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Nature's double whammy on pain

By Shaun Holt

Capsaicin is one of the hidden gems in natural health - many studies have shown that it can be effective for many types of pain when applied to the skin, but not many people, and certainly not many doctors, know about this research.

Studies have shown that it can be effective for muscle pain, joint pain and nerve pain.

As it is an irritant it produces a mild burning sensation and creates heat. It should be applied 3 or 4 times a day and users need to wash it off their hands after applying (unless it is used for hand pain, in which case it should be washed off after around 30 minutes). Pain relief typically builds up over 1-2 weeks.

Bee venom is even less well known. For hundreds of years a form of traditional pain relief in many countries is to sting a painful area with live bees! Thankfully now bee venom can be obtained without killing bees. Studies have shown that the body releases natural steroids where it is applied - it is nature's cortisol injection.

Capsaicin increases blood flow to areas where it is applied, this is thought to increase the absorption of the bee venom.