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 Su B Pain Management

Herbs are not much good at pain relief. That’s to say, really powerful analgesic herbs, like the Opium Poppy, are not legally available in the UK.

But that’s fine. We have very efficient pain-relieving drugs; and from a herbalist’s point of view, there’s a lot more mileage in treating the causes of pain

So if someone has chronic headaches, or rheumatic problems, or fibromyalgia, for example, we can certainly choose from a vast range of herbs that will relieve spasm, soothe inflammation, boost circulation and reduce anxiety. That will reduce the pain level considerably, so that less painkillers are needed; a blessing to a patient who has a long-term chronic condition to manage. We can also use herbs like Milk Thistle or Dandelion root, which help protect the liver when heavy medication is required.

But that’s just first aid, really

Where it gets interesting is when you take the long view, when you start to dig down to the roots of the pain. It usually involves changes in what you eat, what you do, how you live; incorporating new behaviours, and leaving others behind. On this journey, herbs are wonderful companions. They can help you become conscious of what works for you in your life, and what does not. They can strengthen you to make hard choices, feed your vitality, remind you to keep travelling hopefully. Over months, and sometimes years, you can become a person who is no longer dominated by chronic suffering. And rather than popping the painkillers and keeping on trudging onward, you can travel a more adventurous path.

It’s a journey well worth making.

EDITOR: Sue has an excellent Herbs Handbook available to buy directly from her website or Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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