• Dr A A Mundewadi

Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment for Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO)

Neuromyelitis optica, also known as NMO or Devic’s disease, is a simultaneous inflammation and demyelination of the optic nerve as well as the spinal chord. This condition is different from multiple sclerosis. The symptoms include weakness and paralysis of the lower extremities, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and varying degrees of blindness. This condition is caused due to an autoimmune reaction in the body which is demonstrated by the presence of antibodies the blood. This condition may be associated with other systemic diseases. There is no cure for this condition in the modern system of medicines. Acute attacks can be satisfactorily treated with intravenous steroids, plasmapheresis, and the use of immuno-suppressants. The acute condition subsides in a few weeks; however, nearly 85% patients relapse. One characteristic of this disease is that the maximum disability is from acute attacks, while the chronic condition is rarely progressive.

Ayurvedic herbal treatment for neuromyelitis optica involves the use of Ayurvedic herbal medicines to bring about immunomodulation of the body as well as to simultaneously treat both the inflammation as well as the degeneration of nerves within the eye and spinal chord. Treatment involves a comprehensive protocol of herbal medicines which act on the retina; medicines which act on the nervous system and have a strengthening effect on the brain and spinal chord; medicines which have anti-inflammatory properties; and medicines which reverse the autoimmune process going on in affected individuals.

In addition to the use of herbal tablets to be taken orally, supplementary treatment can also be given in the form of eye drops as well as local applications in the form of medicated oils and ointments to be used directly on the back and lower extremities.

Depending upon the severity of the condition, Ayurvedic herbal treatment is usually required for periods ranging from six to eighteen months. This treatment stabilizes the patient, prevents further degeneration of vision and lower limb disability, and brings about recovery to the maximum extent possible. Ayurvedic herbal treatment thus has a definite role in the management of neuromyelitis optica.

The writer, Dr. A. A. Mundewadi, is available as an online Ayurvedic Consultant at and

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