Information on herbal pain relief for muscle and joint aches and pains, strains and injuries, osteoarthritis, varicose veins and more with herbal pain remedies from alternative medicine.
Herbal pain relief is a way to alternative health through alternative medicine. Two of the best herbal pain remedies are comfrey and arnica. Read on for details.
Comfrey's botanical name is symphytum officinale. It has been used in Europe for centuries to treat muscle and joint aches and pains. A double-blind, multi-center, randomized trial even showed that comfrey ointment, applied to the skin, decreases the pain and swelling of ankle sprains, without any negative side effects. In 2007, another clinical trial showed the effectiveness of comfrey ointment in knee and other kinds of osteoarthritis symptoms. Pain was reduced and mobility increased.
Always check with your doctor before trying anything you read here. Everyone is different, and what might be good for some people might be bad for you, considering your medical history and medications.
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Comfrey is also good for relief of muscle pain, especially back pain. Use of a 10 percent comfrey cream applied to the skin at the painful area produced significant decrease in pain during movement, during rest, and when pressure was applied to the painful area.
I have not tried comfrey yet for herbal pain relief, but I can sure give a personal testimony for arnica (botanical name Arnica Montana). Whenever I have a muscle pain due to a strain or overuse, or something like that, right away I apply an arnica cream called Traumeel (in some areas labeled labeled Traumed), and the pain just goes away, usually within a half hour. It's amazing. Although my pain goes away after one or several applications, Traumeel is not promoted as a cure. It is for temporary symptomatic pain relief only, so for chronic conditions, you have to keep on using it.
One promotional piece says, "For the temporary relief of symptoms, including mild to moderate pain, associated with inflammatory, exuditive, and degenerative processes, due to acute trauma, repetitive or overuse conditions, or arthritic conditions."
It also says: "Depending on the condition Traumeel is treating and the dosage given, individuals usually see therapeutic improvement within 24 hours - 1 week. Can you take other medications while using Traumeel? Absolutely. There have been no known indications of drug interactions."
This homeopathic treatment works for a variety of inflammations, such as bruising, sprains and other kinds of muscle injuries, arthritis, sore throats, earaches, exzema, abscesses, and more, as an alternative to conventional pain relief medications. It comes in cream, gel and tablets. It can be used long term for chronic conditions with no side effects except possible allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) to the gel. Test arnica on a small patch of your skin to see if you are allergic.
In addition to arnica for herbal pain relief, Traumeel contains calendula, chamomilla, echinacea, hamamelis, hypericum, millefolium and symphytum.
A 2007 study on arnica for relieving arthritis in the fingers showed that topical arnica gel applied to the fingers was more effective than topical ibuprofen gel. This was a really good study, approved by the Osteoarthritis Research Group International and the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products.
Another clinical trial that studied arnica gel for osteoarthritis showed improvement in pain, stiffness and joint function.
Arnica also relieves the discomfort of varicose veins--that heavy leg feeling reported by many patients. The gel used on the skin over the veins, containing a 20 percent arnica tincture, also improved venous tone and reduced leg swelling.
Finally, make sure what you are using is really arnica. Mexican arnica (botanical name heterotheca inuloides) is often substituted for real arnica (Arnica Montan), but it won't work as well.
Nutrition & Healing newsletter, January 2008, by Jonathan Wright, M.D.
Various educational and promotional publications for Traumeel.
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