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Natural Painkillers: What to Use and How to Use It

Updated on March 22, 2012

Whether you are against using pharmaceutical-grade medications or simply want to take a more organic approach to pain, natural pain killers are a viable option for relieving whatever ails ya! The type of natural painkiller that you use will vary depending upon the type of discomfort you are experiencing.

Headaches and Migraines:


Perhaps one of the best known herbs for relieving migraine pain, feverfew is thought to work by releasing a chemical compound known as sesquiterpene lactone into the body. This compound is said to stop or decrease the histamine and prostaglandins that abound with inflammation. When this occurs, the blood vessels in the head are less likely to spasm, thus decreasing the intense pain of a migraine. Although this plant works well on its own, many feel that mixing it with bay laurel will increase its effects.

How to Use Feverfew:

One of the most convenient methods of taking feverfew as a natural pain killer is to place the dried, powdered plant into gel capsules. Alternatively, you can make a tea with the dried or fresh herb. To do this, simply pour about two cups of hot water over one ounce of the herb, and let it steep for roughly ten minutes. You can drink this tea up to four times per day.


Given its oddly descriptive name, you will not likely forget what to reach for next time you have a tension headache. Skullcap, or Scutellaria lateriflora, has long been used as a "nervine," meaning that it helps to reduce physical and emotional stress by strengthening the nervous system. Because this plant helps to sooth frazzled nerves, it can also help to reduce or eliminate painful tension headaches.

How to Use Skullcap:

Though this plant can be purchased in capsule form, it is best consumed as either a tea or a tincture. Skullcap tea can be made by steeping one tablespoon of the dried herb in one cup of hot water. You can purchase pre-made skullcap tinctures; however, if you would prefer to make your own, simply place one tablespoon of the fresh herb into about two cups of vodka. Let this concoction sit between two to four weeks, then strain the plant material from the liquid. You can take between 20 to 40 drops of the tincture up to four times per day.


If you have a raging sinus headache, nothing works faster than eucalyptus. Many sinus headaches are caused by congestion. This strongly scented herb is thought to be a powerful expectorant, which may help to clear out nasal and sinus mucus, thus relieving pressure and pain. Additionally, the eucalyptus plant is thought to have some mildly anti-inflammatory properties, which may also explain its wide use as a natural pain killer.

How to Use Eucalyptus:

Taking eucalyptus oil by mouth is not recommended. To use this plant, simply massage the diluted oil directly onto the face or head. Alternatively, you can place a few drops onto a washcloth and inhale the intense aroma, or pour a half teaspoon into humidifier and let it run overnight.

Stomach Aches:


Long used to treat stomach cramps, gas, and nausea, ginger root is something of an overall cure for stomach ailments of every kind. This plant works as a natural pain killer in several ways. To start, it is a powerful carminative, which means that it can reduce stomach pain by helping to prevent the formation and encourage the expulsion of gas from the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to that, ginger is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, and work as something of an analgesic, or pain reducer.

How to Use Ginger:

This versatile herbal pain killer can be taken in a number of ways. For instance, you can purchase the root directly from either your local grocer or health food store, peel the skin from the root, then cut and chew small chunks until your feel relief. You can also brew a pot of either fresh or powdered ginger tea. For an even more potent pain killer, mix ginger root with spearmint, caraway fruits, or anise seeds.

Slippery Elm:

Officially recognized as a safe and powerful demulcent, slippery elm bark is a favorite among herbalist for curing stomach aches. This natural pain killer works in a variety of ways. Its demulcent properties are said to help line and sooth the digestive tract, while its anti-inflammatory properties are thought to help fight irritation. In addition to that, these plants may be useful in treating other digestive issues, like diarrhea, heartburn, and constipation.

How to Use Slippery Elm:

Pre-made, pill form slippery elm supplements are readily available, and easy to find in just about any health food store. The powdered plant is also easy to find, and can be taken one teaspoonful at a time, mixed into warm water, or placed into gel capsules. Although these methods are convenient and efficient, many prefer to take this herb in tincture form. With this method, you can consume between 10 to 36 drops per day.


Although this herb is best known for its relaxing qualities, it is actually incredibly beneficial for stomach aches. As a natural pain killer, one of its most important roles is as an anti-inflammatory agent. In addition to reducing the inflammation of the stomach lining, this herb does, indeed, work as something of a sedative, which may be useful to those suffering from stress-related stomach complaints.

How to Use Chamomile:

This tasty herb is best consumed as a hot herbal tea, and is extra effective if mixed with organic honey. Chamomile supplements and tinctures are also widely available.

Body Aches:


Despite the fact that this fantastic herb has the potential to treat a vast array of ailments, it is best known as a natural pain killer for both arthritis and more general joint discomfort. Containing boswellic acids, this plant not only has an analgesic effect, but it also helps to reduce inflammation by inhibiting a protein known as 5-lipoxygenases, which is thought to have a hand in the synthesis of inflammation-causing chemicals.

How to Use Boswellia:

Though boswellia teas and tinctures are available, this herb is best taken in pill form. You can easily make the pills yourself; however, it is more convenient to purchase the supplements from a reputable health food store. To get the best effect, make sure that your boswellia supplement contains between 30% to 65% boswellic acids.


Arnica is something of a wonder plant for body aches and pains. Not only is it good for such conditions as arthritis, but it is also beneficial to those suffering from more general complaints, such as muscle or joint soreness due to over exertion, swelling, bruises, and sprains. Although this plant is well recognized amongst the herbal community, its exact actions are still a little unclear. One thing that is known for sure is that arnica contains a decent amount of anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Use Arnica:

Tinctures are the best way to use arnica. To prepare this plant, either make your own tincture or purchase one from a health food store. After you have done this, you can either apply it directly to the affected area, or mix it with a calming base, such as olive or coconut oil. Arnica can be toxic if taken internally, so please do not drink the tincture or apply it to broken skin.


Who doesn't love peppermint? Not only is this stuff delightfully scented and delicious, but it is also a fantastic curative for a variety of different body aches. As a natural pain killer, most people think of peppermint as stomach soother; however, this plant does so much more than that. For instance, many believe that the oils of this plant can relieve nerve pain, muscle aches caused by overexertion, and stress-related head and neck aches. It is not surprising that this fantastic herb can aid in the relief of just about any body ache, as it contains a plethora of anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.

How to Use Peppermint:

Although peppermint candy may be enticing, one of the best ways to use this herb is through its essential oils. The oils, when mixed with a good carrier oil like grapeseed, can be massaged directly into the affected areas. Not only will this help relax and sooth the painful area, but the oils will soak up through the skin and enter the circulatory system, thus adding an extra layer of relief.

Sore Throats:


A common ingredient in many throat lozenges, licorice root is a fairly potent natural pain killer. Unlike other sore throat remedies, this plant works both to sooth and prevent an irritated throat. To start, licorice is a great aid for reducing and expelling irritation-causing mucus. Additionally, this herb contains numerous anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds, and may also be useful in coating a sore throat because of its demulcent properties.

How to Use Licorice:

Though licorice root can be taken in pill form, those suffering from an inflamed throat will likely prefer to take this herb in tea form. For the best results, use two teaspoons worth of the dried root, and steep it for 10 to 15 minutes in hot water, then mix with the antiseptic sweeteners like honey and lemon. Alternatively, you can mix the powdered herb with a glass of water, then gargle with it once in the morning, then again at night.


A favorite of herbalists from around the world, coltsfoot has a long history of usage. This plant is thought to be useful in treating a variety of respiratory ailments, but is especially beneficial in dealing with painful sore throats. The actions of this plant are two-fold, as it acts as both an expectorant and as an emollient. The expectorant properties help to relieve pain caused by sinus drainage down the back of the throat, while the emollient properties help to sooth irritated tissue.

How to Use Coltsfoot:

Coltsfoot syrups are relatively easy to find in most health food stores; however, teas are definitely recommended, as it is easier to adjust the dosage to your particular need. Additionally, homemade coltsfoot tea can include other soothing herbs, such as linden flower or plantain.


When people think of marshmallows, they often think of the sweet, gooey confections used to add a bit of fluffy goodness to hot chocolate. Thankfully, the marshmallow herb is not really all that different. This plant contains a rather high content of mucilaginous properties, which are very useful to those suffering from extreme throat pain. As an added bonus, these plants have some potent anti-bacterial properties, and are also useful in treating a nasty cough.

How to Use Marshmallow:

Another way you can connect the candy with the herb is that the herb tastes especially sweet and mild in tea form. You can also use the dried herb to create a tincture, which can be taken directly or mixed with warm water.

When do you reach for natural pain killers?

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    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 2 years ago

      @rajan jolly Thank you so much for your comment and Pin. It's great to hear that you've found some of these useful - you can never have too many real-life accounts of the usefulness of these remedies!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Excellent information. I'm an advocate of natural remedies so this information is close to my heart. I use some of these when needed.

      Thanks for sharing and I'm pinning this hub.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An informative hub on the natural painkillers you explained in detail.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      Great information. I'm trying boswellia and ginger for arthritis, and it seems to be helping. Voting up, useful and interesting.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and useful;thanks for sharing.


    • profile image

      4youreyes 5 years ago


      This is a great hub, I like would to use the natural pain killers but never know which ones to use. This is a great list Thanks and FYI I found ranked #4 on Google search.

      Have Good Day !

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      I certainly hope the feverfew helps your daughter, xstatic! Migraines can be horrendous.

      I am glad to hear, however, that the black cherry juice helped with your gout attack!

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great info! I amgoing to get my 23 year old daughter some feverfew and see iif it helps with her migraines which she has way too many of. She is even trying acupuncture currently.

      I just had a slight attack of gout and went through about 4 bottles of Haines Balck Cherry Concentrate in a week along with some ibuprofen, managed to stop it before it got worse.

    • badegg profile image

      Del Banks 5 years ago from Southern Appalachians

      Thanks. I have been drinking the cherry juice and it works great!

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      Hi, badegg! Thank you so much for your comment. I actually recommended black cherry juice for a friend who suffers from gout, and he swears by it these days. As for actual herbs, I know that dandelion is supposed to be a great help. Additionally, you can combine herbs for a better effect, like celery seed and ginger, devil's claw and hawthorn, stinging nettle and turmeric. You may have to experiment with a few different things, and stop right away if you seem to be feeling worse rather than better. Also, of course, I have to mention that you should also speak to your doctor before you start -- especially if you are already taking medication for your gout (though, you already know that ;-) ). I hope this helps. Let me know if you do try anything, and feel free to ask if you have any more questions. :-D

    • badegg profile image

      Del Banks 5 years ago from Southern Appalachians

      Excellent article! I suffer dearly from arthritis and GOUT! If you have one for gout, please let me know. I appreciate the info that you have shared. Good work!

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      Great ideas, kj force! I do love eucalyptus oil and vinegar -- for just about everything! I had never heard of using lime juice on a wet washcloth. I will have to try it.

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      Thank you, Jlava73! I'm glad you found some new stuff. :-)

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      Thank you, eye say! I certainly keep the list close by. :-)

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      Excellent Hub,,very informative..Another great remedy I use for my grandson, he runs cross country and gets over exerted with a headache, we wet a washcloth with lime juice and he places it on his forehead. With in minutes headache is gone.When you get a night cough,rub eucalyptus oil on soles of feet. Skin itching? Rub body with Apple Cider Vinegar ( use washcloth)also great exfoliator.Trouble falling asleep? warm milk with sprinkle of nutmeg...Use Peppermint water as a sritz..great for people with allergies to perfume...

      just some of my natural remedies...

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Awesome info! I have never heard of some of these.

    • eye say profile image

      eye say 5 years ago from Canada

      Great list, one to be printed out and kept close at hand. Bookmarking and sharing, really useful information ...

    • mvaivata profile image

      mvaivata 5 years ago

      Ah! You are absolutely right, cloverleaffarm. Also a great option for pain relief.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      You forgot white willow bark. The precurser to aspirin. Great hub! Voted up!