It is common practice to alleviate pain by consuming painkillers such as aspirin, Paracetamol or ibuprofen, most of which are sold over the counters. But these pain killers can cause dangerous side effects; if consumed in excess. In stark contrast, nature has provided man with an array of effective yet gentle remedies that can decrease and soothe pain, without the serious risks of several pharmaceutical pain killers.
These astonishing natural pain killers have become part of the lives of those who choose drug-free remedies for relieving pain. Quite recently, high tech food supplements have also been developed to prevent pain.
Natural pain killers
Many who suffer from problems of restlessness, decreased immunity, depression and anxiety can consume these natural pain killers, which are as effective as medical drugs.
Fish oil: Fish contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These can help block the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body, known as cytokines and leukotrienes. Researchers have established that eating about 3 g of fish fats a day can relieve of joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil can also help reduce the severity of Crohn's disease and these patients can stop consuming anti-inflammatory medications and steroids.
Olive oil: This is a natural chemical with anti-inflammatory properties like ibuprofen.
Oleocanthal is the natural ingredient in this oil. 50 g of extra virgin olive oil is comparable to about 10% of ibuprofen dose recommended for adult pain relief.
Tart cherries: Researchers of Michigan State University opine that eating about 20 tart cherries may relieve pain better than aspirin. These cherries exhibit antioxidant properties comparable to vitamin E. Anthocyanins which is found in cherries inhibited cyclooxygenase-1 and 2 enzymes, which are the targets of anti inflammatory drugs at doses more than ten times lower than aspirin. Arthritis and gout can be controlled by daily consumption of cherries.
Saliva: This is found to generate a natural pain killer six times stronger than morphine. Human saliva is similar to opiorphin and it acts as a natural pain killer far better than the traditional drug morphine which has addictive and psychosomatic side effects.
White willow bark: This decreases pain by blocking the production of prostaglandins which can get inflamed. White willow bark is effective to reduce fever, and relieves pain similar to aspirin especially chronic headaches. Conventionally, white willow bark is safer than aspirin and other synthetically derived salicylate based anti inflammatory drugs. There are no contraindications and serious side-effects reported in the use of willow bark. An effective relief from headache, toothache, backache and even arthritis can be had by this wonder herb. Yet, it is advised that people with gastritis and ulcers need to avoid use of white willow bark.
Methyl sylphonyl methane: MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound. This is a powerful painkiller and anti-inflammatory and anti spasmodic and analgesic. The tradition of pain impulses is inhibited by the use of MSM. In a study conducted at the UCLA School of Medicine in the US, it was found that about 80% pain control was achieved within six weeks in degenerative arthritis patients by using MSM. Glucosamine and chondroitin are the nutritional supplements in MSM and they can significantly help reduce arthritis pain. In Europe, oral glucosamine is a commonly used pain killer and is even approved as a prescription drug.
Boswellia: This is an Indian herb and is very effective for both chronic and minor pains. Boswellia acid is the active ingredient in Boswellia and it is more potent and less toxic than many of the standard anti-inflammatory drugs. Boswellia is available both as a supplement and as a topical cream. It has no adverse effects. Boswellia is also known as frankincense.
Devil's claw: This herb is native to South Africa and it is best known for alleviating back pain and arthritis. The iridoid glycosides in this herb produce analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Devil's claw also helps to decrease pain and is effective for osteoarthritis, but with much lesser side effects. However, people with gastric ulcers should not consume devil's claw as it increases the production of gastric acid.
Curcumin: This spice of life is a compound found in turmeric which is a powerful painkiller known to block inflammatory proteins and enhance the ability of the body to suppress inflammation. Curcumin decreases inflammation by reducing prostaglandin activity. It improves absorption and it can be consumed with equal amounts of bromelain which is an anti inflammatory enzyme found in pineapples.
Arnica: This centuries old remedy comes from the bright yellow arnica flower which is found in the alpine meadows of Europe. It decreases inflammation and is an immune system booster. Tropical arnica soothes pain and restores joint function just as well as ibuprofen. It is also ideal for sprains, bruises, strains and in postoperative healing.
Ginger: This is a flavorful root that contains enzymes that inhabit the production of inflammatory compounds. For acute pain 2 g of grounded dehydrated ginger daily in three divided doses should help. For chronic conditions 1 g daily in three divided doses should do the trick.
Feverfew: For long term relief from headaches, feverfew should be ideal. A member of the sunflower family, this relaxes the blood vessels in the brain and prevents them from constricting which is a primary cause of migraine.
Natural oils: A whole gamut of natural oils like almond, eucalyptus, peppermint, wintergreen, camphor, spearmint and olive help to deliver fast and effective way to relieve pain at the spot of concentration. These topical applications of pure ingredients penetrate deeply and focus on the cause of pain without having to breakdown the chemicals that prescription pain relievers contain.
Natural pain relief
Almost one out of every three adults suffers from chronic joint arthritis or similar symptoms which cause tremendous pain. In fact, chronic pain is one of the most under treated health conditions in the US today with almost 76 million people living with pain and 80% of doctor visits related to complaints of pain.
Pain results from an electrical signal being sent from the nerves through the nervous system to the brain. Pain can arise from stubbed toe, sports injury, sprain, strain or headache pain which can be debilitating and most unpleasant.
Pain relievers like ibuprofen keep the injured or damaged cells from making or releasing prostaglandin so that the brain will not get the pain message quickly or clearly. Patients get addicted to pain killers. Conventional pain killers carry the risk of side effects such as renal disease. For instance, aspirin can cause bruises to worsen and create other complications.
In contrast herbal and homeopathic remedies are formulated with specific ingredients to help all affected mechanisms in the body to address pain effectively. Arnica is one natural remedy for shock, injury, and post operative care. It also helps to control bleeding. Meadowsweet unlike aspirin helps to relieve pain and anti-inflammatory conditions without side effects such as stomach ulcers.
Natural pain relief
- Chiropractic which seeks to eliminate pain by realigning the spinal column and allowing the nervous system to regain its normal function can be resorted to. In fact this is the third largest group of licensed health care group in the US.
- Massage therapies can release muscle tensions when the pressure applied to various points in the body including feet, hands and ears correlate to the body's organs.
- Relaxation techniques include deep breathing, meditation, yoga and guided imagery - all these help ease pain by releasing tension.
Natural pain management
Although the use of pharmaceutical drugs for pain control is at an all time high, a large number of people have begun to adopt the herbal way for safely and effectively treating pain. Doctors also seem to be willing to try this alternate route to healing pain.
In the realm of alternative medicine, there are several forms of natural pain management. Plants like lavender and chamomile are used for minor pain issues and these plants have the added benefit of assisting in handling the emotional component of pain by providing sleep. Henbane and mandrake are effectively used in labor to ease the pain of childbirth.
For natural pain management many plants, roots, barks and other herbs are not just antiseptic in nature but anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic as well. These herbal medicines are gentler for the bodily systems and allow greater absorption of the necessary constitutes. They are definitely more synergistic with the body.
A balanced combination of vitamins, minerals and herbs, a smart diet and exercise with supplements and organic foods should improve the immune systems and help repair the body.