Ibuprofen acts by inhibiting a protein called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and is responsible for blocking inflammation and painful and febrile response. There are plants that, as stated by News Caelles, president of the scientific committee of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Pharmacy ( Sefac ), can exercise this same function and, therefore, exercise as a natural alternative to ibuprofen.
“Ideally, talk about phytotherapy and aromatherapy. Within each group, there are plants or essential oils that can improve some type of pain. ” Although he warns that “despite the mistaken belief that medicinal plants do not have side effects or drug interactions, in patients with chronic diseases, it should be evaluated whether they can take a medicinal plant for the treatment of pain.”
With this premise in mind, the expert points out that there are different species used in painful processes and describes them one by one:
1. Harpagophytum procumbens)
“It is a perennial herbaceous plant specific to the south of the African continent. These are plants that have traditionally been used for pain, “explains Caelles.
In addition to having anti-inflammatory and analgesic function, “there are studies that point to its effectiveness in treating pain associated with osteoarthritis, and osteoarthritis, low back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions rheumatic and non – rheumatic”.
2. Nettle (Urtica dioica)
It is an herbaceous plant that is found in temperate zones. Caelles highlights its anti-inflammatory activity and notes that its use has been studied in the treatment of pain by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. ”
3. Cat’s claw (Uncaria Stormy)
It is a species native to the Amazon. “It fulfills anti-inflammatory functions, antioxidants, and enhancers of the immune system “. Its sterol content is what gives it the characteristic of anti-inflammatory.
4. Sauce (Salix sp)
This plant is abundant in humid areas. In its case, “it presents analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and antiplatelet activity “, notes Caelles.
As a spice, turmeric is widely used in India and is an ingredient of Curry. “In addition, it contains curcumin, which provides anti-inflammatory action .”
Although used primarily for nausea and vomiting, ginger may have anti-inflammatory activity.
“The anti-inflammatory and analgesic action can be found in the essential oil of Eucalyptus citridora (blue eucalyptus) because of its content in citronellal (terpene aldehyde)”, explains the president.
In the case of arnica, its content is responsible for the anti-inflammatory action.
9. Cayenne pepper
It also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory action, thanks to its capsaicin content.
10. Diet rich in omega 3
In addition to all these plants, Caelles stresses that ” a diet rich in omega-3s and decreased omega-6 intake may aid in inflammatory processes .”
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