Holistic Medicine

6 Natural and Effective Painkillers Without The Nasty Side Effects of Ibuprofen and Tylenol

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Seeking a natural alternative to ibuprofen is not just for those who prefer natural remedies to conventional medicines. For many people, it is something they are passionate about because of the many concerns that have been voiced linking ibuprofen to things like heart disease, circulatory problems, and gastrointestinal conditions. Fears have also been raised with regard to bleeding and/or perforation of the gut and the intestinal tract. [1]

Other Factors Linked to the Harmful Ibuprofen Side Effects

Whilst these harmful side-effects are mostly attributed to the repetitive use of ibuprofen over time, the field is somewhat complicated because, amongst other factors, one must also take into account a person’s general health, the taking of any other medications, and the individual’s age. [1]

When the Natural Messenger Needs Heeding

Pain is Mother Nature’s way of telling you there is something wrong. Dealing with her natural messenger in a natural way does have a kind of poetic justice about it. But through all of this, there is one thing that should be kept in mind. There’s no reason that anyone subjected to pain should have to suffer it unaided. If the pain is repetitive, the underlying cause should be diagnosed by a medical practitioner. Just treating the symptom may mean delaying a diagnosis that could have a significant impact on your general health.

Natural Anti Inflammatory Herbal Medicine as Ibuprofen Alternative

Long before modern medical science came into being, mankind was dealing with pain via natural means. Many of these natural herbal remedies have borne the test of time, and are still being used today by those who belong to the herbal remedy school. In terms of a holistic health lifestyle, these natural alternatives to ibuprofen, and any other manufactured pain relief treatments, are more in keeping with holistic ideals, so let’s take a look at some of them now.

Natural Ibuprofen Alternative #1 – White Willow Bark

White Willow Bark is an herbal remedy that stretches back in time, over 2000 years. It is gathered from the bark of various species of willow trees and has been used in many herbal medicine cultures, including that of the ancient Chinese and Romans. As well as being used to treat lower back pain, osteoarthritis and other conditions including bursitis and tendinitis, it can also be used as a natural headache relief medicine. [2]

White Willow Bark contains a natural chemical known as Salicin. Aspirin, which contains Acetylsalicylic Acid, was modelled on Salicin when it was first engineered back in the 1800s. Although it is not as fast acting as aspirin, the effects of White Willow Bark may have a longer lasting effect. [2]

Natural Ibuprofen Alternative # 2 – Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw is so named because of its resemblance to… yes – you’ve got it… a cat’s claw! It’s a thorny vine that is known to climb as high as 100 feet, and it’s the bark and the root of the plant that are used to make the herbal medication. The plant is found in South and Central America, but mostly in the rainforests of the Amazon. The majority of Cat’s Claw that is sold here in the USA is imported from Peru. [3]

Research indicates that Cat’s Claw may be able to stimulate the immune system. Because of this, it is advisable not to take it if you are on medication to suppress your immune system function. Cat’s Claw contains an anti-inflammatory agent that prohibits the manufacture of a hormone known as prostaglandin, a hormone which is in part responsible for pain and inflammation. It also contains antioxidants. [3]

The research carried out to date also suggests that Cat’s Claw can be taken to relax smooth muscles, to dilate blood vessels (thus helping to lower hypertension), and as a natural Diuretic, to help the body to lose excess water. It is often taken by people who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee. [3]

It can be purchased in capsule form, or in its natural form when it is used to make a tea or tincture.

Natural Ibuprofen Alternative #3 – Boswellia

Boswellia is also known as Indian frankincense. It comes from the Boswell Serrata tree which grows in India and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Traditionally, it has been used in resin format to treat chronic inflammatory conditions, as well as a number of other disorders. These include: [4]

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders
  • Asthma

The reason that Boswellia may be able to assist with arthritic symptoms is that it contains Boswellic Acid which is believed to improve the blood flow to the joints, thus preventing white blood cells from entering and causing inflammation. [4]

Today, Boswellia can be bought in the form of a cream for topical application, a resin as previously mentioned, or in tablet form. When used to treat arthritis, it is believed that it may be able to prevent cartilage loss. [4]

Natural Ibuprofen Alternative #4 – Capsaicin

Capsaicin is an ingredient of the chili pepper. It is made into a cream that can be applied topically to any painful area (not the eyes). When we experience pain, a substance known as substance “P” carries pain signals to the brain. Capsaicin is able to interfere with this process. It can be purchased in different grades of strength, and upon initial application, can cause some localized stinging or burning, which then quickly subsides. After several applications, (it should be applied 3 to 4 times per day), these sensations are no longer felt. [5]

Because Capsaicin comes from chili peppers, certain precautions should be made, such as washing your hands thoroughly after applying it and keeping it away from your eyes, and from children too. [5]

As well as being available in cream or ointment format, it is also available in patches.

Natural Ibuprofen Alternative #5 – Curcumin

Curcumin is an ingredient that comes from the herb known as Turmeric. It comes from India, where it has a long history of being used in Ayurvedic medicine. It works in a similar way to Capsaicin as it blocks the transmission of substance “P”, but it’s also credited with the ability to block certain proteins that cause inflammation. [6]

It is used to treat arthritic pain but has many other capabilities; it is the most medically researched natural herb and it still undergoing tests. [6]

Natural Ibuprofen Alternative #6 – Essential Oils

Whilst not a direct alternative to ibuprofen as an out-and-out painkiller, essential oils have the ability to combat one of the most common forms of pain, headaches. [7]

Many headaches, such as tension headaches, are a symptom of stress or bad lifestyle, and massaging essential oils into the scalp and temples can be an effective, natural, remedy. They work on two levels – three, actually, if you take the massaging process into account as well. [7]

In the first instance, they work on a natural chemical level. In the second instance, they work on the sensory level, through your sense of smell. In the third instance, when applied through light finger massage (rather than being poured into a bath in which you then soak for 20 or 30 minutes), the massage itself helps to relieve tension. There are three main essential oils to consider. They are: [7]

  • Roman Chamomile – great as a muscle relaxant
  • Lavender – a wonderful natural pain reliever
  • Clary Sage – lowers heart rate and blood pressure, reducing stress and tension

If you’d like to find out more about how much oil you should use, and the techniques for applying, then check out this article here in the British online newspaper the Mail Online

Try them and see

For those of a holistic health persuasion, minimizing the amount of unnatural chemicals you put into your body is of high importance. I hope this article gives you some great natural alternatives to Ibuprofen that will work for you.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

ibuprofen, ibuprofen alternative

  1. [1] WebMD. (n.d.). Common and Rare Side Effects for ibuprofen. Retrieved from, http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5166-9368/ibuprofen/details/list-sideeffects
  2. [2] University of Maryland Medical Center. (2015, August 5). Willow bark. Retrieved from
  3. [3] University of Maryland Medical Center. (2015, June 22). Cat's claw. Retrieved from, http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/cats-claw
  4. [4] Siddiqui, M. Z. (2011). Boswellia Serrata, A Potential Antiinflammatory Agent: An Overview. Retrieved from, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309643/
  5. [5] University of Maryland Medical Center. (2017, January 27). Capsaicin (On the skin). Retrieved from, http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/drug-notes/notes/capsaicin-on-the-skin
  6. [6] University of Maryland Medical Center. (2014, June 26). Turmeric. Retrieved from, http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric
  7. [7] Enteen, S., RA, BA, LMBT. (2009, August). Essential Oils for Pain Relief. Retrieved from, http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14048
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