For anyone who has ever experienced chronic pain – especially in the joints – you know the value of an effective pain remedy. The following list of all-natural pain-relievers includes several herbs which offer immediate results as well as a full collection of more permanent (albeit slower-acting) solutions for healing your joints and easing away pain.
1. Turmeric & Ginger
Turmeric contains the organic compound Curcumin – a powerful anti-inflammatory. Ginger is known to possesses numerous therapeutic properties including the ability to inhibit the body’s inflammatory immune response. (whfoods.com)
Combine these two incredible healing herbs and brew them into a tea. Simply grind about half a teaspoon each of fresh ginger and turmeric root, add to 2 cups of boiling water, reduce heat simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. Once your tea has reached the desired strength, strain out the herbs, sweeten with honey or Stevia and enjoy. This recipe makes enough for two servings of tea – the recommended daily intake.
2. Epsom Salt
Magnesium is an essential mineral which helps the human body to perform a long list of important functions including the regeneration and healing of joint tissues and bones. While magnesium deficiencies are somewhat uncommon, it is almost impossible to get too much of it. (overdosesymptoms.com)
While you could take Magnesium supplements to help heal your painful joints, there is a much better and more relaxing way to up your body’s magnesium levels. Try taking an Epsom Salt bath. Magnesium absorbs much faster through the skin than it does in the gut. At the same time, the warm water should offer temporary relief from aches and pains as your joints and muscles warm up and become more flexible.
You can find Epsom Salts in most grocery and health food stores or order it online. We recommend this White Mountain Epsom Salt, available through Amazon.com.
(Get the full scoop on the health benefits and uses for Epsom Salts in our recent article here.)
3. Olive Oil
Extra Virgin “Cold-pressed” Olive Oil holds the undisputed title as one of the healthiest oils in the world. (organicauthority)
For relief of joint pain, try consuming around 2 tablespoons of olive oil as part of your daily diet. The organic compound oleocanthal found in olive oil is known to inhibit the activity of two main inflammatory enzymes in the human body (COX-1 and COX-2) in much the same manner as Aspirin or Ibuprofen.
While ingesting essential fatty acid-rich olive oil may help to lubricate joints from the inside, you can also use this remedy topically. Everydayroots suggests: “Rub a bit of olive oil onto your sore joints twice a day, massaging in to each one gently.”
4. Dandelion Leaf
Dandelion Leaf is an excellent herbal source of vitamins A & C, two important nutrients for regeneration of the body’s connective tissues. Drink a daily cup of dandelion leaf tea to help speed the healing of damaged joints. Simply steep a small handful of fresh dandelion leaves in a cup of boiling water to make this tea. (You can also use dried leaves. Just a pinch will do.) You’ll also most likely want to add honey or Stevia to your tea before drinking it.
If you find that you aren’t a fan of dandelion leaf tea, you can also add the fresh leaves to a salad. Just be aware that this herb is also a powerful laxative (mature plants more so than younger ones) so don’t eat more than a few leaves at a time! Also, you can lightly cook dandelion leaves before consuming them to lessen this effect.
5. Blackstrap Molasses
Just a tablespoon a day of Blackstrap Molasses may go a long way toward permanently healing painful joints. Full of essential minerals including calcium, potassium, and magnesium; a daily dose of Blackstrap Molasses can aid the body in regulating nerve functions, strengthening bones, and repairing connective tissues.
To prepare Blackstrap Molasses, Everydayroots suggests: “Heat 1 cup of fresh water until warm, but not hot. Stir in a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses and drink once daily. Do note that it can sometimes have a laxative effect.”
6. Willow Bark (Salicin)
One of the oldest known herbal pain remedies, historical references to willow bark date all the way back to the time of Hippocrates. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine used ground bark and leaves from the willow tree to relieve headaches and other pain. Scientists much later isolated the organic compound, Salicin as the responsible chemical for willow bark’s incredible abilities. (Salicin eventually became the natural inspiration for the creation of acetyl salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin.)
While it can be taken in a capsule form, willow bark is much more effective when brewed as tea. Add about a tablespoon of dried willow bark to 1 cup of boiling water and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes to make this tea. As with many herbal teas, willow bark is bitter so you may want to have some honey or Stevia powder ready to sweeten it up. Drink willow bark tea up to twice daily for relief of pain and inflammation.
7. Capsaicin “Hot Pepper” Cream
One of the most popular and widely used natural remedies for temporary relief of joint pain, Capsaicin Cream overloads the body’s pain transmitters known as Substance P. You can buy pre-made capsaicin cream online or in most grocery stores and pharmacies.
Or, if you’d like to have more control over the ingredients, try this recipe for Homemade Hot Pepper Cream for Arthritis & Joint Pain by Everyday Roots.
Remember: Always use gloves when handling hot peppers. Avoid contact with sensitive areas and mucus membranes as capcaisin will cause extreme irritation and is difficult to neutralize once the molecule bonds to your skin.
8. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus Oil is another popular herbal pain-reliever which is used in many modern commercial products. You can buy pre-made all-natural Eucalyptus ointments, or mix up a homemade batch using these great guides:
Learn how to make a DIY warming rub for sore muscles using Eucalyptus Oil and a few other all-natural ingredients from Mommypotamus.
(Learn more about The Wonders Of Eucalyptus Oil – Top 10 Health Benefits & Uses!)
9. Juniper Berry
A 2009 research trial published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” revealed that the organic compound terpinen-4-ol contained in the berries of prickly and common juniper varieties reduce arthritis pain and inflammation. (PMID:19505566)
To brew juniper berry tea, Everydayroots suggests: “Bring 1 cup of fresh water to a boil, and place 1 tablespoon of Dried Juniper Berries in a mug. Pour the boiling water over the berries and let them steep for 20 minutes before straining. Drink 1 cup twice daily, and add honey to taste if you like.”
Please note: Juniper berry should be avoided by pregnant and nursing women.
Extract of Bosweilla (aka Frankincense) is another excellent anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever that works by inhibiting the body’s immune response that causes swelling and by reducing existing inflammation in joint tissues.
You can purchase Bosweilla supplements online or find the herb at your local natural health food store.
11. Grape Juice & Pectin
Medical research has hypothesized that pectin helps to restore elasticity and lubrication of damaged synovial membranes – the soft cushioning tissue inside our joints that allows them to move without pain. While there is still much research to be done on this topic, people who drink liquid pectin find this natural remedy to be very effective, especially when taken with grape juice, another natural anti-inflammatory.
Everydayroots suggests: “Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid pectin with 8 oz. of grape juice and drink 1-2 times daily.” While it may take up to two weeks to feel the results, they will be more permanent than those offered by fast-acting pain relievers.
12. Burdock Root
Burdock Root is another herb with a long-standing reputation as an anti-inflammatory. Burdock is full of fatty acids, sterols, and tannins; all of which contribute to its inflammation-reducing power.
To use Burdock for joint pain, add about a tablespoon of Dried Burdock Root to a cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 – 15 minutes then strain. Enjoy this remedy while it is still warm, up to 4 times per day. (mindbodygreen – Amy Jirsa)
Alternately, you can take the herb in capsule form (follow dosage directions, but remember, these are for a 150lb adult—calculate the appropriate dose using your own weight).”
13. Stinging Nettle
Nettle contains a long list of nutrients (including protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, D, and B complex) which contribute to pain relief, strengthening of bones, and reduction of inflammation in joints.
Drink a cup of organic nettle leaf tea 1 – 2 times per day for healing and gradual relief of joint pain.
For more immediate relief, Amy Jirsa of mindbodygreen suggests “that striking the inflamed joint with a fresh cutting from a nettle plant helps relieve joint pain (the stinging part of the nettles draws blood to the joint, relieving pain and inflammation).”
14. Liquorice (Glycyrrhizin)
Glycyrrhizin, the primary organic compound in Liquorice root that gives the herb its sweet flavor is also a powerful anti-inflammatory which works by inhibiting the activity of inflammatory enzymes in the human body.
Please note: Use of Glycyrrhizin has several known side effects when used in large enough quantity or over long periods of time. Furthermore, Glycyrrhizin should be avoided by pregnant or nursing women.
Remember, it is always recommended to consult with your doctor before starting any herbal remedy.