Secrets of the Past: Painkillers from Folk Medicine Around the World

Healing and pain relief is an issue that has occupied the minds of people for centuries. In the old days, when modern medicines were still unknown, different cultures used unique approaches to pain relief. Let’s dive into the world of ancient folk medicine and find out what pain relievers were used in different parts of the world.

Turmeric in India: In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is considered a strong anti-inflammatory agent. Mixtures with turmeric have been used to relieve joint pain and other types of inflammation.

Maori and Maniuka in New Zealand: The Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, used cassava leaves to create an infusion that was applied to the skin to relieve pain and inflammation.

Opium in China: Opium was one of the earliest pain relievers in Chinese medicine. It was used for centuries to relieve pain and to create infusions and perseverances.

Sage in Europe: Sage, with its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, was widely used in Europe. It was most commonly used to relieve headaches and toothaches.

American Indian heather: American Indians used heather to create infusions to ease muscle pain and widen the airways.

African Pain Relief: Various cultures in Africa have used plants such as castor and African palm to make remedies that relieve pain and inflammation.


Studying pain relieving methods in ancient cultures reveals to us many amazing practices. It is important to note that these practices represent a part of cultural heritage and, in some cases, can be dangerous without proper knowledge. Modern medicine provides us with a wide arsenal of safe and effective pain relievers. However, the study of folk practices allows us to better understand the multifaceted nature of the human experience of pain.

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