Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Schram

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Summer Sinus

Q: My wrist has been hurting and my hand is numb and tingles. Could I have carpal tunnel syndrome?

A: What you described are indeed symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnels are conduits of bone and connective tissues that encase the bundles of nerves and tendons in the hand. Repetition, such as typing, spending a lot of time on the computer, painting, gardening, golfing, etc. can lead to this problem. So, what happens is, the tendons and ligaments in the wrist become inflamed. The nerves get pinched, therefore, causing numbness in the hand. Many times, these symptoms worsen at night.

If you take action as soon as you start to notice the symptoms, you may be able to reverse it. Preventative action is best, try to rest the wrists, so that they can heal. You can wear a splint which allows you to keep the wrist immobile.
There are also several supplements you can take to help alleviate the pain and inflammation. Boswellia is similar to NSAIDs. It is a very potent anti-inflammatory. Bromelain is an enzyme which comes from pineapples. It reduces swelling and inflammation in injured tissues by inhibiting the hormones that cause inflammation. Cat’s Claw is another anti-inflammatory. You can find supplements which contain all of these in one easy pill to swallow. There are many formulas made specifically for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Q: Summer is almost here and so are my sinus problems. I’m trying to prevent a sinus infection. What are some suggestions?

A: Sinus infections, or sinusitis, can make you miserable. Your head fills up with mucus, you have difficulty breathing, you’re congested, your nose runs uncontrollably, you have pain above, behind and below your eyes, and sometimes can’t smell or taste. If you have at least three of these symptoms, you probably have sinus inflammation or sinusitis. Left untreated, it can quickly turn into an infection. There are quite a few herbs and supplements that can speed healing and reduce the symptoms of sinusitis.

Astragalus has antiviral and antibacterial effects. It also may help to boost blood cells’ ability to absorb waste and fight harmful microorganisms. Bromelain and quercetin are excellent anti-inflammatory supplements that ease pain and help break up mucus. NAC is an amino acid that has antioxidant properties and also breaks up mucus. Fenugreek is a great expectorant. In the case of infection, consider adding goldenseal or colloidal silver as they are natural antibiotics. You can also clear your head by inhaling eucalyptus or peppermint oil.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Schram, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011.