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How to Use Herbs for Pain

 
master steward
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My husband has Degenerative Disc Disease which he takes medication for.  He wants to get off the meds as he says they no longer work, so his Veteran Admin. Doctor has prescribed more medication.

He uses lots of hot sauce, so much that I think he has ruined his taste buds.  I have tried capsules of Turmeric and Cayenne.

I would like some suggestions of herbs that might help and maybe some that might help while he is trying to wean off the pain meds.

I wanted him to ask his doctor about CBD oil, since VA probably would not prescribe it, he did not ask.

How is CBD oil used for pain?  Is it taken internally or appled to the skin, or both?   How much would be needed for a month?

Any help would be appreciated.
 
pollinator
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There are many different methods for taking herbal supplementation for pain management.  You can take them orally in capsules, apply essential oils directly to skin to relieve muscles, eat them with foods, or drink it as teas.  They all have their benefits.

Orally as pills is the easiest to measure dosage, but these are often the most expensive.  Some of the pills have just the plant in them, and some have concentrated oils.  Their strengths can be totally different.  Oral pills also can take longer to take effect, since they have to go through digestion to enter the bloodstream.  

Apply essential oils directly to skin can be one of the quickest ways to get relief.  These oils are highly concentrated, and you can feel the difference much quicker.  There are all different types of pain, and you want to source high quality oils to make the biggest difference with your pain.  I am going to copy and paste a list of oils that help with muscle pain in one way or another.  Not all of these will be good for every situation, and you will be able to see that there are quite a few different uses for them.  

You can ingest pain reducing herbs with your food, but take caution here ..... you need to understand that heat will likely denature many of the natural healing compounds of these herbs.  (that's also another reason to get high quality oils... cheaper ones denature the oils).  Drinking herbs as a tea is also similar.  You do not want to use high boiling water, but you want to steep your herbs in warmer water.  While there are many many herbs that you should look into and research for yourself, I can suggest that you start by looking at my research compiled into this tea called "Yerba Mate".  You will find that it has health benefits unknown to the majority of the population.  I am going to copypasta the information about the tea below the information about muscle oils.  The info can also be found at bit.ly/yerbalife or https://www.facebook.com/WillWallB/posts/10203983981013236

As for CBD oil, it is legal in every state.  If you are looking for the best healing benefits, then you should look into paying more money for "full spectrum" CBD oil.  Very simply, it includes many of the terps and other compounds that can help with your healing and pain.  The cheaper oils do not have that, mainly because of how the oil is produced.  Here's an in depth article explaining what full spectrum cbd oil is, and why it's important to pay for higher quality - https://www.marijuanabreak.com/full-spectrum-cbd-oil



-------------------------------------------------------
Muscle Aches

Arbor Vitae - Nerve Stimulant
Basil - Muscle Spasms, Fatigue, Healing, Wounds
Birch - Muscle Ache/Development/Tone
Black Pepper - Anti Inflammatory
Cardamom - Inflammation - Muscle Aches
Cinnamon - Inflammation
Clary Sage - Muscle Fatigue, Nerve Tonic, Sedative
Clove - Muscle Aches, Muscle Pain, Anti Inflammatory, Arthritis, Rheumatism,
Coriander - Muscle Aches, Muscle Tone, Whiplash, Cartilage Injury,
Cypress - Bone Spurs, Muscle Fatigue, Muscle Tone, Pain,
Douglas Fir - Soothing to sore muscles, sooth overworked or tired muscles and joints
Eucalyptus - Overexercised muscles, Pain, Tennis Elbow, Anti Inflammatory,
Frankincense - Anti Inflammatory ,
Geranium - MRSA, Sedative, anti inflammatory, relaxing, neuralgia, insomnia,
Ginger - Rheumatic pain, muscular aches/pains, sprains,
Helichrysum = Bruises, Bone Bruises, Earaches, Tissue Pain, Tissue Repair, Blood Cleansing,
Jasmine - Muscle Spasms, Pain releaf, sprains,
Juniper Berry - Arthritis, Aching Muscles, Nerve Function and Regeneration,
Lavendar - Pain, Inflammation, Muscular Paralysis,
Lemon - Muscular Aches and Pains
Lemongrass - Cramps, Muscle Strain, Sprains, Whiplash, Anti Inflammatory, Central nervous system sedative, regenerates connective tissue, repairing ligaments,
Marjoram - Muscular Tone, Cramps, Cartilage Injury, Muscle Fatigue, Muscle Aches, Physcial stress, stiffness, sprains, Muscle Tension, Whiplash, aches,
Melaleuca - Inflammation, anti inflammatory, tissue regenerative,
Orange - Muscle Soreness
Oregano - Muscle Aches, rheumatism,
Peppermint - Muscle aches, Muscle fatrigue, anti inflammatory,
Roman Chamomile - Muscle Spasms, Muscle Tension, Nerve Health,
Rosemary - Fatigue, Inflammation, anti inflammatory,
Tangerine - Anti Inflammatory, swelling,
Vetiver - Muscular rheumatism, sprains, restful sleep,
White fir- cartilage inflammation, muscle fatigue, muscle pain, sprains, overexercised muscles,
Wintergreen - Arthritic Pain, Bone Pain, Bone Spurs, Cartilage Injury, Joint Pain, Muscle Development, Muscle Tone, Pain, anti Inflammatory,

-------------------------------

Yerba Mate Tea

Could Drinking Tea Save Your Life?

Mighty Tea - The healthiest tea that you've probably never heard of

The Tea that Packs More Punch than Green Tea.

Yerba Mate and it's health benefits EXPLAINED -

- Stimulates and wakes mind without nervousness and jitters of coffee

- "whole body tonic"

- 196 active ("volatile") chemical compounds (144 same as green tea)

- 11 polyphenol phytochemicals (antioxidants)

- Saponins (stimulates immune system & protects against disease)

- more potent antioxidants than Vitamin C or butylated hydroxytoluene (1997 Biochemical and Molecular Biology International)

- Contribute to increase the antioxidant defense against free radicals attack (2000 March journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications)

- Highest Flavonoid and Caffeoyl derivatives than 6 other South American Species (2001 November “Filoterapia”)

- Potent Direct Qenchers of free radicals 1,1-dipheyl-2-picrylhydrazyl & rich source of polypheols and antioxidant properties comparable to green tea (2003 June Journal of Alternative Complimentary Medicine)

- Total Polyphenol Content (mmol quercetin equivalents per liter)
1 Yerba Mate – 6.5
2 Green Tea – 1.8
3 Black Tea – 1.13

- Comparison of Free Radical Quenching Activities (1x10^(-1) dilutions)
1 Yerba Mate – 75%
2 Green Tea – 35%
3 Black Tea – 2%

- henolic coumpounds were absorbed and promoted plasma and LDL protection against ex vivo lipid peroxidation. Mild but significant effect on antioxidant activity of plasma

- Vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B

- Complex Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc

- Additional Compounds: Carotene, Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Polyphenols, Inositol, Trace Minerals, Antioxidants, Tannins, Pantothenic Acid and 15 Amino Acids.

- “All of the vitamins necessary to sustain life” (Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society)

- Pantothenic Acid “Rare to find a plant with so much of this significant and vital nutrient...indeed difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value” (Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society)

- Health Benefit of antioxidants in natural form – more beneficial than supplement with pills

- Anti Cancer – 65% inhibition of antitopoisomerase II activity versus 15% for green tea (2005 Journal of Agricultural and Food Science)

- Consumption of Flavonoids associated with prevention of age-related chronic conditions including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Flavonoids have antitopoisomerase activity and can inhibit cell proliferation. Beneficial effect of tea polyphols against cancer at most stages of development (2005 Journal of Agricultural and Food Science)

- Inhibition of oral cancer cell proliferation – cytotoxicity against malignant oral carcinoma cells while causing little damage to normal or premalignant cells in the cancerous lesion (2005 Journal of Agricultural and Food Science)

- No connection between polyphenol levels and anti-cancer activity. Polyphenolic content (of different Mate samples) did not correlate with the degree of topoisomerase inhibition. This suggests the inhibition of topoisomerase and oral carcinoma cell proliferation may be due to the presence of other unidentified phytochemicals. This is a potential source of still unknown active substances that can be added to the arsenal of compounds that could be used in cancer prevention and treatment (2005 Journal of Agricultural and Food Science)

- Catechins – no EGCG contained – but has compounds that act similarly such as 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid – potent preoteasome inhibitor comparabile to EGCG

- Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Antimutagenic and Lipid-lowering activides – with evidence that seems to provide support for beneficial effects of drinking mate on chronic diseases with inflammatory components and lipid metabolism disorders (Borges MC, Vinolo MA)

- MAO inhibition – inhibiting monoamine oxidase activity by 40-50% in vitro, so it may be useful for treating a vareity of disorders such as depression, attention-focus-mood-emotional disorders, Parkinson's disease, hypertension, substance abuse, extrapyramidal disorders, eating disorders, withdrawal syndromse and the cessation of smoking. (2002 Patent and Study)

- Central Nervous System Stimulant

- Maintain Aerobic Breakdown of Carbs during exercise for long periods of time. More caories are burned thereby increasing cardiac efficiency and delaying the build up of lactic acid

- Helps Relieve Allergies – opens respiratory passages to overcome allergy symptoms. Reduces severity of some allergies and hay fever by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids – supressing the inflammation and immune response due to allergies (Page, Linda Rector N.D. Ph.D.)

- Weight Loss/Managment – used for years by physcians in Europe for obesity

- Rise in Proportion of Fat Oxidized: Study of available Plant preparations with anti-obesity claims – no significant increase in energy expenditure (EE) with any preparation, also no change in respiratory quotient (RQ) except after treatment with Yerba Mate indicating a rise in the proportion of fat oxidized. (1999 Swiss University)

- Yerba Mate, Guarana, Damiana (YGD) – significantly delayed gastric emptying, reducing the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days. Maintenance treatment given in an uncontrolled context resulted in no further weight loss nor weight gain in the group as a whole. (2000 Charlottenlund Medical Center Denmark)

- “Promoted Weight Loss, attenuated the HFD-detrimental effects on adiposity and insulin sensitivity and decreased blood levesl of the inflammatory biomarkers.” Concluded that it reduces cardiometabolic risk markers (Sao Paolo University)

- Lower growth rate of adipose tissue, lower body weight gane and lower obesity in high fat diet fed mice (2012 study)

- Obesity and Diabetes- Mate affects food intake, resulting in higher energy expenditure, likely as a result of higher basal metabolism in mice. Reductions in serum cholesterol, serum triglycerides and glucose concentrations in mice that were fed a high fat diet. (2012 study)

- Improves Digestion – South American indians use to treat gastrointestinal disorders such as eupeptic and Choleretic agent.

- Increased bile flow and enhanced intestinal transit (Argentina, Catedra de Farmacologia , Buenos Aires)

- Diabetes – shown to inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) with effect comparable to that of two pharmaceutical grade AGE inhibitor drugs. The formation of AGEs play a part in the development of diabetic complications

- Diabetes – 2 to 2.5 times higher fold polyphenols that are capable of inhibiting advanced glycation end-products compared to Green Tea. Demonstrates a significant dose-dependent effect of Yerba Mate on AGE adducts formation where green trea displayed no significant effect . Inhibition of AGE formation was comparable to that obtained by using millimolar concentrations of the standard antiglycation agent aminoguanidine (2005 Touro University, California)

- Inhibition of Lipid Peroxidation – LDL oxidation is inhibited by extracts of Mate. Oxidation of LDL is considered to be the initiating factor to the onset of atherosclerosis (thickening and hardening of the arteries) (1995 Biochemical Molecular Biology International by Gugliucci)

- Inhibition of the Progression of Atherosclerosis in Cholesterol fed rabbits (2006 Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil)

- Bad Breath – polyphenols found in mate have been shown to prevent both the growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath and the bacteria's production of odorous compounds

- Parkinson's – hydroalcohol extract of Mate may have an antipoarkinsonian profile in animal models, probably through its antioxidant activity and antagonist action on adenosine A(2A) receptors.

- Oral Cavity Defense – produced significant increase in both secreted peroxidase and total peroxidase activity

-Coffee Consumption and Pancreatic Cancer – strong association between coffee consumption and pancreatic cancer in both sexes (1981 New England Journal of Medicine)

- Acrylamide – 24 brands of coffee and 7 brands of espresso tested finding small amounts of acrylamide a “probably human carcinogen”, which is likely formed when the coffee beans are roasted.

- Tea is Second only to water in worldwide consumption. Very Hot Tea associated in 2 to 3 fold risk of esophageal cancer.

- Zero Native Harmful Substances

- Balances Sleep – does not interfere with sleep cycles – has tendency to balance the cycles, inducing more REM sleep when necessary or increasing the amount of time spent in delta states. Many report that they require less sleep usually indicating deeper, more relaxed sleep.

- “giving patients tea who need to stop using caffeine-containing products for health reasons. I like having a healthful substitute for coffee, tea and colas to offer” (K.L.P., M.D.)

- Memory – improved the short-term memory of rats (2008 Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)

- Theobromine – the feel good chemical in Chocolate as well as theophylline

- Increases HDL, Decreases LDL – in people who had high cholesterol and were being treated with statin drugs (2009 study)

- Free Radical Scavenging Ability of greater than 89% (called an excellent result)through test called DPPH assay (2007 Sao Paulo University)

- Better than Green Tea and Red wine at protecting cells from peroxynitrite (2005 Touro University-California)

- 100 fold higher amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols compared to the 16 ainstream non-tea-based drinks and Guayaki Yerba mate had the largest antioxidant and polyphenol content among the 15 tea-based energy drinks (2010 University of Illinois – Dr. Elvira de Mejia)

- Anti-Inflammatory - “a promising anti-inflammatory outcome mainly through the PGE(2)COX-2 pathway.

Drink Tea - Live Life
 
master pollinator
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6 hours ago I had a broken tooth ripped out of my face by a dentist, and while I can take some serious pain medicines that he prescribed, I use clove oil dabbed with a q-tip around the pulled tooth.

It is simle: it works.

So on Sunday when we were at church and a friend (and church-goer) said she felt compelled to do something and was buying me some Frakenscence for my cancer, I was thrilled. It is expensiive stuff, and not exactly something I can make myself.
 
William Wallace
pollinator
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Travis, check out the tea that I posted my research for above called Yerba Mate
"Anti Cancer – 65% inhibition of antitopoisomerase II activity versus 15% for green tea (2005 Journal of Agricultural and Food Science) "  
It's a cheap tea, I buy a pound online for like 7 dollars through my wholesaler
 
pollinator
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I prefer tinctures or teas rather than capsules. I find the capsules can cause gastrointestinal distress.

 
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He can take CBD oil internally but I would consider using a cannabis salve - a whole plant infusion into oil, rather than just CBD, if you can get your hands on some.  It's actually easy enough to make yourself if you have access to cannabis (good quality trim will work just fine).  Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory and works quite well on this type of pain.

He also might consider ditching the hot sauce for a little bit, if he's in that much pain.  Depending on his constitution, it could be creating more issues by irritating the problem area.  That said, some people report using cayenne in a salve, applied to the area, gives a bit of pain relief.  St John's wort infusion into oil (using fresh flowers), massaged into the problem area could be helpful for the pain too.

I also want to add that capsules (in my opinion) are the least effective when it comes to stuff like this.  Once the herb has been pulverized, it starts losing potency, and with intense pain like this, might not be helpful in the least.  I would suggest getting some fresh turmeric root - you can find it in a lot of grocery stores now.  If you can't find it in your regular grocery, try an Asian market.  Blend a chuck of the root into a smoothie with a small sprinkle of black pepper (pepper helps the turmeric work), or you can just blend it with water or juice.  It doesn't taste the best but it's a very effective anti-inflammatory.  I've never had any luck with turmeric powder but I healed a pretty deformed shoulder due to a torn rotator cuff, using fresh turmeric and cannabis salve, so I feel pretty strongly about it.  lol

Hope that helps
 
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Kratom is an herb from Asia/

The wikipedia page presents a very cautious overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitragyna_speciosa  It plays up the negatives and plays down the positives.

Many people find it very, very effective for managing chronic pain.

You can typically buy it locally at tobacco stores to try it out, and then if it works for you, buy it in bulk online for a 90% lower price.
 
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There are a number of ways to go with pain. I have made a tincture that included California poppy (the wild orange one that you may see near road ways), wild lettuce, chamomile, cramp bark... There might be some I'm forgetting... I had made this blend and gave it to a veteran who was in line accross from me (at a barter faire 😉) getting cannabis flowers (which were not working as well has he would like). He hadn't slept for days because of pain. His wife came back later worried that she couldn't wake him up... Yikes ... Got a good scare -he was just sleeping without pain. The herbs I listed take the edge off of pain, yet you can still feel what's going on in your body. CBD and THC might also be  a worthy pain exploration - from what I am understanding of the science it activated the immune system to get your healing on.. which is especially becoming known and effective for cancer.
 
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We use 3 herbs for pain management, crampbark, willow bark, and Kratom
Crampbark for sore muscles.  
Willow bark for mild to mod pain.    
Kratom for moderate to severe pain.    

I agree with Mike, there are quite a few over-hyped articles about Kratom.  These take the "Reefer Madness" approach to the subject, and are typically just as factual as reefer madness.  

We were introduced to Kratom last year when my husband broke his leg, a spiral fracture involving the top third of the tibia, just below the knee, with a torn tendon to go with it.  Willowbark tincture was not enough to control the pain.  A friend brought over a couple of doses of kratom for him to try.  It worked to manage his pain and allowed him to remain clear-headed.  He could still edit and do his sound mixing when on kratom, something he couldn't do when he took Vicodin, so we still had some income.  

You will read that it is addicting, just like it's cousin, coffee, and in my experience, to a lesser extant.  My husband took it daily for about 5-6 weeks while recovering.  He had no symptoms of withdrawal when he stopped, not even a headache.  

Different strains have slightly different properties.  We keep 2 strains on hand.  We don't need it everyday, but it is sure handy to have around when the need arises.  

It is worthwhile looking into Kratom when pain is chronic or severe.  
Do research it to seperate the hype from the facts.  
If it is still legal in your state, you may want to try it.

Like Mike said, it is horridly expensive when buying locally and the quality may not be as good as one would like.   ($1.00 each for 500 mg capsule at my local tobacco shop.  2 gm is my dosage, which would be 4 capsules.)  I buy it over the internet and make my own capsules.  It comes to around 10 cents each to make.  

 
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Thanks Anne for the topic!  My husband also suffers from Degenerative Disc Disease.  I appreciate the information posted in the replies. Juanita, is willow bark commonly available in most natural foods/herbal stores?  Is generally affordable?
 
Juanita Colucci
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Hi Denise.  I live in a very small town with no herbal stores, so I am unable to answer that part.  
I usually buy all my herbs by the pound from internet sites.  (Monterey Bay Spice Co., Ameriherb, herbalcom.com, and the like.)  
It usually runs $6.-7./pound, cut and sifted.  Very affordable.
A pound of cut/sifted willow bark is around 7 cups, which yields a whole lot of tincture.  A pound is enough to handle our needs, as well as providing gift bottles for friends, for a couple of years.
 
Denise Massey
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Thanks Juanita!  Sounds like something we can afford on our retiree income.  I'll definitely check out those sites.
 
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Pharmaceutical drugs are not only the path of pain relief. There are many other herbal remedies for natural pain relief. Boswellia and Willow bark is One of them. According to another study essential oil blend was also successful for natural pain relief.
 
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Here is what I have in my herbal notes about herbal pain relief:
Corydalis (Corydalis yanhuso, Corydalis solida, and other spp) root. It is great to take before bed as it can be sadating for some people. Do not take and drive. It is recommended taking 5-10grams total per day of dried root powder, broken up into two or three doses.Do not overdo as long term high use can hurt liver. There are no known interactions with medications.  Extract will need smaller dose. It is too bitter for the tea. It is very stong pain herb used for advanced cancer pain, and it works better than morphine. People use it for fybromalgia and strong menstrual pain as well. It has a wide variety of actions onto nervous system, helps to sleep. It has to be processed to increase effectiveness.
Wormwood externally is very good pain reliever. Just put some tincture on the painful area and gently rub in. I used it alone and with valerian tincture to relieve pain in my neck and shoulder from sleeping in a uncomfortable position. usually that sort of pain would annoy me for full day or even beyond, and this time it was gone within 1-2 hours (after several applications.)
Toad stool mushroom tincture externally works wonders for sciatica pain. Do not use internally unless you know what you are doing, and then only in small amounts.
Bistort (Polygonum bistorta, Persicaria bisorta)-one of the strongest natural painkillers.
Turmeric - take a heaping teaspoon, mix in smallish amount of water - works really well from muscle pain
Boswellia
Rosemary - add 1-2 tabslpoons of dried or fresh rosemary to 2 cups of hot water. Sip slowly throughout the day or drink half cup every 2 hours. Especially useful for the headaches, including migraine.
Wormwood tincture (on its own or mixed with some thick salve) externally works very well for pain relief. It can be taken internally also, but just in single drop amounts (like 5 drops a day, taken at 5 different times - according to Susun Weed). I personally tried it on the neck/shoulder pain after waking up in the morning from sleeping in the wrong position. It was the fastest that sort of pain went away. Pain was gone within minutes, stiffness took a bit longer -I had to apply a few more times -i mixed wormwood tincture and valerian tincture and applied to the skin. Susun Weed uses for cramps in gut: 5-10 drops Wormwood, once interanally.
Feverfew/catnip tincture combo.
Bentonite clay- mix (with wood or plastic utensils as metal takes charge out of clay rendering it ineffective)it with water (2 parts water, 1 clay) and store it in your house and car for emergencies and pain relief-works well on stings, burns, wounds, sprains, etc. For burns and wounds use plastic wrap over the clay to keep moisture in, for other things like pulling out infections, bug bites -breathable cloth over the clay as drying action helps. Some people do not like using plastic wrap as clay might be able to draw toxns out of it, so they just use wet cloth and remoisten it often.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris),  infused oil is great massage oil for painful muscles, back, slipped disks. It is also called traveler's wort as travelers used to put leaves into their shoes and as they walked herb released healing substances, releaving tired and sore feet.
Ginger - take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried ginger powder (for 150 lb person.)
Strong Pain relieving tea: 32oz water with 7tbs turmeric, 2tbs tamarind paste, 2tbs ginger, black pepper, 3tbs honey. If available add a couple handfuls of Cannabis wrapped in cheesecloth or in a strainer. Slow cook. Pain relieving tea.
Cottonwood (Populus fremontii) bark salve or taken internally. Great for joint pain and also menstrual cramps.
Valerian, Wild Lettuce & Hops formula from angelaharris.com. Some people use just valerian and wil lettuce for the nerve pain. California poppy is also great for nerve pain.
Turkey Corn.Yan Ho Suo (Corydalis pormorosa) especially good for the abdominal, menstrual, child birth and hernial pain. Also for headaches. Take 1200 mg , 1-2 times a day with meals. Dose of the infusion, from 1 to 4 fluid ounces 3 or 4 times a day; of the saturated tincture, 1-4 droppers. The infusion to be made of 4 drachms of the powdered bulb and 1 pint of boiling water.  Do not take too much as it can cause vertigo and nausea with excessive doses. It is sold often in Chinese herb shops, and it grows abundantly in the wild.
Copaiba essential oil -apply 3-5 drops to the painful spot. Some people mix up in this formula -Copaiba oil, frankinsence oil, idaho balsam fir and Arnica.
Lobelia tincture -internally 1/2 teaspoon or externally for pain  due to spasms as in overworked muscles. Can make one vomit, if taken more.
Canadian horseweed Conyza canadensis
Sage: Great for digestive headaches caused by an overindulgence. Also one of the better herbs for hormonally caused headaches, especially with hot flashes. In a larger dose, it works great for tension headaches too.
Peony: For crazy neck spasms, general tension and sensory over stimulation." I’ve found it to work wonderfully for PMS headaches (and it helps the cramps and moodiness too). A great and underused herb (see Michael Moore’s Medicine Plants of the Mountain West for an in-depth discussion).
Ginger: For cold headaches, and those caused by external influences such as viruses. Also seems to work really great for headaches caused by circulatory congestion and cold, stuck sinus infections. Also works well as a migraine preventative by keeping blood vessels dilated.
Eucommia bark (Eucommia ulmoides) -it can be used as a tonic herb, helpful in bone, joint, ligament pain. The bark cannot be eaten in its raw state but must go through a hot water extraction process, either by simmering the dried material in water as a liquid tea or by concentrating it into a powdered hot water extract. It can also be prepared as a tincture in alcohol.
Passion flower leaf tea or tincture
Wood betony - take a dropersful, if not relived within 20 minutes, take another one. It is a safe herb, so you can take quite a few. 6 dropers equal to 1 teaspoon.
Wild lettuce -make tea or tincture with leaves and stem, take 2-4 ml (40-80 drops) about 3 times a day. Sap in the stem contains more narcotic stuff, but it is very weak compared to opium and doesn't give stomach problems. Can be sedative, so best to use at night.
Chanca Piedra- "My eleven-year-old daughter had two incisors removed. When the anesthesia began to wear off, she began crying in pain. She was given a dose (1 teaspoon) of Chanca Piedra tincture and within five minutes the pain subsided."
"Nerve damage pain - it took 4 cups of chanca piedra tea, before pain relief was achieved. 1 tabslp. of alcohol tincture worked better. "
Oil of oregano -either cpasules internally or externally rubbed in.
Devil's claw (not cat's claw) reduces inflamation too, more effective than commercial painkillers without side effects. Great for migraines, back pain, muscle and digestive pains.
Cayenne and paprika
Evening primrose oil
Fish oil or flaxseed oil
Bromelain- an enzyme extracted from the pineapple plant, bromelain has been shown to be effective in treating inflammation. In fact, using 250 mg of bromelain twice daily between meals has even been effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. In one study, more than 70 percent of patients taking bromelain experienced less joint swelling and pain, and more mobility. When used as a digestive aid it should be taken after meals, but when used for inflammation and pain, it is best taken between meals.
Silk tassel (Garrya elliptica) relieves menstrual cramps within several minutes. If it doesn't, take one more dropper. Also for indigestion , bladder, gallbladder, kidney stone, and bile cramping pain. It can cause the duct to relax sufficiently to allow the stone, gravel or whatever else to pass with less resistance and pain. "Most commonly tincture of leaves and twigs is used as it is very bitter. The first time I made a tincture of mostly leaves with a few twigs, I was a bit dismayed by the black/gray/blue color of the tincture, the odd smell and the truly frightening taste. Bitter, biting and dull all at once in flavor, I was concerned that there might be something wrong with the tincture. So I made some more with the same result. This assured me it was the intended result, but I still found the resultant medicine to be less than inviting and actually avoided its use for several months before giving in to my own endless curiosity. I retain my respect for this strong medicine and use it only when it is specifically called for, usually be acute pain and cramping. It is very strong and can be drug-like in its action. It is therefore best used in acute cases, or acute stages of a chronic disorder (gallbladder attacks, kidney stones, menstrual cramps etc). It should not be used over a long period of time or in large doses, and never by pregnant or lactating women or small children. Also, avoid taking with any other medication at all, too many interactions are possible." Cara Brotman  says, that it is amazing and takes pain away of physical injuries for 12-24 hours. She uses flower/leaf dried powder -a spoonful in a bit of water. Taste is not good, bitter and awful, but works amazing. We probably can stuff it into capsules.

Sichuan lovage (Rhizoma Ligustici)  rhizome is commonly used for pain relief and promoting blood circulation. For chest pain or angina which is a sign of stagnated blood flow in the heart vessels, the herb is prescribed with red sage root, cassia twig and sandal wood. It can be used along with notoginseng, frankincense and myrrh to relieve pain and swelling in traumatic injuries. In chronic limb and joint problems, Sichuan lovage rhizome is prescribed with pubescent angelica root, cassia twig and ledebouriella root to relieve pain, numbness or spasm. When abscesses are formed, the herb is prescribed with astragalus root, angelica root and Chinese honeylocust spine to facilitate pus drainage and promote healing.
Goldenrod-joint pain
Angelica root
Rosemary -headaches, muscle, joint
Saw Palmetto-migraine pain
Meadowsweet - joint pain, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, digestion, ulcers
Birch Leaf- joint pain, spasms, hair loss, urinary infections
Goldenpaste (turmeric, ginger, black pepper, Ceylon cinnamon and coconut oil) helps so much with pain and inflammation. I infuse my coconut oil with marijuana for my own but it's not usually done that way. Heather Hart from facebook comment
Meadowsweet is high in salicylic acid, which is well know for its ability to relieve pain. It is  a mild to moderate pain reliever that is especially suited to stagnant pain (in a fixed location, possibly with a pounding sensation) and for those with symptoms of heat. The Iroquois used the mashed and powdered dried meadowsweet root as part of a compound decoction with yarrow for side pain, and nausea.
 
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I'm late to this party - I hope DH is finding some relief from the many useful suggestions here.    Recently I've come across a plethora of articles and Youtube videos about Magnesium for just about everything that ails you.   Of course we all know about epsom salts for tired feet but it's much more important and powerful than just that.    The new information emphasizes the importance of magnesium in our diet to absorb the complete array of vitamins and minerals, and for relaxing muscle spasms, enhancing sleep.......   Go to Youtube and search "magnesium for pain" - there's a lot to choose from.  It's important to take the right kind so it's worth listening to Dr. Carolyn Dean who has done a great deal of research on the subject and offers her own formulated supplements (of course!).   There are natural medicine physicians who believe that most chronic and degenerative diseases can be prevented/cured by fixing the whole system, not just treating pain with palliatives.    
 
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I had Hep C or years, decades really.  I did the older treatments 3 times for approx. 48 wks each time.  The first 2 times the meds would clear the virus but then it always returned and I had higher and higher viral counts.  The third time around it finally killed the Hep C but months later I started feeling like I was on the treatment again.  I didn't think the Hep C had come back, which it hasn't, but like I was on the treatment again.  This started to progress until I was in constant pain.  I eventually had several neurological tests and found out that the treatment had caused demyelination (stripping of the covering) of nerves all over my body.  It affected many things but the worst part was the pain.  It kept getting worse until I was on heavy duty pain meds and they still were not controlling the pain.  It was horrible.  

Luckily, I moved and one of my new pain management docs was also a neurologist.  He told me that there really wasn't anything out there, except one med for MS that was very hard to qualify for, and that I'd never be approved.  But he said one of the main ingredients was Resveratrol. I found the best product I could find on Amazon, actually.  It has the best concentration and source of resveratrol.  You have to be careful about the sourcing and ingredients of any supplement.  At any rate, after a month or so of taking Resveratrol religiously, my pain started to decrease for the first time.  For a couple years it had only gotten worse.  Now, a year later I am completely off the pain meds.  The only thing that changed was the Resveratrol.  I was almost ready to give up after being in horrific pain for years.  I truly believe that Resveratrol saved my life.  I believe everyone should be taking it.  

I hope this will help someone that has not been able to get relief from anything other than pain meds.  The detox from them was horrible, even though I did it gradually I did it on my own. I'm glad to be off that poison and if I can help one person I will feel great about it.  
 
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Thanks to William Wallace to introduce yerba mate to me. I've ordered some organic YM and drinking at the moment.
 
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One thing to be careful of is mixing herbs with other herbs and drugs. Herbs are just a bundle of drugs and other stuff in plant form, generally with little in depth studies into safety and drug interactions. With a popular herb like cannabis, there are many positive and negative effects that are reasonably well studied. Just like with pharmaceutical drugs, you need to weigh up the pros, cons and unknown risks.

I personally do not see herbs as being inherently better or worse than pharmaceuticals, other than the fact that you can often grow your own. As a general rule I think it is best to avoid long term daily use of any drug/herb, especially for pain (unless you are near the end).

Also if he is on a high dose of opioids, be very careful going of them. Withdrawal can be fatal. It may be possible to go back on them in the future and use them in a more limited fashion, with better results. I have been taking opioid pain kills for about a decade. With the exception of a few months, never as an ongoing daily thing. When used like this you can avoid tolerance and addiction.

I genuinely suggest you do not follow my advice without discussion with a qualified medical professional.
 
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Lots of great advice here, another one I didn't see mentioned that would be good for a try is kava kava. I use it extensively for my anxiety but it's also used to manage pain. You can't grow it in colder climates, but it's really a miracle plant as it offers mind and body relaxation similar to a good alcohol buzz without a lot of the disorientation/stupidity/hangovers and other side effects. Just make sure you get some from a reputable buyer that sells only "noble" (not tudei or unspecified) and only the root. The good sellers will specifically say they sell only noble kava and only the root. For daytime use you'd also want something on the less "heady" side but you can experiment with different strains. Not sure about US laws; in Canada it's legal to import for personal use but requires Health Canada sign off to resell. The effects are a lot less subtle and more pronounced than a lot of other herbs used in herbal medicine. Luckily it's basically impossible to take too much by accident, you will be physically grossed out by the idea of drinking more well before you could hurt yourself with it.
 
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Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
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