Bell’s Palsy or facial paralysis is a condition that involves the degeneration of nerves around the face. This weakening of nerves affects surrounding muscles and the ability to control them, leaving a particular region of the face paralyzed. Although there is no clear reason for its occurrence, patients have shown signs of improvement within 10 days of the onset, even without treatment.
Bell’s Palsy mostly occurs as a side effect to certain infections that involve the herpes virus and in some cases of nerve inflammation. Inflamed nerves damage a protective sheath around the nerve cells, making transmission of signals from the brain hard to receive, which causes numbing of the surrounding muscle. It is a very common condition and occurs in 1 of every 70 men/women aged between 10-40, where around 80% of those affected recovered naturally within 6 months of its onset.
Natural Remedies For Bell’s Palsy
Although in most cases the body repairs itself of any nerve inflammation and the herpes virus, there are certain cases where Bell’s Palsy seems to last for a prolonged period of time. Some natural ways to counter symptoms
Foods rich in Vitamin B-12, B-6, folate, zinc and Vitamin D improve nerve repair and regeneration. They contain essential fatty acids that are used to repair nerve sheaths and better nerve impulses.
Regular bouts of physio can improve muscle co-ordination,sensitivity and range of movement. Several studies show that this has been an effective natural method in treating the effects of Bell’s Palsy in most cases.1
Acupuncture in combination with moxibustion has shown promising results in treating patients affected by Bell’s Palsy, eliciting detectable changes in the brain. The treatment comprehends several local acupuncture points eliminating wind, regulating qi(chi or energy) and blood. This helps obliterate impediments and restore facial nerve function.2
- Abhyanga: Panchakarma procedure which incorporates facial oil massage, improving blood circulation and relieving any inflammation associated with it.
- Mridu swedana: This is the next step after abhyanga. It comprises of
- Nasya: Instillation of herbal medications through the nostrils to balance doshas. The medications pervade into the nervous system, relieving any kind of blockage of channels.
- Snigdha-Amla-Lavana Rasa Prayoga: Orchestrating medicaments that encompass unctuousness, sour and salt taste.
- Vatahara oushadha: According to ayurveda, vata is vitiated in the corresponding nerves, veins and arteries deteriorating the functioning of nerves in the facial area. This remedy includes medication to balance vata dosha.
- Lehsuna (Garlic): Any kind of obstruction from the body channel is cleared with the use of Garlic. It helps stimulate facial nerves by enhancing blood circulation. It also normalizes vata and relieves any pain associated with Bell’s Palsy.
- Sarshapa (Mustard): Mustard can be taken internally or used as a medicated oil for massage. It helps avoid blockages and improves blood circulation.
- Lavanga (Clove): Regular intake can help strengthen nerves.
- Masha (Blackgram): This herb possesses vata balancing properties. It can be used as an effective treatment for Bell’s Palsy in the form of food or as a medicated oil.
- Eranda (Castor leaves and oil): It helps ameliorate nerve strength and rectify vata imbalances.3
Medications For Bell’s Palsy
Certain medications have shown to reduce the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy.
An antiviral drug used to fight the herpes virus, it has shown to reduce the effects of Bell’s Palsy as well.4
Small doses of Botox with physiotherapy exercises have shown to reverse the effects of synkinesis (twisting of nerve endings), the principle cause behind Bell’s Palsy.5
Severely depressed nerves may require a minor surgery to fix nerve channels and bring back nerve impulses.6
|↑1||Physical Therapy for Facial Paralysis: A Tailored Treatment Approach, Journal of The American Physical Therapy Association|
|↑2||Efficacy of acupuncture and moxibustion in treating Bell’s palsy: a multi center randomized controlled trial in China, U.S National Library Of Medicine|
|↑3||Dr JV Hebbar,
|↑4||Hato, Naohito, et al. “Efficacy of early treatment of Bell’s palsy with oral acyclovir and prednisolone.” Otology & neurotology 24.6 (2003): 948-951.|
|↑5||Toffola, Elena Dalla, et al. “Evaluation and treatment of synkinesis with botulinum toxin following facial nerve palsy.” Disability and rehabilitation32.17 (2010): 1414-1418.|
|↑6||Gantz, Bruce J., et al. “Surgical management of Bell’s palsy.” The Laryngoscope 109.8 (1999): 1177-1188.|