NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are medications that reduce inflammation and pain but do not contain steroids. NSAIDs are included in many over-the-counter and prescription pain medications and include drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. Although they are effective, NSAIDs can cause serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attack and kidney damage. There are a variety of natural NSAID alternatives, some of which may pose fewer serious health risks than their pharmaceutical counterparts.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Valued as both a culinary and medicinal herb, turmeric is a remedy for inflammation. It has been used to treat inflammatory disorders ranging from ulcerative colitis to osteoarthritis and is widely used in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
Curcumin--the active compound in turmeric--is responsible for the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties as well as its characteristic yellow color. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, curcumin fights inflammation by inhibiting production of the inflammatory compounds COX-2 and 5-LOX 1. Turmeric is also a blood thinner and may improve circulation and prevent blood clots.
Turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding, especially when taken with NSAIDs or other blood-thinning drugs. The average dose is 1 gram to 3 grams of root powder daily.
- Valued as both a culinary and medicinal herb, turmeric is a remedy for inflammation.
- Turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding, especially when taken with NSAIDs or other blood-thinning drugs.
Home Remedies for Inflammation
Derived from the bark of the white willow tree, willow bark is a powerful remedy for inflammation. It is rich in salicylin, which is also the active ingredient in aspirin. According to the National Institutes of Health, willow bark may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis and is well-tolerated by most patients 2. It may also be useful for other inflammatory conditions, such as menstrual cramps, toothache, burns and minor injuries.
Like aspirin, willow bark should never be given to children with a fever because of the risk of developing Reye’s Syndrome. Common side effects include nausea, stomach irritation and decreased blood clotting. The average daily dose of salicylin is 60 milligrams to 120 milligrams.
- Derived from the bark of the white willow tree, willow bark is a powerful remedy for inflammation.
- According to the National Institutes of Health, willow bark may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis and is well-tolerated by most patients 2.
Ginger is a pungent herb with many medicinal effects. It has been used traditionally to treat nausea, motion sickness and poor circulation as well as pain caused by inflammation. Ginger contains compounds called gingerols, which have potent anti-inflammatory effects. According to ABC Science, ginger inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes and is less likely than NSAIDs to cause gastrointestinal irritation.
The typical dose of ginger for treating inflammation is 2 grams to 4 grams daily. Side effects include indigestion, increased bleeding risks and a burning sensation in the mouth.
- Ginger is a pungent herb with many medicinal effects.
- According to ABC Science, ginger inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes and is less likely than NSAIDs to cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Home Remedies for Inflammation
What Is Ginger Root Good for in Health?
The Best Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Herbal Alternatives to Hydrocodone
Lapacho Tea Benefits
Are There Natural Alternatives to Antiplatelet Medication?
Can You Eat Too Much Ginger?
What Is Naproxen 500 mg Used for?
Crystallized Ginger Nutrition
Curcumin and High Blood Pressure
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Turmeric
- National Institutes of Health: Efficacy and Tolerability of a Standardized Willow Bark Extract in Patients with Osteoarthritis: Randomized Placebo-controlled, Double Blind Clinical Trial
- ABC Science: Health and Medical: Ginger Has Painkilling Properties
- Desborough MJR, Keeling DM. The aspirin story - from willow to wonder drug. Br J Haematol. 2017;177(5):674-683. doi:10.1111/bjh.14520
- Tabbott SM. A Guide to Understanding Supplements. Routledge. 2012.
- Schmid B, Lüdtke R, Selbmann HK, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of a standardized willow bark extract in patients with osteoarthritis: randomized placebo-controlled, double blind clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2001;15(4):344-50. doi:10.1002/ptr.981
- Biegert C, Wagner I, et al.Efficacy and safety of willow bark extract in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: results of 2 randomized double-blind controlled trials. J Rheumatol. 2004;31(11):2121-30.
- Gagnier JJ, Oltean H, Van tulder MW, Berman BM, Bombardier C, Robbins CB. Herbal Medicine for Low Back Pain: A Cochrane Review. Spine. 2016;41(2):116-33. doi:10.1097/BRS.0000000000001310
- Shara M, Stohs SJ. Efficacy and Safety of White Willow Bark (Salix alba) Extracts. Phytother Res. 2015;29(8):1112-6. doi:10.1002/ptr.5377
- Ulbricht C. Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Guide 1st Edition. Mosby. 2010.
- Questions and Answers on Dietary Supplements. US Food & Drug Administration. July 2019.
- Gagnier, J.; Oltean, H.; van Tulder, M. et al. Herbal Medicine for Low Back Pain: A Cochrane Review. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2016 Jan;41(2):116-33. DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001310.
Based in Las Vegas, Tracii Hanes is a freelance writer specializing in health and psychology with over seven years of professional experience. She got her start as a news reporter and has since focused exclusively on freelance writing, contributing to websites like Wellsphere, Education Portal and more. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.