Analgesics: Natural Pain Relief

An analgesic is a painkiller (the word analgesia comes from the Greek words an, meaning “without,” and algia, or “pain”).

Herbal analgesics are considered superior to pharmaceutical painkillers such as ibuprofen because they don't carry the same side effects. Herbal pain remedies often work as well as pharmaceuticals, and many are used topically (applied to the skin instead of being ingested), which makes their effects more targeted.

Perhaps the best-known analgesic in the world is morphine, which is derived from the sap of opium poppies (Papaver somniferum). First used by the ancient Sumerians, who called poppies “the joy plant,” opium was the gold standard in painkillers throughout the world for another 5,000 years.

Here are some of the more popular herbal painkillers:

  • Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)

  • Cayenne (Capsicum annuum, C. frutescens)

  • Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)

  • Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

  • Willow (Salix alba)

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