Stop! Don’t reach for that ibuprofen! Did you know that there are over 15 herbs and remedies that kill pain, without the nasty side effects of chemical-laden drugs?
In fact, there are more than 100 plants known to have pain-relieving properties, but to keep this article short and to the point, I wanted to outline 15 of them that in my eyes, are truly outstanding.
15 Herbs and Remedies That Kill Pain Fast
Here’s a look at some of the best herbal remedies that help relieve aches, pain and other inflammation.
Turmeric, one of the best anti-inflammatory herbs out there, has been shown to influence more than 700 genes and can inhibit synthesis of COX-2 and 5-LOX, which are important mediators of inflammation. It has also been found to be as effective as ibuprofen, if not a better alternative, due to the fact that ibuprofen causes un-desirable side effects like heart issues and stomach erosion (whereas turmeric benefits the body in more ways than just pain relief).
The anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols in ginger offer free-radical protection by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide, which very quickly, under normal conditions, would form damaging free radicals called peroxynitrites, which trigger the pain response. In one study, individuals who received ginger extract had significantly less knee pain on standing when compared to patients receiving a placebo.
Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb that is renowned for its ability to reduce fatigue, fight stress and improve overall vitality. It is also known for helping patients with fibromyalgia, where the brain has problems processing pain signals (one symptom of the disease). Individuals who took a daily ginseng supplement for six weeks reported significantly less pain (up to 31.7%), and after 12 weeks experienced pain relief up to 39.4%.
This root has been used as a ceremonial drink in the Pacific Islands for hundreds of years. It is a great remedy to help relieve tension headaches and neuropathic pain.
Sourced from the frankincense tree, this herb’s resin is used to halt chemical reactions that cause inflammation, and therefore pain. It has been used to treat arthritic conditions like osteoarthritis, as well as inflammatory bowel disease. You can read more about the amazing benefits of boswellia here.
Capsaicin is the heat you experience after eating hot peppers. It is also the main compound that manipulates the body’s pain response by hindering pain perception and stimulating the release of pain-relieving endorphins. It can be used topically on areas that hurt, or can be consumed internally to help with digestive issues or dyspepsia.
Feverfew is a beneficial herb that helps treat headaches, stomachaches and toothaches. It is also used to help prevent muscle tension and pain, and treat migraines and rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies have found it to be more effective than other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), like aspirin. It inhibits the release of two inflammatory substances, serotonin and prostaglandins, which contribute to migraines and other pain-related issues.
It might sound scary, but it helps our body on multiple levels, aside from just pain relief (like helping deal with liver problems and heart burn). It is a popular treatment for osteoarthritic pain, and also helps ease muscular tension and pain in the shoulders, back and neck. Devil’s claw extract has been shown to reduce osteoarthritic hip and knee pain by 25%, while improving mobility in a few weeks!
Fennel seeds contain over 16 analgesic and 27 anti-spasmodic chemicals. They also contain phytoestrogens, which in combination with the aforementioned chemicals, help treat symptoms of PMS.
Although it is traditionally used to treat insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety and stress, valerian root is also great for helping ease muscle spasms and cramps. It is a natural pain reliever (analgesic), and reduces the tension and spasming of digestive and cardiovascular muscles.
Holy basil contains anti-inflammatory compounds called BCPs ((E)-beta-caryophyllene’s). BCP reduces inflammation in a similar manner that cannabis does, but without the side effects. Holy basil has been found to work just as well as anti-inflammatory drugs, and helps eliminate joint swelling and pain from arthritis by up to 73% in just 24 hours! How amazing is that?
Wintergreen Essential Oil
This pain relieving remedy contains 85-99% of methyl salicylate, which is comparable to that found in aspirin. Rub wintergreen essential oil on achy joints, pain points, inflamed areas and bruises.
White Willow Bark
This bark contains salicin, which the body converts to salicylic acid. It is known for its antipyretic and pain relieving properties, helping with gaining relief from menstrual cramps, muscle pain and arthritis. It also helps lower prostaglandin levels in the body, which normally cause aches, pain and inflammation.
One of my favourites, arnica, contains helenin, an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It helps relieve pain in those suffering from arthritis, as well as osteoarthritic knee pain as well as pain following trauma after surgery. I have personally used it with great success on my ankle after spraining it very badly while running down a rocky hill.
Bromelain in pineapple is another effective anti-inflammatory. The main mechanism of action of bromelain is proteolytic in nature, and has been shown to significantly reduce CD4+ lymphocytes, which are the primary effectors involved in inflammation in the body.