CBD, curcumin and boswellia are key players for patients seeking natural pain relief supplements
Many patients were first prompted to visit your practice because they wanted an effective and safe treatment for pain. With regular adjustments and holistic care, there are additional pain relief supplements that, even though they are strong individually, work even better together for a complete protocol of safe, effective pain relief.
One of them is a botanical that I’m sure you and your patients have heard much about these past few years: hemp.
Pain relief supplements: CBD, hemp oil and the ‘entourage effect’
Most of the buzz around hemp (Cannabis sativa) has to do with cannabidiol (CBD). There’s good reason for that. Hemp phytocannabinoids, including CBD, interact with receptors and signaling compounds in the body known collectively as the endocannabinoid system. This system includes receptors and the body’s own endocannabinoids, including anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
But your patients’ own endocannabinoids may be in short supply; consumed by enzymes, underfed by a poor diet, or simply depleted by stress and chronic pain. And that can lead to even more problems with pain, because we need endocannabinoids in order to respond to inflammation and recover faster.
British research has found that our own endocannabinoids are elevated in the synovial fluid in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The body appears to flood those particular regions with endocannabinoids in order to relieve pain. Strengthening endocannabinoids with hemp oil can assist pain relief and possibly tissue repair for those conditions.
In addition, laboratory research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has found that CBD from hemp helped heal bone fractures by stimulating osteoblast activity.2 Other work has shown that hemp oil stops rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast cells, and may help the body resist the joint-damaging effects of the condition.3
Even though CBD gets a lot of attention, a full-spectrum hemp oil provides even more compounds that can help for what researchers refer to as an “entourage effect.”
Curcumin and boswellia: pain relief powerhouses
There are other powerful botanical ingredients that should be at the top of any list for pain relief: curcumin from turmeric, and boswellia.
Curcumin, the key studied compound from turmeric, has been the subject of intensive anti-inflammatory research over the years, investigating everything from arthritis pain relief, cancer inhibition, depression and liver restoration. This botanical compound stops COX-2 inflammation associated with most kinds of joint and muscle pain, but without damaging the stomach or liver. It also protects chondrocytes, specialized cells found in joint cartilage, from being broken down by inflammatory compounds.
Of course, to be effective, curcumin must be absorbed. Such enhanced-absorption curcumin is many times blended with turmeric essential oil, which contains helpful compounds of its own, including ar-turmerone (aromatic turmerone) for better absorption and even more anti-inflammatory ability. This makes it up to 700% better absorbed than standard extracts. Plus, it will last in the bloodstream longer, staying on the lookout for inflammation and sources of pain.
As for its comparison to drugs, this form of curcumin was superior to the drug diclofenac in a study of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. One group combined curcumin with diclofenac, one group used only curcumin, and the other used only diclofenac sodium. In both curcumin groups, there were no dropouts due to adverse effects. In the diclofenac sodium group, 14% withdrew because of adverse effects.
Boswellia: a 5-LOX specialist
As for boswellia, while its use dates back thousands of years, only recently have researchers begun to fully explore and understand the herb’s potential. One of boswellia’s most important benefits is its ability to modulate the 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase) pathway. This ability means that it reduces the symptoms and causes of pain, which stops the damage in joints and muscles.
Combined with the enhanced-absorption curcumin mentioned earlier, boswellia was shown to relieve osteoarthritis pain better than the prescription drug celecoxib: 64% in the boswellia/curcumin group versus 29% in the drug group saw a dramatic improvement. The herbal combo reduced pain and improved walking distance and mobility better than the drug – with no side effects.
Another clinical study combining enhanced-absorption curcumin and this same specialized extract of boswellia showed that participants experienced significantly better pain-reducing effects, inhibition of C-reactive protein, and physical test results than the placebo group.
Choosing the right boswellia is critical. Like many botanicals, boswellia contains specific compounds that are associated with the herb’s beneficial effects. One of boswellia’s most powerful components is acetyl-11-keto-B-boswellic acid, commonly known as AKBA. In fact, in most boswellia research, AKBA is cited as a primary reason the extract works so well to relieve pain.
Body- and mind-improving DLPA and nattokinase
Clinical practice shows that a combination of the D and L forms of phenylalanine (DLPA) promotes the body’s own analgesic response and improves mood by enhancing levels of endorphins and enkephalins at the same time, major factors in effective pain relief.
The protease enzyme nattokinase helps nutrients disperse efficiently through the bloodstream to sites of pain in the body, and can have a ‘multiplier effect’ on other pain-fighting ingredients, including hemp, curcumin and boswellia.
Aside from assisting with proper blood flow and helping speed pain relief, nattokinase may also help prevent cardiovascular disease, so it is an excellent choice for patients struggling with both joint pain and heart issues as well.12-14
A holistic approach is the best approach
For effective pain relief, a holistic approach is best as prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause serious side effects, organ damage, addiction, and thousands of deaths each year. In fact, ibuprofen use alone doubles or triples the risk of heart attack or stroke, and prescription drugs account for more than 20,000 deaths annually. There is definitely a better way, and your patients know that you can guide them to it.
Each of these nutrients for fighting pain are definitely strong individually. But they work better together than they can alone, and your patients will notice the difference.
Terry Lemerond is a natural health expert with more than 45 years of experience. He has owned health food stores, founded dietary supplement companies, and formulated more than 400 products. A published author, he appears on radio and television, and is a frequent guest speaker. He can be contacted through euromedicausa.com.
- Richardson D, Pearson RG, Kurian N, et al. Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(2):R43.
- Kogan NM, Melamed E, Wasserman E, et al. J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Oct;30(10):1905-13.
- Jeong M, Cho J, Shin JI, et a J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Jul 3;154(3):745-52.
- Chandran B, Goel A. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25.
- Umar S, Umar K, Sarwar AH, et al. Phytomedicine. 2014 May 15;21(6):847-56.
- Siddiqui MZ. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 May;73(3):255-61.
- Antony B, Kizhakedath R, Benny M, Kuruvilla BT. Abstract 316. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2011;19(S1):S145-S146.
- Haroyan A, Mukuchyan V, Mkrtchyan N, et al. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Jan 9;18(1):7
- Russell AL, McCarty MF. Med Hypotheses. 2000 Oct;55(4):283-8.
- Ehrenpreis S. Prog Clin Biol Res. 1985;192:363-70.
- Ehrenpreis S. cAupunct Electrother Res. 1982;7(2-3):157-72.
- Chen H, McGowan EM, Ren N, et al. Biomark Insights. 2018;13:1177271918785130. Published 2018 Jul 5.
- Jang JY, Kim TS, Cai J, et al. Lab Anim Res. 2013;29:221–225.
- Jensen GS, Lenninger M, Ero MP, Benson KF. Integr Blood Press Control. 2016;9:95–104.
- Trelle S. BMJ. 2011;342:c7086.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Vital Statistics System mortality data. (2015)