In 2015, the FDA increased the warnings associated with the use of over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Taking these painkillers comes with the increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Many are now questioning the use of painkillers for any reason.
However, you don’t have to go
completely pain relief-free, even if you are avoiding NSAIDs. The four
herbs listed below have powerful pain-relieving effects that work as
well as over-the-counter medication.
Chili contains an ingredient called
capsaicin, which has been shown to fight pain and inflammation. The
ingredient is so effective that in 2011 a pain-relieving patch
containing capsaicin compounds was released for commercial sale in the
European Union and the United States. However, it is not necesssary to
purchase the patch to benefit from the pain-relieving properties of
How to use it: Make a paste of
chili powder and water. Rub the mixture into sore, aching muscles. The
skin will tingle and may redden a bit, but as long as it does not hurt
or burn, it will not harm the skin. Within a few minutes, you should
feel relief from the pain. Chili is particularly effective in fighting
swelling, inflammation and joint pain.
Compounds in chamomile are soothing
and anti-inflammatory. Chamomile is effective at relieving minor aches
and pains. A study from 2010 published in Molecular Medicine Report found chamomile to be effective at reducing the pain from hemorrhoids, arthritis, ulcers, menstrual cramps and wounds.
How to use it: Create a strong
brew of chamomile by adding hot water to chamomile leaves. Allow the
mixture to rest for 24 hours. Dampen cotton cloths with the chamomile
liquid and apply them directly to the affected area. You can also add
some chamomile leaves or tea bags (if you have nothing else) to hot
bathwater and use it to soak for an hour.
Clove has long been used to reduce
dental pain. Clove has a mixture of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial
compounds that make it ideal for relieving toothache. A 2006 study
published in the Journal of Dentistry found that clove oil was even more effective at reducing pain than benzocaine.
How to use it:
Dilute clove essential oil in a carrier oil using a ratio of one drop
of clove oil to 10 drops of carrier oil. Gently rub the clove essential
oil mixture on the injured area. When the area starts to tingle and feel
a bit numb, the clove is working. Alternatively, if you do not have
essential oil, you can make a paste of ground cloves and water and apply
it directly to the affected area.
Lavender is an herb that promotes
feelings of calm and happiness. Until recently, however, it was not
realized that lavender also has pain-relieving properties.
How to use it: Use a drop of
lavender oil to remove the sting from bug bites; rub sore muscles with
lavender essential oil for gentle pain relief; or diffuse lavender oil
to reduce generalized pain. In 2013, a study was published in the
journal Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
that analyzed the effect of lavender essential oil on cesarean
postoperative pain. In one hospital, women who had just had cesarean
surgeries were given lavender oil to inhale, while a control group was
given a placebo. The women who smelled the lavender reported
significantly lower pain levels than the control group.
Add these four herbs to your medicine cabinet and throw out those risky NSAIDs.
—The Alternative Daily