You had a great day — but when you’ve finally collapsed in a comfy chair, there’s no way you want to trek back out to the drugstore for meds to relieve niggling aches. Luckily, natural remedies that are just as potent are in your kitchen cupboards!
Headache? Sip a ginger spritzer.
At the first twinge of discomfort, reach for ginger powder. A study in the Dental Research Journal found that 500 milligrams of the spice (just one-eighth of a teaspoon) eased head pain and inflammation as effectively as pain-relieving NSAIDs, without the risk of rebound headaches. Sprinkle a dash into your iced tea or a glass of sparkling water, then stir and sip!
Knee pain? Try an oil compress.
After chasing little ones at the beach, try this to soothe achy knees: Smooth on extra-virgin olive oil, then cover with a cool cloth. American College of Surgeons experts say the chill reduces pain scores by 50 percent within 10 minutes by quashing swelling. Meanwhile, research in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology credits inflammation-taming polyphenols in topical olive oil with easing osteoarthritis pain better than a commonly prescribed topical NSAID gel when applied daily for two weeks.
Sore lower back? Block pain with peppers.
The capsaicin that gives hot peppers their heat relieves pain better than NSAIDs when smoothed over sore muscles, say Harvard scientists. By faking a sensation of warmth, capsaicin confuses chemical messengers in the body so they’re less able to transmit pain signals. Simply rub a blend of half a teaspoon of ground cayenne and one tablespoon of vegetable oil into your back.
Aching feet? Relax with a “tea soak.”
The next time a sunset stroll leaves your feet swollen and achy, soak them in a cool chamomile-tea foot bath. Scientists at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University say the flowering herb’s anti-inflammatories function like pain-erasing NSAIDs (minus the side effects). To do: Place two chamomile tea bags in a basin of cold water, then dip in your feet and relax for 10 minutes.
There you have it! It’s incredible that such helpful natural remedies are at your fingertips in your kitchen.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.