The trigeminal nerve is the main nerve controlling sensation in the face. Trigeminal neuralgia occurs on one side of the face and manifests as excruciating, intermittent pain in the cheek, gums, chin or lips. Conventional medical treatments are available, but none is guaranteed. Certain home remedies offer hope for pain relief, but there is no known cure. Consult a health care practitioner before initiating any herbal treatment for trigeminal neuralgia.
The homeopathic remedy Spegelia has been used for years by homeopaths to treat the effects of trigeminal neuralgia and prospalgia of the face, according to the “Materia Medica and Repertory” by homeopath Dr. William Boericke. The remedy relieves pain in the cheeks, upper gums, chin, nose and eyes. It is helpful for pain on either side of the face but is particularly suited to pains on the left side. The patient may feel chilly and be extremely sensitive to touch during an attack. Spegelia is available at some health food stores and from online homeopathic pharmacies. This remedy should be used under the guidance of a qualified homeopathic practitioner.
The Clayton College of Natural Health mentions the topical use of capsaicin cream or cayenne pepper, also called capsicum, for pain relief for trigeminal neuralgia. Capsaicin cream is available for purchase in pharmacies. Alternatively, a pinch of cayenne pepper can be mixed with olive oil or other unscented facial cream and applied to the painful area. Both capsaicin and cayenne pepper may produce hypersensitivity of the skin and the affected nerve. Discontinue use if this occurs. People who bleed easily should avoid using cayenne pepper.
Several Chinese herbs provide pain relief for those suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, according to TCMAssistant.com. Shao Yao Gan Cao Tang, a peony and licorice combination, is useful for calming spasmodic, sudden pains. Qing Shang Juan Tong Tang helps relieve head pain in general, including facial pains. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang helps to unblock trapped energy channels, increasing blood flow to the painful area. Chinese herbs are available from Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists who include herbal medicine in their practices. They are also sold at herbal shops selling traditional Chinese medicines. Side effects may occur from the use of these herbs, and guidance from a qualified practitioner or Doctor of Oriental Medicine is recommended before using Chinese herbs for this condition.
- Clayton College of Natural Health: CAPSICUM or Cayenne
- TCM Assistant: Trigeminal Neuralgia
- “Materia Medica and Repertory”; William Boericke, 1987
Jean Bardot is a freelance writer and natural health practitioner. She started writing in 1994 and has contributed articles to publications such as "Similimum" and the "IFH Journal." She has a Bachelor of Science in public health from the University of North Carolina and a Master of Science in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health.