Herbs for pain relief Photo: Thinkstock
For relieving the pain and inflammation of arthritis, try this traditional herbal remedy from India. Choose a standardised extract containing a guaranteed percentage of the active ingredients. The usual dose of boswellia is 400 mg three times a day. It could take four to eight weeks before you feel any benefits.
This is the substance that is found in capsicum and puts the ‘hot’ in hot chilli peppers. It has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) as a treatment for lingering pain after an attack of shingles. It’s widely accepted among physicians in Australia and New Zealand as an effective treatment for arthritis pain, too.
Capsaicin is available in nonprescription creams sold under brand names Zostrix and Zostrix HP. Rub the cream as directed into the painful area three to four times daily. Be careful not to get the cream in your eyes, mouth or other sensitive areas. Relief may require three to four days of use.
Turmeric (curcumin) and devil’s claw
These two herbs can be helpful in easing pain from swelling and inflammation due to arthritis, injuries, back pain and surgery. The turmeric sold in the supermarket as a spice doesn’t have enough curcumin to help. Look for a concentrated version at a healthfood shop and take up to 400 mg three times daily.
Devil’s claw comes in a standardised extract. The usual dose in 750 mg, up to three times daily. Take according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
This herb has been shown to help prevent migraines. It seems to work best if you take 80–100 mg of the powdered leaf every day. Taking it after a migraine starts won’t help.
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