Nerve damage or neuropathy is the destruction or degeneration of the myelin sheath which insulates the axon of a nerve cell. When the myelin sheath is destroyed, the axon loses its ability to effectively conduct electrical impulses resulting in numbness, tingling, pain, weakness and burning sensations.
Lyme Disease and Nerve Damage
Nerve damage is a common symptom of Lyme Disease and seems to exponentially get worse the longer an appropriate treatment protocol is delayed. Just like inhibiting antibody production by invading white blood cells, Borrelia can cause nerve damage by invading nerve cells and killing them in a process called apoptosis.
Mycoplasma, a cell wall deficient bacteria and a common Lyme Disease co-infection, can actually carry part of the host's cell membrane on their surface when it leaves nerve cells. This leads the immune system to believe that the host's antigen is a threat and it attacks its own host in what is known as an autoimmune response. The immune system attacks the myelin sheath causing further nerve damage.
Repairing Nerve Damage
Peripheral nerves, which are nerves that exist outside of the brain and spinal cord, possess the ability to regenerate and heal themselves. Below are some commonly used herbs for helping the body heal its damaged peripheral nerves from Lyme Disease and co-infections.
St. John's Wort - St John's Wort is an extract made from the stem and leaves of the perennial herb Hypericum Perforatum which is native to Europe. It's more commonly know for its use to treat depression. St. John's Wort is well known for its ability to repair nerve damage and reduce pain and inflammation.
Blue Vervain - Blue Vervain is an extract produced from the stems and leaves of the herb Verbena Hastata which is native to North America. Blue Vervain is great for liver and gallbladder health. It is said that Blue Vervain is an excellent herb for the nervous system and builds damaged nerves.
Avena Sativa (Oats) - Avena Sativa is an extract made from wild oats which are annuals. One can reap the benefits of Avena Sativa simply by eating old fashioned oats that have been unprocessed. Avena Sativa is a tonic to the nervous system and is commonly used for anxiety. It is also used to help repair nerve damage.
B Complex Vitamins - B vitamins play an essential role in providing the body with the proper nutrients needed for repairing tissue.
There are 3 parts to a nerve cell: dendrites, a soma (cell body), and an axon.
Image from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zooboing/4743616313/, Author: Patrick Hoesly, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial Version 2.0