Pharmacy Corner
Low Back Pain Are there herbal/natural options for back pain?

What herbals remedies or natural medicines can I take for low back pain?

Currently, the most commonly used herbal medicines are devil’s claw, white willow bark, and topical capsicum (capsicum frutescens).13 These products sometimes provide short-term benefits, but we do not know whether they are effective or safe to use long-term. Before you take any herbal or natural medicines, speak with your pharmacist and find out if they are the right options for you.

Devil’s claw is an extract from the plant harpagophytum procubens. It may cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.14 It may alter the effects of other medications you are currently taking so ask you pharmacist whether it is safe to use them together.

Retrieved from: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0801.htm

Willow bark is an extract from the bark of the salix alba tree. Taking this extract can affect your blood clotting.15 Do not take willow bark if you are already on a blood thinner. If you have previously experienced side effects from using aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications, avoid using willow bark because they work similar to each other.

Retrieved from: http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail62.php

Capsicum is essentially powder extracts of chilli peppers. For treatment of low back pain, it comes in bandage-like packages called plasters. It may take weeks before the medication begins to work.16 The plasters can cause some itchiness, burning or irritation at the applied site.

Retrieved from: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Capsicum+frutescens