Whether you are prone to toothache, back pain, arthritis, or a more complex condition such as fibromyalgia, living with pain affects your mental as well as physical wellbeing. It is only too easy to reach out for a pill, but taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to excess can bring its own problems. Stronger painkillers typically contain codeine, which brings with it a risk of addiction if you use it for too long.
Surely there must be a better way. Ask 10 different people about herbal analgesics and there is a good chance you will get 10 different answers. Many of these have been passed down through generations, and some are based more on faith than fact. However, there has been more scientific research carried out on natural remedies in the past 10 years than ever before. Here, we look at three natural pain relievers that really work.
You can’t open a website or step into a health food store without coming face to face with CBD oil these days. The fact that it comes from the cannabis plant and has achieved popularity at the same time as so many states are legalizing recreational cannabis has led to some confusion and misinformation.
To set the record straight, CBD does not get you high. The psychotropic compound in cannabis is called THC, which is what you find in the various smokables and edibles that give a legal high. CBD has, however, been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that provide significant relief. It has recently become particularly popular among those living with arthritis.
Kratom is another alternative health product that is gaining notoriety in recent years. It is a tree-like plant grown in Southeast Asia. Its leaves are used to make a variety of different products with reported benefits ranging from pain relief to improved mood and increased energy. As with CBD, Kratom isn’t without its detractors and we advise doing your research before trying this complicated product. There are a ton of different Kratom vendors online, so make sure to do your research before making a purchase. Read their reviews, and make sure they have customer-friendly shipping and return policy.
It’s easy to be cynical about acupuncture. After all, sticking needles into your body to relieve pain is counter-intuitive, to put it mildly. However, there is both anecdotal and scientific support for acupuncture’s analgesic properties. From the anecdotal perspective, it would be foolish to simply dismiss a practice that has been around for thousands of years.
While the science is unproven, it is generally believed that the needles trigger the body to release serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Researchers found it to be most effective for osteoarthritis, migraine, and chronic pain. Of course, acupuncture should only be performed by qualified practitioners using single-use needles.
Willow bark has been used as a pain killer for almost as many centuries as acupuncture. Back in the day, people suffering from pain would simply strip off a sliver from a nearby tree and chew on it. These days, you can avoid the risk of ingesting ants and bird droppings by buying it in dried form. It looks like any other herb and you can brew it in much the same way as herbal tea.
Again, there is a scientific explanation for its analgesic qualities, which is a chemical called salicin. This is actually very similar to the active ingredient in aspirin. However, it also carries the same potential side effects if used to excess. These include stomach upset, prolonged bleeding, and, in extreme cases, kidney damage, so only uses willow bark in moderation and follow the dosage instructions carefully.