Effective Solutions for Natural Pain Relief

Every year Americans spend over $24 billion on prescription painkillers. This figure grows even larger when you include over-the-counter solutions like paracetamol. What’s more, pharmaceutical-based painkillers often pose a significant number of potential side effects, with over 6,000 deaths a year attributed to them in the USA alone.

In response to these dangers there is a growing interest in more natural ways to control or relieve pain.

The world of more natural pain relief is a surprisingly fascinating one, with numerous plants offering supposed benefits. Even better, thanks to growing interest in this industry, many such plants are undergoing rigorous scientific trials to help verify their effects. This means that anyone seeking pain relief should find it easier than ever before to separate the placebos from the real painkillers.

Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw is one of the lesser-known plants to show verified pain relieving properties. Typically growing in Saharan regions of Africa, this short flowering plant has long been used as a traditional remedy by local tribes. Since the arrival of Europeans in Africa, however, the plant has been exported worldwide.

Research has focused particularly on arthritis, where it is said to improve pain, stiffness and function in affected joints. Studies have also demonstrated that the effects are potent enough that many users are able to reduce their use of other more traditional painkillers.


Rosehips are the bright red seed pods of wild rose species, and can often be seen growing along hedgerows in late summer. Not only are rosehips natural, therefore, but they can also be collected for free. Don’t assume that “free” means “bad” however – studies have shown all sorts of benefits from consuming the dried, powdered cases.

Weight-for-weight, roseships contain more vitamin C than most citrus fruits. However they also seem to help reduce inflammation in the body. As inflammation is so central to many causes of discomfort – such as joint-related conditions – this naturally helps to improve pain without the need for expensive or risky pharmaceuticals.


Curcumin has risen significantly in popularity over recent years, and is now the latest “must have” ingredient in many herbal remedies. It is therefore included here for completeness, but there’s an important warning that is necessary.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, but using curcumin is nowhere near as easy as many people suggest. Firstly, the percentage of curcumin in turmeric tends to be very low indeed. This can mean you need to consume vast amounts of turmeric in order to reach the levels of curcumin seen to be beneficial. Additionally, the human body struggles to absorb curcumin from the digestive system.This is why most supplements combine it with an ingredient known as piperine, which has been shown to increase its uptake in the gut.

So, while scientific investigations have reported strong pain killing results, you’re unlikely to ever benefit just from consuming turmeric powder, no matter how you prepare it at home. Unlike many of the other solutions discussed here, therefore, this is one natural painkiller that you’ll probably need to buy in supplement form rather than producing yourself at home.


Capsaicin is the active ingredient that gives peppers their fiery personality. This means that the spicier the pepper, the higher the concentration of capsaicin is likely to be.

While some people opt to consume chilli peppers for their pain relieving benefits, it is more common to turn peppers into a topical ointment. This ointment can then be gently rubbed into the affected area. Unsurprisingly, such ointments can sting slightly on application, but this should be seen as an indication of its efficacy. As the heat subsides most people find their experience of pain falls.


Unlike many of the other natural pain suppressors discussed here, ginger has demonstrated its effects in a range of different circumstances. For example, arthritic patients have shown that the consumption of ginger reduced knee pain and made walking easier, while taking 500mg a day for just five days has been shown to reduce menstrual pain.

Fresh ginger isn’t always easy to work with, and has a very pungent flavour. For ease you can try adding ginger root to recipes or using it to make a delicious herbal tea. Alternatively, a growing number of people purchase dry ginger powder which can make it easier to consume beneficial doses.


Glucosamine has become one of the most popular treatments among individuals with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is a perfectly natural ingredient, and is likely present within your joints right now. Most experts conclude that it plays an important structural role within the joint matrix itself. Sadly, over time these levels can start to fall. Research suggests that for osteoarthritis sufferers, glucosamine has the potential to not only relieve joint pain, but even to improve the mechanics of your joints.

As one of the most heavily-studied nutraceuticals on the market, glucosamine has an impressive track record of safety.

Sadly, glucosamine is rarely found in any foods in significant levels, so once again you may need to rely on supplements. Glucosamine supplements are most commonly made from fish. If you’re a vegetarian, look out for “glucosamine hydrochloride” which is made from plant-based sources, though tends to be slightly more expensive due to the more complex extraction process required.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fats are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties. This, in turn, can help to reduce many sources of discomfort. Omega 3 fats can be particularly beneficial for joint-related issues, whether that is rheumatoid arthritis or simply having overdone it in the garden.

Some of the results seen have been truly impressive. For example, in one study volunteers suffering from neck or back pain took 1200mg of omega 3 oils. One month later, each participant completed a questionnaire detailing their experiences. The results showed that 80% of those involved claimed they were satisfied with their improvement and planned to continue taking fish oil supplements for their pain.

The best sources of omega 3s are oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. Try to eat them several times a week to keep your levels topped up. Alternatively, of course, fish oil supplements are a quick and cost-effective way to naturally increase your levels.


For those readers who would rather avoid consuming any kind of treatment, no matter how “natural” there is also evidence that mindfulness exercises are able to reduce sensations of pain. It seems that by remaining calm and focusing the mind on other matters, meditation can reduce how our body senses pain.

In one sample experiment, patients suffering from chronic pain took part in a 10 week meditation course. Not only did their sensations of pain decline, together with other negative symptoms such as anxiety and depression, but these improvements continued on for well over a year afterward until the study finally ended.


If you’d rather avoid the potential downsides of pharmaceuticals then there are a host of alternative remedies available. While many of these have been used for generations, it is reassuring to point out that recent scientific investigations have helped to verify their efficacy. From rosehips to chillies, from ginger to fish oil, why not try one of these popular solutions today?

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