A compound derived from a traditional herbal medicine has been found effective at alleviating pain, pointing the way to a new nonaddictive analgesic for acute inflammatory and nerve pain.
Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage (IASP, 1986). It affects approximately 70% of world population and is associated with deficit in quality of life (WHO, 2007).
Chronic neuropathic pain affects more than 50 million Americans, yet management of this pain remains a major clinical challenge due to the poor results and severe side effects of conventional analgesics. Civelli said that drawing upon traditional medical-herbal products could lead to a breakthrough treatment for these patients.
Despite significant efforts and investments from academia and the pharmaceutical industry, very few new therapies for pain treatment have been introduced to clinical practice (Hruby et al., 2006). As a consequence, pain treatment continues to depend on therapeutic modalities that present limited efficacy and/or important adverse effects, such as respiratory depression, constipation, tolerance, dependence, gastritis and ulcers .
In this context, medicinal plants may be expected to contribute to the search of new therapeutic strategies, as well as for new molecular patterns with antinociceptive activity, due to chemical diversity.
From the nineteen ethnobotanical studies consulted, 625 species were collected. All species were mentioned in at least one study and some of them were cited in more than one study, which resulted in a total of 2,208 plant cited. Seventy- four species (natives, exotics, and subspontaneous) were mentioned as having some traditional use in at least nine (about 50%) of the ethnobotanical studies, which constitutes 42.3% (934) of the total citations. Out of these 74 species, 70 species were mentioned for relieving some kind of symptom related to pain, confirming that painful conditions represent an important health complaint in the state. Sixty percent (60%) of the species used for pain relief are exotic.
Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:
Ethnobotanical studies revealing the utilization of medicinal plants for acute or chronic pain relief
Recent developments in the search of natural products possessing analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities
In vitro and preclinical studies on the medicinal plants having analgesic/antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects
Identification of the active constituents of analgesic active-medicinal plants
Identifying analgesic activity mechanisms employed by medicinal plants
A type of enzyme extracted from pineapple stems, bromelain reduces levels of prostaglandins, which are hormones that induce inflammation. Bromelain may benefit people with arthritis and conditions associated with musculoskeletal tension (such as TMJ syndrome), as well as those suffering trauma-related inflammation. What’s more, the enzyme may promote healing in muscles and connective tissues.
Is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine. Known for its healing properties, it’s popular for treating small skin abrasions. You may already have a bottle of aloe vera gel in the medicine cabinet from a past sunburn. This same type of product may be applied topically to soothe aching joints.
Aloe vera is also available in whole form from the leaves of the plant. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says that oral aloe vera can cause decreased blood sugar and gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea. Topical aloe vera, on the other hand, does not cause any side effects and should be safe to try for arthritis.
Like aloe vera, eucalyptus is widely available in Western markets.
It’s used in oral medications, and topical oil extracts are used for a variety of conditions. Topical forms of eucalyptus leaves are used to treat arthritis pain.
The plant leaves contain tannins, which may be helpful in reducing swelling and the pain arthritis causes. Some users follow up with heat pads to maximize the effects of eucalyptus on swollen joints.
Be sure to test yourself for allergies before using topical eucalyptus. Put a small amount of the product on your forearm. If there is no reaction in 24 to 48 hours, it should be safe to use.
Wild lettuce is a plant.
The leaves, sap (latex), and seed are used to make medicine.
Wild lettuce is used for whooping cough, asthma, urinary tract problems, cough, trouble sleeping (insomnia), restlessness, excitability in children, painful menstrual periods, excessive sex drive in women (nymphomania), muscular or joint pains, poor circulation, swollen genitals in men (priapism), and as an opium substitute in cough preparations.
The seed oil is used for “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis) and as a substitute for wheat germ oil.
Some people apply wild lettuce latex directly to the skin to kill germs.
Some people inhale wild lettuce for a recreational “high” or hallucinogenic effect.
How does it work?
Wild lettuce has calming, relaxing, and pain relieving effects.
Urinary tract problems.
“Hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
Painful menstrual periods.
Muscle and joint pain.
Killing germs, when the latex is applied to the skin.
The Lost Book of Remedies PDF contains a series of medicinal and herbal recipes to make home made remedies from medicinal plants and herbs. Chromic diseases and maladies can be overcome by taking the remedies outlined in this book. The writer claims that his grandfather was taught herbalism and healing whilst in active service during world war two and that he has treated many soldiers with his home made cures.
Also called frankincense, is praised by alternative medicine practitioners for its anti-inflammatory capabilities. It’s derived from the gum of boswellia trees indigenous to India.
This herb is thought to work by blocking substances (leukotrienes) that attack healthy joints in autoimmune diseases such as RA. The NCCIH acknowledges promising evidence of boswellia in animal studies. But it notes a lack of human trials. Boswellia is available in tablet form and topical creams.
Cat’s claw is another anti-inflammatory herb that may reduce swelling in arthritis.
This herb is from a tropical vine, and its usage dates back to Incan civilizations. Traditionally, cat’s claw is used to boost the immune system.
In recent years, the immunity powers of the herb have been tried in arthritis. The downside is that cat’s claw may overstimulate the immune system and make arthritis pain worse.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, a study showed cat’s claw can help with RA swelling. But there’s no proof that this herb can prevent further joint damage.
You may have ginger in your spice cabinet for cooking, but this herb is also a staple in many alternative medicine cabinets. The same compounds that give ginger its strong flavor also have anti-inflammatory properties.
The NCCIH says that early studies in reducing joint swelling with ginger in RA are promising. But more human trials are needed to better understand its action. In folk medicine and Chinese medicine ginger is used to increase blood circulation, which brings heat and healing properties to the affected area. Research shows promise for the use of ginger in all types of arthritis.
God vine is one of the oldest herbs used in Chinese medicine. Extracts from skinned roots are known for suppressing an overactive immune system. This makes thunder god vine a possible alternative treatment for autoimmune diseases such as RA. It’s best to apply directly to the skin in a topical form. Thunder god vine may work best along with conventional RA medications.
Use extreme caution with this herb, as it can be poisonous if extracts are derived from other areas of the vine. Long-term use is not recommended.
Is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and has been used to reduce inflammation in the body. It’s possible that green tea can be used to treat arthritis inflammation in the form of beverages, tablets, or tinctures.
In a 2010 study, the NCCIH found that green tea might help people with osteoarthritis (OA) and RA. But many more studies are still needed to prove the potential benefits of green tea.
Is a yellow powder made from the related flowering plant. It’s used in cooking to make curry. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Lab studies on rats have also found this herb may slow the progression of RA. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been used in folk medicine for years. Unlike other types of herbs, the NCCIH found turmeric may work best in fighting joint pain when taken orally.
There still needs to be more studies done on the safety of turmeric, but its use is promising.
Using willow bark is one of the oldest treatments for inflammation. In fact, people during Hippocrates’ time (fifth century B.C.) chewed on willow bark to help treat inflammatory conditions.
One study reported that the herb shows promise in relieving OA-related joint pain, particularly in the knees, back, hips, and neck. This treatment is taken orally, either by tea or tablet.
Getting the right dose is crucial. An overdose can cause rashes and other forms of inflammation. Do not use willow bark if you take blood thinners or are allergic to aspirin.
Like some other herbs and flowers used for medicinal purposes, Hyoscyamus niger, which is better known as henbane, can have psychotropic effects. Even so, it’s been used as an anesthetic since ancient times.Like other Hyoscyamus species, henbane contains both atropine (a poison found in plants of the nightshade family that is used as a muscle relaxant) and scopolamine (a poisonous alkaloid used to prevent vomiting, calm individuals, or induce sleep).
Henbane was used in the first century AD to allay pain. In ancient Turkey, henbane was called beng or benc. Taken as a pill or smoked, it was used to relieve toothaches, earaches, and other maladies.As a toothache remedy, henbane was used to fumigate the mouth. After a patient rinsed his or her mouth with warm water, henbane seeds, which are especially rich in atropine and scopolamine, were sprinkled over hot coals. The rising smoke entered the mouth, alleviating the pain of the toothache.
One of the first anesthetics to actually render patients unconscious appears to be Mandragora. Greek physician Dioscorides (AD 40–90) wrote of this effect in the first century AD when referring to Mandragora wine.
The wine was made from the mandrake plant and caused a profound sleep to overtake surgical patients. Dioscorides described the sleep thus induced as “anesthesia.”In 13th-century Italy, Ugo Borgognoni (Hugh of Lucca) introduced the use of the “soporific sponge” (aka “sleep sponge”) to induce an anesthetic sleep. “A sponge was soaked in a dissolved solution of opium, Mandragora, hemlock juice, and other substances [before being] dried and stored.” After being moistened, it was held over the patient’s nose until its fumes caused him to lose consciousness.
Although it was derived from a poisonous plant, Datura (thorn apple or jimsonweed) was a popular ancient pain reliever and sleep inducer. It’s mentioned in medical texts by Dioscorides (AD 40–90), Theophrastus (370–285 BC), Celsus (fl. AD 37), and Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79).
The drug had several serious side effects. A drachma (3.411 grams) taken with wine could cause hallucinations, while two drachmas could cause madness for as long as three days. Greater quantities could cause permanent insanity or even death.Although Datura was effective in relieving patients’ pain during ancient surgical procedures, it also resulted in their deaths when it was improperly administered. For this reason, another popular name for Datura is “Devil’s apple.”
In ancient China, the tubers of the Corydalis plant were dug up, boiled in vinegar, and used to alleviate the pain caused by headaches and backaches. A member of the poppy family, the Corydalis plant grows mostly in central eastern China.
According to modern scientists, it’s an effective analgesic because it contains dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), a natural painkilling compound. “This medicine goes back thousands of years, and it is still around because it works,” said Olivier Civelli, a pharmacologist at UC Irvine.Ancient doctors believed that the Corydalis plant remedied pain because it improved the flow of the life force chi. Current research has shown that DHCB acts in a way similar to that of morphine.
However, DHCB acts on receptors that bind dopamine rather than on morphine receptors. Also, unlike morphine, DHCB is not addictive.Ironically, a plant used for centuries in China may provide new ways to alleviate pain in modern patients. Scientists believe that the DHCB produced from the Corydalis plant’s tubers may become the drug of the future in combating several types of pain.
The Lost Book of Remedies are a number of tinctures and tonics made from plants and leaves that will treat the cause of the illness, thus eradicating the disease altogether.
The book is a direct copy of the little notebook carried around by the author’s grandfather when treating his patients. However, the illustrations of the plants have been updated to photographs so that they are easier for you to identify.