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Herbal pain relievers - types, intake and areas of application

Herbal pain relievers - types, intake and areas of application


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If there is pain, it is easy to get a pain reliever (analgesics) in the pharmacy without a prescription. If this is only taken from time to time and especially only for a short period of time, this is not so bad. However, the risks of taking analgesics should not be underestimated. For mild pain, especially if you start early, herbal pain relievers can be a good alternative with few side effects. In the following lines you will find out what herbal pain relievers are on the market, how and when you take them and what kind of pain they can relieve.

Type of pain

Pain occurs in different types, forms and in various parts of the body. Chemical analgesics do not take the locality and the type of pain into consideration that much - herbal painkillers, on the other hand, may be chosen correctly. Every plant has its scope and application.

Even if "only" plants are mentioned here, even these can lead to undesirable side effects. Therefore, the respective income or application recommendations must be observed. Depending on the complaints, a visit to the doctor or alternative practitioner is necessary. Even if no side effects are known, intolerance can occur - but very rarely. If this is the case, the intake will not be continued. The treating therapist can help.

Pain in the stomach or intestines, cramps

Pain in the stomach and / or intestines is often associated with cramps. Herbal pain relievers help here, which have a spasmolytic, that is, relaxing. These include the following plants:

  • Henbane,
  • Boldo,
  • Earth smoke,
  • Celandine,
  • Butterbur,
  • Melissa
  • and licorice.

The following lines describe each of these herbal pain relievers exactly.

Henbane

Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) is a nightshade family. It is one of the oldest medicinal plants and was previously used in religious ceremonies. This plant is known as the so-called witch plant. Their effect is based on the alkaloids they contain. Henbane has an antispasmodic (antispasmodic) and analgesic effect on the smooth muscles in the stomach and intestines. Since the plant is highly toxic, it is only used in homeopathic form, starting from homeopathic dilution D4. In addition, the herb has an anxiolytic and calming effect.

Boldo

Boldo, known as Peumus boldus, is a so-called monimony and can be found in bush forests in Chile. Boldo contains alkaloids, essential oil and small amounts of flavonoids. The combination of alkaloids and essential oils makes them a very special plant. It acts as a herbal pain reliever, spasmolytic, choleretic (promoting bile flow) and cholekinetic (stimulating the emptying of the gall bladder). In addition, Boldo is anti-inflammatory and stimulates uric and uric acid excretion. The herbal pain reliever is used as tea, as a tincture or in the form of combination products. Use is contraindicated in cases of occlusion of the biliary tract, severe liver diseases, gallstone problems and in pregnancy. There are no known side effects for boldo leaves.

Earth smoke

Earth smoke (Fumaria officinalis), a poppy plant, is known as arable weed on roadsides or on rubble sites in Europe and Asia. Plants that grow as wild plants everywhere without care are often used for detoxification or blood purification. So also the earth smoke. Like the plants already described, Fumaria officinalis has a lot of alkaloids that have an antispasmodic effect. Furthermore, the consumption of earth smoke increases the bile secretion and has an anti-inflammatory effect. This plant is used as tea, as a tincture or as fresh plant juice. No side effects are known.

Celandine

The celandine (Chelidonium majus) is also a poppy plant that likes to settle near people, on the edges of paths, fences and as a garden weed. Celandine as a herbal pain reliever has a relaxing effect on the gastrointestinal tract and on the biliary tract. Since celandine is poisonous in its original form, this should only be taken in the form of tea, tincture or as a finished medicine. An unauthorized self-treatment for more than four weeks at a time is to be avoided. Celandine is contraindicated in existing liver diseases, gallbladder infections or gallstones. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under the age of 12 are also not allowed to take the chelidonium.

Celandine is often used as a herbal pain reliever in combination with other plants, for example in a tea mixture together with peppermint, caraway and wormwood.

Butterbur

A somewhat strange name, but a great, effective plant. Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is a daisy family. It contains so-called sesquiterpenes, which make up the spasmolytic effect - on the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary tract and the bronchial tract. Butterbur also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Depending on its severity, pain in the gastrointestinal area responds relatively well to the intake of petasites. Butterbur is also worth trying for cramps during menstruation. Last but not least, this plant is used successfully for migraines and headaches. Butterbur is offered as a tea and as a finished medicine.

Melissa

Everyone knows the lemon balm (Melissa officinalis, also called lemon balm). But it is less well known as a herbal pain reliever. Thanks to its ingredients, however, it can also show its skills here. It has an antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial and - which is important to us in this article - antispasmodic. It is happy to be combined with other plants. Lemon balm is the right choice, especially for pain in the gastrointestinal area, if it arises due to nervousness or stress. It has a gentle effect, side effects and contraindications are not known. The lemon balm is available as tea, as a tincture, extract in mono or combination preparations.

A headache

Headaches can be so bad that normal everyday life is no longer possible. Especially when it comes to migraines. This is a clinical picture that is not so easy to treat. As a rule, those affected take many high-dose pain relievers. The herbal remedies can possibly take the "peaks" of pain here and improve the overall pain process. For other headaches (e.g. tension headaches), taking herbal pain relievers is also worth trying.

Continuous use of chemical painkillers can lead to headaches themselves - a vicious cycle begins. This is called analgesic headache. Herbal pain relievers are therefore a recommended alternative.

Tension headache

These are mostly dull pressing or boring. They start at the neck and then spread over the head to the forehead. Vegetative and visual side effects are usually not included.

Peppermint essential oil, mint oil

Of course, both oils are only applied externally. Put a drop on each index finger and use it to massage left and right under the occiput and also the temples - but be careful: do not bring into eyes!

The oils act on the body's own pain defense systems, they improve blood circulation, inhibit various messenger substances that are involved in the development of pain, and reduce the sensitivity to pain. This may not sound understandable, but give it a try. Lie down and let the oil take effect. Please wash your hands after use. In the meantime, oils with applicators are on the market, which is also quite useful for on the go.

Willow bark

The willow bark was already used in ancient times. Salicin was isolated from the bark at the beginning of the 19th century. This is responsible for the effect. Chemists used this substance to produce salicylic acid, which then many years later gave rise to acetylsalicylic acid, which is one of the best-known pain relievers today.

Vegetable salicin, on the other hand, is converted to salicylic acid in the intestine. Side effects are very rare in the willow bark. Only people who are allergic to salicylates are not allowed to take any willow bark preparations. The willow bark is a herbal pain reliever, but the effect is rather moderate for tension headaches. If blood-thinning medication is already being taken, the doctor must be consulted beforehand. The willow bark can be drunk as tea or taken in the form of tablets.

Devil's claw

The devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a so-called pedals family and comes from the savannas of South Africa and Namibia. In the beginning, the devil's claw played only a mediocre role in traditional medicine. Later on the population noticed the actual healing properties of the plant. It came to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and is now a valued, frequently used medicinal plant. It has an anti-inflammatory and slightly pain relieving effect. So it can also be described as a herbal pain reliever. It doesn't have much of an effect on acute headaches, but it does help those affected to reduce the use of normal pain relievers.

Migraine

Those who suffer from migraines often go a long way. As already mentioned above, this disease is difficult to treat because many factors come together and the cause is often not revealed. Most of those affected take a large amount of special migraine therapies when they are affected by the severe pain and its unpleasant accompanying symptoms. Of course, these have side effects. However, some herbal pain relievers are able to relieve the pain somewhat and may also reduce the frequency of the seizures.

As with tension headaches, peppermint oil is recommended. Willow bark and devil's claw can also be tried. However, these usually have too little effect - especially in the acute state. What is often used in naturopathic practice is butterbur. This is part of the proven migraine prophylaxis. The frequency, duration and intensity of migraine attacks can be reduced with this herbal pain reliever. Butterbur is recommended here as a cure, even in the pain-free period. Patients either take a certain amount of it every day or they are injected regularly.

Feverfew

Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium; Tanacetum parthenium) is a daisy family. As the name suggests, this plant was used in antiquity, in ancient Greece, for women's ailments to facilitate birth. Feverfew is now also known as a good migraine therapy. This plant is used both for migraine prophylaxis and as an acute herbal pain reliever for a migraine attack.

In addition to the pain, feverfew relieves the accompanying symptoms such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Rare side effects are inflammation of the mouth and indigestion. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under the age of 12 are not allowed to use feverfew. The plant is offered as a tea (however, its effect is too low), as a mother tincture, extract, in capsules or as globules.

Pain in the musculoskeletal system

Who hasn't had musculoskeletal pain before? These include, for example, back pain, pain in the joints and tension. Herbal pain relievers can also bring relief here. Especially with chronic pain, as is the case with arthrosis, the plants can make a good contribution to reducing the intensity and making the whole thing more bearable.
Willow bark, feverfew and devil's claw have already been mentioned. The willow bark helps with acute and chronic pain, the devil's claw helps with chronic pain.

Aspen

The trembling poplar, like the willow bark, belongs to the vegetable salicylates. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It is often used together with goldenrod and ash as a complex agent. This combination of three, which is commercially available in a complex preparation, is a recommended herbal pain reliever. Acute pain relief is moderate since the effect usually only takes about ten days. However, taken over a longer period of time, this mixture can definitely reduce the pain and thus save the regular intake of synthetic analgesics.

Meadowsweet and pansies

Both plants contain salicylates and are used for rheumatic diseases and the associated pain.

Meadowsweet (Spiraea ulmaria) is a rose family. This is prescribed in naturopathy especially for colds, but also for rheumatic complaints of the joints, muscles and headaches. The plant is available as a tea, tincture or extract.

The pansy (Viola tricolor) is primarily known for use in skin diseases. This is also often used for gargling. In folk medicine, this plant is used for diseases of the musculoskeletal system and gout. Here its exiting effect is used. Viola tricolor is available in the form of tea, as a tincture, extract and in combination products.

Incense

Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) has been used as a remedy since ancient times. It has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Thus it belongs to the herbal pain reliever. In some combination products it occurs together with the willow bark. There are now a wide variety of finished medicinal products on the market that contain incense. This is definitely worth trying, especially for back pain.

Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) not only tastes good in food, but is now known as a herbal pain reliever. This is used, for example, for gastrointestinal disorders, kidney inflammation or cystitis and also for complaints in the musculoskeletal system. Curcuma has above all an anti-inflammatory effect and thus helps with pain caused by inflammation. This also applies to some back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

The powder that is used in the preparation of food is not sufficient here. It is better to take capsules that contain a highly concentrated amount of turmeric. The effect does not start immediately, so it is more suitable for prevention or for chronic pain. Curcuma is now commercially available as a combination preparation together with frankincense - an effective combination.

Pain during menstruation

Chemical drugs are often prescribed for menstrual pains, which are primarily cramp-like. The Schüssler Salt No. 7 Magnesium phosphoricum is recommended as an effective alternative. This is used to prepare a so-called “hot sieve”: ten tablets are dissolved in 250 milliliters of boiling water, stirred with a plastic spoon and then drunk in sips. The hot magnesium can be drunk two to three times a day. It is best to start with the hot seven a day or two before menstruation.

Homeopathy for pain

Homeopathically prepared herbal pain relievers can relieve pain, but also reduce it completely. For example, arnica works for pain caused by an injury (fall, surgery, etc.). Gelsemium is a homeopathic remedy used for headaches, especially when the pain starts in the neck. If the headache is pounding, Belladonna is given, combined with dizziness Cocculus and Ipecacuanha together with vomiting. Back pain that shoots in is treated with Colocynthis, stiffness in the back is treated with Rhus toxicodendron and strains and dislocations are treated homeopathically with Ruta.

Summary

Pain that occurs frequently must be clarified. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed to treat inflammation that is responsible for the symptoms. As a rule, this is only appropriate for a few days. However, if you have to take pain relievers over a longer period of time, you can try to reduce the dose of the chemical medication with the appropriate herbal pain reliever, maybe even break it down. In the case of mild pain, the herbal alternatives can in many cases completely replace a conventional analgesic. Try it. For chronic complaints, a herbal pain reliever is definitely worth trying. (sw)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch

Swell:

  • Waldvogel, Hermann H .: Analgesics, antinociceptives, adjuvants: Handbook for Pain Practice, Springer, 2013
  • Tölle, Reinhard: Psychiatry, Springer, 2013
  • Waldvogel, Hermann H .: Analgesics, antinociceptives, adjuvants: Handbook for Pain Practice, Springer, 2013
  • Bäumler, Siegfried: Today's medicinal plant practice: recipes and application, Urban & Fischer Verlag, 2013
  • Diener, Hans-Christoph: Headache, Georg Thieme Verlag, 2003
  • Dalichow, Irene: Universal remedies: gentle support from nature from aloe vera to lemon, Goldmann Verlag, 2012
  • Ross, Nancy: Herbal Remedies: Medicinal Plants for Beginners, Babelcube Inc., 2018


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