suggested the herbs I most often turn to.  Lots of people read this forum and if I write that St. John's Wort is the Nervine cure all, there would be those who would run out and use it in excess, probably doing more harm than good. I prefer a well-rounded approach using multiple herbs, diet and vitamins and minerals. St. John's Wort is just not one of the herbs I prefer in my nerve tonics. All herbalists have their favorite herbs for different conditions.. I don't ever use just one herb for anything. I always do combinations. That's just my particular methodology.  Do I think it would hurt you to start taking St. John's Wort? I have no way of knowing without a full consultation. If there is a ND or holistic practitioner close that you could see, that would be my suggestion.