As we get older we begin to have more aches and pains. But who has time to slow down?
If you find yourself in the same situation but don’t want to take a lot of prescription medications like Vicodin, keep reading. I’ll tell you all about Vicodin and explain why a natural remedy is better.
So, What’s Wrong With Vicodin?
Vicodin is a prescription pain medication used to treat acute and chronic pain. It belongs to a class of drugs called opioid narcotic pain medications. These drugs work by interfering with pain signals in your brain. This allows you to feel less pain and move more freely.
In the short term, this class of drugs can be effective. For example, if you break your arm Vicodin can help alleviate the acute pain.
However, there is a high risk of addiction associated with this type of drug. The longer you take the medication, even if you take it as prescribed the higher the likelihood of addiction. In addition to the risk of addiction, there are a whole host of other side effects associated with Vicodin including drowsiness, loss of coordination, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Despite these risks, doctors often prescribe Vicodin for chronic pain problems like arthritis. If you don’t want to chance addiction but looking for a way to be pain-free don’t despair. There is a weed that is growing wild out there that can help alleviate pain caused by arthritis and other inflammatory conditions like gout.
Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, probably doesn’t sound like a plant you want around if you’re looking to get rid of the pain. When you accidentally brush up against the plant the small hairs on the leaves can cause burning, itching, and redness.
But don’t let this discourage you. Studies show that nettles have the following properties:
These beneficial properties can help you naturally relieve pain without the use of opiate medications.
Nettles are common just about everywhere. You can find them growing throughout the US and Canada. In fact, they are in every US state except for Hawaii.
They prefer wetter, nutrient-rich soil. Look for them growing wild in forests, meadows, and along the roadside. Here’s how you identify nettles:
Nettles are easily identified by their leaves. The leaves are toothy and heart-shaped. They grow opposite each other along the stems. The most notable feature though is the small hairs along with the leaves and stems that are responsible for the stinging sensation the plant causes.
The stems feature the same “hairs” as the leaves. These hairs are actually called trichomes. They are hollow tubes that contain chemicals that irritate your skin. When you touch them these chemicals cause itching, burning, and redness.
Nettles produce either male or female flowers but one plant will not produce both. All the flowers are small.
The male flowers are stringier and the female flowers form heavy clusters that appear to pull the plant down with their weight.
How To Harvest Nettle
It is important to remember to wear gloves if you plan on harvesting nettle. It’s called stinging nettle for a reason.
While you can often find nettles growing by the roadside it is best to harvest from slightly farther afield. There is a good chance those by the roads have been sprayed with harmful chemicals like pesticides.
Look for young plants with leaves smaller than three inches. These will have the best flavor. Simply snip the leaves from the stems and place them in a bag.
If you are looking to dry them then harvest the whole stem. That way you can dry nettles by bunching the leaves together and hanging them upside down from the stems. They can also be dried in a dehydrator. Once they are dry you can store them in an air-tight container until you are ready to use them.
And always cook the nettles before consuming them to avoid any irritation. You can see in detail here how to cook spring nettles.
How To Use
There are lots of ways to add nettle to your daily routine. You can cook and eat the greens (don’t eat them raw because of those stinging hairs.) You can also make tea, tinctures, creams, or buy capsules. Creams and ointments can be made at home or purchased. They provide topical pain relief to affiliated areas.
Nettle tea is a delicious way to partake of this pain-relieving plant. This recipe is for fresh nettles but you can use dry nettles when fresh aren’t available.
- 1 cup of fresh nettles
- 2 cups of water
- Honey or another natural sweetener to taste
- Boil two cups of water. Add the nettles.
- Allow the nettles to steep for between 5-15 minutes depending on the strength you want.
- Strain the nettles.
- Add your sweetener. Then enjoy!
Nowadays doctors are quick to prescribe pills without considering the side effects. While pain can be difficult to deal with you don’t want a cure that is worse than the disease. Stinging nettle is a common plant that can easily be harvested to help with the pain that you are experiencing from arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. So, if you are looking for a natural way to deal with your pain try a cup of refreshing nettle tea, or add some steamed nettle greens to your lunch. You’ll feel better than if you just take another pill.
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