Out Now! Natural Painkillers
Relieve pain with natural remedies and exercises
From a mild headache to crippling arthritis, pain is part of our everyday experience. This book is your guide to understanding pain and the natural, practical and scientifically proven techniques that will make it go away.
IN THIS BOOK YOU’LL DISCOVER:
- Key rules for a pain-fighting diet
- 10 foods that bring relief – turmeric, cabbages, pineapple and more …
- Deep-breathing and relaxation techniques
- Natural remedies for common problems, from burns to backache and joint pain
- Potent herbal poultices, compresses, balms, massages, baths, teas and rubs
It twinges, it burns, it pounds, it pierces, it stings, it throbs … in short, it hurts! Nobody is immune. No one goes through life without pain – at best unpleasant, at worst unbearable – intruding at times. Whether it’s a migraine, toothache, joint pain, a bad back or stomach ache, pain is part of our lives and, with the best will in the world, we can’t eradicate it.
We were all born with a cry that paediatricians agree today reveals the suffering felt by fetuses as they push their way through the birth canal, then, as newborns, swallow their first breath of air as their lungs unfold. Did we come into the world in pain? It’s quite likely. We have no memory of this painful feeling, yet it forms the backdrop against which all our future pains resonate, whether slight or intense.
Medical management of pain is fairly recent. Since the mid-twentieth century, new therapeutic approaches have made it possible to suppress suffering in extreme situations, especially for people in the last phases of incurable disease. But what about everyday pain, of the sort that disrupts our wellbeing without endangering our lives? Usually, we ‘kill’ it with over-the-counter analgesics (aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen and so on). However, such drugs are not without risks. They may be suitable for occasional use – a sprained wrist that prevents you writing for a few days or toothache that requires a trip to the dentist – but when the pain intensifies or sets in for a longer period, things are different. The effect of medication decreases when it’s taken regularly, and long-term use can produce undesirable side-effects.
So what can be done? Do we make a dive for the first drugs we come across with no regard for the risks, or do we try, stoically, to simply tolerate the pain? The best course of action lies between the two. Pain is, first and foremost, a message that we need to listen to. It’s a signal to us that ‘something’ is wrong with our body, whether it’s a simple splinter in the finger, gastric inflammation or a slipped disc. Incidentally, it’s worth noting that the intensity of the pain may not correlate with the severity of the problem, although it will certainly determine the urgency with which we deal with it.
It’s important, therefore, to hear the message before trying to numb the pain; otherwise the problem may continue to develop silently. In doing so, we also need to be aware of the origin of the pain in order to deal with the cause: extract the splinter, relieve the inflammation or whatever. Take a simple toothache. This is usually a sign that a cavity is forming in the tooth dentine and is getting close to the pulp chamber housing the nerve. Painkillers may get rid of the pain, but they won’t prevent decay from continuing on its merry way.
So be careful not to put the cart before the horse!
Once the underlying cause has been identified, suffering is no longer necessary. The signal has been heard and we can act. Then comes the second step: finding a painkilling solution suitable for the problem. And the choice is vast! In addition to drugs, which can be reserved for emergencies or for severe pain, traditional medicine offers a wealth of safe and effective painkilling products and methods.
There’s herbal medicine, of course, as well as the essential oils extracted from various plants. But they are far from the only recourse. Staples such as clay and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) can control certain types of pain. Making changes to your diet can be effective for recurrent inflammatory pain. Add breathing exercises, anti-stress techniques, yoga and massage to all this and you have an arsenal of weapons with which to combat all (or almost all) the usual pains of everyday life, without running the slightest risk to your body. Let’s face it: why deprive yourself of pain relief!
Four Natural Remedies for Headaches
Cephalalgia is the medical term for all types of headache, including migraine (pain in half of the skull), ophthalmic headache (related to eyestrain) and headaches of neural, hormonal or digestive origin. In all cases, headaches, which can vary in intensity, are distressing because it’s very difficult to think and concentrate when your head feels like it’s trapped in a vice.
Women are more affected than men by headaches, whether occasionally or frequently. A person is deemed to suffer from chronic headaches when they’ve experienced at least five seizures in the previous twelve months, each lasting
at least 48 hours. If you frequently get headaches, seek medical advice to determine their origin. You’ll then be better equipped to treat the source of the problem. In addition, you can administer the following treatments whenever you suffer from a headache. The sooner you act, the more effective they will be.
A FEVERFEW INFUSION
The feverfew plant, also sometimes called bachelor’s buttons, has been used since ancient times to soothe pain, particularly headaches. Its efficacy for this traditional use has been scientifically proven. Some scientific studies suggest that feverfew may reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
- Add 1 level tablespoon of dried feverfew to a large cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, then filter and drink.
- If your headache is isolated, drink two or three cups a day.
- If the headache is recurrent, continue the treatment for a week: drink a large cup as soon as you feel a headache coming on, and continue to drink two large cups a day for the rest of the week.
A MASSAGE WITH PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
When distilled, peppermint, an ancient medicinal plant, yields an essential oil that has decongestant, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Most importantly, it’s a great painkiller and provides rapid relief – good news if you suffer from headaches.
- If the headache is quite localized, put a drop of peppermint essential oil on the tips of both your index fingers, then rub the spot where your headache is – for example, your forehead (be careful to avoid touching your eyes), temples or neck. Repeat an hour later if the pain persists.
If the headache is more widespread and diffuse, soak a compress in cold water, then add 2 or 3 drops of peppermint essential oil to it. Lie down in a quiet place and put the compress high on your forehead. Leave it to work for at least 10 minutes.
A MEADOWSWEET POULTICE
A traditional medicinal plant, meadowsweet has many virtues, including anti- inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, which make it particularly valuable for those who suffer from headaches. Meadowsweet played its part in the story of the famous aspirin. It was from substances contained in its beautiful white flowers, combined with others present in willow bark, that chemists synthesized the drug at the end of the nineteenth century. It’s no wonder, then, that this plant is a good ally when you’re suffering from a headache.
- When meadowsweet is used in a poultice, its beneficial constituents act through the skin.
- Put 5 tablespoons of dried meadowsweet into a bowl, then pour over a little boiling water to cover. Mix well and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Filter to separate the plant material from the concentrated infusion.
- Soak a compress in the infusion and spread the leaves on top. Carefully place this on your forehead or neck (wherever you feel pain), with the plant material against your skin. Keep it in place for 15–20 minutes, preferably while lying in a dark, quiet place. If the headache persists, repeat up to twice a day.
- You can also consume meadowsweet in an infusion. Add a level tablespoonful of dried meadowsweet to a large cup of boiling water, then leave to infuse for 8 minutes before filtering. Drink two cups a day.
A POINT TO STIMULATE ON THE HAND
This point, according to Chinese medicine, is on the meridian, or energy channel, of the large intestine. So, what is its relationship to headaches? The meridian begins at the tip of the index finger and goes up the arm, then from the shoulder and neck to the skull. An energy blockage along this pathway can cause headaches. To relieve the blockage, just massage a specific point. It’s also a useful anti-stress point when the headache is linked to nervous tension.
- Start by rubbing your palms together, then interlace your fingers as though you’re washing your hands.
- Once your hands are warmed up, place your left thumb on the fleshy part of your right hand between the thumb and forefinger.
- Look for the point located at the bottom of the ‘fork’ between thumb and forefinger, next to the joint, and press. This point is usually a little painful.
- Massage lightly in a clockwise direction, then in the opposite direction.
- Continue for 2–3 minutes. Do the same with the other hand. Repeat several times a day.
Relieve pain with natural remedies and exercises
From a mild headache to crippling arthritis, pain is part of many people’s everyday experience. But there is a natural alternative to pharmaceutical medicine.
This book is your indispensable guide to relieving pain the natural way, using a wide variety of methods including breathing and relaxation techniques, diet, yoga, massage, herbal poultices, balms, compresses, teas and rubs. Did you know pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties? And peppermint can relieve a headache? Or that you can alleviate joint pain by massaging specific points on the wrist?
Featuring key insights into understanding pain and why we feel it, plus scientifically proven techniques that can help make it go away, this essential handbook is your painkilling arsenal for combating a whole range of common ailments.