Use of Herbs for Pain

Use Herbs for PainUse of herbs for pain goes back centuries. There are several herbs that can be used for pain.  Some can be taken internally and all can be used externally.  Internally they can be made into a tea or placed on a sugar cube.  Externally they can be mixed with lotion, ointment or oil.

A description of a few of the oils follows:

Lavender can be used internally by putting one to three drops on a sugar cube and eaten or a tea can be made from either the oil or the leaves.  Care needs to be taken when using it internally because it causes nausea.  Internally, as well as relieving body pain, it can help with migraines and headaches.  It can be mixed in a lotion or oil and applied to the skin to help relieve sore muscles.

The Poppy is the plant from which Opium is derived.  Opium itself has been used for pain relief by smoking or eating.  It’s modern day derivatives, morphine and codeine are common pain relievers.  The California Poppy has been used for toothaches by cutting the root and letting the juice drip directly on the tooth.  It has been made into a tea for headaches and, in children, colic.

St. Johns Wort can be used to treat burns, bruises, hemorrhoids, varicose veins,   sunburn, herpes sores, sciatica and nerve pain.  You can make an ointment or lotion from it for these purposes.  It can be taken internally, as a tea or in a capsule, for the pain of gout and menstrual problems. St Johns Wort tea can also be used to treat chronic pain.  I’m going to get some and try it for my fibromyalgia.

Rose oil is beneficial in relieving both emotional and physical pain.  It or rose petals can be mixed with St Johns Wort and other herbs to create a wonderful pain relieving tea.  Rose oil can also be mixed with a carrier oil or a lotion and applied to the skin.

Use of herbs for pain doesn’t have to be limited to the leafy part of the plant.  There are tinctures that can be purchased and these are very powerful.  A tuncture is the alchoholic extract of the plant.  The alcohol content must be 40% to 60% (18 – 120 proof) occasionally 90% or 180 proof alchohol can be gotten.  Tinctures can be held under the tongue, mixed with water, or mixed with honey to improve the taste.  Here’s a recipe to make your own tincture. You will need either fresh or dried herbs and alcohol (Vodka works well because it has no taste of it’s own. Run can be used too). You will also need cheese cloth or muslin material to strain the herbs.

  • Place 1/2 cup of herbs in a jar.
  • Cover the herbs completely with alcohol.
  • Shake the jar.  Keep jar in a cool dry place for two weeks.  Shake the jar every day.
  • Strain the herbs.
  • Take 1 teaspoon of the tincture every day with meals.  

If you purchase tinctures from a health food store or on line be sure to use the dosing instructions accurately.  Even though tinctures are natural there could be side effects.  Make sure to consult your doctor before using tinctures internally.  Some can really mess with your medications.

Herbs used for muscle and nerve pain include White Willow Bark, Boswellia, Devil’s Claw, Bromelain (from Pineapple stems), Curcumin (from Tumeric), Ginger, Ceyenne, and Arnica (also called Leopards Bain or Mountain Tobacco). Allspice, Aloe Vera, Bergamot, Bladderwrack, and the list goes on for anangesic herbs.

Chronic pain, whether it be from arthritis, fibromyalgia, osetoporosis, or other cause, can become worse as time goes on.  Because it tends to worsen with time many patients will use increasing amounts of anti-inflammatory and pain medications.  These medications can damage the liver and cause an increase of cortisol.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that usually results in belly fat.  The use of herbs for pain could possibly thwart some of the bad side effects of the drugs.

Stomach and digestive issues can be resolved through the use of herbs for pain.  Anise will help relieve bloating and gas; Angelica Root calms the stomach and eases bloating and cramps; Fennel is similar to Anise and they both taste like licorice. Peppermint is the old stand by for bloating, cramps, indegestion, and gut pain.  These herbs are for the occasional bloating and cramps and they can also be used by someone with Chrons Disease, Diverticulitis, Ulcerative Colitis, or Irritible Bowel Syndrom. These particular herbs are very soothing to a riled up gut. I’m a former Chrons Disease patient and discovered that Anise worked particularly good for me.

Use of herbs for pain isn’t restricted to drinking teas.  Herbs and tinctures can be mixed with lotion or carrier oils and be applied to the skin.  They can be used in poltices by mixing them with warm water, soaking a cloth in the mixture and applying it to the skin. (I like to use distilled water for my poltices.  That way I feel more sure there aren’t any unwanted elements in it) Herbs and tinctures can also be used  in a warm bath.  Just put a few drops of tincture or a handful of the herbs in the water, set down and soak for 15 – 20 minutes.  The warm water plus the herbs can be just what you need to relax after a hectic day.

Again, before starting any herbal therapy, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure there will not be a medication  interaction problem. 

Use of Herbs for Pain

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