If you’re suffering from a toothache, backache, or any other type of pain, your first impulse might be to reach for a pill. Many people rely on medications, but they come with the risk of side effects, drug interactions, and the possibility of becoming habit forming.
Pharmaceutical drugs may not be your only path to pain relief. Natural pain treatments — like herbal medicine, in which parts of a plant are used medicinally to treat health problems — is an increasingly popular way to manage pain as well.
7 Natural pain relievers that same powerful as drugs, with Zero side effects
Turmeric, the spice that gives curry its distinctive flavor and coloring, also has plenty of pain-relief benefits. New research suggests that turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and also helps to improve circulation and prevent blood clotting. Turmeric has been used in traditional medicines for easing the pain of sprains, strains, bruises and joint inflammation, as well as for treating skin and digestive issues. The healing power of turmeric comes from its active ingredient – curcumin, which lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation.
Often called Indian Frankincense, boswellia originates in the dry areas of India, Africa, and the Mediterranean. It is a remarkable plant and is becoming better known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is the root of chronic pain. The unique acids (boswellic acids) block the overproduction of cytokinetic activity in damaged tissues while enhancing blood flow to the joints. This combination has also been shown to increase joint mobility and loosen stiff joints.
Boswellia has shown great success at reducing inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis, and other painful conditions. Many studies have shown that it is as effective as NSAID’s, which are the most commonly prescribed drug for issues related to inflammation and chronic pain.
Though more studies are needed, says Dr. Kiefer, ginger extract may help with joint and muscle pain because it contains phytochemicals, which help stop inflammation. Few side effects have been linked to ginger when taken in small doses.
Astaxanthin (asta-zan-thin) is a deep red coloured phytonutrient synthesized by microalgae called Haematococcus, and is also known as the “King of Carotenoids”. It’s grown in fresh water using sophisticated techniques that encourage the algae to grow its own powerful medicines protecting it from oxidation, UV radiation, and other environmental stressors.
Even though astaxanthin may not be as powerful as leading pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, it is found to be one of the strongest ones in nature. Several double blind, placebo controlled animal and clinical trials shows that astaxanthin naturally inhibits many of the known inflammation mediators, which eases inflammation and pain without side effects.
Valerian Root Relaxes Pain
Often called nature’s tranquilizer, valerian has been used for centuries to regulate the nervous system and relieve insomnia, tension, irritability, stress, and anxiety. Valerian is also a natural pain reliever that reduces sensitivity of the nerves. Try a cup of valerian tea the next time you’re in need of pain relief!
Derived from hot chile peppers, topical capsaicin may be useful for some people in relieving pain. “Capsaicin works by depleting substance P, a compound that conveys the pain sensation from the peripheral to the central nervous system.
There is some scientific evidence that this South African herb may be effective in managing arthritis and lower back pain, but more research is needed. Side effects are very rare if taken at a therapeutic dose for the short term, but it’s not advised for pregnant women and those with gallstones or stomach or intestinal ulcers.