Modern remedies for treating back and joint pain have come a long way since the ancient practice of ingesting brewed concoctions of barks, roots, leaves and berries for their healing properties.

These days, it is more common to take pills with condensed doses of the active ingredients found within the natural world or synthetic versions of these powerful molecules.

Still, it is worth remembering that there are foodstuffs in our own pantries (or only as far away as the local Coles supermarket) that we can cook up to do amazing things like ease arthritis, inflammation or pain.

You might also be interested in what you can do to avoid and manage joint pain 

For a culinary adventure with a difference, try enhancing your cooking or diet with these natural remedies.

Basil is undergoing a resurgence of popularity because recent research is suggesting it can rival marijuana for medicinal properties. Basil contains numerous compounds that can help with stomach spasms, nausea and pain relief among other ailments. In fact, adding it to your regular diet can reduce swelling and back pain, especially in osteo-arthritis.

Ginger has a longstanding reputation for helping pain symptoms associated with osteo-arthritis. Because it is such a common, household ingredient, it is safe to add to daily dinners or fresh teas without overdosing. The benefits of ginger, however, are only felt in its fresh form but not powdered.

The spice Tumeric is renowned for its inflammatory properties. It also enhances the effectiveness of Bromelain, an enzyme naturally occurring in Pineapple that reduces inflammation. Bromelain has been used in South America for centuries. A dish that combines these two tasty ingredients might very well ease inflammation that causes lower back pain. Note that bromelain is not without risk as it is known to increase bloodflow and interact with antibiotics.

Fresh chilli pepper (Capsicum frutesci) is a delight when added to almost every meal. But did you know that applied topically it can reduce pain? The active ingredient is capsicain which when applied on the skin interrupts the neurotransmitter responsible for pain. It is found in many over the counter medications but is just as effective if you make your own fresh version at home. It must be used consistently over several days for the pain reduction to start.  

Even water has healing power when used in the right way. Whenever someone is injured applying Cold immediately can can prevent the amount of swelling and numb pain signals to the brain. Wrap ice-cubes in a plastic bag (or grab the frozen peas) and use them as a cold compress. When the initial injury has settled down.

Heat is nature’s way of increasing blood flow to a pain-affected area. Heat opens the blood vessels so oxygen and nutrients so they can reach the muscles and give them the nourishment required to heal. Heat has a relaxing effect of muscles, reducing spasms and increasing flexibility. Heat temporarily relieves pain symptoms without any medication. Wet a face towel in hot (but not boiling) water, wring out and apply directly to the hurt area.

While not all of the above herbs and treatments have been thoroughly tested for effectiveness, it is important to remember that the enzymes and compounds within them can interact with medications from anticoagulants to antibiotics so talk with your GP to make sure they’re safe remedies for you. 

Looking for a solution? Try Bad Backs’ selection of natural pain relief remedies – click here for more information.