If your back is killing you but you’re afraid of surgery and worried about getting hooked on prescription painkillers, a Florida researcher says a topical herbal remedy may be a better alternative. In a commentary published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Charles Hennekens, MD, a senior academic advisor at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, says an ointment made with capsaicin, wintergreen oil and peppermint oil can provide pain relief with few side effects. Peppermint and wintergreen oils deliver the knockout blow to lower back pain. The essential oil from wintergreen leaves contains about 98% methyl salicylate, a compound similar to the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin. In addition, the combination of both oils may enhance the effects of each individually, enabling the use of lower doses that reduce the risk of side effects.
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