Have you ever given thought to the function of pain — is it there for a reason? Pain does protect the body from further injury. This not-so-pleasant-mechanism makes us stop and take notice. Perhaps something needs to change or release? Often times we try to silence pain so we can quickly resume activity, but simply masking the pain signal can lead to even more serious injuries.
Here are some safe, effective and perhaps a little less well known natural pain relievers, that won’t simply distract from pain but will instead support the natural intelligence and healing wisdom of the body.
Boswellia / Frankincense
Also known as Frankincense and taking center stage in the bible as one of the Magis’ gifts to Jesus, Frankincense has been traditionally used for thousands of years for its natural anti-inflammatory properties both internally and topically.
The white aromatic resin that flows from the Boswellia tree (mainly Boswellia carteri and Boswellia serrata), contains approximately 30 percent of Boswellic acids that quickly heal the tree’s wound when injured. The resin’s extremely effective anti-inflammatory activity comes from its ability to regulate immune system cytokine production (small proteins that play an important role in cell signaling) and leukocyte (white blood cells) infiltration; both involved in many aspect of inflammation and immunity.
Frankincense has been known to help relieve arthritis by reducing the inflammation that breaks down cartilage and causes pain. Boswellia is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and some say that it might possess anti-cancer properties as well. It has been used for rheumatism, bronchial and urinary infections, menstrual pain, skin disorders, gum, mouth and throat complaints among other things. Frankincense, whose name interestingly is said to have originated from the Frankish (French) Knights of the Crusades has truly been treasured throughout history for its many health-supporting blessings.
Often referred to as “everlasting” or “immortal” and in historical times, said to have been offered to the Greek Gods, Helichrysum has been upheld for centuries as a true cornerstone of the traditional medicine of its native Mediterranean Basin area. A member of the sunflower family, its name is derived from the Greek: “helisso” meaning “to turn around”, and “chrysos” meaning “gold”.
Helichrysum is well known for its ability to lower inflammation, improve circulation and reduce swelling. It has been extensively used as a natural pain reliever for symptoms that range from muscle strain all the way to arthritis and fibromyalgia. Helichrysum’s natural antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties come from its free radical scavenging activity, natural corticoid-like effect and inflammatory enzyme inhibition. Other traditional uses range from treating infections and wounds, helping with digestive issues and respiratory conditions as well as supporting the health of the heart and nervous system.
Native of Thailand, Indonesia and India, Plai (zingiber cassumunar) is a lesser known rhizome from the ginger family with extremely powerful pain-relieving properties. Traditionally harvested by the indigenous people of Thailand for its health promoting qualities, Plai has more recently been used for Thai Massage and in post-operation herbal preparations, to further increase mobility and support healing. Plai’s strong anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties can give instant relief to painful muscles, joints, ligaments and help with other connective tissue discomforts.
While Ginger is stimulating and warming, Plai is actually cooling which makes it extremely soothing for the whole body. Perhaps this is why Plai has been used throughout the ages, for a panoply of ailments ranging from aches and pains to asthma, heartburn and from chronic colds to immune problems.
Boswellia, Helichrysum and Plai are some of the key actives in Shankara’s Muscle Release Oil, a pure, cold-processed herbal oil infusion that truly supports the natural intelligence and healing wisdom of the body.