Living with Herbs
There are all kinds of pain irritating and disturbing our daily life. Pharmaceuticals may bring fast relieve. The goal of herbal interventions, however, is trying to alleviate the cause of the pain as well as the symptom. Therefore, there are different herbs used for various kinds of pains. Let me introduce you to some surprisingly effective herbal alternatives.
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Traditional use of herbs for pain
There are powerful herbs and some are dangerous – like opiates. But there are also mild and powerful herbs that show good results in clinical studies playing a valuable role in treating not only the pain, but the cause as well.
Different kinds of pain
Different kinds of pain call for different herbs.
As an all rounder you may try White Willow Balk (Salix Alba). White Willow is the original source of salicylic acid and has been used for pain and fever for thousands of years. Give it a try! In most cases it works just like Asprin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen or others. Using the whole herb and not an extract prohibits unwanted side effects.
Research suggests that White Willow relieves pain and soothes fevers – without the side effect of thinning blood and irritating the stomach. Excellent remedy for arthritic and rheumatic pain, relieves inflammation and swelling, improves mobility in painful or creaky joints.
You may also turn to an herb from the rainforest – especially for back pain: Chuchuhuasi (maytenus krukovii). Chuchuhuasi is a big tree in the Amazon rainforest. The bark is used for medicinal purposes. Research suggests the following potential actions: reduces inflammation, relieves pain (back pain, arthritis, rheumatism, muscle aches), relaxes muscles, enhances immunity, revitalizes and lessens fatigue.
For stronger results you may try Corydalis. Corydalis (Corydalis rhizoma) is one of the most effective pain reliever in Chinese medicine (called Yan Hu Suo), used also for mild depression, mild mental disorder, and emotional disturbances. It is also used as a mild sedative and tranquilizer.
Research found about 20 alkaloids in corydalis, including tetrahydropalmatine (THP) with a high analgesic potency. Clinical studies on THP show good results alleviating neuralgia, dysmenorrhea and headaches.
If you are experiencing any kind of neuralgic pain, you may try Corydalis (see above). In addition, St. John’s Wort shows good results with this kind of pain. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has been used since the Middle Ages to enhance mood and protect against illnesses. Traditionally it has been used to treat neuralgic pain. Clinical Research suggests St. John’s Wort may help treating mild to moderate depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders (esp. SAD), similar to treatment with standard prescription antidepressants.
Use whole herbs, no extracts
I always recommend using whole herbs and not extracts. The medicinal effects of plants have been known for ages and all around the world – evidence based, passing on the knowledge from generation to generation. Nowadays we know that there are active constituents in every plant that provide the medicinal efficacy. But using only these active constituents - extracted - may harm your body. Whole herbs mostly have other parts that counteract side effects.
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It's easy and healthy using more herbs: 'Living With Herbs' is a blog giving little tips, recipes, and information on herbs.
Dr. Angela C. Fritz