Pain Control when there is no drug store
A few weeks ago I did a news letter on chronic pain. Mostly a talk about opioid’s Now If the worst does happen what are we left with? Opioid’s are not difficult to make, however it does require some skill, proper climate access to some chemicals for certain types. AND skill in using them with out overdosing your patient or addicting them and damming them to a horrible recovery.
Lets talk about what is available right now.
First lets talk about the “safer” drugs
Capsaicin. This comes from hot peppers. And yes the hotter the better it works. To a point. Some of the newer “designer” peppers are WAY to hot and will cause skin damage. Capsaicin works by depleting substance “P” which is a undecapeptide that transmits pain from the surface to the the core nervous system . It takes a few days for capsaucin to take effect.
Willow bark. Willow is an old old friend of the herbal healer. It has been found in graves dating back tens of thousands of years. The main ingredient is salicin which in the body converts to salicylic acid. Salicin it is what Bayer first used as the base to make acetylsalicylic acid or as we know Aspirin. Most of the entire family of Poplar, Willow Birch contain salicin . Willow works in the same method as aspirin mainly as an Analgesic and Antipyretics (Pain reliever and fever reducer). Willow should be used with caution in people who are allergic to aspirin. Also high doses can cause stomach distress and possible bleeding issues. Especially when used with blood thinners.
Devils Claw. Devils claw is not native to the US, But it is one that needs to be stocked in as large of quantities as possible. I personally tincture it since it keeps much longer than the plain herb. Devils Claw seems to work well with Arthitis and lower back pain. Over all its is as safe as willow, but should not be used be women who are pregnant or lactating since it is unknown on how it crosses the blood barrier. Also it should not be used by people with intestional issues (IBS Active Diverticulitis Ulcers etc) or gallstones.
Cannabis. I included cannabis in the “safe” list This will cause some discussion. Cannabis when used properly is safe. To many people put it into the realm of narcotics. But that is a discussion for another day. Cannabis has multiple methods of use. Inhalation, ingestion, topical. Also preparation determines the part of the cannabis is activated. Cool prep of cannabis does not activate the THC. It allows the CBD to take the forefront. CBD has anti-inflammatory anti-anxiety, anti-epileptic, sedative, and neuro-protective properties. It does not have any psychotropic properties. By heating cannabis to 250 degrees a process called decarboxylation converts the natural THC-A to THC. THC is a potent anti-inflammatory and shows a large group of other uses from cancer treatments to autoimmune disorders.
Cannabis in a tincture form is well suited for moderate to severe pain control when used on combination with other anti inflammatory plants. I use it a lot in salves for my wife and myself for muscle strains and our back issues. Used correctly Cannabis is a very very important drug to have on hand.
On a side note, since moving to Alaska I have found that Cannabis is legal. Back home in NM I’d have to find alternative methods of getting to to make medicine for my wife and others. Here you go to a store and buy it! Also you know exactly what you are getting. You know exact THC and CBD levels, the origin of the plant the plants genetic history. And you can buy up to 6 plants for your own use. Also I went in to a dispensary and was half expecting the “head shops” of the 1970’s. What I found was people who are very knowledgeable and they were thrilled that I am a herbalist and use it for medicine
The Not as Safe List.
This will also cause some discussion. This drugs work very well, but do have some potential side effects and some pretty violent cross drugs reactions. But again used correctly they are very good for pain management.
Kava Kava. Kava is a very potent drug. It is used for deep muscle pain when used as a salve, tension headaches and neuropathic pain,used as a tea or a tincture or as Cat The Herbal Prepper makes a pastile a small powdery edible that dissolves almost instantly. Kava in high does or extend taking of it can cause Hepatotoxicity Liver toxicity. Do not take Kava with Xanax or other drugs of this class. Also drugs that are processed by the liver, Statins are a main one may not break down and lead to toxic levels of those drugs
St Johns Wort. Shows good use as a tool for for sciatica, arthritis, and neuropathic pain. IT also has some very powerful mental health uses. BUT it must be used carefully. St. John’s wort, lt induces the body to produce more of these enzymes in order to clear the chemical from the bloodstream. This can cause other drugs to be removed to quickly and not allow them to work to their full effectiveness. St Johns wort also interacts with a lot of drugs but mainly SSRI, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and MAOI’s monoamine oxidase inhibitors Drugs commonly used for treatment of depression.
Valerian Root. Valerian is one of my favorite drugs. It is normally used as muscle relaxant and seditive. Taking willow bark and Valerian works in the exact same fashion on a bad back as Ibuprofen and Flexerol. Valerian has one main item going against it. It smells like laundry basket of teenager sweat socks. Valerian can react or effect a lot of other drugs Mainly blood pressure medications It can lower the blood pressure excessively when used with a beta blocker or ACE inhibitors. Certain anti depressants can be effective by Valerian. Also do not take Valerian while taking ED drugs. A huge drop in BP can happen.
This is by no means a complete list. There are HUNDREDS and a lot or location specific. But this is a good start for building your pharmacy for what ever happens. Now just because you have the tools you need to know how to use them. A prime example is having thousands of dollars of Snap On tools a broken car, the will but not the knowledge on how to fix it, More than likely more damge to the car will be done. Same as with people. Just because you have all the tools you need to know how to use them safely. For that it takes classes. I teach classes on this, up here in Alaska now and my friend Cat Ellis The Herbal Prepper teaches a certification program. But who ever you choose for your classes. TAKE THEM. It is so important to learn how to use them properly.
In other news, Cat’s and my combined course, Wound Care for Austure Enviroments is up and running. And you can still sign up for it and get some of the best wound care training available.
On the side of my page you’ll see a link for Starwest Botanicals. They are my favorite place for buying bulk herbs. They have great prices and even better service