I think I could be pretty confident in saying that just about EVERYONE throws back a couple of Advil on occasion. For pain, injury, surgical recovery, headaches, arthritis… people take it for so many reasons and almost without thinking whether there might be a better solution to their pain. “Just take some Advil!” I know that phrase was commonplace in my home growing up and many others, I bet. Advil certainly has its place in your medicine cabinet - but I wanted to let you know about a few other herbal approaches that deserve similar status. Here are my favorite herbal pain relievers that really work when taken properly:
1. Turmeric Root + Ginger Root: Turmeric and Ginger are relatives of each other and both have big anti-inflammatory properties. They can increase circulation and relieve pain due to inflammation. Turmeric needs to be heated to release its healing benefits - so use them both in cooking and warm teas for best results, or take as a supplement.
2. Corydalis: Corydalis (or Yan Hu Suo, in Chinese pinyin) is an herb tuber with amazing pain-reducing potential. It invigorates blood, and has been researched to eliminate pain due to inflammatory or injury related causes. Researchers from UC Irvine identified the active compound dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) in Corydalis which holds special promise for those with persistent, chronic pain. Because of its strong circulatory properties, don’t take it during pregnancy.
3. Fish Oil: Fish oil can also ease the inflammation and pain caused by many chronic conditions. The Department of Neurological Surgery at the Univ. of Pittsburg did research demonstrating equivalent effects in reducing arthritic pain of ibuprofen vs. omega 3 fatty acids in their trials! Their subjects took between 1200-2400 mg of fish oil per day.
4. Boswellia: Boswellia is known as Indian Frankincense. It contains active components which help reduce inflammation and pain, & can be taken as a supplement as well as used topically.
5. Magnesium + Epsom Salts: Magnesium helps to relax stiff or spasmodic muscles and improve circulation. In addition to taking magnesium orally, there are topical forms as well as the traditional Epsom salts added to a bath; both absorb easily through the skin and can be quite effective for reducing muscle pain.
There you have it! Next time you are reaching for that Advil out of habit, ask yourself if it’s time to invest in some of these natural products for your home medicine cabinet instead. :)