Since we must resort to the easiest and the quickest solutions for problems that hinder our fast paced lifestyle, popping a pain killer has become a way of life for the urban Indian. Nature offers a solution for every health problem, however most of these benefits remain unexplored due to lack of awareness. For centuries, the Indian medicine system has made use of natural ingredients in treating mild and chronic pains. Here are 5 of the most powerful natural foods that are known to ease pain and inflammation naturally and without any side effects.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
The age-old Indian practice of serving warm milk with turmeric to heal internal injuries is perhaps based on the ancient knowledge of the amazing healing powers of this common household spice. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effects on the human body and holds a distinctive place in traditional Indian healing system.
Most of the health benefits of Turmeric are attributed to ‘Curcumin’, a powerful antioxidant compound which largely responsible for the elusive status granted to Turmeric. In Ayurveda, turmeric is recommended for healing joint pains, for improving digestion and liver function and to boost overall health.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
If you are feeling tired or having a head ache, a freshly brewed cup of ginger tea might just get you going. A recent study found that ginger may be effective in relieving migraine as a first line treatment at the onset of the headache.
Also effective for morning sickness and motion sickness, research has shown that ginger may help ease arthritis pain. In a 2010 study, Osteoarthritis patients who were given ginger extract experienced reduced pain and required fewer pain killers. Although there have been some conflicting studies on the effect on ginger on pain and inflammation, it continues to be used in traditional medicine as an effective anti-inflammatory agent.
Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Holy Basil or Tulsi is a household name in India. It is regarded as a sacred plant and for many, it symbolizes spiritual purity. Several studies have supported the therapeutic usage of the Basil plant, particularly the leaves which are also a prominent culinary herb used in many global cuisines.
In the 2005 edition of Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, it was mentioned that ‘Eugenol’, the active substance present in holy basil is responsible for its therapeutic behavior. In Ayurveda, basil is used for treating a range of ailments, including headaches, asthma, stomach disorders and arthritis.
Studies have found that the omega – 3 fatty acids found in fish oil can reduce arthritic pain. Some neurologists agree that fish oil supplements appear to be safer alternatives for treatment of nonsurgical neck, joint and back pain in arthritis patients.
Fish oil is also recommended for chronic nerve pain. The February 2010 issue of ‘The Clinical Journal of Pain’ published a report stating that omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial for patients with neuropathic pains.
Capsaicin is an active compound found in plants belonging to the capsicum family. The burning sensation which you experience on consuming chillies comes from Capsaicin which is what makes these peppers hot and spicy.
Today, it is used in topical ointments for neuropathic pains, joint pains associated with arthritis and muscle strains. It has shown favorable results in studies involving patients of osteoarthritis. Capsaicin jelly has been found useful in migraine sufferers - topical capsaicin may relieve pain during or at onset of migraine attack. As a dietary supplement, Capsaicin may help improve digestion and fight bacterial infection.
Natural painkillers are generally considered safe or consumption and are mostly free of side effects. So the next time you are out to grab a painkiller, try a natural alternative instead. You may just get hooked for life!