If you’re suffering from headaches, backaches, arthritis pain, toothache or any other type of pain, your first impulse might be to reach for a pharmaceutical painkiller. Many people rely on medications, but they come with the risk of side effects, drug interactions, and the possibility of becoming habit forming.
Many pharmaceutical pain medications, while effective and useful at times, can be downright dangerous, but there is another solution to your pain problem. “Almost always, if we find pharmaceuticals doing the trick, we’ll find a plant doing the same trick—and doing it more safely,” remarks botanist James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods.
Before turning to herbs for pain relief, you must get rid of eating junk foods and these things riles up the body’s pain system. Today’s modern diet which is comprised of highly refined foods, sugars, and refined carbohydrates is going to block the ability of herbs to do its job of halting pain.
When you have got rid of junk foods, you can turn to the many herbs that truly deliver pain relief remedies. Here are some of the natural herbal pain killers:
Ginger is well known in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties, especially beneficial for joint pain. You can make ginger tea by cutting up and boiling pieces of fresh ginger for several minutes and adding a dollop of honey. Drink two to three times daily until the pain subsides.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to cure pain. Ginger helps relieve nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps and muscle soreness. During colder days, ginger can help spice up your circulation, too!
If you think ginger isn’t worth your time, consider that it’s been on several occasions more effective than dangerous cancer drugs at destroying tumors—without side effects, to boot.
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.
Curcumin is among the most thoroughly researched supplements, with more than 4,000 studies conducted and several more ongoing. In one study, participants with osteoarthritis who took a concentrated form of curcumin had minor signs or symptoms of the disease. At the end of 90 days, they had a 58 percent decrease in pain and stiffness and improved physical function and mobility.
Other clinical studies have shown a 50-percent reduction in pain and stiffness, along with significantly reduced inflammation and swelling of the lower limbs.
You can reap the benefits of turmeric by seasoning your foods with it. Add it to soups or stews, or drink turmeric tea. Taken orally, turmeric can stop arthritis pain throughout the body. If you want to try turmeric as a therapeutic measure, consider a supplement that contains a concentrated form of curcumin.
A herb from the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, holy basil (Ocimum basilicum) – also known as Tulsi, meaning “The Incomparable One” – is considered one of the most sacred herbs in the tradition for 3,000 years. It is used to treat ailments such as diabetes, respiratory disorders, impotence, allergies and infertility.
Holy Basil contains high amounts of anti-inflammatory elements and antioxidants, helpful in fighting joint pain. These properties come from eugenol in the oil found from the plant’s leaves. An adaptogen, it helps the body to work at its prime level even while under large amounts of stress by regulating the creation of stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. This medicinal plant also protects against inflammation, stress, and even radiation poisoning.
Western scientists have caught on to the herb’s natural anti-inflammatory properties. Chemically speaking, basil (in numerous tested varieties) contains compounds similar to those found in cannabis (also known as marijuana) and oregano. This has led some doctors to suggest basil as an alternative to medical marijuana, since it offers the same pain relief without the addictive “high”.
Found in hot chili peppers, this natural remedy does wonders for pain. Capsaicin, the active pain-reducing ingredient, temporarily desensitizes nerve receptors called C-fibers which cause the pain response. Capsaicin also diminishes soreness for 3 to 5 weeks while the C-fibers regain sensation.
A single 60-min application in patients with neuropathic pain produced effective pain relief for up to 12 weeks. Patients at the New England Center for Headache decreased their migraine and cluster headache intensity by applying capsaicin cream to their nasal passages.
If your nerves are shooting pain up your whole back, try rubbing some capsaicin cream onto the trouble spot. Capsaicin provides relief for your neck, back, and muscles. Apply a cream or spray three times daily to unbroken skin.
This natural pain-reducer comes from the enzymes present in pineapple stems. Research shows that it reduces levels of prostaglandins, which are hormones that induce inflammation. Bromelain may benefit people with arthritis and conditions marked by musculoskeletal tension (like TMJ syndrome), in addition to those suffering trauma-related inflammation. The enzyme also promotes healing in muscles and connective tissues.
Numerous studies have shown that bromelain can be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs for dealing with the pain of osteoarthritis. In a recent blinded study from Germany, researchers divided 90 patients with painful osteoarthritis of the hip into two groups: one half receiving an oral enzyme preparation containing bromelain for six weeks, while the other half received the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac (sold under the brand name Voltaren® and generic names).
They found that the bromelain preparation was as effective as diclofenac in standard scales of pain, stiffness and physical function, and better tolerated than the drug comparator. The researchers concluded, “[the bromelain preparation] may well be recommended for the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the hip with signs of inflammation as indicated by a high pain level.
Hijama is an effective method of pulling out the dirty blood from tissues in the body, thereby relieving pain., Hijama releases tight, painful muscles and increases blood circulation.
When an injury occurs in the body, blood and body fluids stagnate in that part of the body. This makes the injured joints become swollen and painful. Backs become stiff, painful and difficult to move. The stagnant blood and body fluids that occur at the injury can cause pain and inflammation.
Hijama relieves the pain of tight and sore muscles. This is done by pulling the muscle fibers into the cup. This loosens the muscles and relieves pain. It also pulls the stuck blood within the muscle onto the surface of the skin. When an injury ruptures small blood vessels within the muscle fibers, causing blood to collect in the muscle and sticks the already tight muscle fibers together. Hijama pull out the congealed blood out of the muscle and onto the surface of the skin, thus relieving pain.