Natural Pain Relievers From Your Kitchen
Some of the more common painful conditions can be managed effectively without the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications. Here are six natural pain relievers from your kitchen and an explanation about the types of pain they can help and how they work, including the latest research.
Can natural pain relievers really work?
Whenever you experience pain, a common response is to reach for an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drug to provide relief. However, these treatment choices are typically associated with side effects, while natural pain relievers usually are not, or they may cause minimal effects.
Therefore, if you are looking for natural pain relievers, you may want to consider some of the following remedies. Just look in your pantry or refrigerator!
Apple cider vinegar: If indigestion or heartburn is causing you pain, then it may be time to try apple cider vinegar. This may sound crazy—isn’t heartburn caused by too much acid?
Actually, in many cases, heartburn or indigestion is caused by not having enough acid. The pain comes from the stomach trying to most efficiently use the small amount of acid it does have, which causes pressure and reflux of the acid that exists.
The remedy may be to mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 6 ounces of water and drink it down. You may also try 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey mixed well in 6 ounces of water.
Cherries. If you suffer with gout, cherries may come to your rescue. Research shows that cherry extract consumption over a two-day period was associated with a 35 percent lower risk of a gout attack compared with no intake. When cherry intake was combined with the drug allopurinol, the risk of gout attacks was 75 percent lower.
Cloves: Not everyone likes the taste of cloves, but if you are experiencing a toothache, this spice can offer some welcome and effective relief. Cloves contain eugenol, an organic substance that has pain-killing, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
To treat tooth pain until you can see a dentist, you have several choices. One, you can apply clove oil to the painful spot. If you have whole cloves, you can place a clove on a molar and gently bite down and hold the clove in place. Another option is to crush a clove and place the powder between your gum and the painful area.
Garlic: People of all ages can get an earache, but especially children. Garlic has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it an excellent way to manage earaches. You can use warmed garlic oil (a few drops in the affected ear, as you would use ear drops) to ease the pain and fight the infection in children. The easiest way is to use garlic gel capsules, pierce the end with a sterilized pin, and squeeze out the oil.
Adults can use this approach or treat themselves with a fresh garlic clove. Cut one end of the clove, place the clove in a small piece of cheesecloth, and put the clove in the ear with the cut end facing into the ear. Do not push the clove deep into the ear canal. The finishing touch is to place a warm washcloth over the affected ear.
Ginger: A recent study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine evaluated the impact of ginger and cinnamon on inflammation and muscle soreness. Sixty women were randomly assigned to receive either 3 grams of ginger, cinnamon, or placebo powder daily for six weeks.
Of the 49 patients who completed the trial, there was a significant decline in muscle soreness among those who took ginger or cinnamon when compared with those who took placebo. Other research has shown that ginger can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, sprains, and toothache.
To help relieve arthritis pain, mix ½ teaspoon of ginger powder in hot water or regular or herbal tea and drink three times a day. You can also take ginger capsules or tablets in doses of 1 to 3 grams daily, in divided doses.
Pineapple: This tropical fruit contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins and thus can aid in digestion. If you are experiencing indigestion, drinking unsweetened pineapple juice or eating fresh pineapple may help. You can also take supplements that contain bromelain.
Nature offers a wide variety of ways to manage and treat pain without the need for drugs and their side effects. These and other natural pain relievers from your kitchen are just a few of those alternatives.
Haniadka R et al. A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Food & Function 2013 Jun 28; 4(6): 845-55
Mashhadi NS et al. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endured by exercise in Iranian female athletes. International Journal of Preventive Medicine 2013 Apr 4 (Suppl 1): S11-15
Roxas M. The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders. Alternative Medicine Review 2008 Dec; 13(4): 307-14
Zhang Y et al. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2012 Dec; 64(12): 4004-11