Natural Remedies for Bell's Palsy

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Bell's palsy is believed to be related to nerve damage and can be treated with medication or alternative approaches. Most cases will go away on their own, but treatment may help temporary paralysis of the facial muscles resolve faster.

Person's face with Bell's palsy
Koshy Johnson / Oxford Scientific / Getty Images


Bell's palsy symptoms typically appear suddenly and reach their peak about 48 hours after they start. In most cases, only one side of the face becomes paralyzed. The condition may vary in severity, from mild muscle weakness to complete paralysis.

Facial distortion is common among people with Bell's palsy. Symptoms may also include:

  • Twitching
  • Unable to close the affected eye which leads to excessive tearing
  • Dry eye
  • Drooping of one eyelid
  • Drooping in the corner of the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Dry mouth
  • Impairment of taste


Bell's palsy is generally the name given when there is no clear cause for a facial nerve palsy. However, scientists suspect that a viral infection—such as herpes simplex (the virus that causes cold sores or herpes zoster—may trigger swelling and inflammation in the facial nerves, which in turn may cause Bell's palsy to set in.

Facial nerve palsy is also the most common cranial neuropathy associated with Lyme disease (and sometimes the only symptom), with studies suggesting anywhere from 10% to 50% of Lyme patients experiencing this.

Risk Factors

The following people may be at an increased risk for Bell's palsy:

This condition is most common between the ages of 15 and 60, but it can happen at any age.


In treating Bell's palsy, healthcare providers focus on the source of the nerve damage. This may include the use of anti-viral medications, as well as the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the swelling believed to be associated with Bell's palsy.

A 2013 Clinical Practice Guideline recommends:

  • Oral steroids within the first 72 hours
  • Antiviral therapy for some cases along with steroids, but not alone
  • Eye protection in cases where an eyelid won't close properly

Even without treatment, most cases improve on their own within two weeks. In rare cases marked by extremely severe nerve damage, however, nerve fibers may be irreversibly impaired.

Natural Remedies

Very few scientific studies have explored the use of alternative medicine in the treatment of Bell's palsy. However, preliminary research suggests that the following therapies may benefit Bell's palsy patients:

  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback involves learning to control vital functions that are usually unconscious (such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure) through the use of specialized electronic devices. Some studies have suggested that biofeedback, alone or combined with facial exercises, may promote recovery from Bell's palsy, but results have been inconsistent. A 2018 study found that facial biofeedback rehabilitation may prevent people with Bell's palsy from later developing oral-ocular synkinesis, in which smiling causes one eye to close.
  • Acupuncture: This needle-based Chinese therapy may help lessen facial paralysis and facial disability in people with Bell's palsy, according to a review of the scientific literature published in 2015. However, reviewers concluded that existing studies were hampered by poor design and that the evidence is insufficient to recommend this treatment.

A Word From Verywell

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend natural remedies for Bell's palsy. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using natural remedies for Bell's palsy (or any other condition), make sure to consult your healthcare provider first.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Reich SG. Bell's palsy. Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2017;23(2, Selected Topics in Outpatient Neurology):447–466. doi:10.1212/CON.0000000000000447

  2. Baugh RF, Basura GJ, Ishii LE, et al. Clinical practice guideline: Bell's palsy. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013;149(3 Suppl):S1–S27. doi:10.1177/0194599813505967

  3. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Bell's palsy fact sheet.

  4. Healio Ocular Surgery News. Higher incidence of Bell's palsy attributed to increase in herpes zoster infection.

  5. New-onset Bell palsy and Lyme diseaseCan Fam Physician.

  6. National Organization for Rare Disorders. Bell's palsy.

  7. Azuma T, Nakamura K, Takahashi M, et al. Electroneurography in the acute stage of facial palsy as a predictive factor for the development of facial synkinesis sequela. Auris Nasus Larynx. 2018;45(4):728–731. doi:10.1016/j.anl.2017.09.016

  8. Li P, Qiu T, Qin C. Efficacy of Acupuncture for Bell's Palsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS One. 2015;10(5):e0121880. Published 2015 May 14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121880

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.