More than 100 million Americans live with chronic pain—that’s over one third of the population. If you’re one of them, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to turn to over-the-counter painkillers, or the addictive stuff that the doctor sometimes prescribes.
Nature has provided us with these five natural painkillers, all of which have been found to be effective.
1. Capsaicin (Capsicum)
also known as red pepper or chili pepper, can do wonders for chronic
pain when used topically. Capsaicin, the active pain-reducing component
in capsicum, works by temporarily desensitizing nerve receptors called
C-fibers, which cause pain responses in the body.
Many studies have shown capsicum to be effective. One incredible
study showed that a single 60-minute application given to patients with
neuropathic pain provided them with pain relief for up to 12 weeks.
Another showed that capsicum can reduce the pain associated with
migraines and cluster headaches when applied to the nasal passages.
2. Devil’s claw
Although the name doesn’t make it sound like what you would use to
treat pain, this North African herb’s powerful anti-inflammatory
properties actually make it a very effective pain reliever. In
particular, devil’s claw is known for reducing the pain and discomfort
associated with arthritis, headaches and chronic lower back pain.
Many studies have been done on devil’s claw, including one comparing
the effectiveness of devil’s claw and a leading European medication for
osteoarthritis pain relief. The study found that the people who took
devil’s claw had as much pain relief as the people who took the
medication—and fewer side effects.
Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has been used
for ages as an effective pain reliever, and recent studies show that it
can be even more effective than common prescription painkillers.
A 2013 study that compared ginger extract to the common painkillers
cortisone and ibuprofen for the treatment of osteoarthritis and
rheumatoid arthritis found that ginger was not only an effective pain
treatment—it was superior to the pharmaceuticals.
4. Krill oil
health benefits of fish oil are well known, but did you know that krill
oil is an even more effective way to get healthy, anti-inflammatory
omega-3 fatty acids? Krill oil contains liposomes that help to send the
fatty acids directly into the cells, which means you’ll feel the
anti-inflammatory benefits of the omega-3s quicker than you would if you
were taking a supplement.
One study has shown that taking 300 milligrams of krill oil each day
for seven days lowered inflammation and arthritis symptoms by 20
percent. After 30 days, inflammation had decreased by over 30 percent,
making krill oil a good choice for chronic pain relief.
Aquamin, a plant-based mineral complex derived from red seaweed, is
another powerful pain reducer. A study published in Nutrition Journal
found Aquamin to reduce arthritis pain and certain other side effects
associated with the condition by 20 percent in a month. It has also been
shown to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with different
Remember: Some natural remedies can be very powerful and cause
certain side effects. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting or
changing any medications or supplements.
-The Alternative Daily