Natural Pain Killers

by Peter on June 3, 2010

Last week I posted an article on Pain Management Medications. Fortunately we have alternative choices. This week I’d like to follow up along the line of Natural Pain Killers that one can take instead of the Pharmaceutical drugs. As always consult your Physician or Naturopath before taking any drugs, medications or natural remedies. These all have powerful effects, and combining them with other medications can have some serious consequences.

Arnica – is used for acute injury and/or swelling. The healing mechanism is very much unknown but is does contain natural anti-inflammatory ingredients. Arnica can be rubbed on as an ointment directly to an area of pain, spasm or swelling. Bruises also responds well to arnica creams.  Arnica can also be taken in the form of pellets under the tongue for a more systemic effect.

Aquamin – mainly used for osteoarthritis, this red seaweed supplement is rich in calcium and magnesium. A preliminary clinical study showed that the ingredients may reduce joint inflammation or even help build bone, says David O’Leary of Marigot, Aquamin’s Irish manufacturer. In a study of 70 volunteers published in Nutrition Journal, Aquamin users reduced arthritis pain by 20 percent in a month, and had less stiffness than patients taking a placebo.

Boswellia – Clinical trials have proved that the Indian herb boswellia is as effective as conventional drugs for both chronic and minor pains. Boswellic acids, the active ingredients in boswellia, are more potent and less toxic than standard NSAIDs. Boswellic acids decrease the production of inflammatory compounds, the leukotrienes that are implicated in many chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Boswellia is available both as a supplement and as a topical cream.

Curcumin – curcumin is a powerful painkiller known to block inflammatory proteins and enhance the body’s ability to suppress inflammation. Turmeric is used in place of NSAIDs without any side effects to the organs including stomach, heart, liver and kidneys. Various studies put forth that curcumin eases the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis. The pain relievers found in curcumin stop the neurotransmitter substance P from sending its pain signals to the brain. Curcumin also decreases inflammation by reducing prostaglandin activity.

Capsaicin – used for arthritis, shingles, or neuropathy.  An active component of chile pepper, capsaicin temporarily desensitizes pain-prone skin nerve receptors called C-fibers; soreness is diminished for 3 to 5 weeks while they regain sensation. Nearly 40 percent of arthritis patients reduced their pain by half after using a topical capsaicin cream for a month, and 60 percent of neuropathy patients achieved the same after 2 months, according to a University of Oxford study.

Devil’s claw – Devil’s claw, native to South Africa is another herb that is best known for alleviating back pain and arthritis.  The active ingredients in this herb are called iridoid glycosides that are responsible for producing its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. A French trial found it as effective as, and safer than, the anti-arthritis drug diacerhein. One four-month study included around 120 people with knee and hip osteoarthritis and put forth that devil’s claw decreased pain and increased function as good as a regular osteoarthritis medicine, but with a lot fewer side effects.

Fish oil – Fish oil contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids are known to block the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines and leukotrienes in the body, which are responsible for a range of painful conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, gout and sinusitis. Researchers found that eating 3 g of fish fats a day relieved the joint pain, inflammation, and morning stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and reduced the drug requirement.

Glucosamine & Chondroitin – Glucosamine and chondroitin are nutritional supplements that significantly reduce the pain of arthritic joints. In Europe oral glucosamine is a commonly used pain killer and is even approved as a prescription drug. They may also be effective in topical use.

InflaThera or Zyflamend –  used for arthritis, both supplement brands contain ginger, turmeric, and holy basil, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric (a curry ingredient) may be the best: A component, curcumin, eases inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, according to the Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis.

MSM – MSM (methyl-sulphonyl-methane) is a naturally-occurring sulphur compound. It is a powerful painkiller with anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties, and it inhibits the transmission of pain impulses. It is available both as a dietary supplement and as a cream for topical application.

Oil of Oregano – Oil of Oregano is a natural substance that is extracted from wild oregano plants, and two key compounds found in it are carvacrol and thymol. Studies have shown that both of these compounds have significant effects on harmful microorganisms that cause many illnesses in humans. Some of the specific benefits of Oil of Oregano are Destroying organisms that contribute to skin infections and digestive problems, Strengthening the immune system. Increasing joint and muscle flexibility and Improving respiratory health.

Olive oil – Olive oil has been found to contain a natural chemical which acts like the anti-inflammatory pain killer ibuprofen. The active ingredient in olive oil is oleocanthal, which influences the same biochemical pathway as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The researchers concluded that 50 gram of extra-virgin olive oil was comparable to about 10 per cent of the ibuprofen dose recommended for adult pain relief. Although headache will not be cured with this, yet regular olive oil consumption is expected to provide some of the long-lasting benefits of ibuprofen.

Saliva – Saliva has been found to generate a natural painkiller of up to six times more strength than morphine. The substance produced by human saliva is similar to opiorphin and has been said to generate a new class of natural painkillers that are far better than the traditional drug morphine, which has many addictive and psychosomatic side effects. The researchers demonstrated that the opiorphin acts in nerve cells of the spine and stops the usual destruction of the natural pain-killing opiates, known as the enkephalins.

Tart cherries – According to researchers at Michigan State University, the eating about 20 tart cherries may relieve pain better than aspirin and may also exhibit antioxidant properties comparable to supplements like vitamin E. That number of cherries are said to contain 12-25 milligrams of the active ingredients, called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins inhibited cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 enzymes, which were the targets of anti-inflammatory drugs at doses more than ten times lower than aspirin. Thus daily consumption of cherries has shown the potential to reduce pain related to inflammation, arthritis and gout.

White willow bark – White willow bark decreases pain by blocking the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. White willow bark is also a very effective fever reducer. It is said to contain a compound called salicylic acid and aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid) is a synthetic form of this compound. White willow bark provides all pain-relieving benefits of aspirin. Conventionally is safer then aspirin and other synthetically derived salicylate based anti-inflammatory drugs. No contra-indications and serious side effects have ever been reported by medical science. It is said to provide relief to headache, toothache, backache or even arthritis.

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