Almost one-third of the American population deals with constant pain and over 100 million Americans are diagnosed with chronic pain. Even though Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter painkillers can provide relief, they cause negative side effects as well, ranging from mild to serious health issues.
Therefore, the fact that natural painkillers are more than necessary doesn’t come as a surprise. Turmeric is the most widely used natural painkiller, as it acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent and it has been scientifically shown to treat joint pain.
Apart from turmeric, there are many other natural painkillers which are as effective but often overlooked. Among them are:
Due to its minty flavor peppermint is widely used in food products like tea and ice-cream. It has been scientifically shown that it is very effective at reducing pain caused by nerve damage.
A study found that topical application of peppermint oil to the skin of a person experiencing nerve damage is more effective at reducing pain that the conventional pain-relieving therapies. There is yet another study proving that peppermint is effective in relieving stomach pain and heartburn in patients with IBS.
2. Willow Bark
The bark of white willow tree has been long used to relieve inflammation. Even though the treatment is not the same today (chewing on it), it is still used for the same purpose. It can reduce pain caused by inflammatory conditions and headaches as well as lower back pain which is one of the most common forms of pain.
Willow bark is rich in salicin, a compound whose effects are very similar to those of aspirin. When combined with flavonoids, it provides further inflammatory properties which allow it to be so effective at reducing pain.
Cherries have been proven to be an effective painkiller whose effects are very similar to those of turmeric. They contain anthocyanins, a compound which is responsible for their dark color and their ability to reduce inflammation and stop the production of the pain enzyme. Therefore, it reduces pain in a similar way what aspirin, naproxen and turmeric do.
It is recommended to opt for tart-tasting cherries instead of sweet ones to ensure you get the most of them and their beneficial compounds.
4. Chili Peppers
Chili peppers are as effective at preventing pain as they are at causing it in the first place. Many types of chili peppers, such as cayenne, chipotle peppers, and jalapeno, contain a compound called capsaicin which makes them spicy and gives their painkilling properties.
Instead of reducing pain through lowering inflammation, as many other painkillers do, capsaicin actually stimulates and then dulls the nerves which are responsible for spreading the pain. Once it starts stimulating the nerves, it initially makes the pain more severe, but the effect decreases after the first use.
For optimal effects, you should apply it topically, which means that you should rub it through the skin. There are many capsaicin-based creams which makes this easier. It has been found that topical application of capsaicin provides relief for pain caused by mouth sores, nerve damage, cluster headaches, joint issues, and skin conditions.
Note: Consult your doctor prior using any of the aforementioned natural pain-killers.