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Natural Pain Relief
Here is some evidence-based research on alternatives to ibuprofen, sourced from the National Library of Medicine:
Ginger A 2009 study found that ginger capsules (250 mg, four times daily) were as effective as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen for relieving pain in women associated with their menstrual cycle (primary dysmenorrhea).
Topical Arnica A 2007 human study found that topical treatment with arnica was as effective as ibuprofen for hand osteoarthritis, but with lower incidence of side effects.
Combination: Astaxanthin, Ginkgo biloba and Vitamin C A 2011 animal study found this combination to be equal to or better than ibuprofen for reducing asthma-associated respiratory inflammation.
Chinese Skullcap (baicalin) A 2003 animal study found that a compound in Chinese skullcap known as baicalin was equipotent to ibuprofen in reducing pain.
Omega-3 fatty acids: A 2006 human study found that omega-3 fatty acids (between 1200-2400 mg daily) were as effective as ibuprofen in reducing arthritis pain, but with the added benefit of having less side effects.
Panax Ginseng A 2008 animal study found that panax ginseng had analgesic and anti inflammatory activity similar to ibuprofen, indicating its possible anti-rheumatoid arthritis properties.
St. Johns Wort A 2004 animal study found that St. Johns wort was twice as effective as ibuprofen as a painkiller.
Anthrocyanins from Sweet Cherries & Raspberries A 2001 study cell study found that anthrocyanins extracted from raspberries and sweet cherries were as effective as ibuprofen and naproxen at suppressing the inflammation-associated enzyme known as cyclooxygenase 1 and 2.
Holy Basil A 2000 study found that holy basil contains compounds with anti-inflammatory activity comparable to ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.
Olive Oil (oleocanthal) a compound found within olive oil known as oleocanthal has been shown to have anti inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.
There are, of course, hundreds of additional substances which have been studied for their pain killing and/or anti inflammatory effects, and there are also aromatherapeutic approaches that do not require the ingestion of anything at all, but there is also a danger here. When we think of taking an alternative pain-killer to ibuprofen, we are still thinking within the palliative, allopathic medical model: suppress the symptom, and go on about our business. It would behoove us to look deeper into what is causing our pain. And when possible, remove the cause(s). And that often requires a dramatic dietary shift away from pro-inflammatory foods, many of which most Westerners still consider absolutely delightful which should be minimized like wheat, dairy, nighshade vegetables and even wheat-free grains, etc.