Do you want to try a natural treatment for your pain? Maybe you would like to move away from prescription medications, or have always preferred to take the earth-based route. Here are eight natural products that can ease pain, and some general information about their safety.
For centuries, natives of Southeast Asia have been using kratom – either dried and in a tea, or chewing raw leaves – to alleviate the pain caused by repetitive manual labor. Though the use of kratom in North America is relatively new, the area in which this healing herbal supplement has gained the most traction is in opioid addiction. Because it eases pain in ways similar to opioids, kratom is a safer pain management alternative. Certain kratom strains cause a bit of a mental “high”, but in small doses this effect is mild.
Chronic pain sufferers who have decided to go the natural route are more than eager to share the benefits of cannabis for managing pain. Interestingly, while most pharmaceutical pain medicines are good at treating nociceptive pain and less suitable for neuropathic pain, cannabis seems to be capable of easing both. In addition, cannabis is not chemically addictive, and isn’t made of synthetic compounds. People wanting to treat their pain naturally without any psychoactive backlash can use cannabis strains rich in CBD, which is widely celebrated – by patients and medical professionals alike – for its many benefits and total lack of mental “high”.
A natural anti-inflammatory, ginger has been found to alleviate joint and muscle pain due to inflammation, and can also curb nausea and headaches. This plant delivers relief both when ingested and when used as a poultice on the affected area. In the small amounts generally used, ginger has no known negative side effects, though if you’re using a compress for long periods of time, it could burn the skin.
If this plant sounds like something out of an old herb lore book or fantasy novel, that’s because it has been used as a tranquilizer for centuries. In addition to easing stress, anxiety, and tension, valerian root interacts with the nervous system to ease muscle cramps and pain. This herb is largely considered safe, though you of course will want to avoid it if you’re planning to drive, as it will make you sleepy.
One of nature’s oldest pain relievers, kava kava is popular with people who struggle with back pain. Patients consume kava to calm stress and anxiety, and even ease withdrawal from certain pharmaceutical drugs – in this way it is quite similar to kratom, though it is not an opioid-agonist. There are some concerns about the safety of using this herb, so it should be taken with care.
St. John’s Wort
People suffering from painful arthritis can turn to St. John’s Wort as an alternative to synthetic medications. The plant can reduce pain and inflammation, and is sometimes used as a natural antidepressant because it can raise level of serotonin. St. John’s Wort is generally considered safe to use, though like all other herbal supplements, it should not be combined with pharmaceuticals or other medications.
Remember – just because something is natural doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you or make you sick. Always take care when trying a new medication, whether it is made in a lab or grown in the ground. This list simply provides some suggestions for further research; always speak with a health professional before trying any new medication or supplement, or stopping your old treatment.