Plus, some of these medicines have been linked to scary side effects, such as an increased risk for ulcers and bleeding and in extreme cases heart attack or stroke. Still, avoiding them doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it the next time you’re plagued with aches.
Here, four surprising natural remedies that can help you feel better—minus the desperate drugstore runs.
The active component in chili peppers, capsaicin works by decreasing the intensity of pain signals in the body. It can relieve minor muscle aches when applied topically and has been shown to ease joint pain in those with rheumatoid arthritis.
“I usually recommend it as a warm-up or post-workout product for muscles. I find that pre-workout, it helps loosen up muscles, while post-workout it decreases soreness and stiffness,” says herbal pharmacist David Foreman, RPh. Look for capsaicin lotion or gel at your local health food store. One thing to remember: Like chili peppers themselves, capsaicin is hot. Remember to avoid touching your eyes or your face while applying capsaicin lotion or gel, and wash your hands afterward.
Try it: Dr. Christopher's Cayenne Ointment, from $16, Amazon.com
This shrub has been used for centuries as a pain and fever remedy, but today it’s used mostly for severe headaches. According to the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society, butterbur is effective for reducing the severity and frequency of migraines. In fact, research has shown that 75 milligrams of butterbur extract, when...