It is becoming more common these days for people to experiment with natural cures and use herbs to try to lead a more healthy life. Herbs can serve an amazing number of purposes besides flavoring our foods. As far as alternative therapies, they can cure acne, calm nerves, improve memory, and sharpen vision and this is just a drop in the bucket. There are also about 100 different herbs that have pain relieving properties that are supported by clinical studies as acceptable alternatives to anti-inflammatory drugs normally used for mild to moderate aches and pains.
Some of these natural alternatives to ease pain stop the inflammation that causes the pain and others trigger the brain’s natural healing ability. They can offer relief from fibromyalgia, arthritis, headaches, and muscle strains among other things, without the harsh chemicals that can be hard on the stomach.
Some of the more common herbs that can help with pain can be grown at home, while others are a bit more exotic and difficult to grow, requiring special climates or greenhouses. In either case, you can find just about any of these pain relieving herbs either fresh or already in powder, liquid, cream, or tablet form at health food stores. Some of these very special herbs include:
· Arnica – This herb comes from a bright yellow flower normally found in Europe and sometimes in North America called leopard’s bane. The entire plant is used to make tinctures or ointments. Arnica eases the pain of acute injuries or swelling that occurs after surgery. It has natural anti-inflammatory traits.
You can use arnica ointment on sore or strained muscles and bruises to ease the pain. It can even be found in tablet form that is melted under the tongue for overall relief of soreness and pain.
· Cayenne – Powder from cayenne peppers has many uses in natural healing. Besides aiding in digestion and boosting metabolism, it is used to treat pain from things like arthritis and migraine. This powdered pepper is used in creams and capsules. When shopping for it in health food stores or even drug stores, look for the name “capsaicin”. When a capsaicin cream is rubbed in the skin it is able to make the nerve endings less sensitive to ease aches and pains. It can also increase the flow of blood to the affected area.
Growing cayenne peppers is quite easy. Starter plants can be found at the local nursery. They like full sun for most of the day, but should be shaded somewhat from the hot afternoon sun. Once the peppers are picked, use a dehydrator to dry them or merely dry on a cookie sheet in the oven. They can be ground into flakes or into a powder using a mortar and pestle.
· Echinacea – Echinacea comes from a very common flower called the purple coneflower. The most common uses for this herb besides reducing inflammation that causes pain are to speed the healing process and enhance the body’s immune system. Its anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in treating anything from acne, colds, and flu to infections and sore throats.
When growing purple coneflowers for the Echinacea, follow the growing instructions that the nursery provides. Be careful not to disturb the roots of the plants, since the roots are the source of the Echinacea. You can dry the roots and crush or grind into a powder for use in ointments or liquids.
· Willow bark – Willow bark contains salicylic acid, the same analgesic that is in aspirin. It can be used to treat any pain that you would use aspirin for as well as to reduce fevers. The pain killing properties of willow bark do not take affect as quickly as an aspirin but they last longer.
Willow bark can come from one of the many different species of willow trees or shrubs that are native to North America, Europe, and Asia.
Pain can be in the form of tingling, aching, stabbing, shooting or burning sensations and when it continues without relief for long periods can seriously affect the way one lives. Trying these and other herbs known for their healing and pain relieving properties can help get out of the circle of pain and enjoy a better quality of life.