Neuritis is one of the serious nervous disorders. It refers to an inflammation of the nerves, involving a single nerve or a series of nerves. At times, several different groups of nerves in various parts of the body may be involved. This condition is known as polyneuritis. It is also known as polyneuropathy, for strictly speaking, the condition is not an inflammation, but a change in the state of the nerves resulting in weakness, loss of the reflexes and changes of sensation.
The main symptoms of neuritis are tingling, burning, and stabbing pains in the affected nerves. IN severe cases, there may be numbness and loss of sensation and paralysis of the nearby muscles. Thus a temporary paralysis of the face may result from changes in the facial nerves on the affected side. During the acute stage of this condition, the patient may not be able to close the eyes due to loss of normal tone and strength by the muscles on the affected side of the face. Neuritis may also be caused by pernicious anaemia, involving the nerves of the spine. The patient with this condition may find it very difficult to walk in the dark.
The chief cause of neuritis is chronic acidosis, that is, excessive acid condition of the blood and other body fluids. All the body fluids should be alkaline in their reaction, but when the acid waste matter is continuously formed in the tissues over a long period due to a faulty diet, it results in acidosis. Wrong habits of living, over work, etc., lower the tone of nervous system and contribute towards neuritis. This disease can also result from a variety of nutritional deficiencies and metabolic disturbances such as faulty calcium metabolism, deficiencies of several B vitamins like B12, B6, B1, pantothenic acid and B2 and general toxaemia.
Other causes of neuritis include a blow, a penetrating injury a bad bruise or heavy pressure over a nerve trunk and dislocation and fractures of the bones. Any violent muscular activity or over-extension of the joint as in sprains may injure the nerves and cause neuritis. The condition may also result from certain infections such as tuberculosis, diptheria, tetanus, leprosy and diabetes mellitus, poisoning with insecticides, mercury, lead, arsenic and alcohol.
Treatment of neuritis by painkilling drugs may give temporary relief but it does not remove the trouble effectively. The pain is relieved for the time being at the cost of the health of other parts of the body, especially the heart and the kidneys, and the neuritis remains.
The best treatment for neuritis is to ensure that the patient gets optimum nutrition, well assimilated with all the vitamins and other nutrients. The emphasis should be on whole grains, particularly whole wheat, brown rice, raw and sprouted seeds, raw milk, especially in soured form, and home-made cottage cheese.
In this regimen, the breakfast may consist of fresh fruits, a handful of raw nuts or a couple of tablespoons of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Steamed vegetables, whole wheat, chappatis and a glass of butter-milk may be taken for lunch. The dinner may comprise a large bowl of fresh, green, vegetable salad, fresh home made cottage cheese, fresh butter and a glass of butter milk.
In severe cases, the patient should be put on a short juice fast for four or five days before being given the optimum diet. Carrot, beet, citrus fruits, apple and pineapple may be used for juices. All vitamins of the B group have proved highly beneficial in the prevention and treatment of neuritis. The disorder has been helped when vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, and pantothenic acid have been given together, and extreme pain, weakness and numbness in some cases have been relieved within an hour.
The patient should avoid white bread, white sugar, refined cereals, meat, fish, tinned foods, tea, coffee, and condiments which are at the root of the trouble, by continuously flooding the tissues with acid impurities.
Certain remedies have been found highly beneficial in the treatment of neuritis. One such remedy is soyabean milk. A cupful of soyabean milk mixed with a teaspoonful of honey should be taken every night in this condition. It tones up the nervous system due to its rich concentration of lecithin, vitamin B1 and glutanic acid. Soyabean milk is prepared by soaking the beans in water for about 12 hours. The skin of the beans is then removed and after a thorough wash, they are turned into a fine paste in a grinding machine. The paste is mixed with water, three times its quantity. The milk should then be boiled on a slow fire, stirring it frequently. After it becomes little cooler, it should be strained through a cheese cloth and sugar added.
Barley brew is another effective remedy for neuritis. It is prepared by boiling one-quarter cup of all natural pearled barley in two quarters of water. When the water has boiled down to about one quarter, it should be strained carefully. For better results, it should be mixed with butter-milk and lime juice.
Raw carrot and spinach have proved valuable in neuritis as both these vegetables are rich in elements, the deficiency of which has led to this disease. The quickest and most effective way in which the body can obtain and assimilate these elements is by drinking daily at least half a litre of the combined raw juices of carrot and spinach.
The patient should be given two or three hot Epsom-salt baths weekly. He should remain in the bath for 25 to 30 minutes. The affected parts should also be bathed several times daily in the hot water containing Epsom salt – a table-spoon of salt to a cupful of hot water. The patient should undertake walking and other moderate exercises.