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Pain in any part of the body can be weakening and frustrating. This is because it can hinder daily life as it starts to mess with sleep, work, routine, and time with friends or family.
Therefore, pain relief is important to make sure you can enjoy your life. But pain treatment can be complex and often chronic.
The good news is that pain relief shouldn’t always mean pills and therapies. There is a better key to treating pain that can be found in your kitchen. The right mix of ingredients can be incredibly useful in managing pain.
Read on to know how you can make your own homemade pain balm for pain-free living. (1)(2)
Ingredients for a Homemade Pain Balm
Here are the ingredients you need for your homemade pain balm:
- Peppermint oil
- Arnica oil
- Clove oil
Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) is extracted from the wood of the camphor laurel tree. It has an extensive history as a topical analgesic in balms and liniments.
In 1990, it was found that camphor has a fair excitatory effect on thermosensitive and possibly nociceptive cutaneous fibers.
On further investigation of the mechanism of camphor’s antinociceptive (pain-relief) activity, it was seen that camphor-activated and desensitized receptors are heavily expressed in nociceptive (pain) sensory neurons.
Anecdotal use of camphor documented successful pain relief in patients suffering from:
- Lower back pain
- Muscle aches
- Ligament strains
- Broken bones
Also, an alcoholic liniment of the same delivered prompt pain relief prevailing up to 2–3 hours with an onset of action of 20 min. (3)(4)(5)
2. Peppermint oil
Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) is a perennial flowering plant. It is a herbaceous plant that has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of various medical conditions.
The literature shows peppermint oil is one of the most famous therapies for relieving abdominal cramps. In addition, dabbing it on your temples delivers relief from a migraine headache.
Studies demonstrate that Mentha piperita has a potential analgesic effect that is mediated centrally and peripherally, which is a characteristic of central analgesics, such as morphine. This provides pharmacological proof for the conventional use of peppermint oil as a pain reliever. (2)(6)
3. Arnica oil
Arnica has been used in traditional medicine for years for various pathological conditions such as:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Postoperative pain
This can be attributed to the various pharmacologic activities of arnica, which include:
In one study done on postoperative pain management, treatment with arnica ointment for 2 weeks greatly diminished pain after hand surgery compared to placebos.
Clinical trials done to study the effect of arnica on pain in patients with arthritis showed that treatment with arnica extract gel for 3 weeks resulted in a reasonable reduction in their pain.
In conclusion, arnica illustrates a similar action to standard medications such as ibuprofen and diclofenac for pain management. It also shows very few adverse effects and, thus, can be an adjunct for pain management.
Arnica has been traditionally used in treating multiple medical situations, including inflammation and pain. It can be safely concluded that gels or creams containing arnica extract show promising effects for pain relief. (7)
4. Clove oil
Clove oil, or the oil of Eugenia caryophyllata, appears as a light-yellowish fluid obtained from dried flower buds of clove. It is known to have pain-relieving activity.
Studies have shown that clove oil has been used traditionally to alleviate toothaches. Research also demonstrates via the nociception model (model to study pain-relief activity) that the analgesic effect of clove oil was observed to be more pronounced and greatly higher than aspirin. (2)(8)
How to Make a Homemade Pain Balm
First, choose a base for your balm. Balms are made with natural oils and waxes as bases. Commonly used oils and waxes for bases include: (9)
- Sunflower oil
- Castor oil
- Coconut oil
- Candelilla wax
- Carnauba wax
Then, follow these steps:
- Add ¼ cup of an oil/wax base in a bowl and then add 2 tablespoons of beeswax to it.
- Heat the bases in the oven for around a minute till they’re completely melted.
- Add 10 camphor balls to the bases and mix until the balls dissolve completely. You can microwave the mixture for 5–10 seconds if camphor does not dissolve properly. If you are not comfortable with camphor balls, you can use 10–15 drops of camphor oil.
- Add 9 drops of peppermint, 7 drops of arnica, and 5 drops of clove essential oils.
- Mix them in thoroughly and transfer the mixture to a storage container.
- Leave it at room temperature to cool down.
- To apply, scoop the balm with your fingers and gently massage it on the affected area.
What supplements are good for pain management?
- Magnesium glycinate helps lessen the frequency of migraines and get rid of menstrual cramps.
- Fish oil supplements are considered a safer option for lessening arthritic neck and back pain when compared to ibuprofen. (2)
What spices are known to have pain-relieving activities?
- Turmeric is identified as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
- Ginger reduces inflammation and is used for pain relief.
- Willow bark is used as a mild pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory agent. (2)
While several medications are available for pain relief, topical balms for pain management can be made at home with oil/wax bases and essential oils. Other than this, pain management also includes proper diet, lifestyle modifications, and the use of plants and herbs with medicinal qualities.
Supplements may also be required for alleviating pain, but they should only be used after consulting a physician.
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