For centuries, people have used analgesic herbs to treat a variety of chronic aches and pains, including headaches, back aches, toothaches, and neuralgia. Scores of herbs have important roles in natural pain relief. Below we discuss seven commonly-used herbs for natural chronic pain management.
Chronic pain is long-lasting, persistent pain that usually shows no improvement with time. In fact, it often worsens over time. Defined as pain that lasts six months ormore, chronic pain can easily take on a life of its own.
Chronic pain is more than a symptom of disease or injury. It often becomes the illness itself, causing physical, occupational, or mental impairment and affecting quality of life. The pain may center on a specific area of the body, such as lower back pain or daily headaches. Or, it may affect several parts of the body, such as osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia.
Chronic pain affects millions of people around the world, and it triggers billions of dollars in medical and social costs each year. Pain management is big business for the world’s pharmaceutical companies, and yet the pain persists.
The truth is, traditional treatments such as medications, injections, and surgeries are ineffective for relieving chronic pain. The debilitating condition causes unrelenting aches and hurts, long-term physical and emotional suffering, and even disability.
The search for safer, less expensive, and more effective ways to deal with pain lead many people to alternative treatments, from acupuncture and chiropractic to aromatherapy and herbal remedies. In fact, the best pain management systems include a combination of holistic practices, and herbology plays an important role.
Here are seven great herbs for natural pain relief:
Cayenne pepper (Capsicum) is a hot chili pepper used for culinary and medicinal purposes. A member of the Solanaceae family, cayenne peppers are native to the America’s. Cayenne is safe to use with prescription and over-the-counter medications to relieve arthritis and other pain. In liquid form, it soothes sore throat pain. Cayenne herbal creams reduce itching associated with various skin conditions. As a dietary supplement, cayenne helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflowers, belongs to the daisy family, Asteracaea. The North American herb has many medicinal uses. Known to lessen cold symptoms, it destroys harmful bacteria and viruses, enhances the immune system, reduces inflammation, and relieves pain. Its analgesic and anesthetic properties make it an effective ingredient in sore throat spray. Echinacea is typically taken as a capsule, root tea, or extract.
Ginger (Zingiber) began as a South Asian spice. Sometimes known as rootstalks or rootstocks, ginger is a rhizome plant of the Zingiberaceae family. Most people eat ginger as a delicacy or spice, but it also has medicinal uses. Clinical research links ginger with reduced osteoarthritis and cancer pain. The herb is commonly used to treat nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach pain associated with motion sickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy. Ginger is consumed as an extract, oil, capsule, or freshly-grated spice.
Kava, or kava-kava, is another natural alternative to pain medications. A South Pacific native, kava is a member of the Piperaceae, or pepper, family. The root of the kava plant has been used for centuries as a sedative, diuretic, and muscle relaxant. The herbal remedy relieves physical pain and promotes mental relaxation. Most people take kava as an extract, capsule, or herbal tea.
Also known as blue skullcap and hoodwort, skullcap (Scutellaria later flora) is a North American herb in the Lamiaceae, or mint, family. As an herbal remedy, skullcap is a mild sedative that promotes relaxation and sleep. Skullcap is considered an effective nerve tonic and is commonly used to treat anxiety and nerve pain. The herb is most often taken as a tea or tincture, although it is available in supplement form.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is another rhizome of the Zingiberaceae, or ginger, family. With roots in South Asia, turmeric is used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The ordinary kitchen spice is a simple pain remedy. Holistic medicine uses turmeric to treat arthritis, cancer pain, and skin conditions. While turmeric powder can be used to create a poultice, the best medicinal benefits come from the supplement.
Native to world’s Northern Hemisphere, willow (Salix) is a tree herb in the Salicaceae family. The leaves and barks of the willow tree have been used through the ages to treat aches, pains, and fevers. In fact, white willow is the original source of aspirin, as well as many arthritis and rheumatism medications. Willow is usually taken in capsule form or as an herbal tea.
Taking one or more of these herbs should help lessen the pain you feel and help you cope with life again, which is the main goal. If you decide to try these herbs, please let us know how you get on. Good luck!
We suggest a host of other natural treatments, herbs and foods for pain management