Herbal Foot Baths and Their Impact on Diabetic Nerve Pain

Jenn Hoskins
4th March, 2024

Herbal Foot Baths and Their Impact on Diabetic Nerve Pain

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a Chinese study, TW foot baths improved symptoms in diabetic neuropathy patients
  • Lower dose TW foot baths were more effective than higher doses after 24 weeks
  • The treatment was safe with no serious side effects reported
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a debilitating condition that affects many people with diabetes, causing pain, loss of sensation, and a higher risk of foot complications[2]. Traditional treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels and cardiovascular risk factors, but there is a pressing need for more effective therapies[3]. One promising approach is the use of traditional Chinese medicine, which has been shown to potentially offer relief for DPN through multi-target and multi-pathway actions[4]. A recent study by the Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine has explored the efficacy and safety of Tangbi Waixi Decoction (TW) foot baths as a treatment for DPN[1]. The study is notable for its rigorous design, being a multicenter double-blinded randomized controlled trial, which is the gold standard for clinical research. The study enrolled 632 patients who were already receiving standard treatments for diabetes. These patients were divided into two groups. One group received foot baths with a high dose of TW herbal granules, while the other group received a significantly lower dose. The treatment consisted of a daily 30-minute foot bath for two weeks, followed by a two-week break. This cycle was repeated for a total of three courses over 12 weeks, with an additional 12 weeks of follow-up. The primary measure of the study's success was the change in the Toronto Clinical Scoring System total score (TCSS-TS), which assesses the severity of neuropathy symptoms. Secondary outcomes included the assessment of nerve function through motor and sensory nerve conduction velocities (MNCV and SNCV) of the median and common peroneal nerves. After 12 weeks, both the high-dose and low-dose groups showed significant improvements in TCSS-TS scores and nerve conduction velocities, indicating that the TW foot bath treatment was beneficial. Interestingly, the study found that the low-dose group had a greater reduction in neuropathy symptoms and a more significant increase in SNCV at the 24-week mark than the high-dose group. This suggests that a lower dose of TW may be more effective for treating DPN. Safety is always a concern with new treatments, but the study reported no significant difference in adverse events between the groups, and no serious adverse events were linked to the treatment. This finding is reassuring and suggests that TW foot baths could be a safe addition to current DPN treatment strategies. This research builds on the understanding of DPN treatment and offers a new perspective on the use of traditional Chinese medicine in managing this condition. Previous studies have already pointed out the lack of FDA-approved disease-modifying treatments for DPN and the need for new therapeutic approaches[2]. The use of network pharmacology and molecular docking techniques has identified potential mechanisms by which Chinese herbal formulas like YQHXTLF may work[4]. The current study adds to this body of knowledge by providing clinical evidence for the effectiveness and safety of another Chinese herbal treatment, TW foot baths, for DPN. In summary, the study conducted by the Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine provides promising evidence that TW foot baths, particularly at a lower dose, are a safe and effective treatment for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. These findings could pave the way for new therapeutic practices that incorporate traditional Chinese medicine to improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from this chronic condition.



Main Study

1) Effect and Safety of Herbal Medicine Foot Baths in Patients with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Multicenter Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial.

Published 20th February, 2024


Related Studies

2) State-of-the-art pharmacotherapy for diabetic neuropathy.


3) Progress in the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.


4) Network Pharmacology and Molecular Docking Study on the Potential Mechanism of Yi-Qi-Huo-Xue-Tong-Luo Formula in Treating Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy.


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