Pain – the chemical signal that tells us something in our body has been damaged – is more often than not, an unwelcome visitor. For those who experience pain every day due toarthritis, migraines, tendonitis, or other chronic conditions, it may be tempting to turn to chemical pain-relievers to free yourself from the ongoing discomfort. Before you do, take a look at this list of natural pain-relievers from Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet.
1. Dark Cherries
According to a study performed at the John Hopkins Pain Treatment Center, anthocyanins – a group of bioflavonoids or plant pigments found in cherries and other dark fruits – are effective in blocking pain signals caused by inflammation. Enjoy a serving of 20 cherries to alleviate joint aches, gastrointestinal discomfort, PMS symptoms, and other pain caused by inflammation.
2. Ginger Root
Ginger root is another aspirin-mimicking anti-inflammatory. A daily supplement of powdered ginger has been shown to lessen aches and pains from physical exertion by suppressing the body’s production of toxic compounds known to cause inflammation and tissue damage in the joints. A ginger paste may be similarly effective when applied topically to sore joints and muscles.
Chewing on a slice of fresh ginger root is also super effective for treating stomach pain and nausea caused by illness, as well as for preventing morning sickness during pregnancy.
3. Cold-Water Fish
There are many health benefits to gain by adding cold-water fish like herring, mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines to your diet. Among them are abilities to fight chronic pain from back and neck injuries and to help heal damaged joints. Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish improve cardiovascular function and decrease inflammation around damaged cartilage, promoting healing and overall good health.
Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini is a delicious dish which delivers a high dose of magnesium, a mineral most people don’t get enough of. Magnesium has a long list of amazing health benefits including the ability to fight muscle tension. To treat head-aches and sore muscles, whip up a batch of raw tahini using this guide.
Curcumin, a natural phenol present in turmeric root, is another natural anti-inflammatory. Add this fragrant golden spice to your list of pain-fighting foods for a boost of flavor and beautiful color.
6. Aloe Juice
We all know that aloe vera gel is at the top of the list as far as treating burns. What most people don’t know is that aloe juice is also an excellent remedy for stomach ulcers. Caused by H. pylori bacteria, ulcers are painful lesions in the lining of the stomach which cause nausea, weakness from blood loss, and extreme pain. Drinking aloe juicetwice daily not only helps to relieve these symptoms, it has also been proven to speed the healing process of this painful condition.
The enzyme papain found in the flesh of papaya fruit is another natural anti-inflammatory that works well in conjunction with bromelain (found in pineapple juice and stems.) Papain is often used following surgery to reduce pain and swelling. While papaya extract may be taken as asupplement, the fruit is also full of anti-oxidants and vitamins which support a multitude of bodily functions. If you can find fresh papaya, enjoy it by itself or try adding it to a smoothie,salad, or salsa.
Human intestines are home to billions of microflora which are necessary for digestive health. When these symbiotic organisms become unbalanced (called disbiosis,) we may experience any number of health problems, many of which often seem totally unrelated to the gut (painful rashes, hair loss, hormone imbalance, etc.) Yogurt containing live and active cultures help to repopulate and stabilize these microflora which can definitely help with problems like IBS, excessive gas, and painful bloating.
9. Hot Peppers
Capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers hot is a common ingredient in many topical pain relievers. Capsaicin overloads nerves, draining them of substance-P – the chemical messenger that carries pain signals to the brain. While only offering temporary relief, hot pepper extract is a fast and effective pain remedy. Buy capsaicin cream at any drug store, ormake your own. ***Always be sure to wear protective gloves and eye wear when handling hot peppers to prevent accidental injury.***
The menthol in peppermint is great for preventing muscle spasms. For sore hands and feet, apply peppermint oil to wrists and ankles. To ease a bad headache, rub crushed peppermint leaves on your temples or brew some peppermint tea for a muscle-relaxing treat.