Ancient Pain Remedies That Are Still Used Today

ancient pain remedies

Medical treatment has changed a lot since the days of using alcohol as a cure-all, but it may surprise you to find out there are many ancient medicinal practices that we still use today. Peruse this list and you might find some ideas that can help you with pain or other symptoms. As always, before starting a new pain management system, please talk to your healthcare provider about what’s right for you.


Acupuncture, the medical treatment that involves placing needles in various places on the body, combined with heat and pressure, has been practiced for millennia since its development in ancient China. Researchers believe that acupuncture helps promote balance by unblocking channels in the body.

It can be a highly effective form of pain relief, particularly for chronic pain. The NIH cites its effectiveness for headaches, back, neck and knee pain, when performed by an experienced acupuncturist using sterile needles. Never receive acupuncture from an untrained practitioner, as you could risk serious damage to your body.


Good for soothing pain caused by respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis, milkweed has been used for generations as a treatment for a myriad of health problems. It has also been found to be effective against kidney stones as well as gastrointestinal problems.

For medicinal benefits, milkweed should be consumed as an infusion or by applying the sap to the affected area. To use milkweed safely, be sure to boil it several times, and avoid getting the sap in your eyes. It is best to take milkweed with the help of an experienced forager or an herbalist to ensure it is consumed in a proper medicinal manner.

Corydalis Plant 

Native to China, Corydalis plant has been popular among practitioners of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It has a compound in it called dehydrocorybulbine, which is a natural painkiller. Corydalis works to alleviate pain by improving blood flow. It acts in a way that is similar to morphine.

Experts believe that the dehydrocorybulbine may be used to create pain-relieving drugs in the future. In fact, they believe that it may soon be the drug of choice.

Corydalis can be used to treat fibromyalgia as well as depression and neuroses, but should be avoided by pregnant and nursing mothers.

Willow Bark 

Willow bark has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it can be great for alleviating pain. It has been used since the 1500 BC when people were advised to chew on the bark to soothe their symptoms. Its pain relieving abilities are due to the ingredient salicin, which is found in willow bark, and is similar to aspirin.

Studies have shown the effectiveness of willow bark as an anti-inflammatory and for chronic pain relief. The studies have shown that willow bark is not only great for alleviating pain, but can also treat other conditions, including headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Leech Therapy

Leech therapy was one of the first forms of bloodletting, and has been recorded as a health remedy since Ancient Egypt. Leeches are placed on the skin, and help alleviate pain by gently sucking blood from the veins, and increasing blood flow by stimulating vasodilation. Leeches have a protein that encourages the tiny veins to knit themselves back together.


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