If you know what physical pain is, it means you know how important it is to feel that at some point this pain will go away. Not only pharmaceutical pills can help you. For many years now, scientists are studying the effects that different herbal medicines have on the human body. Before you decide to go with a natural alternative it is recommended to find out what your health condition is. First, consult your doctor. Tell him where in the body you feel the pain, how long does this pain last and any other indications that you think are important and help your health provider to determine the real cause of the pain.

Once the doctor tells you what the cause is, you can decide with him the type of physical therapy you need, and any diet changes that are necessary or supplements that you have to take.

Once the doctor tells you what the cause is, you can decide with him the type of physical therapy you need, and any diet changes that are necessary or supplements that you have to take.

Natural Remedies for Pain Relief

Natural supplements are known and used for hundreds and even thousands of years to relieve the pain in different parts of the body. This type of medication is very popular mostly because of its relatively few side effects.

These supplements are controlled by the FDA. Even if they are not pharmaceutical, there are still some rules of producing and selling these supplements.

Some people start bleeding when they consumed in excess supplements containing garlic, willow bark, and ginger. Many studies showed that omega-3 essential fatty acids can treat with success spine-related pain. When people suffer from muscle soreness they can use oil of camphor, capsaicin, and other natural topical preparations.

Omega-3 EFAs (fish oil)

When we say fish oil supplements we refer to cod liver oil. These fatty acids are used in the treatment of discogenic diseases, muscular and skeletal pain. These acids were used first in the 18th century. Many people gave up using them after a while because of the odor and sometimes rancid tasting fish oil. Experts discovered new techniques of extracting fish oil. Everybody can benefit from the therapeutic properties of these fatty acids without the odor and the regurgitation caused by peroxides.

American Heart Association recommends consuming omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids because they have effective natural anti-inflammatory properties. It seems like they treat coronary artery disease. Experts concluded that populations consuming large quantities of fish have a lower risk of developing depression and neurodegenerative disease. Some studies showed that fish oil is great for arthritis.

Doctors discovered that the active ingredients in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two acids help the conversion of COX to prostaglandin E3. Prostaglandin E3 is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. This agent is responsible for inhibiting the effects of the arachidonic acid conversion to prostaglandin E2. This prostaglandin is an inflammatory substance.

A recent study conducted on 250 patients with lumbar and cervical disc disease showed that 59% of the subjects substituted the pharmaceutical pills with fish oil supplements as natural anti-inflammatory agents. Some of the subjects had side effects such as belching and steatorrhea. People who are taking anticoagulant pills it is better not to consume omega-3 EFAs. These acids might increase the risk for potential bleeding.

Turmeric (Curcumin)

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a natural spice containing a yellow pigment called curcumin. Turmeric is a plant of the ginger family. In India, it is used a lot for coloring and flavoring the food products. Curcumin is used as well in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines because of the anti-inflammatory properties. It treats digestive disorders and helps open wounds to heal. Experts found out about the curcumin’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic effects during different studies. The results showed that because of the beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can treat cystic fibrosis.

Turmeric is used as a treatment for chronic neurodegenerative diseases, colitis, cancer, and arthritis. Doctors recommend consuming 400-600 mg of turmeric three times a day. People who have problems with their gallbladder should avoid taking turmeric. It is the same case with people taking anticoagulant medications.

Maritime pine bark (Pycnogenol)

Pycnogenol is used since ancient times. This herb comes from the bark of the maritime pine tree (Pinus maritima). People used it for more than 2000 years. People used maritime pine bark to treat different health conditions in the past such as ulcers, open wound healing, scurvy, and vascular inflammation. Pycnogenol has an important combination of active polyphenols. These polyphenols include taxifolin, catechin, procyanidins, and phenolic acids. Doctors say that this herb has the highest amount of antioxidant compounds currently known.

Experts discovered that pine bark is 50–100 times more powerful than vitamin E. This herb can successfully neutralize free radicals. It also sustains the activity of vitamins C and E in the human body. It is known that pycnogenol is reducing blood pressure. Patients suffering from venous thrombosis take pine bark, because of its effect on vascular endothelium. The usual dosage is 100–200 mg daily. People had few side effects from the use of pycnogenol extracts. They complained of mild gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and other minor stomach problems. For those people taking immunosuppressants or corticosteroid drugs, it is not recommended because it can enhance immune system function. This herb might interact with drugs that suppress the immune system.

Green tea

Green tea is used to prevent and treat cardiovascular and cancer conditions. Green tea has excellent antioxidant properties. Green tea contains polyphenolic elements called catechins. The most important catechin is epigallocatechin-3. Doctors used this important substance to treat arthritic disease. Experts discovered recently that this catechin is an anti-inflammatory agent.
A new research demonstrated that green tea has chondroprotective, and anti-inflammatory effects. People in Asia consume green tea because of its great neuroprotective, cardiovascular, and cancer prevention properties. Doctors recommend drinking 3–4 cups of green tea daily. For those interested in taking green tea extract should know that a typical dosage has 300–400 mg. Some people complained of stomach irritation after drinking green tea. For people who cannot tolerate caffeine, manufacturers produced a decaffeinated variety.

White willow bark

The white willow bark is known from the ancient times. This old herbal remedy was and it is used for pain and inflammation because it has antipyretic and analgesic properties. Patients suffering from gastric side effects from aspirin decided to use white willow bark instead to treat the inflammatory syndromes. Salicin (which is a compound of the white willow bark) can be converted easily to salicylic acid by the liver. The salicin fewer side effects than aspirin. Doctors recommend 240 mg of white willow bark a day. These supplements are much more expensive than aspirin, though. Doctors also say that children should not consume it because they might be at risk of developing the Reye’s syndrome. White willow bark is not recommended for people with diabetes, hepatic disorder, peptic ulcer disease and renal disorder.

Boswellia serrata resin (Frankincense)

The Boswellia is a tree growing in Somalia, India, Ethiopia, and the Arabian Peninsula. This tree produces a gum resin called olibanum or frankincense as it is known in the western world. This resin has different properties such as anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic. This herb is used as a natural alternative to treat inflammatory and degenerative joint problems. Boswellia plays an important role in reducing the total white blood cell count in joint fluid. Another important role is that of inhibiting leukocyte elastase. The leukocyte elastase is released in the bodies of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Some patients noticed an improvement in arthritis of the knee after they consumed three times a day, for 8 weeks 333 mg of Boswellia serrata extract. When they made the radiography of the affected knee the doctors didn’t see any changes, but people with knee arthritis sustained they can move easily the knee and they reported having less pain.

When people combined Boswellia and turmeric they noticed improvements in osteoarthritis. These people consumed two or three times a day Boswellia as an extract containing 30-40% Boswellia acids (300-500 mg).
Some patients reported side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, stomach discomfort, and acid reflux.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is called Polygonum cuspidatum, weed or Japanese Knot. This a plant-based polyphenol extracted from different plant sources. It seems like the skin of the red wine grapes contain a high concentration of resveratrol. Resveratrol is a molecule that lives in the skin of the plant. This molecule protects the plant from UV radiation, and from infection. Studies showed that resveratrol when is consumed by humans or animals can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutation and DNA protective properties.

Resveratrol can treat different cardiovascular conditions and joint pain. Patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis used resveratrol as injections to protect the cartilage and to reduce the inflammation.

Doctors recommend taking daily 50 to 500 mg of resveratrol as supplement capsules.

Capsaicin (chili pepper)

Capsicum annum is a small plant which was cultivated at the beginning in the tropical regions of the Americas. This plant grows now throughout the world, including in the US. The plant has a small red fruit which contains a chemical that gives the spicy taste, this chemical is called capsaicin. Capsaicin was studied first 100 years ago by chemists. Native American people used this plant for hundreds of years to treat different health conditions. Capsaicin has an anti-inflammatory effect. This chemical can cause a burning sensation when it comes in contact with human skin. A person who consumes it has the same sensation in the digestive tract. Capsaicin is not used alone. Usually, people combine it with other natural anti-arthritic herbs for excellent results. Manufacturers produced topical capsaicin formulations which claim to treat post-herpetic neuralgia. Some studies were made to determine the effects that capsaicin has with chronic musculoskeletal pain and peripheral neuropathies.

Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw)

Peru is the country where Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis was discovered. This is a plant derived from woody vines with small claw-like thorns. This plant can grow up to 100 ft if it has something to climb on. In popular medicine, the cat’s claw is used to treat bursitis, arthritis, and intestinal disorders. This plant has important polyphenols such as tannins, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins. It also contains sterols and alkaloids.

This Peruvian plant is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Some people who consumed cat’s claw complained of nausea. Studies showed that this plant can treat indomethacin enteritis.
The side effects seem like are rare and mild. The worst case reported is the one of the patients suffering from lupus erythematosus. After he consumed cat’s claw, he experienced renal failure.

If you decide to consume cat’s claw you can drink it as a tea. Put 1000 mg root bark to 8 oz water. You can also consume it dry as a supplement in capsules. Do not take more than 20-60 mg a day.

Comfrey

Comfrey is recommended for lower or upper back pain. Patients can use a skin cream made with comfrey extract. Doctors recommend using it three times a day. It is better not to consume it as tea, it can harm the liver.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine is used in many cases of joint pain. Glucosamine is combined with chondroitin. These two ingredients can ease pain and give patients better joint flexibility. These two elements are part of the same material that makes the cartilage in our bodies.

It is interesting that many people who take glucosamine and chondroitin mix them with aspirin or other alternative treatments. It is difficult to determine which is more effective. People noticed improvements after consuming it for 4 months.

Some patients with moderate or severe osteoarthritis reported their pain almost disappeared after consuming glucosamine and chondroitin. If you decide to use any of these herbs in treating any pains you might have, it is recommended to talk to your doctor first. He can advise and guide you properly.

Caffeine

Many people start drinking coffee when they experience a headache. Some say that combining ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or other pain relievers with caffeine gives better results than when they are taking them alone. When the effect is gone, the headache comes back.

Feverfew and butterbur

Not many people heard about these herbs. They can help, prevent and treat migraine headaches. Even if specialists made some research about the effect they have in reducing pain, they decide to make more studies before coming up to a conclusion.

Ginger

The ginger extract can ease the joint and muscle pain. The ginger plant contains phytochemicals which can stop and ease inflammation.

Devil’s claw

Devil’s claw is a herb originated from South Africa. Experts say this herb is excellent in treating lower back pain and arthritis. It is not recommended for pregnant women and those people suffering from intestinal ulcers and gallstones.

Ginseng

Ginseng has been studied by different specialists. They concluded that this herb can treat fibromyalgia.

Kava Kava

Kava kava is a root that grows on South Pacific islands. The native population used kava as medicine and in ceremonies for centuries.
Kava has a relaxing effect. It produces brain wave changes which are similar to changes that appear when taking medicines such as diazepam (Valium, Xanax). This plant can prevent convulsions and it relaxes muscles. Kava is not addictive. If it is used for a long time its effect can decrease.

Kava is prepared as a tea. The kava root is also available as a dietary supplement. People can find it as powder or tincture (extract in alcohol) forms.
Kava has calming effect and it relieves restlessness, anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress-related symptoms. This plant can relieve neuropathic pain and tension headaches.

When it is used for a long time, Kava Kava can give the following side effects:

  • Severe rash
  • Liver issues
  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty of breathing
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St. John’s Wort is an excellent plant with medicinal properties. It can ease neuropathic pain and treats arthritis and sciatica.

Valerian root is used by many athletes to relieve spasms and severe muscle cramps.[2]

Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in our stomach and help to keep our organisms healthy. Probiotics help in reducing inflammation. They can even ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, especially bloating and pain.

People should introduce probiotics in their diet. The recommended foods are kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Some people choose to consume probiotics as supplements. Doctors recommend a dosage of 10 billion CFUs per day.

Vitamin D

People with fibromyalgia have chronic pain and low levels of vitamin D in their bodies. People who decided to take vitamin D as supplements improved their levels of vitamin D and reduced their pain.

Conclusion

People can deal with swelling, inflammation-induced pain, and erythema. Doctors try to reduce their pain and prescribe anti-inflammatory agents such as NSAID. These pharmaceutical medications are efficient, but they have many side effects. People had a myocardial infarction, gastric ulceration, and strokes.

Nowadays, people start using natural anti-inflammatory compounds to treat different health conditions. Many herbs have the same effects as the conventional pills, but fewer or no side effects at all. The experiments and clinical trials continue to examine the effectiveness that these herbs have in reducing inflammation in the human body.[3]