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According to a study prepared by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), nearly 50 million American adults live with significant chronic pain.
Most patients who live with chronic pain are prescribed opioid pain relievers and steroids to treat their symptoms.
While these medications may provide some much-needed relief, there are two significant problems with this approach:
- Taking pain prescriptions for a long period of time can cause side effects and lead to dependency.
- Prescription pain medications dull symptoms, but they do not get to the root cause of pain and disease.
This is why more and more patients are turning to herbal remedies and natural medicine to treat their chronic pain.
Below is a list of 5 herbal remedies that have been proven to provide safer pain relief.
Capsaicin is an ingredient in chili peppers that give them their hot, spicy flavor. Capsaicin works by temporarily desensitizing nerve receptors called C-fibers, which trigger a pain response.
This herbal remedy also helps treat pain in another way, by blocking a neuropeptide called substance P, which is associated with inflammation.
According to a clinical study, 80 percent of arthritis patients who used topical capsaicin experienced a noticeable reduction in pain after only two weeks of treatment!
Capsaicin can be used as a daily oral supplement. It can also be used topically in the form of a cream or salve.
Moreover, you can also include capsaicin in your diet by incorporating cayenne pepper, red and green chili peppers, and sweet peppers into your meals.
As with all herbal remedies, it’s important to know that just because something is natural doesn’t make it 100 percent safe.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not consume capsaicin.
Furthermore, if you have an allergy to bananas, avocado, kiwi, chestnuts, or latex, be advised you may also have an allergic reaction to cayenne.
Remember, less is more. Resist the temptation to take more capsaicin than is recommended on a supplement bottle.
Do not use this herbal remedy immediately before or after hot showers and avoid use with a heating pad.
Always wash your hands thoroughly after using capsaicin cream so as to not accidentally transfer the hot pepper to your eyes. (Ouch!)
Turmeric is a curry ingredient that contains curcumin, which is known to ease the pain of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
What makes this natural treatment one of the best herbal remedies for pain is that curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in your body responsible for causing inflammation.
Numerous studies have been conducted over the past 30 years, confirming curcumin’s effectiveness in treating a wide variety of neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases.
This herbal remedy can be added to soups or stews. It can also be consumed as a tea. Taken in oral supplement form, turmeric can help reduce or even completely stop arthritis pain throughout the body.
While turmeric is generally regarded as safe, it is important not to take this herbal remedy with antacid, blood-thinning, or diabetes medications. It should also not be taken with NSAID pain relievers. If you are pregnant or nursing, talk with your doctor before using curcumin.
Boswellia is sourced from the frankincense tree. This herbal remedy is ideal for chronic pain sufferers as it inhibits certain enzymes that cause inflammation. Boswellia has been shown to ease osteoarthritis pain and improve mobility in the span of only one week!
Not only is this herbal remedy an effective pain and inflammation reliever, it also supports your vascular system, which helps improve your blood circulation.
Boswellia is unique among herbal remedies for pain in that it decreases elastase, an inflammatory mediator often elevated in those with fibromyalgia.
A study conducted on rugby players revealed that treatment with this natural remedy showed a significant reduction in local pain and structural damage while increasing pain-free walking during a treadmill test.
Boswellia is most commonly taken in oral supplement form. It may also be found in some natural pain-relieving creams.
Boswellia side effects are quite rare. However, it is important to note that heartburn, occasional nausea, diarrhea, or skin rash may occur. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use this herbal remedy.
Serrapeptase is an enzyme that specifically targets non-living tissue, safely breaks it down, and eliminates it from the body.
Non-living tissue remaining in the body is a common problem for those with chronic pain, inflammatory, and autoimmune conditions.
When allowed to remain, these tissues can form toxic layers that clog your digestive system and the lining of your arteries. This can worsen your chronic pain and fatigue and also cause more serious health problems down the road.
Serrapeptase is also effective at blocking chemicals that cause inflammation, and it has been shown to be quite beneficial in helping the body recover after surgery.
According to a study, post-operative patients treated with serrapeptase experienced a significant reduction in swelling as opposed to patients treated with a placebo.
Serrapeptase is most commonly taken as an oral supplement. It can also be found in certain natural skin creams designed to treat pain and inflammation.
This natural pain remedy should not be taken before surgery because it has a blood-thinning effect. Elderly individuals who use serrapeptase over a long period of time may experience gastrointestinal distress.
A rare, but important side effect to mention is also the thinning of mucosal secretions, which can, in patients with a history of lung problems, increase the risk of lung infection and pneumonia.
Pregnant and nursing individuals should avoid this natural remedy.
Arnica is an herbal remedy derived from a European flower. As an herb, arnica can be applied topically to treat muscle aches, joint pain, superficial phlebitis, and swelling due to injury. Moreover, the herb itself has been shown to speed wound healing.
Because the herb is so strong, however, its only safe use is topical use.
However, arnica can be safely taken in oral form as a homeopathic remedy that dissolves under the tongue.
Homeopathic arnica has been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation, ease muscle soreness, and speed the healing of bruises when applied directly to injured area(s).
When taking arnica orally, always use it in homeopathic form. It usually comes in pellets that dissolve under your tongue. You can also use homeopathic arnica cream to reduce soreness, swelling, and bruising.
There are no known interactions or side effects of using homeopathic arnica as an oral supplement or cream. The herb itself is too powerful and should never be taken orally. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your doctor before using arnica.
Note: If you are currently taking a prescription pain medication, talk with your doctor or a naturopathic physician before using herbal remedies. This will ensure your supplements will not interact with your prescriptions.
Living with chronic pain can make life miserable. With these herbal remedies, you have the opportunity to regain control of your health and improve your well-being!