Western medicine strives to maintain the stranglehold it has built around the topic of health. But the cracks in the foundation are becoming more and more apparent. While there are many great aspects of Western medicine, there are also some very dark corners as well.
One area it shines in is with dealing with pain. For example, while we aimed for a natural, physiologic birth, my wife’s pregnancy involved back labor and after fighting through that for a while, she opted for taking pain medication. She made the right call for herself at the time.
But there is a dark side to pain meds also.
In fact, its been in the news lately and is called the Opioid Epidemic. This is largely because of the addictive nature of these drugs, and how these drugs are destroyed lives. (Far more than some of the illegal drugs.)
I recently read a story of an otherwise successful man who ended up screwing over friends and family, and eventually committed suicide because of an opioid addiction.
Opioids have been the go-to pain medication doctors prescribe because they work best…
Except a new study says they don’t.
In a recent test study, with 240 patients over 12 months, all the opioids, including morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone/acetaminophen combo, did not outperform acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 
“Treatment with opioids was not superior to treatment with nonopioid medications for improving pain-related function over 12 months. Results do not support initiation of opioid therapy for moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain.” 
It makes me wonder. What if pain relieving herbs were tested as well?
Might the whole drug paradigm be chipped away even further?
Because let us not forget, there are some over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen, which is what Tylenol® and many other name brands are, that also cause serious side effects.
“Acetaminophen overdose sends as many as 78,000 Americans to the emergency room annually and results in 33,000 hospitalizations a year, federal data shows. Acetaminophen is also the nation’s leading cause of acute liver failure, according to data from an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes for Health.” 
There is a false assumption that just because a drug is over-the-counter, it means its safe. But this is not always true. Painkillers such as NSAIDs, like ibuprofen commonly found in Advil® and Motrin®, are known for causing intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut. 
Don’t get me wrong. There is a time and a place for pain meds and the benefits can outweigh the risks. However, there is also a time and a place for pain herbs.
Do you know about any of these?
Unless you’ve studied herbalism, probably not, because there still has not been any serious conversation about herbalism in our culture today.
Kava, Wild Lettuce, Pedicularis, Willow Bark, Turmeric…even Opium, from which the opioids were all originally derived. Of course, Cannabis fits in here as well. Sometimes these natural herbs have side effects and are ripe for abuse as well.
There are many herbs that help with inflammation. Legally, no herb can be anti-inflammatory, because only drugs can function like that. But many herbs can help support a healthy response to inflammation in the body.
Currently, at Lost Empire Herbs we don’t sell any of these. But I wrote this article because it’s important for you to know that there are herbal alternatives available.
Use Only as Directed. (2013, September 20). ProPublica. Retrieved from: https://www.propublica.org/article/tylenol-mcneil-fda-use-only-as-directed
Graham DY, Opekun AR, Willingham FF, Qureshi WA. (2005, January 3). Visible Small-Intestinal Mucosal Injury in Chronic NSAID Users. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15645405