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Independent health store advice on natural pain relief

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This month we speak to Naomi Murray, co-owner of Botanica Health in Tunbridge Wells

Pain is a debilitating sensory symptom that can be chronic or acute and can originate from any area of the body. Unfortunately, commonly prescribed painkillers often come with side effects such as erosion of the stomach lining and kidney damage or have narrow safety margins. Others, such as ibuprofen, cause a depletion of essential nutrients in the body including folic acid and B6 whilst thousands of people in the UK have found themselves inadvertently addicted to opiate-based painkillers.

Thankfully there is good news – there are lots of natural things you can take to reduce pain and enhance relaxation, without nasty side effects.


Magnesium deficiency is now a public health crisis and can lead to various health issues including heart disease. Low magnesium is associated with restless legs, migraines, palpitations, dysmenorrhea, anxiety and osteoporosis. This mineral has been shown to reduce inflammation and help muscle pain. Ten different studies have found that oral supplementation of magnesium alleviated the frequency and intensity of a migraine.

Epsom salts

Epsom salt is made of magnesium and sulfate. Soaking in a magnesium-rich bath has been shown to reduce inflammation whilst aiding relaxation; the sulphate aids detoxification. Add two big handfuls to a hot bath and soak for 20 minutes. It’s the ideal solution for tired and aching muscles.

Slippery elm

Slippery elm is the perfect antidote to painful acid reflux. It soothes the intestinal tract and oesophagus helping to prevent irritation. It has good amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre and is a valuable prebiotic.


CBD oil has been shown to be effective for various conditions, slowing down inflammation and reducing pain. Studies show it can be effective for chronic pain and for sufferers of MS where it reduces muscle spasms.

Devil’s claw

The herb devil’s claw has traditionally been used for stiff and painful joints where it has an anti-inflammatory and anodyne action.

A double-blind study of 50 people with various types of arthritis found that 10 days of treatment with this herb provided significant pain relief. Devil’s claw also reduced the levels of uric acid in gout sufferers. Taken alongside Montmorency cherry juice or capsules this could be a great solution to this painful condition.

Green-lipped mussel extract

Arthritis Research UK has stated that some people have found relief from using a topical gel containing green-lipped mussel extract.

It has also been shown to be effective for aching muscles and can be used in conjunction with other pain relief.


As we age, our collagen supply dwindles in the body. With this the risk of degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis increases. Studies show that supplementing with collagen encourages more natural collagen production in the body. Inflammation and pain are reduced and joints are supported with a plus side of healthier skin, hair and nails.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing

Deep breathing is a therapy in itself, relaxing muscles which tense up as a result of being in pain, further aggravating the condition. Circulation is improved when deep abdominal breathing is practised and allows the body to be more relaxed and encourages a healing state.

And perhaps laughter really is the best medicine ... A team of Swiss researchers found that laughing and humour improved pain tolerance and quality of life. This effect lasted 20 minutes after having a good laugh. Feeling happy releases endorphins and subsequently the body relaxes, having a positive effect on both physical and emotional health. It is important to note that these effects were only noted when feeling genuine joy and happiness coming ‘from the heart’.

Nature has much to offer to reduce pain, without unwanted side effects or concerns of addiction.

Botanica Health Store

Botanica Health was established in September 2011 by Naomi and Alan Murray. Naomi is a health and lifestyle advisor and Alan is a sports injury specialist.

Naomi’s father is Scotland’s longest practising medical herbalist. The store specialises in herbs and minerals and has a team of therapists providing additional support to customers.

To contact the store, visit, call 01892 458289 or follow them on social media: Instagram @botanica_health Facebook

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