It doesn’t matter if your pain is caused by a chronic injury, illness or as a result of a new injury, it can have a major effect on your life; not only will you be uncomfortable, you might not be able to engage in the activities you enjoy. While your doctor can prescribe strong pain meds, these often make you sleepy and can even be addictive. Over-the-counter meds such as Tylenol and Advil are not that strong but a long-term use (or overuse) can have adverse health effects. In addition, some prescription and over-the-counter meds haven’t been around long enough to even know what (if any) long-term side effects they can incur.
Thus, it’s best to use natural remedies; not only do they have fewer side effects, but in some cases, they have been used for thousands of years-so you know what you are getting into by taking them. If you are in pain, consider using the following natural pain killers to alleviate it:
Birch tree leaves contain methyl salicylate, which is similar to an ingredient found in aspirin. methyl salicylate acts as an analgesic, detoxifier, and anti-spasmodic. It also increases blood flow, which decreases pain and helps speed the healing process.
Capsaicin is a pain reducing ingredient in hot chili peppers that desensitizes certain nerve receptors responsible for transmitting the sense of pain. Although this is temporary, general pain relief can last three to five weeks. If you are having neuropathic pain (from nerve damage), capsaicin can work for up to 12 weeks. Capsaicin can even be applied to the nasal passages to reduce pain from migraine headaches.
Eucommia is a small plant native to China whose bark has been used to treat pain for thousands of years. Although it’s most commonly used to treat chronic joint and back pain, recent studies have shown that it stimulates collagen growth, which helps stimulate tendon regeneration-which reduces healing time.
Kratom is an evergreen tree found in Southeast Asia that is used to reduce pain and uplift mood. Kratom is often chewed, although it is also available in supplement form. Kratom is an incredibly effective treatment that has a similar mechanism of action as morphine. Because of it’s climate and growing habits (Kratom becomes more abundant around the raining season) many experts believe that its strength is based upon when it was grown and harvested. This is untrue, however; it takes a lot of time to prepare and distribute Kratom, meaning that it doesn’t matter what season kratom grows or is harvested in.
Valerian root reduces nerve sensitivity and helps regulate the nervous system. If your pain is causing you to lose sleep, valerian root can also help you sleep-in fact, in some cultures it’s used as a tranquilize.
Devil’s claw is an herb found in South Africa that reduces muscle tension and is particularly effective in treating pain associated with arthritis. It contains harpagide and harpagoside, which reduces pain and serves as an anti-inflammatory. Use caution though; devil’s claw shouldn’t be taken by young children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. People with liver or kidney diseases and/or taking blood thinners should also avoid devil’s claw.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory herb, so it can reduce pain associated with recent injuries. It can also help reduce muscle soreness after a workout. One of the best parts of using ginger as a remedy is that it’s easy to incorporate into your diet; just flavor your vegetables with ginger or indulge in some ginger tea.