We are fortunate to have access to several kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers, because daily life comes with bumps, bruises, and aches. Sometimes chronic conditions like arthritis, sciatica, or spinal stenosis can be behind the pain. Our first instinct is usually to reach for some acetaminophen (Tylenol), Motrin (ibuprofen), or naproxen (Aleve). They all do the trick.
However, despite relentless marketing to the contrary, these medications all come with side effects and are extremely toxic in doses uncomfortably close to the effective dose. It is easy to overdose. In fact, acetaminophen in the number one cause of preventable liver failure worldwide. Nothing else even comes close. These medications certainly have their place, but why not attempt a natural remedy first?
The best homemade natural remedies on our list are all quite effective and come with virtually no dangerous side effects. You’ll be shocked to learn the old-timey dinner recipe that actually relieves pain.
And while we’re at it, did you know that people have actually been making tea with a close cousin of aspirin for many hundreds of years? Read on for these and other fascinating facts about natural painkillers.
Turmeric is instantly recognizable to curry-lovers because it is the spice that gives that signature dish its distinctive flavor and gold color. Besides tasting delicious, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
It both prevents free radical damage to your cells and reduces the swelling that occurs in damaged tissues. A great deal of pain is caused by inflammation, which is why OTC ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory more than a direct painkiller, is so often used for pain
2. Willow Bark
Willow bark is actually quite similar to a common OTC painkiller because it contains salicin, a close relative of acetylsalicylic acid, i.e. aspirin. People have long chewed willow bark to relieve aches and pain, lower fevers, and reduce inflammation. These days, willow bark is sold dried for use in teas, or as a liquid or capsule supplement.
Because willow bark is so closely related to aspirin, it carries similar side effects. Prolonged use may upset the stomach, increase your risk of bleeding disorders, and slow down kidney function. It is not recommended for children and should not be mixed with other painkilling medications. Willow bark is not safe if you’re taking warfarin or any other anticoagulant medicines because of its association with bleeding diso1rders.
3. Epsom Salt
Sometimes an external remedy is just as effective as something you ingest. Epsom salt is a prime example. Soaking in warm water with Epsom salt can relieve bone and joint pain as well as muscle soreness. This treatment can also be a lifesaver for women with post-childbirth soreness and for anyone with arthritis or fibromyalgia.
It works because Epsom salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate when dissolved in water, which then penetrates to painful areas. Magnesium, especially, has been found to play an important role in the way pain signals are sent from brain to body. It also helps regulate muscle contractions and reduces the symptoms of depression.
4. Bone Broth
Bone broth may have fallen out of popularity in today’s diets, but that’s a shame. Not only does it mean less of an animal is wasted, it also adds collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine to Western diets now largely lacking these critical elements. Made from bones, marrow, and skin, bone broth is very flavorful and contains many nutrients that can reduce pain.
For example, bone broth contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, which you might otherwise be dropping big bucks for in the form of a supplement. Due to its gelatin content, bone broth lubricates and reduces friction in your joints. The amino acids glycine and proline work to reduce inflammation, build muscle, and repair tissue.