Natural Herbal Therapies For Your Aching Back Pain

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Inflammation Back Pain Herbs Rememdies

Today we focus on herbs as a natural anti inflammatory therapy for back pain.

I recently wrote about how black cohosh can be used for back pain. The article generated a lot of questions about black cohosh – whether the use was topical or internal. So this week I thought I would share some great herbs for back pain.

Typical Causes of Back Pain

Before we discuss relieving back pain, it’s important to understand why you have back pain in the first place. Herbs can help with inflammation and pain relief, but if you have an underlying issue that is being ignored while you use herbs, your relief will only be minimal at best and temporary for sure.

Back pain can start from any number of causes – misalignment of the spine, kidney infection or inflammation, poor posture, sitting too much, diet, lack of physical activity, or physical injury.

In most cases of back pain, herbs should be part of your therapy, not the whole. Chiropractors specialize in ensuring that your spine is in alignment and not infringing on your nervous system or twisting your muscles. Massage therapists can help work out knots in your muscles that can pull on your nerves and bones. Above all, it is important that you exercise and eat a proper diet to ensure that your back is strong and healthy.

Herbs For Inflammation and Back Pain

If you have figured out the source of your back problems and are working through them with the appropriate diet, lifestyle, and therapy, herbs can make a bad situation heal much more quickly than it would otherwise. Here are my favorite choices:

For Internal Use

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

I have used mullein leaf in a tea while undergoing chiropractic care for years. The root can also be used, which some find to be even more effective, but I tend to be well stocked in leaf and use that instead. It’s wonderful for people who frequently suffer with misalignments and need help with stability in their spine. (Find organic mullein leaf here.)

Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

Taken internally as a tea, tincture, or pill, black cohosh is a strong anti-inflammatory that has a specific affinity as an aid for back pain. (Find black cohosh root here, tincture here, and capsules here.)

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

In some cases, back pain can originate in the kidneys. When used internally, parsley leaf  is an important diuretic (aiding in the removal of water from the body through the kidneys) and kidney tonic. It is even effective when taken for infections in the urinary tract.

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus or V. trilobum)

Cramp bark is well known for its anti-spasmodic attributes. I have used this plant for all kinds of cramping. In the case of back pain it will excel when the pain is in relation to muscles that are in spasm. (Find dried cramp bark here or cramp bark tincture here.)

For External Use

Arnica (Arnica montana)

Arnica is used homeopathically as an internal relief of pain and would be helpful in this application as well, but it is the topical use of the plant itself that I like in the case of back pain. Many sore backs caused by overuse or injury can be easily solved with the application of arnica cream. (Find arnica cream here, or learn how to make your own arnica cream.)

Cayenne (Capsicum annum)

Cayenne peppers infused into an oil will result in a natural capsaicin remedy. As an oil, or made into a salve, this type of product will relieve the pain of sore muscles and joints. (Learn how to make an easy herbal infusion or read more about how to make your own healing salve.)

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

Years ago I was taken aback by a student during one of my weed walks who suggested the amish community in our area use the fresh leaves of burdock directly against the skin under their shirt to relieve back pain. I have used it in this way with good results. The root of burdock can also be taken internally as a tea, tincture, or pill for pain and stiffness of the lower back.

Have you ever used any of these natural remedies for back pain? If so, how did they work for you? Please share in the comments below!


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. devi says

    Please just me what shoul i do for arthritis…and also vitiligo a small patch on my lower lips

  2. Lena says

    Ruth, I had horrible migraine when I was young. The doctors had tried all kinds of medicines but I still had migraine at least 3 days a week. I got acupuncture from a well trained physical therapist. She had even been to China to learn. That really helped me. From 3 times a week it went to once a month and I was able to take a Tylenol when my migraine arrived.

    I wasn’t able to continue with the acupuncture when I started working night but I got a blood pressure medicine that kept me from having migraine. The one that helped me was Coreg, generic name “carvedilol”. I didn’t have high blood pressure.

    I don’t know how the beta blocking blood pressure medicines can help preventing migraine but they really do! In Sweden where I’m from, many people with migraine are help by these medicines. I hardly ever had migraine after I started taking that medicine.

    If your daughter wants to try the acupuncture, make sure the person doing it is experienced! I was getting acupuncture from a different physical therapist after a car accident and that didn’t help at all, it was just painful.

  3. Sue says

    I have used black cohosh and arnica cream and have gotten exceptional results from both. Thank you for continuing to inform! !!

  4. Rosie says

    My daughter gets back pain from very often, its results from the epidural from her second child. They waited to long and they could not properly injected it, now she suffers from back pain quit often, any recommendations?

  5. Jacque says

    I mix Cayenne Pepper with Coconut Oil and rub it into my husband’s back when he is suffering with it. This helps greatly. It does make a mess, and I use old towels to remove the excess to avoid ruining good bed clothes.

  6. Ruth says

    What do you suggest for someone who gets very bad migraines? She goes to a chiropractor regularly. Thank you very much.

    • Michele says

      I’ve begun accupuncture which really helps. Also, tens unit to the muscles connecting the head to the back. Dymista nasal spray also helps but is INCREDIBLY expensive and is rarely covered by insurance.

  7. antoinette says

    Thanks for the article. We have levels of manganese 1000’s time higher than normal. Its causing severe water retention,inflamation and lower back pain. Using urva ursi , bladderwrack,parsely and plantain tea and can’t shed the water and inflammation lessens for about an hour then back again. Adding ginger,cayenne a acv to the tea. Also eating plenty raw parsely. Seems like manganese stuck in the kidneys and need stronger herb to remove it. Due to drought conditions all the rivers and dams have very high manganese levels. Please please can you give me advice. Thanks in advance antoinette