Q. Dear Terry, “I sprained my ankle yesterday and I’m in a lot of pain. I don’t want to take what the doctor recommended, but the pain is really intense. What natural alternatives are there for pain relief?” – Jonas K., Bellevue, WA
A. Dear Jonas, When it comes to acute pain, I think there are three ingredients that are incredibly safe and effective. Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers can destroy the stomach lining, put incredible stress on the liver, have a dangerous blood thinning effect, and even change the way people think and experience emotions. These are just a few of the reasons why I choose natural approaches to pain relief.
I prefer a blend of curcumin, boswellia, and black sesame oil for fast pain relief. Curcumin from turmeric is one of the world’s leading natural pain medicines. Curcumin fights inflammation in the body, which is one of the key drivers of the pain response. There is also a lot of research on curcumin supporting joint function and mobility. The curcumin I prefer is blended with turmeric essential oil and offers a fuller spectrum of compounds from the turmeric plant.
Boswellia works synergistically with curcumin to modulate the inflammatory pathways in the body. Inflammation is not a singular activity, but instead a combination of many inflammatory pathways. Boswellia works exceptionally well on a pathway called 5-lipoxygenase, or 5-LOX. This pathway is incredibly hard to address from a conventional or natural perspective. A placebo-controlled clinical study found that people had a higher pain threshold and greater pain tolerance when taking boswellia. I would take a boswellia that is uniquely standardized to contain high levels of the key compound, AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid) and low levels of the pro-inflammatory compound BBA (beta-boswellic acid).
Lastly, sesame oil contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects for synovial (joint) tissue. A compound within sesame oil, called sesamin, helps to protect the cushioning elements of our joints.
A clinical study using curcumin and boswellia emulsified in black sesame oil demonstrated that the herbal ingredients worked as fast as acetaminophen for acute pain. Additionally, the herbal group was 8.5 times better than acetaminophen at alleviating the emotional aspects of pain, such as fatigue, fear, and distress. Plus, these ingredients are protective for the liver, stomach, and kidneys – unlike traditional OTC pain relievers.
I would take these ingredients once or twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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