Pain is, unfortunately, something that we all have to deal with from time to time. However, many people would rather not develop a relationship with pharmaceutical drugs and try to lean toward the "natural pain relief" path whenever possible.
Natural pain relief isn't a myth! For thousands of years, humans have studied and categorized everything that grows around them, trying to learn what plants are beneficial and even curative and what plants may potentially be harmful. You'll find even in the pharmacies, anti inflammatory supplements directly mirror their natural counterpart, often times containing the natural ingredient in abundance while having a "medicine sounding" name for marketing purposes. It's time to get back to the basics and learn the wondrous and palliative benefits of plants like turmeric, cats claw and willow bark, as well as many more items to add into your medicine cabinet to ease pain naturally.
What Causes Pain?
What a lot of people don't realize is that much of the pain generated in our bodies actually comes from inflammation. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from our white blood cells release into our bloodstream or into body tissues -- a telltale sign that our body is out of balance. Our bodies are trained to fight foreign substances, so this chemical release results in swollen tissues and organs, which by itself can be harmful, and which could easily trigger nerve cells that cause us additional pain. It's a cycle that is healthy when we have an injury (the body is trained to behave this way), but it can be detrimental for us to live like this in a constant state. It takes a toll on our bodies that we cannot see, we can only feel.
Therefore, it's wise to make taking natural anti inflammatory medicinals a regular part of your day. Anti inflammatories can be incorporated into our diets quite easily and safely as a preventative measurement and can help prevent the formation of leukotrienes, which are molecules causing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation inevitably leads to chronic pain, and NOBODY wants that.
What Can I Do About Inflammation?
There are SCORES of natural anti inflammatory remedies one can try to combat pain safely without running to the pharmacist for medication you don't know much about. Truly, it could be something as simple as eating more pineapple! Sound crazy? It's actually steeped in science. Pineapples (via the juice and stem) contain an enzyme called bromelain that is used medicinally -- and for good reason. Bromelain is excellent at reducing swelling and inflammation, particularly in the nose and sinus region. (Of course just eating a pineapple might not be enough after sinus surgery. Luckily bromelain can be applied topically!)
Boswellia is another plant that is known for its anti inflammatory characteristics. This plant also produces Indian frankincense, but it's not the smell you're looking for here! Boswellia contains chemical extracts that have been clinically studied to relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis and regular joint function. Another example of a natural remedy being anything BUT an old wive's tale!
Now, glucosamine and chondroitin might sound like a mouthful, but they are simply both basic cartilage components, generally taken by people who suffer from arthritis and are seeking relief. Glucosamine Chondroitin has been shown to even assist in cartilage regeneration during laboratory studies. When you're dealing with the chronic and sometimes debilitating disease as arthritis, it's worth trying something natural for the pain that could even potentially reverse the damage.
Turmeric is a classic ingredient when it comes to natural pain relief. Indians in particular have know the golden secret of this pungent plant for centuries and have not kept quiet about its curative benefits. The bright yellow tuber (commonly sold in powder form) contains curcumin, a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, and as a beneficial side note, it's delicious in curries! Turmeric is super popular these days, and you won't have to look far to see these sold as anti inflammatory supplements in chain stores to maintain a healthy body balance.
Devils Claw and Cats Claw.... Yes, it definitely sounds like we are entering an enchanted world filled with cauldron and witches' brews and newt eyes. But never fear! Both these plants are right up your alley in terms of natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. Devils Claw, related to sesame and native to Africa, is believed to have powerful anti inflammatory properties when taken medicinally. It's commonly used to treat rheumatic conditions and is also thought to have pain-relieving compounds. Cats Claw's benefits come from the plant's bark and roots, both of which contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemical properties within. Both these plants are generally taken as "anti-inflammatory supplements", meaning they have been processed and put into gel caps for easy ingestion.
Willow Bark is basically "Nature's Aspirin" in a different form. It's true! The bark of a white willow has salicin in it, which is chemically quite similar to over-the-counter aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), as well as powerful anti inflammatory plant compounds known as flavonoids. Essentially, willow bark is a home run in the pain reduction department, and thankfully it grows from the earth.
How Can I Find These Natural Anti-Inflammatory Products?
Often times, we don't give our local health food stores enough credit for having the "ingredients" we read about to have a healthier life. Don't be afraid to ask an employee for help - bring a list along! It could be that it is lurking in the health and beauty section, within the bulk foods bins, or on another shelf that you may not have considered. If you still are hitting a road block hunting down these items, the internet can be your best friend. Check out some of the major online retailers of natural anti inflammatory supplements, and be sure to thoroughly read the reviews! Select websites and products with a LOT of positive ratings from other customers so you can get a full picture of the quality of what you're getting.