Feelings of numbness, tingling or limpness in the extremities are nearly always caused by poor circulation. Poor blood flow to the feet often cause them to feel tingly, weak, numb or “asleep.” Fortunately, these common symptoms of poor circulation can be treated easily and safely using natural remedies–including herbs, vitamins and home treatment methods.
B-vitamins are a class of nutrients that are essential to the proper function of the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. For this reason, individual B-vitamins and B-complexes are frequently used to restore circulation and reduce sensations of numbness and tingling. Because they are water-soluble- the body flushes out whatever is not needed–there are few risks associated with B vitamins.
Niacin, or B-3, is especially useful for restoring healthy circulation to the hands and feet through the dilation of blood vessels. Cyanobalamin, or B-12, is also critical in supporting healthy circulation, as is its close chemical cousin, folate (also called B9 or folic acid). Look for highly absorbable B-vitamin complexes containing particularly high doses of these three nutrients.
Traditionally, herbalists have often recommended hawthorn berry as a naturopathic treatment for poor circulation or numbness. Hawthorn is commonly used to treat hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases, and it appears to lower blood pressure and enhance circulatory function. Hawthorn berries may actually work by strengthening and dilating arteries.
Ginkgo biloba, commonly known for its ability to enhance memory by improving circulation to the brain, is another popular candidate as an herbal medicine for persistent numbness. Ginkgo may improve the function of blood vessels in the neck and spine, as well as the function of the vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the feet.
Foods and Spices
People with a taste for strong, spicy flavors may experience fewer problems relating to poor circulation. Garlic is commonly considered to be a superfood because of its apparent ability to lower cholesterol, combat hypertension and enhance heart function. Additionally, garlic may defeat numbness in the feet by optimizing the health of the circulatory system.
Cayenne pepper–and possibly, other forms of pepper–are also well known for their ability to dilate blood vessels and improve circulation to the extremities. Another pungent spice, ginger, has also been used to enhance heart health and improve circulation throughout the body. For people who don’t enjoy strong flavors, ginger, garlic and cayenne are available in extracts and capsules.
Numb feet can be treated easily at home using hot-water soaks or heating pads. Blood vessels naturally dilate when exposed to heat, so exposure to warmth can help to enhance blood flow to any part of the body. This technique can work on a temporary basis, to relieve acute symptoms of numb feet, and may also work as a long-term therapeutic solution.
For best results, feet should be soaked in very hot water for at least 20 minutes daily. The water should be as hot as the person can tolerate–but obviously, not hot enough to burn or scald. Aromatherapeutic oils, epsom salts or Dead Sea salts may also help to improve the results of the method.
No home treatment plan is complete without an exercise protocol. Almost all chronic conditions can be improved through light or moderate daily exercise. A sedentary lifestyle will contribute to minor conditions such as poor circulation and numbness, as well as more serious diseases such as heart disease. Enhanced circulation is one good reason to exercise often.
Blood flow increases to all parts of the body during exercise, including the hands and feet. Without regular stimulation, the circulatory system may begin failing to pump adequate amounts of blood to the feet, leading to persistent feelings of numbness or tingling. Even light exercise, such as a daily 15-minute walk, can improve symptoms of this problem.