Herbal Alternatives to NSAID Pain Relievers
In modern society, synthetic drugs are so common that people sometimes don't stop to consider whether there are natural alternatives that are just as effective. Certain drugs that don't require prescriptions are wrongly assumed to be completely safe, and many drugs that do require a doctor's prescription have long lists of dangerous side effects. In fact, most of them do, and these side effects are actually worse than the conditions they are intended to relieve. When there are better alternatives, it is important to avoid synthetic drugs. Common medications that do more harm than most people realize include a particularly nasty group known as NSAIDs.
What are NSAIDs?
NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory drugs that are commonly prescribed by doctors for arthritis and other inflammation-related conditions. Because they also have fever-reducing properties, there are over-the-counter pain relievers in this class that some people take every single day. Aspirin and ibuprofen are two of them. While many doctors advise people to take these medications to help with conditions related to inflammation and to prevent blood clots, these drugs harm the body in several different ways.
How NSAIDs Harm the Body
This class of drugs is known to cause damage to the body by interfering with kidney function. They also increase the risk of upset stomach, nausea, and even ulcers. The longer these drugs are taken, the higher their risk of causing long-term damage to the body. New studies have even shown that they delay bone healing, which is especially dangerous for the elderly.
Over 30 million people take this class of over-the-counter drugs on a daily basis. Many of them take more than one dose per day. Most consumers don't realize that there are better alternatives that won't lead to problems such as permanent kidney damage and ulcers.
Alternatives to NSAIDs
There are a few alternatives to a lifetime of daily NSAID doses. Kratom, a tree native to Southeast Asia, is one, but it's banned in certain states for its purported psychoactive effects. Marijuana is another potential substitute for these drugs, but its illegality in most states for the same reasons makes it unavailable to most people. Another alternative is the spice turmeric, derived from the roots of a plant that is native to India.
What is Turmeric?
The root of the turmeric plant has compounds called curcuminoids that actually do everything NSAIDs do, without the health risks, and some other benefits as well, making turmeric a much better, natural alternative to taking NSAIDs. While ground turmeric root is a main ingredient in curry powder, its curcuminoids can also be concentrated into turmeric extract. This provides a way to use this natural plant-derived substance as medicine in the form of a supplement. Turmeric capsules standardized to contain specific levels of curcuminoids provide reliable doses of curcumin, so its intake can be very controlled.
Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric has some surprising benefits. In addition to having powerful anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is also a potent antioxidant. Recent studies have shown that it can even slow the growth and spread of cancerous tumors. It is currently being evaluated for properties that relate to Alzheimer's prevention, and preliminary studies show promise.
Side Effects of Turmeric
Turmeric side effects are relatively few. Most of them only apply to people with very specific health conditions that would also prevent them from taking NSAIDs. For example, people who suffer from acid reflux, or stomach ulcers may also get upset stomachs from higher doses of turmeric curcumin. It's also not recommended before surgery because it thins the blood and slows clotting. But none of these makes the continued intake of NSAIDs a logical alternative to this natural option.
Using turmeric instead of NSAIDs has a number of benefits. A turmeric supplement can eliminate the need for NSAIDs entirely, and with its cancer-fighting properties, it makes no sense to continue taking drugs that are known to cause permanent damage to the kidneys other organs.
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