Ginger contains enzymes which stop the production of inflammatory compounds. According to Paul Anderson, ND, at Bastyr University in Seattle, “the amount of ginger in a spice, tea, or candy isn’t going to provide much pain relief, no matter how good it tastes.” For acute pain, take 2 grams of ground dehydrated ginger on a daily basis. For chronic conditions, reduce the intake to a gram of it daily divided into three doses.
Arnica has been long used for medicinal purposes. It is obtained from the yellow arnica flower which grows in the alpine meadows of Europe. It contains sesquiterpene lactones, compounds which boost immunity and reduce inflammation.
According to a 2007 study done on more than 200 people with osteoarthritis, topical application of arnica soothes pain and restores joint functions, just as ibuprofen does. It can be also used to treat acute injuries, including bruises, strains, sprains, and postoperative healing. For that purpose, apply arnica gel or cream 3-4 times on a daily basis.
For a one-two punch, use arnica homeopathically, using remedies of 6c, 12c, or 30c potency, 3 pellets under the tongue, 3 times on a daily basis.
6. OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
These are critical for long-term pain reduction,” says Wright, “because your body breaks omega-3 fatty acids down into anti-inflammatory compounds.”
Moreover, lack of omega-3 fats in your diet will make you more prone to pain and greater inflammation in cases of sickness and injuries.
Omega-3s are naturally found in hempseed, flaxseed and cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, and salmon. They also come in the form of supplement.
For maintenance, take 1,000-2,000 mg on a daily basis. For chronic pain, increase the intake to 2,000-4,000 mg daily. You should take 400 IU of vitamin E daily too, as it prevents oxidization of omega-3s in the body and attacks on the healthy cells.
7. DEVIL`S CLAW
Devil`s claw is native to South Africa and it is actually a fruit covered with little hooks which snag into the skin and cause pain. Interestingly, when used as a remedy it reduces pain and recent studies show that it is very effective in reducing back pain and arthritis.
According to a 4-month study done on 120 people with knee and hip osteoarthritis, devil`s claw reduced pain and improved function, just as osteoarthritis medications do. In addition, other studies on this herb show that it is effective in reducing low-back pain.
Wright says that devil`s claw contains active ingredients which have powerful pain-relieving and inflammation-causing properties. Some of those compounds include iridoid glycosides, especially harpagoside. It is recommended to take 50-100 mg of harpagoside on a daily basis or 400mg dried devil`s claw.
Note: Given the fact that devil`s claw stimulates the production of gastric acid, people with stomach ulcers should consume their doctor before consuming it.