What do you do when a headache settles in? Chances are, you probably do the same thing as when you experience back pain or a toothache: take an ibuprofen.
As we’ve grown more and more dependent on drugs, we’ve also prioritized symptoms over illness. Instead of getting more sleep and rehydrating to cure the cause of a headache, you can simply take a pill that will ease your symptoms.
Like any other quick fix, taking ibuprofen will only make your headache return as soon the pill wears off. Ibuprofen is widely used today, but doctors warn that the regular use of ibuprofen and other drugs takes a toll on the liver and heart.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Ibuprofen works by blocking the formation of prostaglandin, prostacyclin and thromboxane products, which are important mediators of inflammation and pain (1).
Since the drug is metabolized by the liver, it most strongly affects this organ, causing injury, liver failure, or disease (jaundice) over time (2).
The FDA has also warned against the use of these drugs since 2005 because it increases your risk of heart attack (3). The organization has since emphasized the warning with the following information (4):
- Heart attack and stroke risk increase even with short-term use, and the risk may begin within a few weeks of starting to take an NSAID.
- The risk increases with higher doses of NSAIDs taken for longer periods of time.
- The risk is greatest for people who already have heart disease, though even people without heart disease may be at risk.
Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can also raise blood pressure and cause heart failure, even with short-term use. This can be potentially deadly for people over 40, who have a much higher risk of heart disease than younger adults (5).
Because it takes a long to feel the destructive effects of NSAIDs, most people simply ignore these warnings and underestimate the danger of these drugs. Instead, they continue to rely on pills for daily aches and pains.
The Natural Alternative
Turmeric isn’t just a spice, it’s nature’s “medicine“. In some cases, it works better than drugs in fighting health problems such as fatty liver disease, arthritis, weight loss, depression and even cancer.
The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has analgesic properties comparable to ibuprofen. It dulls the sensation of pain by triggering a response in the opioid receptors in the brain. Unlike drugs, though, turmeric doesn’t cause addiction.
In a study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, turmeric was shown to be effective in treating osteoarthritis. Over a period of six weeks, a portion of the participants received 800mg of ibuprofen and the remaining subjects took 2,000mg of turmeric.
At the end of the study, those who ate turmeric demonstrated better results showing that the all-natural spice is not only more effective but also safer than popping pills. To use the spice outside the kitchen, make your own turmeric supplements by following the recipe below.
DIY Turmeric Supplements
- 1/3 cup organic, ground turmeric
- big pinch of ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp raw, organic honey
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl to make a paste.
- Take pinches of the turmeric paste and roll them into small balls.
- Place in freezer for about 1 hour and remove.
- Store in a glass container and keep it in your refrigerator.
- Take 2-3 a day.
You can also opt to drink the spice with the following recipe.
- Mix one tablespoon of turmeric powder, one cup of honey and the juice of one squeezed lemon in a glass
- Stir the combination
- Add a teaspoon of this mixture to a cup of warm water or tea
- Enjoy the pain-relieving cocktail three times a day and you will see results in no time
You can ensure proper absorption of turmeric by mixing in a little bit of fats (like coconut oil) and some black pepper.