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All natural codeine alternatives
The Irish Government has introduced stringent control measures on codeine products. Happily, JOE.ie has discovered a string of natural alternatives.

The Irish Government has introduced stringent control measures on painkilling products which include codeine on their list of ingredients. Happily, JOE.ie has discovered a string of natural alternatives.

By Robert Carry

Studies have shown that codeine, found in previously over-the-counter pain treatments such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine Plus, can become addictive after just three days. With addiction centres around the country reporting a rash of people seeking treatment for codeine dependence and Solpadeine sales hitting €20million-plus annually in Ireland alone, the Government has stepped in.

As and from last week, pharmacists can be prosecuted and find themselves before a fitness to practice regime if they display products containing codeine on their shelves and fail to provide guidance to customers on their appropriate use.

Happily, there are alternative pain-killing treatments available. Herbal treatments can sometimes get a bad rep, but all below have been certifed as effective in combating pain.

White Willow Tincture

Does it work?

White Willow Tincture is a long-time favourite of Chinese traditional healers, and with good reason – it contains the same active ingredient as aspirin. A study at the University of Tubingen supported its use, reporting that it is just as effective as prescription painkillers.

Use: Mix 3ml of the liquid into a glass of water and drink it. Take four times per day until symptoms subside.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Does it work? According to scientists at New York’s Yeshiva University, peppermint essential oil has shown to be effective in 60 per cent-plus when it comes to relieving tension headaches. It works by acting as a muscle relaxant.

Use: Dribble a couple of drops on to your forehead. Repeat every 10 minutes until your headache is gone.

Feverfew Capsules

Does it work?

The City of London Migraine Clinic carried out a series of tests on Feverfew and some 70 per cent of those who trailed it reported that it lessened the severity and regularity of migraines. Feverfew works by working against the reduced blood flow to the brain which is believed to be the root cause of migraines.

Use: Take a 1ml capsule each hour until you’re feeling better.

Capsicum and Ginger Cream

Does it work?

Chilli would not be the first thing you would turn too when in pain, but according to the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, when used topically it blocks neurotransmitters.

Use: Mix 1ml into 5ml of water and apply to affected area, three times per day.

Clove Oil

Does it work?

Well, according to The Journal of Dentistry it does. They found the cinnamon extract to be as effective as benzocaine. It works like a local anaesthetic when applied topically.

Use: Drip a couple of drops onto a piece of cotton wool and dab onto the affected area.

Products are available in most health shops and selected pharmacies.

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