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Headache and other Pain Relief from Nature


Changes in the weather, combined with increased stress from diseases such as arthritis and muscle aches might have you wondering where to get some natural pain relief.

A combination of boswellia, lobelia and white willow can help treat pain naturally, and may help avoid stomach upsets from aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Boswellia is shown in studies to promote pain relief naturally by reducing synthesis of leukotrienes, which promote inflammation in the body by releasing histamine. Boswellia serrata is an Ayruvedic preparation that, used in combination with other natural ingredients, can provide natural pain relief.

One such study showed significant improvement in arthritis of the knee after 8 weeks of treatment with 333 mg of boswellia serrata extract taken three times a day. Boswellia is also useful as a natural pain reliever following sports injuries.(1)

White willow preparations for natural pain relief come from the bark of the white willow tree. White willow has been used since ancient times for reducing fever and for treating pain, and is a salicylate, not to be used in combination with aspirin.

A variety of studies have compared white willow bark for pain relief to aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs currently on the market, showing that willow bark is just as effective as aspirin,and popular anti-inflammatory medication, but with fewer side effects.(2)

Willow bark is contraindicated for use in people with diabetes, kidney disease, or peptic ulcers, and should not be used in children, just as aspirin should not be given to children because of the risk of Reyes Syndrome. (

The resurgence of white willow for pain relief comes from fewer side effects and because white willow provides pain relief that comes directly from nature.

Lobelia has been used for centuries by Native American Indians as a purgative and for muscle disorders. Lobelia can help relieve tension, acting as a natural muscle relaxer, decreasing pain from sore muscles. Native Americans smoked lobelia to treat asthma.

In large doses, lobelia can be dangerous, but in combination with other herbs, and at a low dose, lobelia is considered relatively safe. According to the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine, “People with high blood pressure, heart disease, tobacco sensitivity, paralysis, seizure disorder, and shortness of breath, and those recovering from shock should not take lobelia.”(3)

Any herbs or supplement use should be guided by your healthcare provider. There are options for pain relief from nature that are relatively safe, that can be used in lieu of traditional pharmaceuticals.

Natural pain relief formula:

(1)Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, Khiyani R: Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis on knee—a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine 10:3–7, 2003

(2)Berman B (ed): Willow Bark. Baltimore: University of Maryland Medical Center 2004. ( Herbs/WillowBarkch.html) [Accessed 13 September 2006]



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