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Herbal relief on the way
Pain even the word itself is to non-descriptive to describe what it is, but when your body has it you sure know what it is! In this article we are going to look a few natural ways to neutralize pain using herbs and essential oils.
One of the most common causes of pain today especially in our stressful society is headaches. Aspirin will tear up the lining of your stomach and you may not even know it is doing it until it is to late and Tylenol and like products can damage the liver and kidneys after prolong use. One of the most soothing and fast acting treatments I like for headaches is to take a few drops of lavender oil and massage it into the temples. For the same effect without the sedative properties that come with using lavender oil trying using lavendin oil which can be bought at any good health food store.
You can also use the good old earth's natural "aspirins" for the pain of a headache and other aches and pains. Willow bark and meadowsweet is the two most common herbs used instead of aspirin and won't irritate the stomach like aspirin. In fact meadowsweet is used for the pain of stomach ulcers. The helpful ingredient in these herbs is salicin that turns into salicylic acid in the stomach that helps with the pain. It reduces the pain and/or rids the pain by reducing pain producing prostaglandin.
I also use bromeliad this is a pineapple enzyme that inhibits prostaglandin. Research has proven bromeliad to be quite effective in helping to reduce inflammation that causes pain. Bromeliad is used in a number of American hospitals and medical institutions were the inflammation is long term or caused by something chronic such as arthritis and it has very safe for daily usage.
Another way to reduce pain from inflammation is by stimulating the pituitary and adrenal glands. Three herbs used for this are bupleurum, which I make a tincture of, ginseng and licorice. There is a warning with the licorice. It is known to raise blood pressure so those with high blood pressure would not want to use it. People with kidney problems are also advised to stay away from licorice. (As always if your are pregnant consult your trained medical advisor before trying anything new). Licorice is also good to relieve the pain of irritable bowel syndrome as it helps to reduce the spasms. Chamomile one of my favorite herbs is also good to relieve pain of bowel spasms and is good for inflammation also.
For back pain I find it very beneficial to take about one handful of chamomile and simmer this for 20 minutes on the stove to a golden brown color then I put this in the bath with about ten drops of lavender. The lavender and chamomile are both good anti-inflammatory and anti spasms and you smell great when finished.
Afterwards rub on an oil made out of 2 ounce of carrier oil (ex. Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil) and about 8 drops each of these essential oils marjoram and chamomile and about 16 drops of rosemary (really good local painkiller) and lavender. This is especially helpful because it is placed directly on the painful area. Marjoram and rosemary are said to be very good for muscle and joint pain. In about a hour then rub on a mint based cream or oil. The compounds in mint help release muscle tightness that contributes to many backaches. The nice thing also about herbs is that they help to heal the cause of the pain where most western medications cover up more then heal and some cause even more problems because of the side effects.
Feverfew is also good for pain and is most effective as a migraine preventive. It is suggested that one use the feverfew capsules as feverfew has a very bitter taste. One possible but rare side effect of feverfew is mouth sores. About ten percent of people that use feverfew are effected by mouth sores which is to bad because this is a very effective herb. Feverfew is also quite effective in bring on delayed or suppressed periods. Ginger is also good for this, but does not seem as effective as feverfew for this.
Chamomile is very helpful in easing menstrual pain. The herb bath mentioned above for backaches is wonderful for menstrual pain. Before and afterward the bath drink a very strong Chamomile tea made from the whole head of the flower. For Chamomile to be effective you need the oil from the Chamomile many of the store processed teas have only trace amounts of the oil. If you live in near Berks, Pa. Peter's Naturals is a very good place to get the whole Chamomile flowers. I am also sure there are places on the net or you can grow it yourself. Chamomile is very easy to grow. They make great field flowers. Chamomile is one of the wonder herbs and has many uses and one should always have some on hand. Peter rabbit's mom even knew it was good for a stomach ache. For the computer user who suffers from sore, tired, painful, eyes an eye wash made form Chamomile is very good. You can also soak a cloth in the Chamomile and lay it over you eyes for a time to relieve those inflamed eyes.
Another way to relieve general aches and pains is to increase circulation that can drive toxins that cause pain out of the body. One of the best herbs for this is ginger. Ginger will help to move those stagnating toxins that help to cause the pain out of your body and it tastes good also. Ginger is great for nausea and to boot it helps to lower cholesterol. If you do not tolerate heat well ginger should not be used as it has heating properties it heats the body. I used to have cold hands and feet all the time until I started using ginger and it has lessened quite a bit. A ginger tea is wonderful on a cold winter night. Ginger should be avoided by people that have peptic ulcers because of it heating abilities.
Echinacea is also helpful with pain. The hyaluronic acid in Echinacea lubricates the joints along with protecting the cells from germs and virals. Some even go as far to say that is will help rebuild damaged tissue. The native Americans used Echinacea for burns and it was quite successful in healing the burned area.
Another miracle herb for aches and pains is yarrow with its anti-inflammatory qualities. The silica in yarrow promotes tissue repair that can be vital in pain relief. It is especially helpful for backaches. It is also great for the improvement of the circulatory system and is good for people who suffer with phlebitis. Yarrows diuretic properties helps to eliminate toxins that help cause pain. It is also said that it stimulates bone marrow improving the production of red blood cells. Yarrow also helps to regulate menstrual cycle and reduces heavy bleeding and uteric congestion.
As you see there are many natural ways to help ease every day aches and pains and unlike most western medicines herbs not only ease the pain they also heal the body. This is the long term result someone wants. This has just been a very small step into the use of herbs and essential oils, but I hope you have found it useful.
Please remember that complimentary care (alternative care) can be very helpful and productive, but for on going, not diagnosed or any sever pain please seek the help of a qualified medical professional. Serious damage can be done in not doing so.
Until next time, good health and soul to you,
March 22, 1999
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy : A Practical Approach to the Use of Essential Oils for Health and Well-Being , Julia Lawless, 1997.
Herbs for Health and Healing , Kathi Keville, St Peter's Press, 1998. (This is a top of the line packed with usable and useful information kind of book!!!)
The Complete Women's Herbal Anne McIntyre 1994. (Every Women and Growing girl should have this book)
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Claire Kowalchik (Editor), William H. Hylton (Editor), Anna Carr, 1998.
Healing Herbs, Preventions Magazine Guide, April 28, 1998.
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