There are many, many herbal or “natural remedies” in relation to pain. Here are some common ones that are available for various situations involving pain.
Works for many things both internally and externally. The gel from the leaf can be taken by the tablespoon for various internal inflammations, including cancer. Externally it can be for skin ailments. It does wonders for minor burns. You can snip off a part of the leaf and place the gel directly on the burn or even minor cuts. I know that many stores sell the leaves one at a time or you can grow your own plant.
Chamomile tea for Digestive Problems
Also known as Tisane. This herb relaxes the stomach lining as well as relaxes spasms in the smooth lining of the stomach. It also has antiseptic and vasodilatory effects. It is not recommended for those who are allergic to ragweed.
Caffeine for Pain Relief
Many reports including the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that many popular pain relievers using aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen add about 65 milligrams of caffeine to their pain formulas. Caffeine is shown to help the pain relief in these formulas by 40 percent. Caffeine blocks pain perception has pain-relieving action and elevates mood, which also helps minimize pain. Next time you have a headache, wash down your favorite pain pill with coffee or tea for more relief. It also is used to help the bronchial tubes when narrowed by congestion or even asthma.
According to a report in the Annals of Epidemiology, the odds of experiencing current asthma symptoms were reduced 29 percent for subjects who drank coffee on a regular basis when compared with non-coffee drinkers. Caffeine also increases athletic stamina.
Evening Primrose Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis
The Essential Fatty Acids in Evening Primrose Oil is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. The effective ingredient is GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) GLA is an essential fatty acid in the omega-6 family that is found primarily in plant-based oils. University of Pennsylvania researchers gave 37 arthritis sufferers borage oil (which contains GLA) or a placebo, The placebo had no effect, but the herb group reported 45 percent less pain with no side effects. Other studies utilizing GLA obtained similar results. Rheumatoid arthritis requires professional medical care, so consult your physician about GLA.
Feverfew for Migraine Prevention
British scientists at the University of Exeter analyzed six studies of feverfew, concluding that the herb significantly reduces the frequency of migraine occurrence. “In my experience,” Duke says, “feverfew prevents migraines in about two-thirds of those who use it consistently.” Dosage is generally 50 to 150 mg per day of powdered leaves.
Flaxseed for Osteoporosis
Because flaxseed is a natural hormone replacement therapy, it also mimics HRT’s bone-preserving ability. Oklahoma State researchers gave a placebo or flaxseed (1.3 ounces per day) to 38 postmenopausal women for 14 weeks and measured blood and urine for markers of bone loss and re-growth. The flaxseed group showed decreased bone resorption and calcium excretion, indicating a reduced bone loss.
Garlic for Cancer Prevention
Garlic reduces the risk of several cancers. In the long-term Iowa Women’s Health Study researchers followed 41,837 middle-aged women. Subjects who ate the most garlic had the lowest risk of colon cancer. A few cloves a week cut risk by 32 percent and greater intake decreased risk even more While fruit and vegetable consumption, in general, helps prevent cancer, in this study garlic yielded the greatest preventive benefit of all the plant foods analyzed. Other studies have shown that garlic helps lower risk for prostate and bladder cancers.
Goldenseal for Digestive-Tract Infections
Goldenseal, an herbal antibiotic, is often marketed in combination with echinacea as a treatment for infections, but it is effective only in the digestive tract, not for colds or flu. At the University of Illinois in Chicago, researchers tested goldenseal against H. pylori, the bacteria that cause ulcers, and the herb inhibited bacterial growth. For GI infections (ulcer, food poisoning, infectious diarrhea, etc.). Ask your doctor about using goldenseal in addition to medical therapies.
Hawthorn for Congestive Heart Failure
In heart failure, the heart keeps beating, just not as forcefully as it should; people with the condition become exhausted from minor exertion. Many studies show that hawthorn stimulates fatigued hearts to beat more normally. In a study published in Phytomedicine, German researchers gave Hawthorn (240 mg a day) or a placebo to 40 people with heart failure. Three months later, the hawthorn group was able to exercise significantly longer. “We reviewed much of the published research on hawthorn recently,” Blumenthal says, “and 13 of 14 studies showed benefit in heart failure.”
Horse Chestnut for Varicose Veins
“Mainstream medicine offers only support hose and surgery,” says Blumenthal, “but standardized horse chestnut seed extract has shown efficacy in most clinical trials.” At the University of Heidelberg, Germany, 240 sufferers of newly visible varicose veins were treated with compression stockings or horse chestnut (50 mg aescin twice a day). After 12 weeks, both groups reported equal relief. Off the tree, horse chestnuts are poisonous, but commercial extracts are detoxified and safe.
Horsetail for Skin Healing
Before steel wool and abrasive cleansers, this herb helped scour pots and pans. Today it’s used to heal the skin. A Spanish study published in Revista de Enfermeria showed that horsetail speeds the healing of wounds; it’s also used in skin-care products.
Lemon Balm for Herpes
Lemon balm has antiviral action. As reported in Phytomedicine, German researchers gave 66 people in the early stages of herpes simplex labialis outbreaks lemon-balm cream or a placebo. The herb group had milder outbreaks that healed faster. Lemon balm is the active ingredient in the herpes treatment Herpalieve. “If you have herpes,” Duke says, “drink lemon-balm tea. If you have an outbreak, apply lemon balm to the sore.”
Licorice for Sore Throat
In a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers gave either a placebo or Throat Coat, a licorice tea from Traditional Medicinals, to 60 sore-throat sufferers 4 to 6 times a day for seven days; the tea tipplers reported significantly less pain on swallowing. Add a teaspoon of chopped or powdered root to a beverage tea, and feel relief almost immediately.
Papaya for Herniated Disks
Papaya has been used by Caribbean Indians to treat skin wounds and infections and by the Japanese to treat digestive disorders. In 1982, the Food and Drug Administration approved injections of the papaya enzyme chymopapain to dissolve cellular debris in herniated or slipped vertebral disks in the back. Allergic reactions are possible.
Peppermint for Indigestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
In ancient Greece, people chewed a sprig of mint after feasts to settle the stomach, a tradition that evolved into our after-dinner mints. German researchers gave 118 adults with persistent indigestion a standard drug (cisapride) or twice-daily capsules of enteric-coated peppermint oil (90 mg) and caraway oil (50 mg), another traditional stomach soother.
(The enteric coating allows the capsules to survive stomach acid and release their oil in the small intestine, where non-heartburn indigestion develops.) Four weeks later, the drug and the herb blend produced the same relief. If you use herbal oils, do not exceed the recommended dose, and keep them away from children. You also can brew a peppermint tea, and add a teaspoon of chopped caraway to meals. “When I get indigestion,” Duke says, “I go to the garden, pick some peppermint, chew some leaves, and make tea. It works for me.”
IBS involves persistent abdominal cramps, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea or constipation. British researchers at the University of Exeter analyzed five studies of peppermint oil as a treatment and found that it provided benefit. (See the paragraph above for options and cautions.)
Tea for Bad Breath and Gum Disease
Forget breath mints. Instead, researchers at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in Chicago suggest a cup of tea (black or green), which contains compounds that stop the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath. An added benefit: Tea helps prevent gum disease, the main cause of adult tooth loss
White Willow Bark for Back Pain
White willow bark contains salicin, a close chemical relative of aspirin. According to a German study of 451 people with low back pain, 240 mg a day of willow bark worked better than conventional therapeutic options. Like aspirin, willow bark can cause stomach distress, and it shouldn’t be given to children.
These nutritional supplements are also used in the battle against pain. They have been shown to help in chronic pain conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. They help repair cell, tissue and bone damage; help lubricate joints and repair cartilage. All these things are associated with chronic pain conditions.
Malic Acid and Magnesium
Particularly when taken together, experts suggest, malic acid and magnesium can alleviate the more painful fibro symptoms. Malic acid is derived from tart apples, while magnesium is, of course, an essential mineral necessary for more than 300 bodily biochemical functions.
Among the most important of these functions are muscular function and the creation/processing of ATP in the body. (ATP, briefly, is adenosine triphosphate, and results from the enzyme-catalyzed processing of sugar and fat.) Magnesium activates the process, and malic acid helps the body make ATP more efficiently. The recommended dosage for malic acid is 600 mg one to 3 times daily in conjunction with 160 mg of magnesium citrate twice a day.
Possible side effects:
- Nausea or diminished appetite
- Respiratory difficulties
- Adverse interactions with some medications (including osteoporosis drugs, certain hypertension medications, antibiotics, and muscle relaxers)
A naturally-occurring chemical compound found in the human body, SAMe plays an important role in several critical functions, including the immune system response and the creation and processing of chemical neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Dosage varies from 400mgs to 1600 daily. For osteoarthritis, 200–600 mg daily is a typical dose.
Possible side effects:
- Indigestion and other digestive disorders
More rarely: diarrhea, acid reflux
Caution: those diagnosed with bipolar disorder should not take SAMe; it may increase the occurrence and severity of manic episodes. SAMe may be contraindicated for those taking antidepressants; consult your doctor first (as you should before taking any new supplement or medication).
There is some promising research on 5-HTP and fibromyalgia, showing that it can reduce tender points and increase serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter. A good 5 HTP dose should range from about 50 to 400 mg. Supplements are available in 5-HTP 50 mg and 5-HTP 100 mg capsules.
For depression, the normal dosage will involve intake of a capsule or two once to four times daily for 50 mg 5 HTP pills, while taking three tablets in divided doses are recommended for 100 mg capsule. Lesser doses are usually needed for treating sleeping disorders and for weight loss.
Possible Side Effects:
- Loss of appetite,
- nausea, and vomiting
- Diarrhea Pupil dilation
- Muscular coordination problems
- Blurred vision
- Irregular cardiac rhythms
Caution: Do not take 5-HTP if you’re currently taking an antidepressant.
Vitamin B 12
Good dietary sources of B12 are animal products — meats, fish, eggs — and fortified cereals. It’s not usually found in fruits and vegetables. The current RDA for mature men and women ranges from 2.4 to 2.8 micrograms. You can also take a multivitamin that has B12 in it, or an individual supplement pill for B12 or B Complex (includes B12 as well as B1, B2, B3, and B6).
Vitamin D Research evidence shows a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and general musculoskeletal pain. It’s difficult to get all the Vitamin D you need from foods, but it is present in fortified milk products and certain fatty fish (particularly the skins). You can also increase your body’s own production of the vitamin with sunlight exposure without sunscreen (just a few minutes a day are all that’s required).
The current recommended intake level for vitamin D in the US is 200 I.U. for men and women up to age 50, rising up to 600 I.U. for older patients. Toxicity has been established at 50,000 I.U.
Possible Side Effects:
- With too-high intakes of Vitamin D, certain side effects are known:
- Decreased appetite
- High blood levels of calcium may also lead to confusion and irregular heart rhythms
Helps in strong bone formation, Vitamin D helps in Calcium absorption and utilization. Your body can only absorb about 500-600 mg at one time. The recommended calcium intake for adults is 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams daily
Folic Acid is a water-soluble B vitamin. decreases joint sensitivity and increases your mobility range. Humans need to absorb approximately 50-100mcg of folate per day in order to replenish the daily degradation and loss through urine and bile. A typical daily dose is 400 micrograms. Unit doses of one milligram or greater require a prescription.
Magnesium- important for bone and joint health and reduce some of the side effects of high levels of calcium supplementation. 400 mg per day for men and 300 mg per day for women. These are the minimum US RDA requirements.
Glucosamine (glucosamine sulfate and N-Acetyl D-Glucosamine) and Chondroitin
These two supplements help with conditions of the knees associated with osteoarthritis. They help in pain relief by healing the damage caused by inflammation and friction due to the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. They work together to provide the building blocks for new growth in damaged knee joints. The typical initial dose is 1500 mg of glucosamine and 1200 of chondroitin daily for 1- 2 months. If a response is obtained, the dose can be reduced to 1000 mg of glucosamine and 800 of chondroitin or less.
MSM(methylsulfonylmethane) Helps to relieve pain by helping to promote healthy tissues and cells. MSM is added in supplements containing SaME and Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements for pain relief. Recommended dosages for pain relief are from 2000mg daily to 5000mg daily.
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