Lots of people believe in the restorative powers of a warm cup of tea (I prefer the iced version myself). But when it comes to relieving pain, any temperature will do, whichever way you can drink it faster. On top of their unique tastes, each tea serves up a particular pain-fighting remedy. For extra pain-fighting abilities, sweeten your tea with honey (unless you have any kind of blood-sugar problem).
Blackstrap molasses: The British swear by crude blackstrap molasses dissolved in water for pain relief—I gave it a try, and it really worked. When you take it every morning, this preparation appears to ease and even eliminate joint pain. That may be because molasses is an excellent source of minerals, including potassium and magnesium. You can find it in any grocery store, usually in the baking section or near the honey.
Black currant: A rheumatism remedy that is very popular in Europe—especially among the mountain people of eastern Europe—is black currant tea. They brew a tea from the leaves of the black currant bush. You can avoid trekking through the meadows by just buying prebagged black currant tea at any health-food store.
Cowslip: Cowslip, which grows wild in nearly all pastures and meadows, is a gentle pain reliever—and also a good source of natural aspirin. A tea made of cowslip petals, honey, sugar, and lemon juice is a tasty treatment for headaches. Cowslip can be bought in cut or powdered form through most mail-order herb companies and health-food stores.
Ginger: Fresh ginger tea is used throughout the world to treat headaches (among other ailments). You can make it by grating and squeezing gingerroot to extract the juice. Then add about a teaspoon of the juice to a cup of hot water.
Mint: Spearmint is an antispasmodic and a diuretic, making it great for pain relief—especially when that pain comes with cramping. You can get your spearmint in pretty much any form, but the tea is particularly soothing.
Alfalfa: Alfalfa tea is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it reduces knuckle swelling and joint pain, alfalfa is often recommended for people who spend a lot of time using their hands—like for typing or knitting. Drink a cup of alfalfa tea several times throughout the day. For headaches, try alfalfa seed tea for fast and effective pain relief.
Chinese angelica/Dong quai: A Chinese version of angelica, called dong quai, is used by lots of herbalists I know to relieve headaches. Make a medicinal tea by boiling one large slice of dried dong quai root in 2 cups of water, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Remove the root (save it—you can use it again) and then sip the liquid. You can find dong quai in Asian markets and many health-food stores.
Chrysanthemum: In India and China, tension headaches are commonly soothed by a tea made from dried yellow chrysanthemum. Prepackaged tea bags are available in most health-food stores. This tea tastes much better with some sweetener added.
Dr. Allan Spreen
Nationally acclaimed as America’s “Nutrition Physician,” Dr. Spreen has been helping people stay healthy and disease-free as a private doctor, published author, and noted researcher.
In addition to his role as a Senior Member of the prestigious Health Sciences Institute Advisory Panel in Baltimore, MD, Dr. Spreen also coaches diving at the international and Olympic levels. NorthStar Nutritionals is proud to have Dr. Spreen as our Chief Research Advisor.
Dr. Spreen also writes the Guide to Good Health.