ALLSPICE…Our Natural Pain Relief

Allspice Natural Pain ReliefBy Ellen Kamhi PhD RN,

What is Allspice? Allspice is a dried aromatic fruit that grows on the tall Jamaican Pimento tree. (Pimenta dioica). This spice which includes its leaves, berries and bark is used before it ripens and grows in tropical areas. Besides being used as a spice, it is used for medicinal purposes. The tree is a member of the Myrtacea family, and is kin with Cloves, Eucalyptus and Guava. Allspice is one of the most popular herbs around the world, and tastes exactly as its name states: like a mixture of all spices. Most agree that the unique flavor is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The Bush Doctors in Islands such as Jamaica call the herb pimento or ‘spice’, where it is used not only as a spice, but as a popular folk remedy.

There are several categories of pain relieving substances, including anesthetics and analgesics. Anesthetics differs from analgesics; anesthetics produce numbness by actually blocking pain in nerve fibers., while analgesics helps relieve inflammation.

One of the most important medicinal applications of allspice is its use as an herbal analgesic. The oil is often rubbed into the temples for headaches. Bush doctors and traditional healers use it as part of an analgesic joint rub, which is massaged into painful joints and sinews. Many people report lasting relief. It is also mixed with wax or lotion and smoothed on the skin, causing rapid diaphoresis (sweating). This kind of application can break a fever associated with a cold or flu. In addition, native healers prepare an infusion(tea) with allspice and other herbs, to be consumed piping hot. This augments the ‘SPICE’ treatment, promoting rapid diaphoresis and detoxification via the skin. The oil contained in allspice is often used as an oral anesthetic. When placed anywhere in the mouth, allspice will quickly produce numbing relief from toothaches, mouth, or gum pains. You can reapply to the afflicted area as needed. The active numbing ingredient is Eugenol, found in Allspice berries at a concentration of 95%! Many over the counter and oral preparations used in Dentistry today still contain Eugenol. Eugenol is a phenolic volatile oil with powerful antiseptic properties. It has been demonstrated to be antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral on a host of pathological microorganisms. These qualities have helped Allspice to continue to be useful in modern day dentistry. It numbs pain and kills microbes simultaneously…PERFECT!

Many of the “Roots doctors” in tropical areas, use pimento in an herbal ‘Bush bath’. A large outdoor tub is usually filled to capacity with the herbs, and hot water is added. A person then soaks in the tub, now filled with a powerful infusion. These baths have been demonstrated to be therapeutic for myalgia, arthralgia, fatigue, and chronic skin ailments, eczema and external infestations of lice and scabies. The volatile oils inhaled while bathing are antiseptic for the lungs and bronchi, and help in loosening and coughing up congestion. Even if you are not in the bush, a patient with upper respiratory afflictions can benefit greatly by making a ‘steam tent’ and adding volatile oils to it. The use of allspice for dysentery and parasites highlights another important use of the plant, due to the presence of antimicrobial substances in the plant as well as large amounts of tannins, which act as an astringent, absorbing extra fluid from the bowels. There is a commercially available liqueur, called Pimento dram, made from allspice, which some people use for headaches and stomach distress. Its reputation as a carminative (intestinal gas-reducing medicine, reducing gripe or colic) and as a smooth muscle relaxant may indicate why allspice is also used for dysmenorrhea ( painful menstrual cramps) . So, the next time you need an ALL PURPOSE remedy, reach for the Jamaican ALLSPICE. You’ll find it, as you reach into, The Natural Medicine Chest.


Ellen KamhiEllen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily.  She is the author of several books, including The Natural Medicine Chest.  Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at  and has a private practice for individual consultation about the use of natural therapies.   800-829-0918

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