If you are suffering from a backache, toothache, or any other type of pain, your first choice might be to reach for a pill. Many people rely on medications, but they may also come with the risk of drug interactions, side effects and the possibility of becoming habit forming.
You may find the relief you need from some natural painkillers instead. Some of these natural remedies are also available in your kitchen pantry.
Many spices and herbs can help treat inflammation and other related conditions. These plant-based options fall under a category type of medical treatment known as alternative or complementary medicine. When it comes to pain relief, you may be surprised that other natural remedies might help you feel better.
Bromelain is a powerful enzyme that is found in the tropical fruit, pineapple. While most enzymes get broken down in the digestive tract, bromelain gets absorbed into your body whole, which results in system-wide effects. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, studies have shown that it can reduce pain and inflammation.
Mixing pineapple can provide you with some bromelain, especially if you juice its hard stem and drink it on an empty stomach. Juicing pineapple in combonation with ginger, aloe and turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory pain relief remedy.
Capsaicin is derived from hot chile peppers, and topical capsaicin may be useful for some individuals in relieving pain. Capsaicin works by depleting substance P, which is a compound that conveys the pain sensation from the peripheral to the central nervous system, according to David Kiefer, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Also, this takes a couple of days to occur.
3. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw looks like the paw of a devil. It is a creepy looking root and has a funny shape. Studies have reported that it can reduce pain and physical functioning in patients with osteoarthritis. Also, it contains components known as iridoid glycosides, which are thought to be the source of its pain relieving properties.
Devil’s claw root can be consume as a tea, and it is also often sold in ointments and capsules.
4. Epsom Salt
According to Dr. Axe, magnesium-rich epsom salt is a natural painkiller for bone, joint pain and muscle soreness. Also, epsom salt can also come in handy when you are dealing with a painful splinter or even post-childbirth soreness.
Soaking an area that is affected with a splinter using epsom salt and warm water helps painlessly draw out splinters. A sitz bath which includes epsom salt can help increase magnesium and quell inflammation associated with soreness after childbirth.
Feverfew has been used to treat stomachaches, headaches and toothaches. Recently, it is also used for rheumatoid arthritis and migraines.
More studies are needed to confirm if feverfew is really effective, but the herb may be worth trying since it has not been associated with serious side effects. Mild side effects include irritation of the tongue, lips and canker sores. Pregnant women should avoid this remedy.
Though more studies are required, ginger extract may help with joint and muscle pain because it contains phytochemicals, which help stop inflammation. Few side effects have been associated with ginger when taken in small doses.
7. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint is most often used as a natural remedy for discomfort from bloating and gas, toothaches, skin irritations, joint conditions, muscle pain and headaches.
Turmeric is a spice that gives dishes, its yellow color and unique flavor. It has the compound curcumin, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical molecules that can damage tissue and cells.
Turmeric is used for the treatment of many conditions, including indigestion, ulcer, stomach upset, psoriasis and even cancer. Some individuals with osteoarthritis turn to turmeric as a natural pain reliever because it helps relieve inflammation.
9. White Willow Bark
White willow bark is the bark of the white willow tree. It has been used for years to reduce inflammation and fever. It contains salicin, a compound very similar to aspirin.
Studies have shown that willow bark is effective for reducing lower back pain. White willow is available dried as a tea, as a tincture or powdered in capsules. It is also often used as an ingredient in combination with pain-relief supplements.