Coping with chronic pain can be exhausting, and prescription painkillers may not be available during a survival situation.
Thankfully, there are alternatives out there that can help you manage pain. These options may be much easier to get your hands on should the system collapse or some other event prevent you from seeing your regular practitioner.
Opiate painkillers are the most prescribed medications in the United States today. According to the recent U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, over 289 million prescriptions are written each year for analgesic pain relievers.
Many of these medications are highly addictive and require regular doctor visits to obtain. Thus opiate alternatives are always a good option in everyday life and during an emergency.
Natural Painkillers to Use Instead of Opiates
Kratom is a natural option for pain relief in the event of an emergency.
Derived from a type of evergreen tree, Kratom acts upon the nervous system to produce pain-relieving effects in the same way that opiates work.
The plant contains alkaloid compounds called mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which help treat pain and act as a mild stimulant when taken in low doses. Kratom comes in powder form, making it easy to store and use.
Kratom may also be helpful to have on hand in an emergency to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms if you cannot obtain your opiate medications from a doctor or pharmacy.
Since Kratom works on the same receptors as opiate medications, such as morphine or oxycodone, it can treat pain and can be used as a substitute for opiate medications in an emergency, alleviating your pain and warding off withdrawals.
Uses and Risks
Kratom is praised for many uses, including relaxation, improved mood, relief of anxiety, increased energy, and effectively relieving pain.
However, it also comes with some risks. Kratom use has been reported to increase the risk of sunburn, cause nausea, itching, dry mouth, constipation, increased urination, insomnia, and loss of appetite.
Kratom is currently listed as a drug of concern by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved it for medical use.
However, it is available for purchase online and in many places around the world. You can also grow your own Kratom plants to use for pain relief if you desire.
How It Works
Kratom is an agonist that binds to mu-opioid receptors in the brain.
These receptors are activated when you take opioids such as prescription painkillers or heroin. Researchers believe the painkilling effects of Kratom come from mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.
These compounds attach to pain receptors in the brain and reduce pain perception.
Like many prescription alternatives, Kratom has gained popularity as an opiate alternative. Some people claim that Kratom helps ease withdrawal symptoms when quitting opiates, making it an excellent choice to have on hand during an emergency.
How To Use It In A Survival Situation
The great thing about Kratom is that it works on the same receptors that opiates work on in the brain. This means that in a survival situation when you are unable to obtain your medication from a doctor or pharmacist safely, Kratom can be used as a replacement without the fear of withdrawal or other issues.
Kratom is excellent for treating pain and creates feelings similar to opiates when used correctly. Also, creating a solution and using Kratom at home is easy.
Create Kratom Tea
Kratom is usually purchased in powder form, making it ideal for creating tea. You can simply add the powder to boiling water and drink.
However, if you want to improve the flavor (Kratom is generally found to be bitter and unpleasant in taste), create kratom tea precisely as you would a regular cup of tea, using a teabag to strain the liquid through the powder and dilute the taste.
You can purchase Kratom in teabag form that is flavored, convenient, and ready to brew. You can also create your own by using teabags and filling them with Kratom.
If you really dislike the flavor, you can simply add Kratom to whatever you are drinking. The use of Kratom is basic and straightforward. The best part is that Kratom can be used by anyone who knows how to handle a spoon.
2. Willow Bark
Willow bark has been used for centuries to ease pain caused by inflammation. The bark of the willow tree contains a chemical called salicin, similar to the main ingredient found in aspirin.
People often chewed willow bark to relieve pain or fevers, but today it is sold as a dry herb that can be brewed into a tea or bought as a liquid supplement or in capsule form.
Uses and Risks
Although willow bark helps treat pain due to inflammation, it comes with risks and side effects. Willow bark can cause stomach upset, slow down kidney function, and prolong bleeding the same way aspirin does.
This treatment should not be taken if you are sensitive to aspirin or taking over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Willow bark is also unsafe for children and should only be handled and ingested by adults.
How It Works
Derived from the bark of 2 to 3-year-old willow trees, which can be found worldwide, willow bark has been used for centuries to treat pain due to inflammation.
Willow bark works in the same way aspirin does by reducing inflammation and pain as it enters the bloodstream.
The Salicin within willow bark is metabolized to create salicylic acid, a precursor to aspirin. Willow bark’s pain-relieving abilities have been recorded as far back as the 4th-century.
Alternative health practitioners claim willow bark can be used to safely treat a variety of conditions, including headache, back pain, knee pain, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
How To Use Willow Bark In A Survival Situation
Willow bark works well to relieve pain. Thus, this plant can be helpful in survival situations to relieve pain caused by inflammation when you cannot purchase aspirin.
You can use willow bark to create aspirin yourself, and it is a pretty straightforward process. While white willow tends to have the most concentrated amounts of aspirin within its bark, most people can usually identify a weeping willow and create a pain killer from this plant.
Create Aspirin From Willow Bark
You can create aspirin by filling a jar 2/3 full of willow bark and cover it with neutral alcohol – such as vodka. Once full an inch from the top, place a cap tightly on the jar. Give it jar a good shake and store it in a cool dark place for a few months. Anytime you think of the jar, give it a shake.
Once enough time has passed, strain out the willow bark and store the tincture in an amber dropper bottle. Keep this mixture in your survival kit for emergencies.
Related: How To Make Aspirin From Willow Bark
You can also create a tea from willow bark if you are in the wilderness by peeling the bark from the branch and soaking it in boiling water. You will want to drink up to 1 liter of willow bark tea to reap its medicinal benefits.
Willow Bark smells awful but tastes relatively pleasant. Some people even say it has a sweet undertone to it.
Turmeric is a spice that has become well-known for its healing properties. This spice, which gives curry its yellow color, helps to protect the body from radical molecules that can damage cells and tissue.
Turmeric has been used to treat various conditions, including indigestion, ulcers, stomach upset, psoriasis, and cancer. It is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it a good alternative for pain relief. The main active ingredient in Turmeric is curcumin, the compound that gives curry its yellow color.
Curcumin works as an anti-inflammatory, making it an excellent alternative to relieve pain caused by inflammation.
How To Use Turmeric
Creating ointments from Turmeric is relatively easy.
To make Turmeric drops, you will need:
- 5 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 Tbsp quercetin powder or an alternative (quercetin is an anti-inflammatory used to aid and prevent arthritis, bladder infection, diabetes, and cancers)
- 3-4 Tbsp of honey, Coconut oil, or ghee butter to use as a binding agent (a binding agent helps a mixture hold its shape by thickening it up and making it pliable)
- A pinch or two of ground ginger
- A bit of ground black pepper
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it in the freezer.
2. In a small saucepan, heat your binding agent over low heat until it is pourable.
3. Mix the Turmeric, quercetin, pepper, and ginger in a small bowl and mix until you can form small balls.
4. Place balls onto a baking sheet and place it back into the freezer, freeze until firm.
5. Once frozen, remove the drops from the sheet, put them in a freezer storage bag or container.
6. Keep these turmeric balls in the freezer until needed.
Turmeric is good for you in many ways.
It is a natural anti-microbial, which means it will attack bacteria and infections.
It has been found to help prevent or stop the growth of certain types of cancers and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, among other things.
Along with the Turmeric Drops described above, you can also create pickled Turmeric using Turmeric root, known as one of the world’s most powerful healers.
How to Create Pickled Turmeric
- 1 lb – 1 ½ lbs raw, turmeric root, washed, peeled, and chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
- Enough apple cider vinegar to cover the turmeric root.
- The juice of one lemon
- 2-3 peppers, chopped into small pieces (The peppers help with the absorption of Turmeric.)
- Raw honey for sweetening
1. Fill a glass jar with pieces of fresh turmeric root that have been washed, peeled, and sliced. Top with chopped peppers.
2. Add the juice of one lemon.
3. Pour apple cider vinegar over the mixture, enough to cover the turmeric root.
4. Cap the jar.
5. Place the jar in a bright window for 1 to 4 weeks – Inverting the jar daily.
6. After 4 weeks, remove the cap and strain the liquid into a clean bowl.
7. Reserve half the liquid for salad dressing and store the remaining juice in the fridge for up to 1 year.
8. Place some of the remaining liquid in a small saucepan with honey.
9. Warm over low heat to incorporate the honey and vinegar mixture.
10. Pour the mixture back over the turmeric root, cap, and allow to steep another 1 to 4 weeks.
11. Store in a cool, dark place until needed.
The mixture will keep for up to a year and is delicious as a snack or salad topping.
Cloves are a popular tool for cooking, but they may also help to alleviate pain as well. They can be purchased in capsule form, as a powder, or as an oil, and are easily obtained worldwide.
Uses and Risks
Cloves have been used to treat various ailments, including nausea and the common cold.
They may also help relieve pain. Hence cloves have been used to treat headaches, toothaches, and pain caused by inflammation such as arthritic pain.
People with bleeding disorders or those who currently take blood-thinning medications should be careful when using cloves products, as cloves have been found to increase the risk of abnormal bleeding.
How It Works
The active ingredient in clove oil is eugenol, a natural anesthetic with anti-inflammatory properties. Cloves may help reduce pain and alleviate inflammation.
Cloves are especially helpful in treating pain from toothaches and have been used for many years by people coping with tooth pain.
How To Use It
Dental health is vital, but in the event of an emergency, you may not be able to visit your dentist’s office as required or even obtain commercial toothpaste. Thankfully, nature has provided you with an excellent solution.
Research has shown that cloves hold significant potential when it comes to dental health.
They have been found to prevent plaque and reduce inflammation, making them a must-have addition to any prepper kit.
You can apply cloves topically:
- 1 teaspoon of cloves, minced
- Using a damp cotton ball, dip it into the minced cloves.
- Softly rub the clove-covered cotton ball onto your gums where you have tooth pain.
- Allow the cloves to sit on your gums for at least a minute
- Rinse thoroughly with water to remove all of the cloves
While helpful, regular use of cloves in large amounts for extended periods is not recommended. However, in a survival situation, having cloves handy may prove to be very helpful for dental care.
Ginger has been used for centuries in medicine and cooking. While it is not often used in the west, ginger is viewed as a natural healing agent worldwide and should be part of your survival garden.
Much like planting potatoes, you plant the buds that will grow off the rhizome of the ginger root or simply plant the entire budding root in the ground.
The ginger root plant grows best in rich, moist, shaded soil and can flourish in a shallow container.
Growing ginger root has many benefits and is often called a superfood. Ginger is thought to prevent stroke or heart attack, help with stomach upset, heartburn, or other GI issues, and ease motion sickness.
Ginger is also known to help alleviate pain and soreness associated with arthritis, muscle strain, or joint pain, making it an excellent tool in emergencies.
How To Use Ginger Root In A Survival Situation
Besides being good for you in general, ginger can be used to fight staph infection or strep, ease diarrhea, aid in alleviating menstrual cramps, attend to soreness from arthritis or joint pain, and may work to control diabetes. A recent study found that 2g of ginger root taken daily was linked to decreased resting blood sugar.
To reap the benefits of ginger root, it is best to eat ginger raw, candied, or by making a tea.
How to Make Ginger Root Tea
- Fresh Ginger Root
- 1 Lemon, sliced
- Honey for use as a sweetener
1. Chop fresh ginger into small pieces, cleaning and peeling the skin if needed. (Each cup of tea requires 1-2 slices of ginger.)
2. Add water, ginger, and lemon to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring regularly.
3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes to seven minutes.
4. Strain into a teacup and add fresh lemon and honey.
6. Ginger can help alleviate pain, relieve diarrhea, or aid menstrual cramps when you are in a bind and cannot get to a doctor or pharmacy.
In an emergency, seeing your general practitioner or going to the hospital may not be viable options.
Unfortunately, pain does not care about the global climate and will persist despite the state of the outside world.
Knowing what is safe to use in treating pain and having it on hand can be highly beneficial.
Be sure that your emergency preparedness kit includes some of the items listed above so that you can treat your pain and focus on what is essential – survival.
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