Pharmaceuticals may not be your only way to pain relief. Natural pain therapy for body aches, like herbal remedies, is also an increasingly popular way to manage pain. Here people use parts of a plant medicinally to relieve health problems.
Research on herbal medicines is still in its early stages. But, people believe several herbs provide pain control and inflammation relief. It’s necessary to exercise caution. Herbals or other nutraceuticals may benefit in any way. Or they may not help. But, almost universally all have the potential to damage by unwanted side effects. These effects include allergic reactions and undesirable interactions with other medicines.
What Causes Body Aches?
Body aches are usually a symptom of underlying medical problems. They are usually harmless and not of great concern. But, it is best to figure out their cause before availing of treatment.
Here are some of the causes of body aches:
- Insufficient sleep
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Fibromyalgia: A long-term medical disorder that causes pain throughout your body.
- Microbial infections such as flu and the common cold
- Drugs used to treat blood pressure
- Fluid retention: When your body retains fluid, it will cause your muscles to swell. And exert pressure on your nerves, resulting in body aches.
- Hypokalemia: Low potassium levels in the bloodstream cause this medical condition. This causes regular body aches.
- Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, myositis, and multiple sclerosis
We’re taking a look at 5 top herbal remedies that can help to relieve body aches. That’s wonderful news? Almost all of these herbs can be easily found by opening a kitchen cupboard!
Turmeric is a yellow powder that originates from India and Indonesia and is mostly used in curries. Many believe that turmeric helps to relieve pain, inflammation, and stiffness. The key chemical found in this plant is curcumin. Curcumin is known to have this role by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. Traditionally, turmeric was used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to provide relief. It can cure arthritis. Also, it is a cleaning agent and digestive aid.
Studies found positive effects of turmeric action on inflammation. One study found that turmeric was successful in preventing joint inflammation. One research shows that 8-12 weeks of turmeric supplementation were sufficient to minimize arthritis.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that helps keep the body clear of damage by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that disrupt the surrounding molecules and cause tissue and cell damage. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, helping to protect our cells and tissues.
Turmeric is often not well absorbed by the body. So, liquid supplements or food are the best way to get it into your body.
2. Ginger for body aches: Does it work as a herbal remedy?
Popular applications of ginger include the treatment of nausea and stomach problems. However, ginger is now up-and-coming for another incredible benefit – pain relief! Because ginger has anti-inflammatory effects. Hence, people believe that it functions as a COX-2 inhibitor similar to certain arthritis medications.
These anti-inflammatory effects come from many different ginger compounds, including gingerols. These compounds also have antioxidant properties. Because they reduce the amount of damage sustained by free radicals and oxidative stress. Research on the effectiveness of ginger on muscle and joint pain has been promising. One research compared the efficacy of ginger extract to placebo in patients with osteoarthritis in the knee. It found that ginger reduced pain and stiffness by 40% compared to placebo!
Ginger has been a favourite treatment in China for decades. People of China mostly used it to alleviate nausea and stomach discomfort. However, researchers say that there is not enough study present to prove it as a pain reliever.
Arnica is a perennial flower found in Europe and Siberia’s mountains. Sometimes people refer it to as the ‘mountain daisy’. Its bright yellow flowers have a long tradition in muscle and joint pain relief and a bruise’s appearance. Arnica contains lactones that contribute to an anti-inflammatory effect in the herbal format. Lactones are at the centre of the inflammatory process. It inhibits the production of an inflammatory substance known as the Kappa Beta Nuclear Factor (NF-kβ). NF-kβ is a protein complex that plays an important role in the immune system’s response.
Arnica prevents the release of this inflammatory substance at the beginning of the inflammation phase. One study showed that 3 in 4 patients with mild to severe osteoarthritis of the knee reported improvement after the use of Arnica. Another research compared the effects of topical Arnica gel to 5% of NSAID Ibuprofen gel. As a result, it showed that Arnica gel helped relieve pain in hand osteoarthritis.
Pineapples are a well-loved, delicious tropical fruit. It can help with muscle and joint pain. Bromelain is an enzyme present in pineapple juice and pineapple stems. It can minimize swelling or inflammation. Also, it has a positive effect on fever and prevents muscle aches after intensive exercise. Also, Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that helps the body’s digestive processes to break down complex protein molecules. It works because of its anti-inflammatory effects. Also, it develops substances that fight pain and inflammation.
Evidence on bromelain for osteoarthritis and muscle soreness during exercise is conflicting. But, studies showed that it is beneficial to relieve symptoms of acute nasal and sinus inflammation when used in combination with other drugs.
5. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s Claw is a herb found only in the wild Kalahari desert of South Africa. People also use Devil’s Claw for rheumatic pain, back pain, muscle and joint pain.
One research looked at Devil’s Claw’s effectiveness in mild to severe rheumatic conditions. Hence, it showed that Devil’s Claw did not affect actual blood count results. It had a major impact on pain relief, with more than 60 percent of patients. What’s more, the study also shows that Devil’s Claw’s long-term application is effective. And it can also have a positive effect on pain reduction.
Another study was conducted in 2007 of 259 individuals with rheumatic disorders. It showed that 60% of study participants either decreased or stopped their pain relief after eight weeks after taking the devil’s Claw. The herb also appeared to improve the quality of life of the patients.
The Bottom Line
The natural herbal remedies mentioned above can only be effective for specific sources of body aches. Not all of the herbal medicines on this list will work for you. However, these natural alternatives to prescription can give you some good choices to try before you turn to pharmacological solutions.
Remember, pain is the indication of the body that something is wrong. It could be temporary, much like a strained muscle. But pain can also mean that you have a health condition that requires a medical examination. Therefore, don’t wait to contact a health care provider to diagnose the cause of pain. And discuss some natural options for treatment.