12 Best natural alternatives for painkillers

Kombucha tea

When you’re in extreme pain, you just grab the first thing on hand to relieve the pain, and that is usually painkillers. Using painkillers on a regular basis, especially if you suffer from chronic pain can lead to over dependence on the medications. Many people become addicted to painkillers which lead to a host of other health problems. There are natural alternatives to deal with pain effectively yet safely. There are many herbs and natural therapies, and using a combination of these, you can control your pain, no matter how intense it is. Here are some of the best natural alternatives for painkillers:

 12 best natural alternatives for painkillers 

Willow bark

Willow barkWillow bark has been used for centuries to treat inflammation, which causes most pains and aches. The white willow’s bark contains salicin, which is similar to one of the main ingredients in aspirin. This is one of the herbs for severe pain and should also be taken in moderation.

Earlier, people used to just chew the bark to get relief from pain and fever. These days, willow bark is available in dried herb form which can be brewed like tea. You can buy it in capsule or liquid supplement form. It is one of the best natural alternatives for painkillers for headaches, osteoarthritis, lower back pain and so on.

Don’t overdo the doses, as you can suffer from some side effect, such as stomach upset. It has similar side effects as aspirin, and can slow down the kidneys and prolong the bleeding time. Never give it to children, as it can be poisonous for them.

If you’re on blood thinning medication also, you should avoid it, and avoid if you’re allergic to OTC painkillers.


If you suffer from cramps such as menstrual cramps and/or muscle spasms, Lobelia is one of the best herbs for severe pain. It has anti-spasmodic activity which relieves the pain/discomfort due to muscular spasms. It can sometimes cause vomiting, and should never be taken in high doses. But otherwise, it is one of the best natural remedies for spasmodic pain. 


Ginger – The rootGinger is one of the best natural alternatives for painkillers, and is said to be more effective than ibuprofen even, according to a study in the journal Arthritis. According to the study, Ginger blocks the formation of inflammatory compounds and has powerful anti-oxidant compounds which breaks down existing acidity and inflammation in the joints. To manage your excruciating pain due to arthritis, you can drink a cup of ginger tea and get relief from the pain.


Capsaicin is extracted from chilies, and it reduces joint, muscle and nerve pain. It is one of the best natural alternatives for painkillers, and is available in cream or gel form. You can apply it 3-4 times every day.


turmericThe powerful healing powers of turmeric is legendary. In India, it has been used for centuries to treat and manage many diseases and pain. Curcumin, the compound in turmeric is now scientifically proven to treat indigestion, stomach upset, ulcers, psoriasis, osteoarthritis pain and cancer.

Valerian Root

Valerian is also known as ‘Nature’s tranquilizer’. It is one of the best safe remedies, which helps to relieve tension, stress, irritability, insomnia as well as anxiety. It acts by reducing the nerve sensitivity, which reduce the sensation of pain. Valerian, in tea form is enough to control your pain in a natural way.


CloveCloves are a well-known remedy for dental pain. You can take some clove oil (tiny amount) and apply it to the aching tooth. Clove in powder and capsule form is available to treat headaches, arthritic inflammation and to treat colds. You can apply it on the area you’re experiencing pain to relieve the pain. People who take blood thinners and bleeding medication should avoid it.

Cat’s claw/ Uncaria Tomentosa

This is one of the best herbs for severe pain. Found in Southern and Central America, this herb

is commonly known as cat’s claw due to the shape of the flower resembling a cat’s claw. It’s leaves, roots and inner bark is used to treat the pain associated with gastric diseases, ulcers and osteoarthritis. Pregnant women should never use/ingest it as it might lead to miscarriage, and those on prescribed medication should also avoid it. But it is a best natural alternatives for painkillers for other people, taken in small amounts.

Kombucha tea

Kombucha teaThis is one of the safe remedies for reducing the pain associated with cancer treatment and arthritis. Kombucha is one type of fermented drink made from tea, sugar, SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). Kombucha can be expensive but it is quite effective. You must drink a lot of water or other fluids as Kombucha detoxifies the body and your body needs enough fluids to flush them out. Diarrhea, headaches, skin rashes, insomnia are some effects of drinking Kombucha, till your body gets used to it. Once your body gets used to it, you can drink this tea to get pain relief after surgery.


A few drops of arnica mother tincture (found in homeopathic shops) can help in strains, sprains, osteoarthritis and bruises. It can give pain relief after surgery and reduce the pain felt after strenuous exercise.

Some natural methods for pain relief: 


AcupunctureAcupuncture is a Chinese method of relieving pain and various diseases by balancing body’s energy pathways. Acupuncturists place thin, tiny needles into the source of the pain, which may not be the location of the pain. Acupuncture relives pain by releasing ‘serotonin’, a chemical which eases pain. It is one of the best natural alternatives for painkillers and it can be used to manage chronic pain due to osteoarthritis, migraines and so on.

Applying ice and heat

Cold compress

Applying hot and cold compresses is one of the easiest natural home remedies. Whenever you suffer from any inflammation due to strained/sprained muscle, ligament or tendon, you should apply a cold compress using ice. And when the inflammation/swelling goes down, apply a hot compress. Headaches can be treated with cold compress but arthritic pain becomes better with moist, hot compress.

All these natural ways to treat pain are effective and keeps you away from potentially harmful OTC painkillers. Used in small amounts, all the herbs and methods mentioned above will help to reduce or even cure your pain in no time at all.

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