Physical pain can result due to several reasons, such as sports injuries, that can cause muscle aches, spasms and inflammation, or arthritis and rheumatism that can cause joint pain or even bad posture that can cause backache. Pain can also come as a headache or migraine and even PMS can cause abdominal pain. People with fibromyalgia also experience pain. Acute or chronic pain can make our everyday life very difficult, uncomfortable or even debilitating.
Various analgesics (commonly referred to as pain-killers/ pain-relievers) such as paracetamol and many NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) are available over the counter (OTC), whereas others are prescription drugs (eg. Opioids like Codeine and Dextromethorphan). Prescription painkillers are used to cure severe or chronic pain as these are more potent; but due to the substantial risks and high chances of overdose, misuse and addiction in the absence of medical supervision, these medications are only available with a prescription from a healthcare provider. OTC pain relievers are relatively safe but after prolonged use they can damage the liver and kidneys.
Looking at the risks associated with synthetic pain killers its always advisable to opt for herbal alternatives. Also generally synthetic drugs are symptomatic ie. only help to relieve the symptoms and don’t work on the root cause. In pain management too, it is very important to treat the cause of the pain rather than the pain itself.
Many herbs, spices and oils have a long history of being used to relieve inflammation and pain. A few of these important ones are listed below.
Ginger- Ginger (Botanical name: Zingiber officinale) is one of the best pain killers in the world which has analgesic properties similar to ibuprofen. Its rhizomes contain many active ingredients which help prevent the production and release of pain-triggering hormones and stops inflammation. It also helps in digestion. Poor digestion is a primary trigger for arthritis. It is thus used to treat arthritic and rheumatic pain, muscle pain and sprains. Many people have experienced significant improvements in pain, swelling, and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily. Patients with osteoarthritis of the knees and/or hips experienced significant improvement in pain, fatigue, well-being and mobility after its topical application.
Turmeric- Turmeric (Botanical name: Curcuma longa) is a popular herbal spice which contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibiotic and antioxidant properties. It reduces inflammation and pain and can thus be used to relieve arthritis pain, muscle aches as well as strains and sprains, fibromyalgia and heartburn. It has been found to be more effective than aspirin and ibuprofen in providing pain relief. Studies have shown that curcumin is also effective in alleviating tenderness and swelling of joints. It reduces stiffness and improves physical function and mobility. Topical application of turmeric at the site of wound also acts as an antiseptic agent and helps in healing of wounds and prevents scarring.
Ashwagandha: Withania somnifera, commonly called as Ashwagandha is a well-known adaptogen or rasayana. It possesses anti-inflammatory property and also has the ability to protect cartilage from damage. It thus helps in suppressing all types of pain, including arthritis pain. It also helps combats stress. During stress, the hormones cortisol and epinephrine cause breakdown of various body tissues leading to inflammation. Ashwagandha helps alleviate the damaging effects of stress by restoring the proper hormonal balance, which in turn strengthens the immune system and further reduces inflammation.
Moringa: Moringa or Moringa oleifera is commonly referred to as Drumstick. Moringa leaves have been found to suppress the pro-inflammatory molecules (such as TNF-α, interleukins, cyclooxygenase-2, prostaglandin, etc.) and the inflammatory pathway, NF-kappa B. They have pain-relieving potential and also act against the nociceptive stimulus, i.e. inhibit the pain-signals in arthritis. It thus has a strong anti-inflammatory action and can be very useful against inflammation in arthritis disease. It also can reduce the risk of heart problems in arthritis.
Tulsi- Tulsi, also commonly known as Basil (Botanical name: Ocimum sanctum) is one of the common plants grown in our gardens. It has lots of health benefits. It acts as a complete tonic for the body, mind and soul and is also referred as “Queen of Herbs” or “Elixir of Life”. It possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and pain relieving properties. Compounds present in holy basil are thought to decrease pain and swelling, and thus tulsi is useful in arthritis and fibromyalgia. Tulsi is also known to reduce stress, be it physical or psychological.
Shallaki- Shallaki (Botanical name: Boswellia serrata) also known as Shallaki or Frankincense, is often used in Ayurveda. Its resin has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-arthritic properties that can reduce the pain and inflammation of the joints of the body. It also reduces cartilage damage. It is hence used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, joint pain, skeletal muscle pain and back pain.
Clove oil- Clove oil is one of the best natural pain reliever for toothache and gum inflammation. It is extracted from the buds of Clove plant (Botanical name: Syzygium aromaticum). Its antibacterial property helps promote overall oral health. Cloves contain multiple compounds that possess anti-inflammatory properties. Eugenol is the most important of these compounds. Studies have revealed that the compounds extracted from cloves were found to stop the growth of bacteria that contribute to gum disease. Eugenol has also been shown to reduce the inflammatory response in the body, which reduces the risk of diseases such as arthritis and helps manage its symptoms.
Lavender oil- This essential oil is obtained from the flowers of lavender plant (Botanical name: Lavandula angustifolia). The oil is antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It helps alleviate pain and thus is useful in sore muscles, rheumatism and sprains. It also helps in reducing joint pain, back pain and menstrual cramps. Lavender oil based aromatherapy also helps reduce anxiety or stress and induces sound sleep.
Wintergreen oil- This oil is extracted from the leaves of the Wintergreen plant (Botanical name: Gaultheria procumbens). Methyl salicylate, the active component of wintergreen essential oil is similar to aspirin in relieving pain, inflammation and fever. It also causes numbness in the area where it is applied and also increases blood circulation and reduces skin irritation. It is known to ease muscle and joint pain, gout pain, chronic nerve pain, headaches, arthritis pain, sciatica, stomach pain and menstrual cramps. When used as a part of aromatherapy it relaxes, de-stresses and uplifts the mood.
Coconut oil- Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The oil contains beneficial fatty acids that can reduce swelling and pain and can also lubricate the muscles and joints. Applied topically, coconut oil can increase blood supply to the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Polyphenolic antioxidants present in coconut oil have been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce joint pain, swelling and inflammation in arthritis. Application of the oil on the scalp reduces headache. Additionally, it also helps in reducing stress, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosts the immune system, aids in proper digestion and regulates metabolism. These effects in turn help to provide relief to joints and muscles as these are the triggers for inflammation and associated swelling and pain.
There are many more herbs that you can include as per your choice and availability to handle pain. Also in order to live a pain free life try to indulge in routine practices like having a healthy diet which includes anti-inflammatory foods (like fruits, nuts and green leafy vegetables), regular physical activity, de-stressing yourself by socializing or following your hobbies, managing your weight and if needed adding natural supplements or herbal products which help address the problems.
To address the most common form of pain, the joints and muscle pain Priority Herbals has designed a very effective product which contains potent herbs and oils. This herbal product is called INDOLORE. It is available in two forms Capsules and Oil. INDOLORE CAPSULES contain herbs which naturally act as pain killers and also provide strength and flexibility to the joints and muscles. It also promotes bone health making them strong and preventing osteoporosis. INDOLORE OIL is meant for external application and helps relieve pain, swelling and inflammation. INDOLORE can be used in conditions like Joint and Muscle pain, back pain, joint degeneration, arthritis, gout, muscle stiffness, strains, sprain and any form of joint or muscle damage. It is 100% natural and safe. For details visit www.priorityherbals.com