Living a life without pain is becoming increasingly challenging. Given the stresses of work and family life, there’s little time to consider the things in our environment that cause pain, much less correct them.
Who hasn’t come home at the end of the day too drained to enjoy quality family time or pursue a hobby? After a while, we just assume that aches and pains are part of the price of living. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Pain can be managed, just like any other medical problem, if patients and doctors are aware of the options. Some approaches are high-tech like steroid injections guided by imaging devices; others involve prescription painkillers. However, an increasing number of patients are turning to safe and effective natural treatments that have minimal side effects.
Some of these remedies were used in ancient cultures. Records of natural treatments have been found in Egypt, Greece and China long before the advent of modern medicine. Healers realized that a number of herbs possess properties that could relieve pain, and their efforts have been validated by use over the centuries. We now call these plants botanicals because their medicinal properties help control inflammation, a primary cause of pain.
Here are 10 of the most widely used natural pain fighters:
- Turmeric. Turmeric is a popular spice found in Indian food. It not only helps improve circulation, but may prevent blood clots, digestive issues, and skin issues. It’s best known for relieving pain from sprains, bruises and sore joints.
- Ginger. Ginger is one of nature's best anti-inflammatories and has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever. It can moderate headaches, arthritis, cramps, sore muscles, upset stomachs and even menstrual pains. Of course, it has been used in food or as a part of natural herbal teas for centuries.
- Licorice Root. Licorice Root is good for treating sore throats. It is not for everyone, however, since it can increase blood pressure and aggravate heart conditions. Use it only after consulting with a doctor or holistic expert.
- Rosemary. Rosemary is a key ingredient in natural medicine and cooking alike. This herb can lower blood pressure, stimulate the central nervous system, help with digestive problems, and relieve pain when applied to the skin in the form of rosemary extract. It is also popular as massage oil.
- Holy Basil. Holy Basil or Hot Basil is an herb native to India that has recently gained popularity. The herb has been used for centuries to help with influenza, headaches, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes and various skin issues.
- Boswellia. Boswellia is a tree native to India, where its bark and sap are acknowledged to have medical properties. It’s considered effective against joint, ulcers, menstrual pain and sore throats. You can find as a supplement.
- Alpha Lipoic Acids. Alpha Lipoic Acids are lesser known than other botanicals but have important pain fighting properties. Even so, you can find them in many vegetables, red meat, yeast, spinach, broccoli and potatoes.
- Willow Bark. Willow bark comes from the shell of the willow tree and has been chewed for centuries to relieve pain. The active substance in willow bark became the primary pain fighter in modern aspirin. You can find it as an herbal cream or supplement. Be careful about how much you ingest, though, as it can irritate the stomach lining if you take more that 240mg per day.
- Clove Oil. Clove Oil is one of the most popular home remedies for treating toothaches. It can be applied to the tooth using a cotton swab but should not be ingested in large amounts.
- Natural Aromatherapy Oils. What about all those stresses of daily life? We know that some plant vapors are appropriate for tension pain. Some of the best known include essences of lavender, rosemary, chamomile and peppermint.
It’s an irony of modern medicine that the path to a pain-free life today may lie in remedies from the past. Yet if they’ve worked over the centuries, they could also be the key to a pain-free future.