Food Is Medicine: 20 Natural Painkillers in Your Kitchen
This fascinating list, based on scientific research, also gives specific information as to which ache or pain a particular ingredient may assist with. The list is understandably very long and it is impossible to comprehensively deal with every ailment and cure listed.
Below you can find a list of the top 22 natural painkillers that are commonly found in nearly every kitchen. So next time you are feeling poorly, afflicted by aches and pains, before you rush off to the pharmacy, check out your natural painkillers list!
Please note however, that pain or other symptoms which persist could be a sign of something more serious and may require medical intervention. If you are concerned, consult your medical practitioner.
1. Heal Heartburn with Cider Vinegar
Sip 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water before every meal, and experts say you could shut down painful bouts of heartburn in as little as 24 hours. “Cider vinegar is rich in malic and tartaric acids, powerful digestive aids that speed the breakdown of fats and proteins so your stomach can empty quickly, before food washes up into the esophagus, triggering heartburn pain,” explains Joseph Brasco, M.D., a gastroenterologist at the Center for Colon and Digestive Diseases in Huntsville, AL.
Help to relieve arthritis and muscle pain, and improve joint mobility. Find 30 amazing uses for Apple Cider Vinegar here.
When Danish researchers asked achy people to jazz up their diets with ginger, it eased muscle and joint pain, swelling and stiffness for up to 63 percent of them within two months. Experts credit ginger’s potent compounds called gingerols, which prevent the production of pain-triggering hormones. The study-recommended dose: Add at least 1 teaspoon of dried ginger or 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger to meals daily.
3. Erase Earaches with Garlic
Treat that dreadful earache pain by placing two drops of warm garlic oil into your aching ear twice daily for five days. This simple treatment can clear up ear infections faster than prescription meds, say experts at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Scientists say garlic’s active ingredients (germanium, selenium, and sulfur compounds) are naturally toxic to dozens of different pain-causing bacteria. To whip up your own garlic oil gently simmer three cloves of crushed garlic in a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil for two minutes, strain, then refrigerate for up to two weeks, suggests Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. For an optimal experience, warm this mix slightly before using so the liquid will feel soothing in your ear canal.
4. Cure a Toothache with Cloves
Gently chewing on a clove can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation for two hours straight, say UCLA researchers. Experts point to a natural compound in cloves called eugenol, a powerful, natural anesthetic. Bonus: Sprinkling a ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves on meals daily may also protect your ticker. Scientists say this simple action helps stabilize blood sugar, plus dampen production of artery-clogging cholesterol in as little as three weeks.
5. Tame Chronic Pain with Turmeric
6. Relax Painful Muscles with Peppermint
Suffering from tight, sore muscles? Stubborn knots can hang around for months if they aren’t properly treated, says naturopath Mark Stengler, N.D., author of the book, The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies. His advice: Three times each week, soak in a warm tub scented with 10 drops of peppermint oil. The warm water will relax your muscles, while the peppermint oil will naturally soothe your nerves — a combo that can ease muscle cramping 25 percent more effectively than over-the-counter painkillers, and cut the frequency of future flare-ups in half, says Stengler. Additionally, drinking peppermint tea may help to relieve sore throat and reduce feelings of upset stomach and abdominal pain caused by stress. The menthol in peppermint inhibits nerves that react to painful stimuli.
7. Give Your Back Some TLC with Grapes
Got an achy back? Grapes could be the ticket to a speedy recovery. Recent studies at Ohio State University suggest eating a heaping cup of grapes daily can relax tight blood vessels, significantly improving blood flow to damaged back tissues (and often within three hours of enjoying the first bowl). That’s great news because your back’s vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs are completely dependent on nearby blood vessels to bring them healing nutrients and oxygen, so improving blood flow is essential for healing damaged back tissue..
8. Fight Pain with Flaxseed
Recent research has shown that just 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed added to the daily diet, eases sore and painful breasts associated with the start of the menstrual cycle. There are a number of natural compounds in flaxseed which prevent estrogen spikes that can trigger breast pain. Applying flaxseed oil to the breast is also effective. More good news: You don’t have to be a master baker to sneak this healthy seed into your diet. Just sprinkle ground flax on oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce or add it to smoothies and veggie dips.
9. Prevent Pain with Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice cuts your risk of picking up a painful bladder infection. Cranberry juice flushes bacteria from the bladder by preventing bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Drink at least 2 glasses of the juice per day as soon as you notice the signs of bladder infection. Find here more information on how to treat urinary tract infection naturally.
10. Tame Leg Cramps with Tomato Juice
Leg cramps are usually caused by a potassium deficiency due to heavy perspiration during exercise or when it is flushed out by diuretics. Tomato juice, rich in potassium, will reduce your risk of these painful leg cramps. Take 2 glasses daily to keep cramps at bay.
11. Heal Mouth Sores with Honey
Raw honey works wonders on sore throat and mouth sores. The natural enzymes in honey banish inflammation, help to destroy viruses and speed up the healing process. Cinnamon and honey mixed together are also promoted by Ayurvedic medicine and alternative medicine. In a paste form this mixture can be applied to the painful area and massaged into the skin. Mixing honey and cinnamon in a warm cup of water and drinking it on a regular basis has also shown to relieve arthritis symptoms.
12. Energize Migraine Medication with Coffee
Prone to migraines? Try muscling-up your painkiller with a coffee chaser. Whatever over-the-counter pain med you prefer, researchers at the National Headache Foundation say washing it down with a strong 12- ounce cup of coffee will boost the effectiveness of your medication by 40 percent or more. Experts say caffeine stimulates the stomach lining to absorb painkillers more quickly and more effectively.
13. Drink Tea to Relive Pain
The tannin in tea helps to stop the contractions in the intestines which occur during a bout of diarrhea or colitis. Drink plenty of tea to relieve the pain when suffering the unpleasant effects of diarrhea.
14. Mustard is an Anti-Inflammatory
For a congested and sore chest as a result of a cold, rub a generous amount of mustard onto your chest. Place a warm cloth over it to make an old-fashioned mustard poultice to relieve pain and congestion. The active ingredients in mustard have fantastic pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
15. Take Away Pain of a Burn with Baking Soda
An excellent way for easing the pain of a burn is with household baking soda. Make a paste and apply to affected area and cover with a wet gauze for a few minutes. The alkaline nature of the baking soda will neutralize the acid in the wound, preventing infection and reducing the pain. Find here 6 uses for baking soda as a kitchen medicine.
16. Heal Sinus Problems with Horseradish
Latest studies show sinusitis is the nation’s number one chronic health problem. And this condition doesn’t just spur congestion and facial pain, it also makes sufferers six times more likely to feel achy all-over. Horseradish to the rescue! According to German researchers, this eye-watering condiment naturally revs up blood flow to the sinus cavities, helping to open and drain clogged sinuses and heal sinus infections more quickly than decongestant sprays do. The study-recommended dose: One teaspoon twice daily (either on its own, or used as a sandwich or meat topping) until symptoms clear.
17. Heal Infections with Salt
Soaking infected minor cuts and scrapes naturally nixes inflammation, plus it’s anti-bacterial, so it quickly destroys the germs that cause swelling and pain. Just mix 1 teaspoon of salt into each cup of water, heat to the warmest temperature that you can comfortably stand, and then soak the affected area for 20 minutes twice daily, until your infection subsides.
18. Gargle with Lemon Juice
Dilute lemon juice in water to ease the pain of a sore throat when used as a gargle.
11. Prevent Digestive Upsets with Pineapple
Got gas? One cup of fresh pineapple daily can cut painful bloating within 72 hours, say researchers at California’s Stanford University. That’s because pineapple is naturally packed with proteolytic enzymes, digestive aids that help speed the breakdown of pain-causing proteins in the stomach and small intestine.
20. Soothe a Sting with Meat Tenderizer
Use a meat tenderizer which has papain (papaya enzyme) to neutralize the venom in a jellyfish or bee sting.. A paste of meat tenderizer and water offers relief for back pain as well. Use a sufficient amount of the tenderizer and water and apply the paste directly to the areas of your back that are in pain. The enzymes will work to break down the proteins, reduce any inflammation and therefore soothe your back muscles.
21. Ease Sore Throat with Cayenne Pepper
The role of the cayenne pepper is to help relieve the pain in a sore throat. The main active compound found in cayenne is a substance known as capsaicin. Capsaicin has shown to contain pain-relieving properties by hindering the transmission of a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitted pain signals to your brain. If you can bear the taste, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper in a glass of water (8 ounces) to find instant relief of migraine headache.
22. Chase Away Joint and Headache Pain with Cherries
A daily bowl of cherries could ease your ache, without the stomach upset so often triggered by today’s painkillers, say researchers at East Lansing’s Michigan State University . Their research reveals that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cherries their brilliant red color, are anti-inflammatories 10 times stronger than ibuprofen and aspirin. “Anthocyanins help shut down the powerful enzymes that kick-start tissue inflammation, so they can prevent, as well as treat, many different kinds of pain,” explains Muraleedharan Nair, Ph.D., professor of food science at Michigan State University . His advice: Enjoy 20 cherries (fresh, frozen or dried) daily, then continue until your pain disappears.