A Holistic Approach…

Natural Pain Relief

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Using Natural Herbs and Plants To Heal Your Pain

by Alicia Archuleta

What is pain? If you are one of the millions of Americans who are desperate to get rid of daily pain I want you to know there is another way. The increasing number of people taking pain medication, many of whom are dying from it, is a big indicator that the way we handle pain in modern society is wrong. One of the body’s primary tools to tell us something is wrong is with our pain receptors. In these moments we need to help our bodies to heal themselves yet we are told to mask the pain and are not given any real solutions. What can we do to solve these problems in a more realistic way?

There are lots of solutions such as those requiring surgery, change of diet, massage, and the one to which I am most inclined consists of the use of natural herbal remedies. In my youth I grew up next to my great grandpa Juan (aka Sapito, meaning little frog), who was known for his healing capabilities through natural means. I still remember seeing people in wheel chairs or with a walker going into his adobe house, which had chile ristras hanging around his front porch, for a massage. It was always a miracle at his house for people who were suffering from pain, as they would always be better afterward. Seeing this all the time I thought it was typical but now that I have left that “bubble” I view it in a very different way. My grandpa started teaching his whole family to heal naturally from the day they were born. The best way to help healing yourself is to help your body in its healing process by giving it a boost.

The best remedy for pain depends on the location where that pain originates. Over the years, I have embraced what I have learned in that “bubble” while living next to my grandfather Sapito, and what other family members have taught me about natural healing. The most common “incurable” pain that most people have usually come from ailments from which the pain can be managed. The type I see the most comes from autoimmune disorders and from injuries to the body. Most people look at an autoimmune disorder and think the only thing they can do is take steroids to have any quality of life. The first thing I tell people is to have an allergy test to determine to what foods they might be sensitive. Second, I explain that there are sterols that come from herbs like Osha (Osha de la Sierra), Angelica (Osha del Compo), and Cow Parsnip (Yerba del Oso).

These plants are part of the parsnip family and are all strong plants (both in taste and healing power). My mom and brother are not big fans of the smell or the taste. Osha is the most popular and tends to be good for every ailment from Cancer to Diabetes, from open wounds to autoimmune disorders. The only circumstances it might not be a good idea to use Osha is in the case of a pregnant woman or in someone on immunosuppressive therapy during cancer treatment.

Osha is such a powerful source of insulin I have seen people with Type 1 Diabetes gain control of their glucose levels with regular use of it. Angelica is very similar to Osha but very difficult for herbalists to find in the wild. My dad happened to barter for a couple Angelica plants that he transplanted by a ditch where only one survived. We do not use that particular plant; however, if you happen to find some keep in mind it is a really good remedy for women with autoimmune problems.

Cow Parsnip plant is different in the way that it helps with paralysis, nervous stomach, and autoimmune disorders. Traditionally it was used for people who have suffered accidents to help repair nerve damage, and reduce inflammation. The person would be placed in a hot bath with the herb every day for a week to see if the feeling would come back. I have used it to help my mom when her eyes have had elevated pressure and a steroid injection was ineffective. I have also used it to help with her autoimmune problems, however she does not like the taste of it. It is a favorite of cows and I am sure that is where the name comes from.

The last thing I recommend to people with pain is topical salves to help the muscles and nerves relax and to increase circulation. The herbs I usually have people try when they are suffering from arthritic pain or nerve pain from fibromyalgia are Hemp, Arnica, and Yarrow.

Hemp is related to Marijuana except it does not contain THC and is effective in relieving pain with CBD. This is an amazing substitute for people who suffer on a daily basis from pain that do not want to go the route of medical marijuana. Also, I have seen people go from constant pain who were using opioids and morphine to control their pain to using hemp oil with great success. The main drawbacks of using hemp or cannabis oil, however, are the expense along with the fact that it only masks the pain when used topically. When used internally one must consume the hemp oil regularly in order for it to be effective.

There are some studies that show cannabis oil, which contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, can be beneficial in blocking pain receptors, and help cancer patients. Due to regulations I opt for Arnica salves for pain but they cannot be used internally.

Speaking of pain and the effectiveness of arnica salve, about a week ago I used this salve myself on my shoulder, because I had pulled a muscle. I was at the gym and decided to go into the pool shortly after I did this, and when that didn’t work I went into the jacuzzi. Well, that failed me also so later that night I had my boyfriend put arnica salve on it. It worked wonders; I was sore the next day a little, but it did the trick. My boyfriend thought I was crazy when I first suggested this herb to help him with his arthritis and scoliosis on his back. He was skeptical at first but now he is a believer because it does wonders for him as well. We won’t go into how I “try to kill him” with my cold remedies.

Click here to purchase Arnica Salve.

The majority of people who use this salve are suffering from fibromyalgia and/or arthritis pain. I have also used it on myself and other people with sunburn (only first-degree burns), inflammation (including cardiovascular-related), mosquito bites, plantar fasciitis, joint pain, bruising, etc… If you do have pain there is something to be said about getting a good massage therapist to get the knots out from your nerve receptors. My biggest belief is a well-trained massage therapist in Shiatsu can help get rid of a lot of pain. The reason Shiatsu works so well is because it gets rid of the blockage by pushing it out the end of the nerves. If you have never had a painful massage they were jury-rigging the problem not properly fixing it.

It is hard to believe that this method of pain relief is possible to someone who has never experienced it. For me it is my first instinct to go this route, because I have learned to listen to my body and try to figure out what my body is telling me. Even just changing your mentality regarding pain relief you will able to manage it well enough that you no longer have it on a constant basis.

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