Ways to relieve your aches, pains naturally

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Chronic pain affects 116 million American adults. That's more than a third of the U.S. population. While pain pills reduce suffering, they can be expensive, addictive, cause liver damage, and produce side effects. Instead, try these all-natural ways to treat what ails you.

To relieve menstrual cramps, take ½ to 1 teaspoon of cramp bark tincture every 2 hours when you have your worst cramps. Studies show this North American plant works as a muscle relaxant to quickly relieve painful spasms.

To alleviate arthritis, eat hot peppers. The same peppers that singe your tongue can take away pain. Capsaicin, an ingredient in hot peppers, stimulates nerve endings, depleting a chemical that relays pain signals. It also comes in cream and powder form, if you can't handle the burn.

Take turmeric for colitis. Native of southeast India, this curry spice contains curcumin which reduces colon inflammation, relieves pain, and speeds up digestion. Use 1 tablespoon daily.

To stop a nagging cough, indulge in a square or two of dark chocolate. Researchers say the chocolate's theobromine compound is more effective than codeine at suppressing persistent coughs, without the side effects of drowsiness and constipation.

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