Choosing the best herbal treatment for sciatica can be a time-consuming process, as it often takes a trial and error approach to find out which herbs provide the most desirable results in an individual situation. Some of the supplements most frequently used to treat pain and other symptoms affecting the sciatic nerve include devil's claw, stinging nettle, and white willow. A program designed for the herbal treatment of sciatica may also include chamomile, wintergreen, and cayenne pepper. A doctor should be consulted before using an herbal treatment for sciatica in order to discuss possible side effects and medication interactions.
Devil's claw is a popular herbal treatment for sciatica, especially if the nerve pain is caused by arthritis. This herb is a natural blood thinner and should not be used by those with bleeding disorders unless under the direct supervision of a doctor. Some of the most common side effects of devil's claw include nausea, headaches, and blood pressure changes.
Stinging nettle has been used for centuries to treat conditions such as sciatica that cause lower back pain. A poultice can be made with this herb and applied to the affected area. Skin irritation is common, and gloves should be worn when working with stinging nettle.
White willow bark is very similar to aspirin and is often used as an herbal treatment for sciatica. Thought to help reduce pain and inflammation, this supplement should not be used with pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Young children and those with impaired kidney function should not use products containing white willow bark unless directed by a physician.
Chamomile can be made into a tea and used as an herbal treatment for sciatica. The tea is then used as a compress over the affected area and is thought to provide almost immediate pain relief. A person who is allergic to plants such as ragweed may also have allergic responses to chamomile. Wintergreen oil may also be used externally but can be toxic if ingested internally.
Cayenne pepper is frequently used as an herbal treatment for sciatica as well as other forms of muscle or joint pain. This is the primary ingredient in many over-the-counter muscle rubs. Skin irritation and a burning sensation may occur when applying products containing this herb, especially among those with sensitive skin issues. Many herbal remedies can be safely combined with more conventional treatment options, but a doctor should be consulted prior to beginning any new treatment program.