Bell’s Palsy is a paralysis or weakness of the muscles of one side of the face, usually due to damage to the facial nerve. It may also affect the sense of taste, salivation and tear formation. Most patients improve spontaneously within a few weeks to a few months, however, a few may have permanent residual facial weakness.
Bell’s palsy is known as “Ardit” in Ayurveda. However, the symptoms of Ardit may be a part of stroke, i.e., a complete paralysis of one half of the body, while Bell’s palsy is usually considered to be self-limiting. Ayurvedic treatment of this facial paralysis consists of local application, oral intake of medicated oils, local fomentation, medicated nasal drops therapy, and oral medication in the form of tablets.
Medicated oils used for local application, oral intake and nasal therapy are: Bala (Sida cordifolia) oil, Narayan (Asparagus racemosus) oil and Chandan-Bala-Laxadi oil.
Mouth wash and gargling with luke-warm water is considered very effective in relieving symptoms.
Local medicated steam fomentation is given of decoctions of Erand mool (root of Ricinus communis), Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Dashmool (Ten Herbal Roots) and Nirgundi (Vitex negundo). Dry fomentation is given by preparing a poultice (medicated packet) of wheat flour and oil.
Oral medications useful in facial paralysis are: Yograj Guggulu, Trayodashang Guggulu, Vata Vidhvansa Rasa, Sameerpannag Rasa, Brihat Vata Chintamani, Tapyadi Loha, Dashmoolarishta and Bhallatakasava. Single herbal medicines used are: Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Nirgundi, Dashmool, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Kuchila (Purified Strychnos nuxvomica).
For refractory patients, some physicians advise blood-letting from a nearby vein or by leech therapy. Courses of medicated enemas are also advised in some patients.
Milk, ghee, butter, mutton soup and black gram are advised in the diet in large quantities. It is best to avoid prolonged exposure to cold.