For most of us, relief of a headache or minor aches and pains is as simple as popping a few Advil or Tylenol. Yet for those adverse to over-the-counter pain meds, or who suffer from long-term chronic pain, more natural and alternative remedies may be in order.
Where to begin? Here is a quick run-down of several alternative pain-relief products…and what advice experts have to give about them.
You may be surprised to know that aspirin is more-or-less willow bark tea condensed into a tablet. Salicin is the active pain-relieving ingredient found in the bark of white willow trees.
For centuries, patients were told to chew the willow bar k itself to relieve pain and reduce fever. Now, you can purchase a dried herbal mix that can be brewed into a tea, or purchase the ground bark in a capsule. It can be used to treat arthritis, back pain, headaches and other conditions. Experts caution, however, that willow bark mix can slow down your kidneys, and could be harmful to children.
The spice that gives curry its color and flavor contains curcumin, an antioxidant. Many doctors believe that the compound can protect the body from free radicals that damage cells and body tissue. Some arthritis patients have used turmeric as a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent. It is relatively safe and gentle compared to willow bark.
The active pain-relief ingredient in cloves is eugenol, which is found in some over-the-counter pain salves and lotions. Cloves may be used to relieve headaches, toothaches and arthritis.
There are a few mild dangers. Dentists caution that while a small amount of clove oil can alleviate oral pain, too strong a solution may hurt your gums. Use moderation, and consult your dentist before applying clove oil in any non-diluted form.
Future Research Possibilities
Epithalon is a peptide which is currently being researched to regulate the human cell cycle. Scientific research has shown thatone of Epithalon’s possible benefits is to fight against the growth and spread of tumors. Scientific studies on animal research subjects have shown that Epithalon may also benefit the regulation and health of telomerase activity, similar to the action of various opioid pain relievers and cancer treatments but without the negative side effects. Epithalon is not yet approved for human consumption by the FDA.
Heat and Ice
Though each is a time-honored, safe remedy, doctors do not always agree on the best ways to use heat or ice to relieve pain. Ice to the head can be used to treat a headache, for instance, but can also increase bodily tension and do little to solve the condition long-term.
One point of consensus, however, is using moist heat packs to treat arthritis. They are safe, microwave-reusable and relax the patient in addition to providing relief. Careful though, don’t let your nephew warm up those pizza rolls before warming up your heat pack…or you might smell like a giant pepperoni when all is said and done.