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Prescriptions have always been one of my biggest pet peeves. I’m not telling you to clear out your medicine cabinet or never buy another over the counter medicine but there are some alternatives that don’t have a list of side effects as long as your arm. Here are some of my favorites and the ones I have found to be most effective.
Best for Pain: Bromelain. This is an enzyme found naturally in pineapple. It seems to break down protein in the blood which helps curb pain-causing inflammation. It is especially effective for joint and muscle pain. Take 200-400mg a day when you’re hurting and be sure to take on an empty stomach for pain relieving benefits, if you take it with food the enzymes will focus on breaking down the food you’re eating instead on breaking down pain.
Best for PMS: Crampbark. I have found this to be excellent for curing uterine cramps, it is considered one of the most potent antispasmodic herbs. It usually works very quickly for simple menstrual cramps, if it doesn’t help the pain is most likely to be caused by inflammation or irritation of the uterus or ovaries, endometrial infection or cysts. Crampbark may also help reduce leg cramps, muscle spasms, or pain from a stiff neck. Take 3-4 grams per day on an empty stomach.
Best for Headaches: White Willow Bark. People often take this herb as a replacement for aspirin for acute back pain, the flu, joint pain and osteoarthritis as well as headaches. Salicin is the main ingredient and it’s synthetic counterpart happens to be the main ingredient in aspirin which is known for irritating the stomach unlike the salicin found in white willow bark. It also seems to be more effective than aspirin because of other naturally occurring compounds found in the the bark but not in aspirin. Take 120-240 mg. per day as needed for pain. It should not be taken by anyone with aspirin allergies or sensitivities or by pregnant or nursing women.
Best for Stomachaches: Peppermint. It relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract, which reduces stomach cramping and also helps get rid of gas. Peppermint oil tablets may work as well as muscle relaxing drugs in relieving cramps and diarrhea caused by irritable bowel syndrome. Take 1 tablet 2-3 times a day for IBS or steep a cup of peppermint tea when needed (put your tea bag in hot water and cover with a plate for 15-20 minutes before drinking). Don’t use for constipation as it will only make it worse!
by Jacqueline M. Banks.