Herbs & Spices To Ease Pain
Did you know that the solution to your toothache, muscle pain or stomach upset might be sitting in your spice rack or window box? It’s true! Aside from the fact that herbs and spices have been used medicinally for thousands of years, countless scientific studies show that most have unique healing qualities and anti-inflammatory benefits. Before you head out to the drugstore for some narcotic painkillers, check out this list of herbs and spices which kill pain fast!
Known as ‘the stinking rose’, garlic has been used since ancient times as both a food and a natural medicine thanks to its ability to enhance the immune system with its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, garlic cloves contain chemicals that shut down inflammatory pathways in ways similar to ibuprofen. Make sure to always use fresh garlic, either chopped or crushed, for best results.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is an amazing and tasty pain reliever. If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, try out some ginger and see if it quells the pain. In a study of 100 migraine sufferers, it was found that both ginger powder and the drug sumatriptan had comparable pain relieving effects. And a six week trial of patients with osteoarthritis saw them swap their pain medication for ginger extracts twice daily. Participants felt less pain when standing and walking after taking the ginger. Of course, ginger doesn’t cause any of the negative side effects that medications do.
Used in both Eastern and Western medicine for thousands of years, licorice root is used for a variety of illnesses. One particular type, known as DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), is used to treat peptic ulcers, canker sores and acid reflux. When licorice root fluid extract was used on 100 patients with stomach ulcers (86 of whom had not improved with conventional drugs), after 6 weeks 90% of the patients improved, with ulcers completely disappearing in 22 people. Licorice gel applied to the skin is known to relieve the itching associated with eczema, while gargling with DGL in warm water can stop the pain of canker sores and other mouth problems.
One of the most anti-inflammatory spices around, turmeric contains the powerful compound curcumin, which is responsible for its inflammation fighting super powers. Rats who were suffering from neuropathic pain were given curcumin. Shortly afterward, they were described as exhibiting a decline in behaviors associated with pain. Researchers, looking at the effects of curcumin in obesity, suggest including curcumin (turmeric) as part of a healthy diet, given its low cost, safety and proven efficacy.
Black pepper contains piperine, a chemical which helps to counteract pain in the body. In fact, piperine extracted from black pepper can be mixed with other ingredients to make an analgesic cream for pain relief. This inexpensive seasoning is thought to reduce the perception of pain, inflammation and even arthritis.
A Word of Caution
Even though herbs and spices are natural products you can find in the store or garden, don’t underestimate their potency and never consume them in excess. If you suffer any medical conditions, are pregnant or are taking any medications, it’s important to consult a professional before using herbs and spices to treat ailments.
Article by Jayne Leonard