From time to time, we all suffer from some kind of pain—from earaches to toothaches, joint pain to stomach aches, headaches to foot pain. Pain can arise from injury as well as disease.
Most people treat common pains with over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). But why take a medicine when there are many natural painkillers in the kitchen pantry and spice rack that work just as well?
A growing body of research has proven the effectiveness of a variety of natural painkillers. A number of cooking ingredients also contain anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit inflammation. Of course, if pain becomes severe, consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Here are the top 10 kitchen solutions for common pains.
1. Cloves for Toothaches
A toothache, be it mild or acute pain in the teeth or around the jaws, can make anyone go crazy. Common causes of toothaches are cavities, an infection, a cracked tooth, and gum disease. Cloves are the best home treatment for tooth pain. A compound in cloves, called eugenol, has a natural anesthetic property.
- Gently chewing on a clove can ease tooth pain and gum inflammation.
- Another option is to dab a little clove oil on a cotton swab and put it on the aching tooth.
Moreover, the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of cloves help prevent infection. Hence, you can even use a toothpaste that has clove as one of the main ingredients to brush your teeth twice daily.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar for Arthritis Pain
With age, many people suffer from some kind of arthritis, which is inflammation of one or more joints in the body. Arthritis can affect the knees, hips, hands, fingers or other joints throughout your body.
One of the main symptoms is pain, which can be mild to acute. For any kind of arthritis, the best home treatment is apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar helps reduce pain and stiffness in the joints, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it helps the body absorb various nutrients from the food you eat. It also helps get rid of the buildup of toxins in the joints and connective tissues.
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of warm water.
- Drink it twice daily, before eating a meal.
3. Turmeric for Joint Pain
Joint pain in the knees, shoulders and hips can make it difficult for you to carry out your day-to-day activities. For any mild joint pain, your spice rack contains the best medicine in the form of turmeric.
Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that is comparable to that of over-the-counter NSAIDs.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little honey in a glass of warm milk.
- Drink it twice daily, at least for a few days.
4. Olive Oil for Earaches
An earache is a very uncomfortable condition that affects children more often than adults. Usually, earaches are due to ear infections, fluid buildup in the middle ear, colds, wax in the ear, or blockage in the nasal passage. For treating an earache, you can use olive oil that has anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial properties.
- Put 3 or 4 drops of lukewarm olive oil into the ear canal using a dropper. It will also help prevent infection and stop buzzing sensations inside the ear.
- You can also put a warm, moist compress around the affected ear for a few minutes to get relief from earache pain.
5. Peppermint for Headaches
People of all ages suffer from headaches from time to time. They can be due to dehydration, stress, tension, restlessness, colds, sinus problems, migraines, spending time in the sun and lack of sleep.
Instead of taking an over-the-counter painkiller, try drinking a glass of water. In most cases, headaches, even migraine headaches are caused by dehydration.
Peppermint is also a good home remedy for headaches. Its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and calming properties have a positive effect on headaches.
- You can use peppermint oil to massage your temples or drink a warm cup of peppermint tea sweetened with honey.
- Another option is to add a few drops of peppermint oil to a small pot of boiling water, then inhale the steam for a few minutes.
6. Fennel for Menstrual Pain
Menstrual pain or cramping is a common problem for many women. It can be a dull or throbbing pain in the lower abdomen, lower back or thighs during the initial days of a menstrual cycle. Fennel can help alleviate this menstrual pain as well as cramps.
The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties of fennel help relax the muscles in the uterus and reduce pain. It also helps rebalance female hormones.
- Add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds to a cup of hot water, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink this fennel tea a few times a day.
- You can also simply chew a spoonful of dry roasted fennel seeds.
7. Asafetida for Stomachaches and Colic
Often people experience stomach pain due to indigestion, gas, heartburn, constipation, a stomach infection and overeating. Asafetida, also known as hing, can help solve these problems. This spice has antispasmodic and anti-flatulent properties that help treat stomach pain.
- Mix a pinch of asafetida and rock salt in a glass of warm water and drink it 2 or 3 times a day. Also, include a little asafetida in your daily cooking to improve digestion and prevent gas.
- You can also use asafetida to treat colic in small babies. Add a pinch of asafetida powder to 1 tablespoon of water, heat it and then let it cool. Rub this solution around the baby’s navel and soon you will notice improvement.
8. Ginger for Muscle Pain
Muscle pain most often occurs following overexertion of a muscle(s) during some type of physical activity. If you battle with muscle pain, remember to keep your body hydrated by drinking enough water. Lack of water causes your muscles to become tight, tender and more painful.
Ginger is the best natural painkiller to treat muscle pain. It helps reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. It also contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols that have analgesic qualities similar to aspirin or ibuprofen.
For best results, drink ginger tea a few times daily. To make the tea, put slices of a small piece of ginger root in 2 cups of water and boil it for 10 minutes. Strain, add a little honey and enjoy your tea. Also, include ginger in your daily cooking or use ginger oil to gently massage the affected areas.
9. Salt for Foot Pain
Foot pain is another common problem that affects people of all age groups. Pain can occur anywhere in the foot including the toes, heel, sole, ankle or arch. Common reasons behind foot pain are age, uncomfortable shoes, too much walking and standing on your feet for a long time.
To help soothe tired and painful feet, use salt, one of the most common ingredients used in cooking.
- Add ½ cup of table salt to a small tub of warm water and soak your feet in the warm saline solution for 10 to 15 minutes. The combination of heat and salt works well to relax the feet and ease pain.
- To make this simple home treatment even more effective, use Epsom salt rather than common salt.
10. Honey for Mouth Ulcer Pain
Mouth ulcers are a very common problem that can appear on the inside of the cheeks, lips, under the tongue and on the floor of the mouth. This painful and irritating problem can be due to constipation, hormonal changes in the body, excess acidity, accidental cheek bites, stress and nutritional deficiencies.
You can heal mouth sores with honey. Honey has enzymes that fight inflammation, destroy viruses and speed up recovery of damaged tissue.
- Dab painful mouth ulcers with raw honey a few times daily until the problem disappears.
- You can also use glycerin or vitamin E oil in the same way.