Pain can serve as a protective function by letting us know that something is wrong and needs to be corrected before relief can be gained. Pain is often due to inflammation, which is a protective function, preventing bacteria, toxins, and foreign material at the injury site from spreading. Injured tissues release nerve irritating chemicals such as histamine, which dilates blood vessels, increasing their permeability so healing can begin. The brain responds to pain by producing morphine-like hormones known as endorphins. Though drugs may offer relief, they can also cause side-effects and usually don’t help in removing the cause of pain.
Ayurveda medicine has been in existence for thousands of years. Herbs that help relieve pain have been used by sages and practitioners alike and are natural ways to allow the body to correct and heal itself. It is the knowledge of this wisdom that can be used to help free the body from pain and allow natural healing to take place. The food, herbs and spices that we eat can be used as medicine and healing when we know what to eat to assist us with this. Herbs that have analgesic properties help allay pain when used internally without affecting consciousness. Anodynes are sedating and help keep pain from being transmitted. Antispasmodics relax muscles spasms and sedatives promote rest and peace.
We all know that food can alter our brain chemistry in a way that can affect perception. If you didn’t know that, you do now. The amino acid tryptophan found in avocados, bananas, grapefruit, nuts and seeds such as flax and sesame, papayas, peaches, tomatoes, millet, black rice, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, poultry encourages production of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. If you eat seafood, you may get relief from pain due to their content of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Strawberries contain natural salicylates and are cooling and anti-inflammatory. Enzymes present in fresh foods such as salad greens, raw vegetables and fruit can reduce inflammation.
Other pain relieving options that may be helpful to include in the diet because of their ability to improve circulation and reduce inflammation include turmeric, rosemary, ginger, sage and olive oil.
Cayenne pepper stimulated endorphin production and is an anti-inflammatory agent. It contains a compound called capsaicin that blocks transmission of substance P which transports pain messages to the brain.
Ginger root is warming and improves circulation. It can lessen the pain of arthritis, backache and menstrual cramps. Chewing on a piece of fresh ginger root can be a wonderful reliever for sore throat. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It makes a wonderful tea but is also available in capsules and tinctures.
White Willow Bark is an herb that contains salicin, one of the original aspirin compounds and is a traditional herb for arthritis, backache, gout, headache, joint inflammation, migraine, and general body pain. It is an analgesic, anodyne and anti-inflammatory.
Valerian root is a smooth muscle and skeletal relaxant. It is wonderful for cramps, headache, insomnia, neuralgia, shingles, stress and trauma. Valerian root is an anodyne, antispasmodic and sedative.
By combining several pain relieving foods, herbs and spices in your diet you allow the body to repair itself and obtain natural pain relieve without any untoward side effects.
Wishing you peace, wellness and tranquility!