Thousands of years before the “painkillers” we know today, our ancestors depended on natural medicinal wisdom passed down through generations. If you’re like a lot of Americans, you’re taking an interest in treating all sorts of maladies—including pain—in a naturally, safer manner.
The opioid epidemic has highlighted just how dangerous pharmaceuticals can be, with some researchers estimating that a person can become dependent on opioids after taking them as prescribed for only a few days.
Ultimately, pharmaceuticals like opioids were meant to only be taken for very short periods of time and for acute pain. However, even over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol have been connected to health risks such as liver damage. Just like any other type of “medicine,” you may need to try out different natural pain management options to see what works best for you.
The good news is that natural pain relievers are generally much more affordable than pharmaceuticals. Some might even be growing in your own yard!
Lavender’s essential oil is a well-known remedy for relieving pain, reducing anxiety, and helping with sleep. Numerous studies have found that smelling lavender helps with pain relief, and it’s also an anti-inflammatory product. Note that “essential oil” means oil actually derived from lavender—any other oils, such as “fragrance oils,” are a synthetic.
Options from Oils to Herbs
Rosemary essential oil can also help with pain relief. Rosemary can help reduce headaches as well as aid in bone and muscle pain. It’s also an anti-inflammatory plant and can even help with memory. Some studies have shown that rosemary oil helps with withdrawal pain from opioid dependency.
Rosemary can be breathed in or smelled like lavender and applied to the skin like perfume so you can enjoy the benefits throughout the day. Many oils, including lavender and rosemary, benefit from a “carrier oil” for application on the skin such as jojoba oil or olive oil.
Peppermint essential oil is another way to help ease pain. It’s a popular natural treatment that you can use topically by rubbing (along with a carrier oil!) directly on the skin. Peppermint essential oil is especially helpful for arthritic pain, and it’s also an antimicrobial. You can also apply it to the forehead or temples to help reduce headaches.
Finally, eucalyptus essential oil is recommended for pain relief. It also reduces swelling and is an anti-inflammatory. This oil is inhaled or smelled, but be careful around pets and children, because it can trigger an asthma attack, and it is toxic if consumed.
Let’s Get Cooking!
What you add to your food can be both a tasty treat and a means of pain relief. Cloves have been used for centuries to reduce tooth pain. You can find clove oil in many shops and online, and since it’s already a spice, it’s perfectly safe to apply directly to the gums.
You may also want to pick up some chili peppers when you’re shopping for their natural capsaicin. It’s what causes that tingling, burning sensation when you eat it—and that same sensation can be achieved on the skin for pain relief.
Ginger is a favorite for natural pain relief, and eating it after a workout can even help speed up recovery and minimize inflammation. If you eat about two grams of ginger every day (but you can always have more!), studies have shown that you may experience an overall reduction of pain. There’s virtually no such thing as too much ginger, so add it to teas, smoothies, savory dishes, and much more. Fresh, natural ginger is best.
Pairing well with ginger is turmeric, which is rich in the pain-relieving ingredient curcuma. Studies have shown that it’s just as effective as over-the-counter pain pills for some patients and it’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory. You can add turmeric powder to numerous savory dishes and drinks.
Take Control of Your Pain
Maybe you’ve heard about kratom but haven’t tried it yet. It’s a natural ingredient derived from a tree in Southeast Asia, and traditionally the leaves were chewed or dried and added to tea as a natural pain reliever.
Using kratom provides effects similar to opioids but without the inherent risks. It works as a sedative, providing an increased sensation of pleasure and a decrease in pain, interacting with the natural opioid receptors of the brain.
However, when taken in smaller amounts, Kratom can provide energy and alertness in lieu of sedation. It’s perfectly legal in most states, and you can buy kratom with a credit card online or in stores.
Finally, remember that movement and holistic health is key. Both yoga and meditation, ideally practiced daily, can work wonders in helping with pain relief. Health isn’t just about diet and physical exercise, though those are important. Take care of your whole body and enjoy whole health.
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