6 Ibuprofen Natural Alternatives That Are Backed with Clinical Studies

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Ibuprofen is a popular pain reliever medication classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It ranks #29 top drug in the USA with 21,746,702 subscriptions to 10,951,995 patients. However, it comes with side effects, including male sexual health.

Fortunately, there are ibuprofen natural alternatives backed with clinical studies that can be taken instead. However, that does not mean that ibuprofen is bad at all. With proper administration by a medical professional, it has benefits. In fact, one study found ibuprofen has a significant chemo preventive effect against the development of breast cancer.

Ibuprofen Natural Alternatives

Although it is easier to obtain ibuprofen due to its wide availability, it may not be a good idea to depend on it entirely due to the side effects. With this in mind, it may be helpful to explore ibuprofen natural alternatives with equal effectiveness but significantly safer, based on clinical studies.

Ibuprofen Natural Alternatives Back with Clinical Studies

With the advent of modern medicines, many might be wondering if a natural alternative pain reliever can be as effective as a drug like ibuprofen.

The reality is, many clinical studies have been conducted on known herbs and found to be effective, and sometimes have comparable effectiveness to conventional drugs.

So, let’s explore six of the scientifically-backed ibuprofen natural alternatives.

1. Cinnamon

We’ve covered the many health benefits of cinnamon including its comparable effectiveness to ibuprofen as a pain reliever. In the study, the researchers conclude;

Cinnamon compared with placebo significantly reduced the severity and duration of pain during menstruation, but this effect was lower compared with Ibuprofen.

Jaafarpour M, Hatefi M, Khani A, Khajavikhan J. Comparative effect of cinnamon and Ibuprofen for treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(4):QC04-QC7. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/12084.5783

2. Ginger

Another well-known natural pain reliever is ginger. Even before any studies have shown its effectiveness, many native cultures around the world have been using ginger as one of their staple medicines.

In 2009, one study concluded;

Ginger was as effective as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. 

Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0311. PMID: 19216660.

3. Turmeric

Just like ginger, turmeric has been used by native cultures around the globe as a medicine. Today, among the doctors recommending it is Dr. Weil due to many studies backing the effectiveness of turmeric including its pain-relieving property.

One study has this conclusion on turmeric;

C. domestica extracts are as effective as ibuprofen for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P, Taechaarpornkul W, et al. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study. Clin Interv Aging. 2014;9:451-458. Published 2014 Mar 20. doi:10.2147/CIA.S58535

Furthermore, turmeric is not just a good natural pain reliever but also offers many health benefits including boosting the body’s immune system.

4. Arnica

Arnica belongs to the sunflower family, and it is a perennial plant, meaning it grows all year round. For the uninitiated, it may just look like a beautiful flower, but it has medicinal property, a natural pain reliever.

One study says;

Our results confirm that this preparation of arnica is not inferior to ibuprofen when treating osteoarthritis of hands.

Widrig R, Suter A, Saller R, Melzer J. Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised, double-blind study. Rheumatol Int. 2007 Apr;27(6):585-91. doi: 10.1007/s00296-007-0304-y. Epub 2007 Feb 22. PMID: 17318618.

Today, you can buy arnica in tea bags for quick preparation.

5. Thyme

Thyme is not just one of the popular aromatic herbs widely used in cooking, but it also has a pain-relieving property. In fact, its pain-relieving effectiveness is comparable to ibuprofen.

The results suggest that thymus vulgaris as well as ibuprofen can be effective in reducing the severity of pain and spasm in primary dysmenorrhea.

Salmalian H, Saghebi R, Moghadamnia AA, Bijani A, Faramarzi M, Nasiri Amiri F, Bakouei F, Behmanesh F, Bekhradi R. Comparative effect of thymus vulgaris and ibuprofen on primary dysmenorrhea: A triple-blind clinical study. Caspian J Intern Med. 2014 Spring;5(2):82-8. PMID: 24778782; PMCID: PMC3992233.

6. Omega Fatty-Acids

Omega fatty-acids are rich in the Mediterranean diet, it boosts brain health plus many other health benefits. Although omega fatty acids are present in many natural food sources, they are popularly known to be present in salmon, which is helpful for people involved in muscle building.

But that’s not all. Omega fatty acids are among the effective ibuprofen natural alternatives. In one study, researchers have found omega fatty acids from fish oil have an equivalent effect on reducing arthritic pain compared to ibuprofen.

In addition to omega fatty acids’ equivalent effectiveness to ibuprofen, it is also safer.

Our results mirror other controlled studies that compared ibuprofen and omega-3 EFAs demonstrating equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain. omega-3 EFA fish oil supplements appear to be a safer alternative to NSAIDs for treatment of nonsurgical neck or back pain in this selective group.

Maroon JC, Bost JW. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 2006 Apr;65(4):326-31. doi: 10.1016/j.surneu.2005.10.023. PMID: 16531187.

Final Thoughts

There may be more natural alternatives to ibuprofen, but these are the popular ones backed by clinical studies. Also, it is vital to take note that a healthy diet can help alleviate pain and may even contribute to long-term beneficial effects.

There is nothing bad about ibuprofen. However, being dependent on it when feeling some sort of pain may not be beneficial but harmful in the long run.

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