I don’t like to take medicine. The most I’d ever take was ibuprofen for headaches and menstrual cramps and, even then, only if the pain was unbearable; otherwise, I’d ride it out. But that all changed when, suddenly, on a hungover morning, I discovered that I am now allergic to ibuprofen and all NSAIDs. I tried a handful already, each making the reaction worse than the previous one.

Ever since then (about 18 months ago), I’ve been in a constant search for something I can take in those rare moments when I really can’t stand a headache, have really bad cramps, or worse, have a killer flu like I did earlier this year. I have tried several things with various degrees of success; everything from fruits and teas to spices and oils. And while all of them work to some extent, I’ve found that, when going the natural route, a combination approach is best, and I have found the perfect combination for treating some of the most painful inflammation I’ve experienced!

I got really serious about finding an alternative when I had my IUD replaced a couple of weeks ago. When I got my first IUD 10 years ago, I was in so much pain from the inflammation (completely normal, especially for someone with no kids) that I was ingesting ibuprofen like skittles! And that went on every day for about a month and then another 5 months after that during every period, when I’d feel like my uterus was going to explode if I didn’t take my daily 8-12 ibuprofen. Terrible!!!!

So, imagine my horror when I realized I had to replace my IUD it and I can’t take NSAIDs! The doctor instead prescribed Tylenol since it uses a different mechanism as NSAIDs, so I gladly took the allowed 3-4 at a time. But by the third day, I had heartburn, was having trouble sleeping, and just felt generally toxic. That’s when I decided to put all my research to good use and try out something I just knew had to work. But first, let me share all of my finds! All of the following have worked for me in one way or another.

Natural Anti-Inflammatories

I really have tried a lot of things, and most of them actually work pretty well!

Apples and Cinnamon

I tried this during another bad hangover -It’s not that I drink a lot, I swear! I actually don’t drink often at all, so when I do, my body usually has a hard time recovering. While apple and cinnamon did work wonders, I have only tried them on headaches so I don’t know if they’d work on general inflammation in other parts of the body. I ate a medium apple with a lot of cinnamon. As in, every bite I took, I sprinkled more cinnamon powder on; plus, I paired it with the next entry, cinnamon tea!

Cinnamon Tea

Besides adding it to an apple, you can make yourself a big batch of strong cinnamon tea. Cinnamon can be pricey, but a little actually goes a long way! Just remember cinnamon needs to be brewed for 30-45 minutes to get all the good stuff out of it. I usually make a medium pot and keep it simmering and just keep adding water to it for an all-day cinnamon tea fountain. Combining this with the above apple with cinnamon powder will compound the effects of each so try them together if it’s more than just a little headache. And, cinnamon also helps with general inflammation, so no matter where you need it, it will help.


In a similar manner as cinnamon tea, making yourself some ginger tea and/or adding a good amount of ginger to your meals will help reduce inflammation as well. Remember, with foods, the more the better so if you can stand to eat a carrot and ginger soup and drink ginger tea at the same time, go for it. It’ll get you better quicker. And a cinnamon ginger tea will be twice as efficient! it will warm you up if you need it and bring relief from any inflammation. This combo is especially good when you have a cold or flu!

Curcumin (Turmeric)

To be honest, I’ve only tried this once and it didn’t help at all. The thing is, with curcumin, the amount needed for therapeutic purposes is very high and you need to build it up. That’s why simply eating Turmeric (Where curcumin comes from) in our food isn’t enough to see medicinal effects, at least not unless you eat it every day like they do in India, where they do see a lower incidence of many diseases. However, there is a formula called Curcumin 95 which is concentrated curcumin, delivering 95% Active Curcuminoids, that gets us closer to a dose that will actually show results in a shorter time frame. Thought when I tried it with for my IUD pelvic inflammation, it did absolutely nothing, at least not in one day. I took so many of these curcumin 95 capsules! I took about 4 doses of 3 caps each. Nothing… The pain was excruciating and I went right back to Tylenol. However, if taken as a daily supplement, it helps reduce the incidence of inflammation, so this one is better off as a preventive measure, or in combination with something else, especially over longer periods.

As a supplement, curcumin has been proven to have multiple health benefits thanks to its antioxidant properties, but be aware that, like Tylenol, it thins out your blood so be careful of that. And of course, as with everything else, check with your doctor before taking any supplements; especially if you are on medication or suffer from any medical conditions.

Oregano Oil

This is where we start moving into the more effective, stronger stuff! Oregano oil was a blessing when I found it. I specifically asked the herb seller what was good for cramps and he immediately suggested oregano oil, which I had already come across in my research but it was too expensive whenever I found it. Luckily, this was in Mexico so it was super cheap! Now, oregano oil is also an antibacterial/microbial and astringent so it’s pretty harsh when taken by itself. It is recommended to dilute 5-6 drops in some other oil or liquid and place it under the tongue for fast action. However, I was desperate and I put the drops directly under my tongue. I’m not kidding when I tell you it burns! I usually just deal with it, especially if the headache/inflammation is too bad, but if you’re too sensitive, I suggest you do dilute it. Usually, a dose will begin to reduce inflammation and/or pain within 30 minutes; if it still doesn’t, you can always take another dose. That’s what I do, I just take as many doses as needed until the inflammation subsides. So far, no more than about 3-4 in a day, but it’s rare that I need more than 1-2 and when I have needed more, the inflammation was from injuries or strong menstrual cramps.

What’s awesome about oregano oil is that it can also be applied topically, once again compounding its effects.  When I recently sprained my fingers, I immediately applied oregano oil to them and wrapped them on top of taking 6 drops under the tongue every couple of hours for the first day. The swelling went down quickly and I continued to apply the oil topically. I did the same when I ran into the door at full force forehead first in the middle of the night. I rubbed in some oregano oil and applied some ice and went back to bed. The bump was almost completely gone by the morning so I repeated the process one more time and voilá! All gone.

CBD Oil (Cannabidiol)

Now we get to the controversial remedy. CBD is a compound found in cannabis, which makes it hard to find and is more regulated. However, CBD does not have any psychotropic properties and has been proven (and approved by the FDA) to treat epilepsy. Besides that, though, CBD studies have shown that, among myriad other benefits, CBD reduces inflammation and pain by helping the body use its own cannabinoids!

In my search for pain relief, I acquired pure CBD oil. Like oregano oil, 4 to 6 drops under the tongue should help get rid of a headache or minor aches and inflammation. Similarly, if there is no relief within 20 to 30 minutes, you can always take another dose until you figure out what your personal needs are. In my experience, this is the fastest-acting and most efficient natural anti-inflammatory I have tried. Although, the effects depend on the person, and their physical state at the time, as well as the severity of pain and inflammation. It works wonders on its own and can be boosted if combined with some of the other items above.

The Strongest Natural Anti-Inflammatory Combo

So, which combination is the strongest? What do you take when you can’t take NSAIDs and you had a tooth pulled, sprained an ankle or had an IUD put in? I honestly wouldn’t have suffered 3 days with Tylenol if we hadn’t just moved. I didn’t know where my CBD was and I was too busy to go through boxes and I assumed the pain would go away in a few days; until I realized the Tylenol was just masking the pain but the swelling was still there and I wasn’t doing anything about it! That’s when I decided to dive into the moving boxes and combine the two best remedies I’ve ever come across which I knew could fix me right up: CBD + Oregano Oil.

This combination works perfectly because the CBD oil dilutes the burning oregano oil, making it easier to take, and they each compound each other’s benefits! I took 6 drops of each at a time, taking the first dose (while still quite inflamed and in pain) before bed along with 3 Curcumin 95 caps. Besides that, I also mixed a few drops of each oil (1:1) and applied it topically over the area.  When I woke up in the morning, I felt fine! There was still a little bit of swelling, but I wasn’t in pain anymore. I did the same combo for another 2 days, 3 doses per day and applying topically once or twice a day, just to make sure the inflammation was totally gone, and it stayed gone! If I’d thought of this combo when I sprained my fingers, I probably would’ve felt better even faster.

So there you go, CBD + Oregano Oil is my recommended combination if you’re looking for an extra-strength natural anti-inflammatory alternative to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. But, remember, effects and times of action will vary from person to person and situation to situation. The one thing I know is that I have tried all these and they worked for me. Keep in mind that, like with synthetic medicine, there is the possibility of interactions with other medications as well as allergies, so practice care when deciding to pick up any remedy and talk to your doctor before self-treating. I’m only sharing my experiences, but I am not a doctor.

I hope this knowledge is as useful to you as it has been to me! Find below a chart of my experiences with each for a quick reference guide.