When it comes to pain, I’m a “bite the bullet” sort of gal.
As long as it’s not a lead-based bullet, I suppose that’s a natural remedy for pain, right?
Tylenol, aspirin, Motrin, Advil, and generic pain relief tablets certainly have a good thing going in the pharmaceutical market, don’t they?
From headaches to arthritis to sports injuries to chronic pain, people in our culture are often medicating for pain.
The very first line of defense against pain is completely countercultural: Instead of treating the symptom, seek the root cause of the problem.
If you get headaches, are they caused by stress, inconsistent sleep, sensitivities to fragrances or air pollution, a food sensitivity (additives like MSG and artificial colors and artificial sweeteners often cause headaches), or another condition that may have diet at its root?
I can’t go into every sort of pain here, but trust me – covering up the problem by masking the pain is like telling your child, “I don’t want to see that 65% on your spelling test. Let’s make some origami out of it, and then it will look pretty again, no problem.”
If your body is in pain, it might be telling you something. Try listening.
(For me, it’s usually, “You idiot, you just ran your hip into the counter because you’re multitasking and rushing around too much.” My body is kind of snarky and sarcastic. And you?)
Related: Recovering From A Concussion
Natural Home Remedies for Pain Relief
When you do need something to ease a pain so you can get through your day, there are natural solutions that don’t involve Big Pharma. Here are a few ideas:
- Ear oil for ear ache relief (homemade, mullein herb optional)
- Arnica for growing pains (homeopathic – note: don’t mix homeopathics and essential oils as they may counteract and nullify each other)
- Redmond clay for bruises, cuts, road rash and tummy aches (use a clay “burrito” on a bruise and take internally for tummy trouble)
- A half teaspoon of whiskey for a child over 6 to help them sleep, if growing pains or ear aches are keeping them awake
- Essential oils:
- peppermint and lavender essential oils, rubbed on the feet or temples/neck/forehead, or breathed in, is supposed to help ease headaches (my husband hasn’t had any luck with that solution though)
- rosemary, eucalyptus and frankincense are also recommended for headaches
- My EO book, Modern Essentials, says: “Apply 2 drops each of peppermint, eucalyptus, and frankincense to neck, temples, and forehead.”
- For migraines, basil essential oil is also mentioned
- Important EO note: many of the oils listed above are NOT rated safe for although lavender IS. These remedies are much more suited for adults. Check out my list of safe essential oils for children and babies and info on bringing down a fever without Tylenol to educate yourself more, or just shop from Plant Therapy‘s Kid-Safe line and skip the research. 😉
- For carpal tunnel and other joint pain, try wintergreen and lemongrass, also cypress
Natural medicine isn’t like modern medicine, in that it’s never “one size fits all.”
First, there isn’t one remedy for “pain.”
With OTC meds, it’s easy. Have pain, take pill. It doesn’t really matter where the pain is or what’s causing it.
With essential oils and homeopathics, you need to know a little more about why you’re in pain and where the pain is located, and then you can find your solution more easily.
Secondly, what works for one person might not work for the next. That’s why there are so many options to try. It can be annoying to pin down what works for you, but I think (I hope!) it’s worth it.
And finally, I have to come back to root cause. So much pain is caused by poor dietary choices in general or food sensitivities that people just don’t know about or understand. Sometimes an elimination diet may be the best way to get to the bottom of your issues. (Here are some tips on starting one, especially if you have kids.)
Now for the truly helpful part of the post, because my readers are almost always smarter and more experienced than I am. I’m so happy to share the floor today –
I am always grateful for the community at Kitchen Stewardship – it’s like having the smartest natural moms in the world all living right next door. I’ve compiled the best natural remedies for 12 of the most commonly discussed ailments here at KS, and am making this resource available for free to all my readers!
Imagine this ebook as a virtual chat over the backyard fence with your own neighbor, a wise older mom who raised a bunch of kids with intention, trying to avoid unnecessary medication and being kind to the earth.
Ideas from Readers
I just have to add some of the ideas from comments and emails here so they’re more easily accessible, but you should still read the comments – some amazing stories there! Remember that this is just advice like you’d get at a church group or grocery story, written as people use things, not as a medical doctor or naturopath would prescribe:
- Heat, of course, a hot water bottle or rice pillow heated in the microwave (can’t believe I forgot that one; I guess because it’s an old familiar and my brain was on new things we’ve tried)
- And cold: ice dipping or just an ice pack/bag of frozen vegs.
- A big glass of water and a nap.
- “For bone pain like that, I found soaking in a magnesium bath is tremendously helpful.” You must read the rest of Peggy’s debilitating pain and transformation via food HERE!
- Magnesium for headaches and growing pains plus “For quick relief from a head ache massage the pressure point in the web next to your thumb, you will know it when you find it, it kills.”
- LOTS of people recommend magnesium…
- “For headaches I have Feverfew; one leaf eaten daily; Dandelions will help to ‘stabilize’ or ‘neutralize’ your body and bring it back to ‘normal’.” (This reader had a lot of experience with herbs and recommended searching for more on them…)
- “Aye Nasal Rinse (like Nettie pot effect) to relieve sinus pressure.” Also hot shower, warm cloth on face, facial massage.
- “Now, I rarely get bad sinus pressure or heachaches anymore. I still eat a strict low grain, traditional diet and take the Redmond clay, Nettle and Grapefruit Seed extract daily.” (more on what she tried here)
- “Turmeric (I make capsules with bulk turmeric powder) works great for aches and pains I get from running too much.”
- “Another cause for headaches can be a misalignment somewhere – either in the cervical or in the cranial sacral area. Finding a really good chiropractor who specializes in those areas will go a long way in correcting headaches. Another source for headaches could also be hormonal imbalances – doing a good cleanse and supporting the reproductive system as well as the glands/organs in the endocrine system with herbs and essential oils can make a huge difference.”
- Essential oils people like: peppermint, Deep Blue by doTERRA,
- Great advice that Sarah used to treat pain after a car accident.
- Arnica spray for sunburn pain.
- Headaches from Lyme Disease (which is way more common than you’d think!) and the book “Heal Your Headache” recommended here.
- A must-read story of modern medicine piling up and making a mess for someone who was simply vitamin deficient here.
- using turmeric for cramps, backaches, and headaches.
- Chili powder, “Also, a homeopathic trick that is great for colds, viruses, upper respiratory illness, etc. is the wet sock treatment
- Milk thistle, sleep, Frankincense EO.
- Root cause of headaches was a bad tooth and then needing glasses; story here.