7 Natural Ingredients That Help Relieve Pain

Posted on: 27 February 2017

Whether you're in search of mild topical pain relievers to use alone or in tandem with an established pain management, you may be wondering if preparations are available using natural ingredients such as herbs. Fortunately, you're in luck -- a variety of herbs have passed the test of time and are still in use today as pain relievers. Following are seven of them.

Slippery Elm

Native Americans have been using slippery elm as a pain relief aid for centuries. It's used to make salves that soothe burns, wounds, boils, and other painful skin conditions. The traditional method of using slippery elm as a topical pain reliever is to create a poultice out of its coarsely ground bark. It should be noted that slippery elm should never be applied directly to an open wound because it may cause irritation.


You probably know tumeric as a bright yellow kitchen spice that is commonly used in curries and stews, but it's also been found to be effective in the treatment of arthritis pain. Tumeric's key ingredient, curcumin, is instrumental in alleviating pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints caused by arthritis flare-ups. It is also sometimes used by bursitis sufferers because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Aloe Vera

Probably the most well known herb and the one you're most likely to find in topical creams for chronic pain is aloe vera. Typically used as a burn ointment, aloe vera can also be used as a topical pain reliever and works particularly well for those who suffer from arthritis. It works on both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Aloe vera contains compounds which work to reduce the swelling caused by arthritis. It is most often used topically in gel form and is sometimes combined with tumeric and curcumin to create an all natural pain relief balm. 


The herb arnica is commonly used as a pain reliever in homeopathic medicine. It is often used to relieve pain and associated swelling and bruising during the aftermath of plastic surgery. Studies have also produced some evidence that arnica may be helpful in reducing pain caused by certain types of osteoarthritis.


You're probably already familiar with chamomile as an herb that effectively promotes relaxation and sleep. However, many people aren't aware that this traditional favorite can also be used in lotions and creams that can be applied topically for the purpose of relieving various aches and pains. Several varieties of chamomile exist; however, German chamomile is thought to be the most effective for pain relief and is approved by the German government for topical use on skin for the purpose of relieving swelling.

Mustard Seed

There's a reason why mustard plasters have been used as a pain reliever since historical times -- because they work. Because mustard seed is a warming herb, its application results in dilation of blood vessels, resulting in increased flow of blood to the skin. Mustard plasters are used to relieve the pain caused by arthritis, neuralgia, sore muscles, and sciatica. You can also rub the extract on affected areas such as the back or the neck. For an overall relaxing soak with mild pain relieving properties, it can be sprinkled in warm bath water.

Emu Oil

Although it's usually taken by mouth, emu oil can also be applied directly to the skin or mixed into a cream or lotion to relieve sore joints and muscles, sciatica, diabetic nerve pain, general inflammation, lesions caused by shingles, and carpal tunnel syndrome. It is sometimes used to relieve the pain caused by burns from radiation therapy, and even works as a good diaper rash remedy. Others find it effective for use on razor burns and healing wounds caused by surgery. 

Always make sure to speak with your healthcare professional prior to beginning any type of pain relief program for chronic pain.