If you’ve had a headache, joint pain, or any other form of mild discomfort, you’ve likely been told to take an over the counter painkiller.
Likewise, if you’re living with a condition that causes chronic pain, you may be taking one or more painkillers on a daily basis.
These drugs are some of the most common pharmaceuticals in our lives, found in the medicine cabinets of many people.
In many cases, these drugs are used to relieve discomfort, and they can be effective.
However, they often come with side effects.
You may be tempted to grab a pharmaceutical painkiller when the pain kicks in, but before you do you may wish to consider a natural alternative treatment for chronic pain management.
Natural Alternatives To Over-The-Counter Painkillers
Luckily, for those who wish to avoid the side effects associated with over-the-counter painkillers, there are a number of alternatives which don’t come with the same risks and side effects.
Let’s take a look at some alternatives which are becoming increasingly popular.
Feverfew is a plant in the same family as the daisy, and although it is pretty to look at, it also has healing properties.
Traditionally used to treat headaches, stomach aches and toothaches, it is now also used for preventing and treating migraines.
No major side effects to using feverfew for a short term have been found, however it should be avoided by pregnant women, individuals with bleeding disorders, and those allergic to ragweed.
Capsaicin is the chemical in peppers which makes them taste hot.
It may also work as a topical pain reliever for some individuals.
Capsaicin inhibits substance P, the compound which conveys the pain sensation from the peripheral nervous system to the brain.
It should be noted that the relief provided by capsaicin is temporary, and therefore the cream will need to be reapplied multiple times per day.
Turmeric is often used to spice up our food and give curry it’s flavour, however it can also be used as a treatment for many conditions.
The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is an antioxidant which helps protect the body from free radical damage.
Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties and it has been used traditionally to relieve joint pain.
Curcumin has a low bio-availability though. Pairing it with black pepper can increase this, but there are also curcumin supplements available which can be absorbed more easily by your digestive system.
4. Willow Bark
The bark of the white willow tree contains salicin which is similar to the main ingredient in aspirin.
While once upon a time people actually chewed the bark of the willow tree as a treatment for pain and fevers, it can now be purchased as a dried herb which can be brewed as a tea.
You can use willow bark to treat pain from headaches, low back pain, and many other conditions.
It should be noted that willow bark should be avoided by those who are sensitive to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen) and those who are taking blood-thinning medications.
Additionally, it should not be used by children.
Cloves are often used in cooking, however they can also be used to treat a number of conditions.
Medicinal cloves come in many formats, including as a powder, oil, or in a capsule.
Cloves can also be used to help treat colds and nausea.
The active ingredient is eugenol, a natural pain reliever which is also in some over-the-counter medications.
Use a tiny amount of clove oil on your gums to help relieve toothache, however if you plan to use this as a treatment you should discuss with your dentist or naturopathic doctor, as using too much may be harmful to your gums.
It should be noted that clove oil can increase the risk of bleeding, so those with bleeding disorders or who are on blood-thinners should be cognizant of this when using cloves as a treatment.
This article originally appeared on the blog of Dr. Simona Scurtu, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto. It appears here on Steemit with the full permission of the original source.