Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a group of hereditary disorders that affect the nerves in the extremities. Symptoms typically appear in adolescence or early adulthood, and include weakness in the legs, ankles and feet; loss of muscle bulk; high foot arches; curled toes; decreased ability to run; foot drop; awkward gait; frequent falls; and numbness and pain in the legs and feet.
The Ayurvedic treatment of this condition is aimed at treating the symptoms and repairing the damage to the nerves supplying the extremities. Medicines like Tapyadi-Loh, Kaishor-Guggulu, Trayodashang-Guggulu, Yograj-Guggulu, Sinhanaad-Guggulu, Ekang-Veer-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Maha-Rasnadi-Guggulu and Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani are used to treat the nerve damage, muscular weakness and decreased sensation of the affected extremities. Herbal medicines which can be used for this purpose include Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Shallaki (Boswellia serrata), Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Tagar (Valeriana wallichii), Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Erandmool (Ricinus communis), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shalparni (Desmodium gangeticum) and Prushnaparni (Uraria picta).
Medicated oils like Mahanarayan oil, Vishgarbha oil, Bala oil, Mahamash oil and Chandan-Bala-Laxadi oil are applied on the affected parts. This is followed by localized steam fomentation using medicines like Nirgundi-Qadha and Dashmool-Qadha. Specialized Panchkarma procedures like ‘Pizichil’ and ‘Shashtikshali-Pindsweda’ are also useful in improving muscular bulk and strength in the affected extremities. In Pizichil, a continuous, warm drip of medicated oil is maintained on the affected part, along with mild massage. In Shashtikshali-Pindsweda, cloth-packets containing rice and Bala (Sida cordifolia), cooked in milk, are gently rubbed over the affected muscles.
Early initiation of treatment is important to prevent atrophy of muscle and permanent deformities of the feet. Regular exercise, physiotherapy and care of the feet are important aspects in the management of this condition.