If you suffer from any kind of pain, headaches, joint pain, back pain, toothaches, or aching muscles; then you have experienced the body’s inflammatory processes at work. Sometimes the pain is difficult to bear. We resort to common over the counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen but they can cause side effects like upset stomach or worse.
There are natural alternatives to help control the buildup of chronic inflammation which can turn into degenerative diseases. Some of nature’s most effective pain relievers and anti-inflammatory compounds are found in hops, turmeric, white willow, ginger, mint, rosemary and mustard.
Hops the bitter element in beer contains alpha acid, and inhibits the compounds in the pain pathway of the body. You can also drink as a tea, but it is bitter, you may need to add sweetener.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful inhibitor of Cox-2; which increases inflammatory response and also prevents free radicals from forming and creating more inflammation and pain. Turmeric reduces inflammation by lowering histamine levels and stimulating the adrenal glands to produce more cortisone, the body’s natural painkiller. It is best to use in food by adding curry or turmeric to dishes, or when pain is bad you can resort to capsules; like I have and take 400-800 mgs.
White Willow contains salicin, which was used to synthesize into acetylsalicylic acid and what constitutes aspirin today. This compound reduces pain and inflammation. Studies show it is especially good for carpal tunnel syndrome
Ginger contains gingerols and other compounds with potent antioxidant activity and has been used by Ayurveda and Chinese medicines for many centuries. Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and helps control pain. Add to meals, drink as teas or if you need higher amounts; you can use a tincture or capsules.
Rosemary is good at keeping away HCA’s (heterocylic amines) which are carcinogens released from meats when grilled or fried at high temperature. So remember when you barbecue try sprinkling on rosemary to cut down on those nasty HCA’s which cause inflammation. The compounds in rosemary; rosamarinic acid, carnosic acid and carnosol creates one of the top most powerful anti-oxidants on earth.
Mints like spearmint or peppermint contain menthol, applied topically helps relieve pain and muscle tightness. You can use an Essential oil rubbed directly on muscle or drink a mint tea.
Mustard seeds have been special since Biblical times; when Jesus said that those with faith as small as a mustard seed could move mountains! The mustard plant is a crucifer, a member of the cancer fighting plant family that includes broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage. Mustard is warming to the skin and improves circulation; that is why it has been used to relieve sore joints and muscles by use of a mustard plaster. Mix small amounts of flour, dry mustard, and warm water to make a paste. Spread on the middle of a towel, not against the skin and wrap around your joints or on your back!
Hot peppers like cayenne, jalapeno, and habanero can help relieve pain due to the compound capsaicin. When applied it controls the nerve chain that transmits the pain sensations. Today there are many remedies on the market from capsaicin patches to rubs to help with painful areas.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, of University of Arizona, refined, processed, manufactured foods can intensify pain because they contain high amounts if inflammatory fats and carbohydrates! High fructose corn syrup, added to many products, also stimulates production of inflammatory substances.
Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal
The Green Pharmacy by James Duke