Home Medicinal Plants Natural painkillers: These plants help with pain

Natural painkillers: These plants help with pain

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 140 views

Headaches, digestive problems or inflammation of the oral mucosa: herbal painkillers can help in some cases if the body feels uncomfortable pulling and pinching . Read here which medicinal plants relieve certain symptoms and where the limits of natural painkillers are.

What herbal pain relievers are there?

Natural pain relievers have been popular for centuries. But: In many cases, their effectiveness has not been scientifically proven. Rather, the reported effects are based on positive testimonials from those affected.

However, some medicinal plants such as devil’s claw are approved by the authorities as “traditional herbal medicinal products”. According to many years of experience, these plants show an effect on certain complaints. Their use is also considered harmless to health.

Constituents of certain medicinal plants are often used in the development of herbal medicines (phytopreparations). An example of this are essential oils, which are obtained from peppermint or cloves, for example.

In the following, we will introduce you to various medicinal plants that are said to have an analgesic effect. However, always consult a doctor if you have any problems.


Nettle is a medicinal plant that has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. This is helpful for rheumatism or gout. However, there is no evidence that the diseases are cured by it.

The stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and the small stinging nettle (Urtica urens) are used therapeutically. Leaves, stalks and roots of the nettle are used for finished medicinal products and food supplements.

As dragees, tablets, capsules, as fresh plant juice and as a tea mixture: the dried herb or nettle leaves are available in various preparation forms.

Nettle leaves and herb have a diuretic effect. This is why nettle tea is helpful for cystitis to flush out the bacteria. The tea is also said to have an antispasmodic effect. This may help with stomach problems.

In empirical medicine, nettle leaves and herbs are also used externally for seborrheic skin.

You can find out more about stinging nettles here .

When taking or applying nettle preparations, the body reacts in rare cases with mild gastrointestinal complaints or allergic skin reactions.

willow bark

Helpful against pain and fever: willow bark contains a high proportion of so-called salicylates. They are converted into salicylic acids in the body and thus have an active ingredient that is similar to the analgesic and antipyretic acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) in a weaker form.

Preparations made from willow bark have been proven to help

  • back pain
  • headache
  • rheumatism
  • arthrosis

However, they are not able to heal diseases, but are used in addition to standard therapy. In folk medicine, willow bark is also used to treat toothache and influenza, as well as externally to treat sweaty feet and poorly healing wounds.

Dry extracts of the bark are processed into tablets and capsules. A willow bark tincture is also available in the form of drops. A tea can also be prepared from the dried willow bark.

Learn more about willow bark here .

If you suffer from spastic bronchitis or bronchial asthma, it is better not to use the medicinal plant. It may make the symptoms worse. If you have gastrointestinal ulcers or impaired kidney or liver function, talk to your doctor before using any preparations.


Germ-inhibiting (antiseptic), local anesthetic and antispasmodic: cloves may help with toothache and inflammation of the mouth and throat. This is mainly due to clove oil, which is rich in the essential oil eugenol.

For a toothache, it is possible to put a whole clove in your mouth and hold it near the affected tooth or chew it lightly. This will release the essential oil.

You can also apply undiluted clove oil to the painful tooth area with a cotton ball or cotton swab.

When used externally, it may also help with acne , other skin conditions, and insect bites.

Learn more about cloves as a herbal pain reliever here .

Undiluted clove oil may irritate tissues and cause allergic skin or mucosal reactions. Clove oil should also not be used on small children!


Indian frankincense (Olibanum indicum) is recognized in the European Pharmacopoeia for the treatment of rheumatism and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The medicinal plant contains boswellic acids and essential oil as the most important substances. They are said to have the following effects:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • pain relieving
  • decongestant
  • antibiotic

But: In Germany, preparations containing frankincense are not approved as medicinal products. They are only available as dietary supplements. The anti-inflammatory effect of frankincense extracts was also mainly tested in animal experiments, there are only a few studies on humans.

If you take medication, also note that interactions with frankincense preparations can occur.

Learn more about incense here .

People with ailments should not take frankincense preparations without consulting their doctor. The products are not suitable for children.


Peppermint leaves are classified as a traditional herbal medicine. Thanks to the essential oil, they have an antispasmodic effect and promote bile flow. The medicinal plant is also said to have antiviral effects. Peppermint may therefore provide relief for the following symptoms:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • colds
  • inflammation of the oral mucosa
  • muscle and nerve pain
  • headache

The medicinal plant can be used internally and externally: the fresh or dried leaves of peppermint are suitable for tea preparation. Peppermint oil, which has a cooling effect, may help with tension headaches. Apply to a cloth and dab onto affected areas or dilute directly onto the skin.

To inhale for a cold, add a drop of peppermint oil to a bowl of hot water .

Ready-to-use preparations based on peppermint leaves or peppermint oil are also available in pharmacies. Through them, the active ingredients in high concentrations reach the target site – such as the intestine.

Learn more about peppermint here .

Peppermint oil must not be applied to the face or chest of babies or small children, as this can lead to life-threatening spasms of the glottis (spasm of the glottis) with shortness of breath. Babies and young children are also not allowed to ingest the oil.

cayenne pepper and chili

Pretty hot: cayenne pepper and chili contain the active ingredient capsaicin. It is an alkaloid that is used in ointments, creams and plasters and provides relief for muscle tension, nerve pain and itching.

The topical use of cayenne pepper to relieve lower back muscle pain is accepted as “medically recognized.” The umbrella organization of national European societies for phytotherapy also recommends the treatment of pain in degenerative joint diseases (arthrosis) and rheumatoid arthritis as well as nerve pain.

The effect of cayenne pepper and chili is as follows: They cause a slight pain and heat stimulus on the skin. This distracts from the actual pain or itching.

Taken internally as a spice, cayenne pepper and chili may also help with digestive disorders such as flatulence.

Learn more about cayenne pepper here .

Even the smallest amounts of cayenne pepper and chilli irritate the mucous membranes and cause a painful burning sensation. This mainly affects the eyes. It is therefore essential to avoid contact with mucous membranes.

Devil’s Claw Root

The tuberous, dried storage roots of the African devil’s claw contain bitter substances, phenylethanol derivatives and secondary plant substances (flavonoids). Together, these ingredients have an anti-inflammatory, mild pain-relieving, appetite-stimulating and bile-flow promoting effect.

The medicinal plant has been scientifically proven to have a positive effect on these problems:

  • loss of appetite
  • mild upper abdominal pain, gas, bloating, heartburn, nausea and vomiting

In addition, devil’s claw is popularly used in Europe for other complaints and diseases – for example, metabolic diseases, allergies and gall, liver, bladder and kidney diseases. However, the effectiveness has not been proven by studies. It is also not scientifically proven whether it helps against osteoarthritis.

Teas, capsules, dragees and drops for external use are made from the dried, cut or powdered devil’s claw root. Ointment, balm and gel are suitable for applying to joint pain.

Learn more about Devil’s Claw here .

In principle, devil’s claw products are well tolerated. Possible side effects are rarely gastrointestinal complaints (at higher doses ), headaches, drowsiness and allergic skin reactions.

Is there a strong herbal pain reliever?

Even if there is scientific evidence that some natural painkillers relieve symptoms, it is important to go to the doctor if the pain is severe and persistent and to discuss further therapy with him. In no case should you increase the dosage of herbal supplements yourself.

Natural painkillers: you should pay attention to this!

  • Herbal painkillers can also have side effects. Therefore, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about this and read the package leaflet carefully.
  • Natural painkillers may interact with medications under certain circumstances.
  • Not all preparations are of the same high quality and have been well tested for their effectiveness and tolerability. Therefore, be careful with preparations from the Internet – especially those that were manufactured abroad. Pharmacies, on the other hand, check their suppliers carefully.
  • If you have symptoms, always go to the doctor first and clarify the causes.


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