When it comes to pain and over-the-counter painkillers, Ibuprofen often seems to be the GP’s go-to drug of choice; however today many people are looking for alternatives with less side-effects and more benefits. Fortunately there are a number of effective natural remedies which one can use instead of Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter medication.
1. White Willow Bark
White Willow Bark has been used as a remedy since the time of the ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek civilizations and more people are turning to it today as an alternative to aspirin. A number of studies have been doing comparing willow bark to other medications currently in use and it has been shown to be comparable in efficiency. Flavonoids and polyphenols contribute to the potent willow bark pain relief and anti-inflammatory effect. The multi-component active principle of willow bark provides a broader mechanism of action than aspirin and is devoid of serious adverse events. In contrast to synthetic aspirin, willow bark does not damage the gastrointestinal mucosa . However, it is advised that people allergic to aspirin also stay away from the use of this plant.
2. Turmeric or Curcumin
Curcumin is a yellow pigment from the turmeric plant which is commonly used in spiced foods. It has also been used for generations in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and has excellent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-neoplastic effects. A number of studies have been done but most have involved animals. These studies have shown that Curcumin can be considered comparable with other pharmaceutical, non-steroidal medications in efficiency . It is also not recommended if the patient is on anticoagulant medication or high doses of other non-steroidal medications.
Another alternative to Ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory or pain medications are omega fatty acids. Many tests have been done with omega fatty acids and their effects on various different disorders and results have shown that omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can be one of the most effective natural anti-inflammatory agents available. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in a number of naturally occurring food sources but one of the best in terms of therapeutic treatment is fish oil .
Frankincense is the resin of the Boswellia Serrata plant and has anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and analgesic properties and is used in the treatment of degenerative and inflammatory joint disorders . A number of studies have been done which have shown significant improvement in patients – one test was done which showed significant improvement of arthritis of the knee in 8 weeks, while another study showed that frankincense was able to bring about a significant decrease in the severity of pain and the related disability.
5. Capsaicin (Chili Pepper)
Capsaicin, from the chili plant, is another traditional remedy which is now also available in over-the-counter treatments for peripheral neuropathies and chronic musculoskeletal pain. It has a highly selective, regional anaesthetic effect which is useful for relieving the pain but it also has an anti-inflammatory action to further reduce pain.
6. Essential Oils
Apart from these specific plants and remedies, there are a number of other essential oils which can be used as a natural Ibuprofen alternative. Roman chamomile, for example, helps to relax sore muscles, lavender oil is a general pain reliever and eucalyptus oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects . If you are concerned about the effect that over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen are having on your overall health then consider taking a natural alternative with fewer harmful side effects such as one of the ones listed above. sources: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.3386/abstract http://thejns.org/doi/pdf/10.3171/foc.2006.21.4.12 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0090301905007743 http://www.jimmunol.org/content/183/5/3433.short http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874103003131