Q: Quite often, I experience excruciating pain in my feet and ankles. Recently, I also had pain in my wrist. The doctor says the pain comes from nerve endings.
I saw an ad on TV for Nervive. When I looked it up, I found that it is not a prescription drug but appears to be an herbal remedy. Are there home remedies for this pain from nerve endings?
A: You seem to be describing what doctors refer to as neuropathic pain. The over-the-counter product Nervive Nerve Relief contains B vitamins (thiamine, pyridoxine and cyanocobalamin). It also includes the dietary supplement alpha lipoic acid as well as extracts of turmeric and ginger.
We searched for clinical trial data on this formulation, but could find no randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind studies. The manufacturer includes this disclaimer on its website: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
A recent review of alpha lipoic acid found that this antioxidant may be helpful for neuropathy that’s due to diabetes (Pharmacological Research, March 2022). B vitamins, like those in this product, have been found helpful against low back pain (Semergen, November-December 2021). We would very much like to see a well-controlled clinical trial on this remedy. Please let us know if it works for you.
Q: There’s a good reason people love NSAIDs. With chronic neck pain, I took ibuprofen regularly for over 25 years because it lowered my pain. But after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (an ulcerated/bleeding large intestine), I decided that ibuprofen was probably too risky for me.
I tried every natural supplement for pain that I read about. Six years later, I finally found one containing curcumin, boswellia and turmeric essential oil in a formula that increases absorption. After taking it daily for about a month, I no longer had intolerable neck pain. Taking this supplement daily, I haven’t needed ibuprofen for five years.
A: We’re delighted that you are getting such relief. You should be aware, however, that curcumin (a component of turmeric) could increase your risk for bleeding.
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, has anti-inflammatory properties. It can, however, trigger heartburn.
To learn more about the pros and cons of these remedies, you may wish to read Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This 104-page paperback booklet can be found in the store at PeoplesPharmacy.com. There is also information on many other natural approaches to easing inflammation and joint pain.
Q: I so appreciate you writing about home remedies. When I had diarrhea as a little kid, my mother would grate an apple. Once it turned brown, she’d feed me a few spoonfuls. In addition, I’d have toast and plain rice for a day or two instead of my usual food. She said it was pectin in the apple that eased diarrhea.
A: Thank you for your recollection. This sounds quite similar to the BRAT diet that is still recommended by some pediatricians for kids with digestive upset. It stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Bananas and apples are good sources of pectin which may help ease diarrhea. Rice and toast are considered easy to digest.