12 Beneficial Herbs to Help Relieve Pain Naturally

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Natural Pain Relief

Natural Pain Relief

My son slipped and fell a few days ago and came down on his elbow. At first I thought we might get lucky and get out of the accident with just a sprain. After a nap, though, it was clear that wasn’t going to be the case. The swelling was just above his elbow in a place where there weren’t any joints or ligaments. A trip to the hospital, a few x-rays, and a couple hours later confirmed the broken bone.

There are a few issues with a broken bone like this. While we wait for an appointment with an orthopedic specialist my plan is to assist the bone in healing, support my son’s immune system, and manage pain.

A Good Reason to Have a Natural Medicine Chest

At the hospital, the doctor suggested a prescription for pain relief – but I was hesitant. We opted to bring my son home and use our farm’s pain tincture. My son is 7, so he isn’t particularly stoic. I have been giving him small, frequent doses of the tincture and asked him to let us know if he is dealing with any pain. While I wish to keep him off the medication, we have told him that if at any point he thinks mommy’s medicine isn’t helping him enough to let us know he needs something stronger.

In a strange coincidence, an adult friend of ours called the day after my son’s injury. She had fallen and broken her elbow in much the same way as my son. At the time, she didn’t have anything else at home to help with pain so she took their suggested medication. Using the tincture, my son’s biggest complaint is the itching. My friend’s pain is still unmanaged and she now feels sick from the medication.

For now, I think we’ll keep going with our natural pain reliever. It’s such a comfort to know that I have help at my fingertips. Treating problems naturally does not mean you have to tough it out or suffer. Without a plan for pain though, we would have had to use the medication just like my friend; I’m glad we avoided that.

Herbs for Pain Relief

If you are putting together a home medicine chest filled with natural remedies it would be good to know about the herbs that are well known for pain relief. These herbs can be made into teas, tinctures, or encapsulated for easy use*:

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Hops (Humulus lupulus)
  • White Willow (Salix alba)
  • Wild Lettuce (Lactuca virosa)
  • Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
  • Red Pepper (Capsicum spp.)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

*(You can find these dried herbs here, or find many of them in tincture form here, or in capsules here.)

Tips for Using Herbs for Pain Relief

The plants with pain relieving abilities are called anodynes. They can be a gentle solution to the problem at hand, avoiding the side effects of stronger medications. In our case, we start at the simple solutions and progress from there.

It’s important to keep pain monitored and keep ahead of it. Small doses frequently, even when there is not a large amount of pain, can save you. If you let the pain build while trying to be stoic, you may wind up needing to fill that prescription because the problem can get too big for simple methods to solve.

Do you treat pain with natural remedies? If so, what do you use?


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. Judy Stoof says

    I suffered a broken radius bone in my left arm 3 weeks ago, Needless to say a prescription for a pain med was given to me in the ER. It happened on a Friday evening, so I was directed to see an orthopedic doctor until Monday. Another pain med was prescribed! A few days later while sitting in the recliner feeling sorry for myself I saw Dawn’s book Heal Local on the coffee table. I contacted Dawn and by that evening had her Pain Relief Tincture. I have been using since with great success without the side effects of the prescribed pain med. Additionally found listed in her book an herb called Boneset that helps the bone heal. Dawn provided a tea with this herb. Thank you Dawn!

  2. Sandy says

    I found a mixture of cypress 16 drops, fennel 30 drops, and juniper berry 10 drops, eo’s helps the pain of my degenerating thumb. I made it as an additive to a bath for my husbands wore out hip and ended up using it as a part of massage for him and found it literally takes my huge pain away.
    recipe from The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.

  3. Mary M. says

    I use a few drops of Pine Essential Oil mixed with a teaspoon of a carrier oil and rub on painful spots on back, knee, or hip pain. Works for me!

  4. Brigitta says

    Happy to hear that your herbal remedy was helpful and totally agree with keeping it natural and knowing “what’s in it”. I made a healing salve with five very basic and simple ingredients and gave some to my neighbour to use on her husbands arms (He takes lots of meds incl. blood thinners) and it worked very well to help with the bruising and swelling. In fact, it worked so well, she is using it too to keep her skin smooth……

  5. Donna says

    You wrote about your tincture but don’t share what it is. Please share recipe. Thank you.

  6. Cheryl says

    I use tea tre oil for minor nail infections and use Pana way essential oil for muscle pain.

  7. Vicki says

    Linden flower is nice for achy pain. Lemonbalm (Melissa) also. Lavender is nice as an addition to any of the mentioned pain herbs to enhance and compliment them

  8. Ginni Purifoy says

    I’ve used peppermint and clove oil for pain relief, I’ve found that this works better than the over the counter pain creams. It doesn’t bother my skin, but for people w/ sensitive skin, you may want to use a carrier oil like coconut, olive, or vitamin E.

  9. Kittie Danger says

    I take Devil’s Claw to help manage chronic pain. I have a total of 5 herniated discs in my back & degenerative disc disease & fibromyalgia. I find that one dose of around 1 gram in the AM usually gets me through the whole day. For migraines I have had relief from essential oil blends of peppermint & lavender, among others, applied to my temples or just inhaled helps greatly.

  10. Jane Eichhorn says

    I would also like to know how to mix,how much to add and in what combinations……thanks..Love reading your newsletters.

  11. Geraldine Williams says

    Ditto ‘Deb’, 19th July, 2016, 5.53pm – looking forward with great interest to replies to Deb.

    By understanding and keeping things simple I have now made permanent positive changes by making my own toiletries, I’ve learnt such a lot from your website, thank you so much, Gellie

  12. deb says

    How do you take these herbs? How much? Can you recommend any combinations? Thank you so much for all of your informative articles!

    • Dawn Combs says

      Hi Deb, these herbs can be “taken” in whatever form you wish (tincture, tablet, tea, etc.). As far as how much, that really depends on your unique situation. In general, herbs are used three times a day when you are dealing with a chronic issue and in small amounts at short intervals. Each herb is different, and the best I can legally do is to tell you to investigate each herb you would like to use to decide what a “dose” is OR buy a pre-packaged supplement and follow package directions. The herbs I list can be combined safely in various ways.