I’ve recently come out of a sugar induced coma to start blogging again and I’d like to share this bit of anecdotal thinking. Recently, I had a person share with me that they have discovered a miracle remedy for diabetic neuropathy: pickle juice.
Naturally, being a curious little monkey, I decided to investigate whether or not there might be something to this.
What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is damage to nerves, diabetic neuropathy is (you guessed it) neuropathy caused by diabetes. Diabetes causes damage to nerves because high sugar levels can eventually lead to the destruction of nerves throughout the body. The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage that is usually concentrated in your arms and legs.
Diabetic neuropathy can be very painful and as the disease progresses can get worse and worse. Western medicine doesn’t really have any answers for peripheral neuropathies other than pain medication which, obviously, doesn’t address the main problem, excessive sugar in your diet ( a problem that is “ubiquitous” – to quote Walt Frasier).
Pickle Juice for Peripheral Neuropthy?
Being that this person was so convinced about the benefits of pickle juice I decided to do a little research to see if there was anything to this. Sure enough, pickle juice is a favorite remedy used by athletes and body builders for cramping, by country doctors of old for various ailments, for pregnant women who crave and by Russians as an antidote to excessive amounts of vodka.
What’s in pickle juice and how could those ingredients help with pain and cramping in the arms and legs? Pickle juice usually contains some combination of the following: vinegar, salt, dill, sometimes garlic, and black pepper. Let’s break it down:
Vinegar: According to Paul Pitchford in his book, Healing with Whole Foods, which offers a traditional Chinese medical perspective “..vinegar is warming. It creates a temporary warming circulation of energy (qi) in the body and removes stagnant blood. It can quickly alter emotional stagnation as well, particularly in children – bad moods usually disappear a few moments after taking vinegar.” (yeah, cause it tastes like vinegar and they’ll be happy its over!) Recent research has also shown that pure vinegar relieved cramping more quickly than pickle juice and in an article in the New York Times, Kevin C. Miller, Ph.D., ATC, an assistant professor in the Athletic Training Education Program at North Dakota State University in Fargo, suggests that vinegar may somehow cause the nervous system to reset or be distracted and this may activate receptors that ultimately relieve pain. I think we have a winner here.
Salt: Harmonizes and promotes digestion, strengthens the kidneys (in small amounts), detoxifies, fortifies bones, tendons and teeth and is cooling and (wait for it) salty and sweet in nature. We also know that sodium (salt) is often lost during exercise and sweat and this is why drinks like Gatorade include sodium to replenish lost electrolytes. Salt is also thought to help prevent dehydration (again in small amounts).
However, salt also has lots of downsides, especially if you have elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems that are very common with diabetes. It can make things a lot worse. And just like sugar, there is no shortage of sodium in the average American diet. More salt is not the answer.
Dill: This herb is relaxing, it fortifies the digestive system , it increases urination helping removal of toxic substances from the body, it acts as a carminative (helps removal of gases), it is anti-spasmodic (prevents cramps), it is anti flatulent, it stimulates lactation and endocrinal secretions, dill also enhances libido due to presence of Arginine and is a good source of calcium. So maybe dill adds something to the mix.
Garlic: The bulb that we love is hot and pungent, anti-fungal, anti-viral, detoxifies meat and seafood, kills worms, removes stagnation food and stagnant blood, reduces abscesses. Not a lot there that applies to diabetic neuropathy, but good to know if you got some worms.
Black Pepper: Like garlic this herb is hot and pungent, it warms digestion, dispels internal cold and can be an antidote to food poisoning. Again not a lot here for diabetic neuropathy.
Cucumbers: They are, after all what pickle are made of. Cucumbers are cool, sweet and bland, the peels are bitter. They clear heat, quench thirst, relieve irritability and promote diuresis (makes you go pee). Once again, not a lot in the way of diabetic neuropathy.
Bottom Line: If anything, its the vinegar, people. The best types of vinegar are organic, naturally brewed, unpasteurized, and unfiltered forms of apple cider (my personal favorite), (brown) rice wine, umeboshi (a Japanese vinegar) and white wine. One thing to note, when chronic conditions respond well to vinegar, one must often keep using it or the condition and symptoms return. (Not so different from many medications). For dosage, 1/3 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar 2 or 3 times a day will do the trick, add 1 teaspoon of honey to make it go down better.
Disclaimer: This information is intended for information and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to cure, treat, fix, heal, improve or even have an effect on any disease. Don’t believe everything you read and make sure you cultivate a healthy bit of skepticism even with the ” experts”.