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10 Completely Natural Alternatives to Ibuprofen
Pain seems to be a constant in today’s modern world. Even when it’s mild, such as a simple tension headache, it can interrupt your daily life. Who can think clearly and finish that paper or pay attention to your kid’s homework when your head is pounding? The bad news? Your work load won’t stop and wait for you just because you have a headache. This is why many people resort to taking NSAIDS, such as the popular ibuprofen.
It’s true that popping a couple ibuprofen will make the pain disappear pretty quickly, but like most pharmaceuticals, your body takes a hard hit every time you take these painkillers. Ibuprofen is commonly known for increasing the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. It also has been linked to other problems such as:
- Increased risk of dying from the flu
- Genetic damage
- High blood pressure
- Hearing loss
Those can be a pretty high price to pay for a couple of pills. But don’t worry, there are plenty of natural ways that you can get some much needed pain relief directly from Mother Nature. Check out the top 10 completely natural alternatives to ibuprofen.
Although this spice is often taken to stop nausea and vomiting, it also works great when it comes to pain relief. Ginger is both an analgesic and has some powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as antioxidants that act to fight pain on a cellular level. Ginger works for everything from headaches to muscle aches, menstrual cramps to joint pain. Try some ginger tea with honey rather than ibuprofen for your next headache.
2. Devil’s Claw
This herb from South Africa has been used in Europe for hundreds of years to fight inflammatory conditions such as muscle pain, joint pain, and arthritis. Studies show that this herb works about as well as most over the counter pain relieving drugs. In fact, some people were able to lower their dose of NSAIDS or eliminate them completely once they started taking this African herb.
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When DMSO is combined with Sweet Relief cream, it makes a powerful duo that is hard to beat. DMSO is a natural pain killer that was first synthesized back in 1866. This is a completely natural compound that comes from MSM and be taken internally or used externally. A DMSO based cream is perfect for sore joints, overworked muscles, or sprained joints. When used in combination with capsaicin, the effectiveness appears to be even more powerful.
4. Cayenne Pepper
These spicy little veggies are one of Mother Nature’s most healing substances and are great at pain relief. The effective ingredient in cayenne pepper, capsaicin, stops the body from making Substance P, the neuropeptide that sends pain signals to your brain.
5. Cat’s Claw
This anti-inflammatory plant grows mainly in South America. It blocks the production of prostaglandin, which only furthers feelings of pain and increases inflammation. Taking between 250 and 1,000mgs one to three times per day will stop most pain but be careful as taking too high a dose can cause diarrhea.
Turmeric has become a popular “cure all” but it has actually been used for thousands of years. Turmeric works much the same way that cayenne pepper does as it stops substance P from reaching the brain and signaling pain. Turmeric is a super powerful anti-inflammatory, as well, so it works well for stopping arthritis and other types of joint pain.
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This anti-inflammatory comes from a tree that is native to India. It contains a type of acid called boswellic acid, which improves the blood flow to the joints. It also stops inflammatory white blood cells from entering damaged or weakened tissues. Sometimes called Indian Frankincense, you can find Boswellia as either a topical cream or in supplement form. One study showed that subjects who suffered from arthritis pain who took 752mg of Boswellia extract every day for 30 days had as much as a 90 percent decrease in their pain levels.
Eugenol is a chemical that is found in cloves, nutmeg, bay leaf, basil, and cinnamon. Cloves are a common remedy to stop toothaches, but these can help with other types of pain as well. Eugenol inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, which is the enzyme that initiates the inflammation process. Taking essential oils that contain eugenol can naturally stop inflammation and pain.
Flax seed oil, cod liver, chia, hemp, and fish oils are a very reliable defense from pain, especially those with neck or back pain, and those suffering with arthritis. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in these oils breaks down prostaglandin, which is a pro-inflammatory hormone. Studies have found that consuming omega-3s cut the amount of NSAID use by as much as 2/3rds for those who had neck or back pain and as much as 1/3rd for those suffering from arthritis pain.
SEE ALSO: Drugs that Relieve Joint Pain are Silently Killing You
Well, no surprise here. In a study that was reported in The Journal of Pain, which is published by the American Pain Society, using cannabis for cancer patients who responded poorly to opioids provided effective pain relief. Whenever subjects consume cannabis, there is always a notable decline in the amount of prescription painkillers that are consumed. Also, prescription painkillers all come with side effects. There is not a single clinical study where patients who consumed cannabis did not find that they could reduce their drug intake and there have been no recorded side effects due to cannabis consumption.
Before you consume any herbal substance, you should always consult your doctor, especially if you are taking prescription medication. Although herbs are generally well tolerated by almost every one, there are exceptions and some herbs can cause dangerous, even life threatening interactions with some prescription drugs. Always consult your physician before you consume any herbs or supplements.