Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Six Natural & Safe Painkillers

Let's face it - pain is a part of your life.  We don't often think about it that way, but in actuality it’s something to be grateful for, because it is your body’s natural defense against further injury.  Imagine what would happen to a runner’s knee if they didn’t feel the pain of overuse or improper form?  They could damage it beyond repair.  It’s also normal to not want to feel this pain, and to want to reduce it or alleviate it when it occurs.

Coated 200 mg ibuprofen tablets, CareOne brand...
Coated 200 mg ibuprofen tablets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, drugs such as NSAIDS come with a whole slew of possible harmful side effects.  That’s where natural painkillers can be a great benefit, particularly if you’re dealing with an injury or chronic pain.

Let’s take a look at six natural painkillers:

1.  Arnica is a wonderful herb that comes from a lovely yellow flower that grows in the mountains of Europe.  It has been shown to be quite effective in reducing inflammation and the pain related to inflammation.  This natural painkiller is great for treating arthritis, muscle and tendon sprains and strains and even bruising.  Arnica can be taken orally with a homeopathic remedy or applied as a topical gel.

2.  Curcumin, an ingredient in Turmeric, is a wonderful painkiller which also suppresses and reduces inflammation. Inflammation is often the cause of joint and muscle pain.  Curcumin can be taken as a capsule, and is said to be better absorbed by your body if you take it with bromelain which is an anti-inflammatory enzyme found in pineapple.

3.  Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory compounds that keep your body in a state of optimal health by blocking chemicals that cause inflammation in the body.  In a study of rheumatoid arthritis patients, daily supplementation with 2.7 grams of EPA and 1.8 grams of DHA resulted in a significant reduction in the number of tender joints.
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in flaxseed, hempseed, and cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.  You can also take fish oil supplements.

4.  Boswellia, aka frankincense, is an herb that treats chronic pain.  Like many of the other herbs it decreases inflammatory compounds and thus leads to the reduction of pain for both minor injuries like sprains and strains and also chronic pain like arthritis.

Ram 's horn, Devil 's claw, Proboscidea louisi...
Devil 's claw, Proboscidea louisianica (Photo credit: Vietnam Plants & The USA. plants)
5.  Devil’s claw is a fruit that is native to South Africa.  It has been used to reduce back pain and arthritis pain. Compounds called iridoid glycosides have pain-relieving and inflammation-fighting capabilities.  However, if you suffer from stomach issues, consult approval from your doctor before beginning to take Devil’s claw.

6.  Feverfew is a long-standing natural pain remedy and works quite well for headaches, minor pain, arthritis pain and fever.  It’s been shown to actually cease the development of headaches and to stop migraines in their tracks.  It works by relaxing blood vessels in your brain and preventing them from constricting. 

Natural painkillers can be your healthy way to mitigate or eliminate chronic pain or pain caused by minor injuries.  However, just because an herb is natural doesn't mean it doesn't have side effects so it pays to take caution when adding any herbal or natural remedy to your routine.  However, the side effects are generally significantly much less harmful than those of NSAIDS. Check with your alternative healthcare practitioner to be sure before using.

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