When you have a debilitating headache, battle any type of chronic pain or you’re simply feeling sore from yesterday’s workout, it’s tempting to want to just pop an Advil and call it a day. Although over-the-counter painkillers can definitely come in handy, no one wants to rely on medication all the time to help relieve those aches and pains. Too much long-term use of painkillers can have a number of side effects, including increased risk of depression, kidney damage and even addiction.
If you’re someone who only suffers from minor discomfort, or you just want to look for another option, you might want to consider trying one of these six natural alternatives to painkillers.
This richly-colored kitchen spice has been used as a painkiller for centuries, as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Research from The University of Arizona found that rats with joint inflammation who were given turmeric displayed far less joint swelling than rats who weren’t given the herb. Turmeric is commonly used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain and more.
2. Willow Bark
Like turmeric, willow bark has been used for centuries to treat pains such as fever, inflammation, headaches, osteoarthritis and more. The bark of white willow contains salicin, a chemical similar to aspirin, and it also contains flavonoids, anti-inflammatory plant compounds. Willow bark has fever-reducing, antiseptic, and immune-boosting properties, and it is even comparable to taking an aspirin, with effects that may last longer at a lower dose.
Although you might be used to spicing your food with cloves during the holiday season, cloves can also be used as a topical anesthetic, an anti-fungal remedy and even a toothache reliever. The spice contains eugenol, the chemical responsible for its pain-relieving effects.
Peppermint not only smells nice, it can be used to treat pain relief for a number of ailments as well, including headaches, the common cold, infections and digestive problems. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint also has the ability to soothe and relieve muscle soreness and pain, as it contains a significant amount of menthol.
Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives hot peppers their spicy kick, can be used topically to reduce pain, often in the form of creams. The compound depletes your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that is involved in transmitting pain signals to your brain.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine, but it has recently been studied as an effective treatment for pain and swelling. Research out of Denmark found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Tylenol or Advil, as it blocks the formation of more anti-inflammatory compounds.
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