No one’s safe from injuries, and when they do happen, most of us are quick to reach for OTC drugs to ease the pain. While these may help you in the short term, they’ve got their downsides. From a health perspective, there are often implications that require you to limit your painkiller usage. Moreover, their costs can add up if you turn to them every time you take a fall.
Over-the-counter painkiller medicines are generally unable to help treat longer-term illnesses or injuries. Even for your short-term injuries, it’s best to take an organic approach to address your pain rather than immediately going for pills. It’s well worth looking into herbal remedies and supplements that have proven to help relieve pain.
Fortunately, natural painkillers are all around us. In fact, without even knowing it, you probably already consume some of them as part of your regular diet. To notice a real reduction in pain, you should boost your intake of the ingredients we discuss in this article.
Before we cover some of the foods you should eat, let’s quickly talk about the importance of exercise. Yes, it probably sounds like the worst idea when you’re in pain, but if you can, try fitting in some light exercise for at least 30 to 45 minutes.
Exercise signals the body to produce its own natural painkillers – they’re the well-known hormones, endorphins. Endorphins increase your threshold of pain tolerance by altering how you perceive pain through interactions with the brain receptors. If you’re not used to working out, it’s okay to start small and work your way up gradually.
2. Spicy foods
It may sound like an ironic connection to associate spicy foods with pain relief. However, according to research, foods with high capsaicin levels like cayenne pepper and wasabi can work as natural painkillers. Cayenne pepper, in particular, has also been found to reduce post-surgery pains. It can also kill various types of fungal strains like candida, which is linked to some cases of joint pain.
The capsaicin that’s present in almost all spicy foods is a natural pain killer that helps reduce skin infections, muscle soreness, and tension. That’s why you can easily find it as an ingredient in most instant pain relief creams and sprays. If you’re a fan of hot foods, feel free to add more of it to your recipes to boost your pain tolerance.
3. Evening primrose oil
Evening primrose oil is the best essential oil when it comes to pain treatment. It’s rich in a specific fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid. Women all over the world make use of it as an all-natural PMS treatment. Primrose oil is useful for relieving PMS symptoms like abdominal cramps and correcting hormonal imbalances.
You can give this essential oil a try by regularly taking it in small doses daily. However, make sure to speak to your doctor before you start using it regularly, as it can potentially interfere with certain medications for high blood pressure, depression, or schizophrenia. You can buy primrose here
4. Epsom salt
Here’s one for athletes and fitness enthusiasts! Epsom salt is highly popular amongst sports stars and spa experts for its ability to relieve muscular tension and reduce pain. As it's naturally rich in magnesium, Epsom salt makes for an excellent pain relief solution for joint or bone pain, and muscle soreness. That makes it the perfect go-to if you’ve done anything to exert your body, such as a tough workout or sports.
Epson salt also helps relieve post-childbirth soreness. To use this remedy, simply pour some into your bath and relax. With Epsom salt, less is more—especially since too much of it can give rise to some unpleasant side effects.
Here's perhaps the most delicious item on this list—grapes! If you often struggle with back pain, this one’s for you.
You may have not heard about the pain-relieving capabilities of grapes, but according to a recent study, they have a relaxing effect on tight blood vessels. This helps promote blood flow to the damaged tissues in your back, which can bring positive results almost immediately.
The health of the vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs in your back largely depends on the supply of nutrients and oxygen they get through nearby blood vessels. Hence, improving blood flow can work wonders for your back pain as it heals your back tissues. Grapes have also been shown to help alleviate pain in other body parts for the same reason, including the feet and shoulders.
Muscle soreness and tightness is a common issue that can occur due to sleeping in an awkward position, enduring an intense workout session, or having a bad sitting posture. Without proper treatment, knots can linger for months. If you can’t see a chiropractor for professional support, you can use natural remedies to help treat the muscle pain at home.
A warm bath is known to help with muscle soreness, and works even better with just a few drops of peppermint oil. This helps in two ways: the heat helps relax your muscles, while the peppermint oil naturally eases cramping.
If you’re ill, peppermint tea is commonly known to help relieve stomach pain and sore throat. Its menthol content can restrict nerves that react to pain from external causes.
You’ve probably heard of flaxseeds—they’ve recently grown in popularity as a health food, and rightly so. Studies show that only a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds can help with muscle soreness.
These tiny seeds can also help alleviate menstrual pains. According to research, flaxseeds are naturally rich in various compounds that can decrease estrogenic levels and give rise to menstrual pain. To add ground flaxseed to your diet, simply add some to yoghurt, oatmeal, dips, and smoothies.
Garlic is one of the oldest known natural remedies to treat intense earaches. Simply apply a couple of warm garlic oil drops into your aching ear twice a day for about a week. This can clear up infections even quicker than prescription drugs. According to research, the active ingredients in garlic, such as selenium, germanium, and sulphur compound, can naturally get rid of a large variety of bacteria that causes pain.
You can easily make garlic oil at home by simmering several crushed garlic cloves and a half cup of extra virgin olive oil. Strain it out and leave it in the fridge for two weeks — then it’s ready to use.
Turmeric, as an ancient health and wellness miracle, has been cited by many experts as the healthiest spice in the world. It’s an orange spice of Indian origin that can work wonders when treating pain. Scientists believe that turmeric can be three times as effective in pain alleviation as some common over-the-counter painkiller medications.
Turmeric owes this to Curcumin. It’s an active ingredient that naturally obstructs cycloxygenase 2—an enzyme that produces pain hormones. To start having turmeric regularly, you can add half a teaspoon of of turmeric powder to your chicken, meat, rice, or vegetable dishes.
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10. Bone broth
This one might sound a bit unsettling, but it once used to be an essential part of everybody’s diet. It’s made up of bones, marrow, tendons, ligaments, and feet—which makes it an excellent collagen source. It’s also rich in glutamine and glycine, which we generally miss out on with our daily diets.
Other essentials in bone broths are minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine, which you can buy in supplement form (natural pain killer). Most of these are available in supplement form and are well-known for helping with joint pain and inflammation. Bone broth is also considered a strong natural painkiller due to its rich gelatine content. Gelatine helps provide a soft cushioning that works as a lubricator for bones.
Ginger is popular for its health benefits, and it has been used widely as a natural healthcare food for years. People all over the world use ginger to help treat joint pain, muscle soreness, stiffness, and swelling. Experts give the credit to gingerol—a compound that ginger is rich in, as the name suggests. Gingerol works directly to inhibit the production of hormones that trigger pain. To use ginger for pain treatment, you can add a couple of teaspoons of raw ginger or its paste to your dishes regularly.
12. Apple cider vinegar
If you tend to struggle with digestion issues and heartburn, it’s time you made proper use of apple cider vinegar. Tartaric and malic acids are essential for digestion, and apple cider vinegar is a great source of both. Acids help in quickly breaking down the proteins and fats in the food you eat, allowing the stomach to empty quickly. This prevents acids and gases from your foods to rise up to the oesophagus. That ‘rising’ is what essentially causes a sensation of heartburn pain, which happens to be one of the most common health issues.
To start using apple cider vinegar regularly, mix a tablespoon of it into one glass of water and drink before every meal. Some additional benefits of applying it externally on the skin include improved mobility in joints, reduced muscle pain, and arthritis relief.
13. Lavender and peppermint oil
We’ve already touched upon peppermint oil’s pain-relieving capabilities, but it works even better when paired with lavender oil. Both of these oils act as natural muscle relaxants and painkillers. According to studies, they’re effective as a supplement for the treatment of myofascial pain and chronic fibromyalgia. The two oils, when used together, can also be a quick headache remedy. Simply place a few drops of each onto your palms and gently massage onto your temples and forehead for pain relief.
As children, we’ve all had our mums bring us a teaspoon of honey to treat a sore throat. Honey being a cold and flu treatment isn’t a myth. There’s scientific evidence that supports honey’s potential in treating mouth and throat sores. It naturally helps in the prevention of viruses, healing, and treating inflammation thanks to its enzyme content.
If you mix honey with some cinnamon and/or turmeric, you’ll produce the ultimate natural paste for healing. Apply the paste topically to an affected area to treat muscle pain, and massage it well. Alternatively, you can also drink a mixture of honey and cinnamon with lukewarm water as an arthritis pain remedy.
You should always see a doctor in the case of a serious injury or illness, but it’s important to improve your dietary habits to naturally help your body deal with injuries. Not only will this reduce pain, but it’ll make you stronger by boosting immunity and metabolism. The natural painkillers included in this article can be added to your diet to improve your overall physical health.
You’ll easily find these natural painkillers in a pharmacy or supermarket near you. However, for special supplements, make sure you do your research and find a company that’s trusted before you start using their products.
Deciding which natural painkillers you should be adding to your daily dietary routine is subjective. It depends on the issues you’re facing, the deficiencies you may have, and the type of pain you’re trying to alleviate. It’s recommended to start with a combination of a few and switch it up every week to see what works best. You can also speak to your doctor if you prefer to seek professional guidance.