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DrRussMD, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, health, prevention, complementary medicine, etc.
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Is there an herbal substitute(s) for indomethacin?

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Is there an herbal substitute(s) for indomethacin?
Great question
Unfortunately this is like comparing apples and oranges.
Drugs might in many instances start out from herbs, but are synthesized to have what we call very specific receptor affinities. Thus they target cells in very specific ways and are thus very potent. Hence their good effects, their side effects, and the potential to overdose from drug toxicity.
Herbs are generally mixtures of compounds that exert gentler effects and although can be very therapeutic, are not as potent. So there is not single herb that will give an anti-inflammatory effect to the degree that this NSAID will.
In terms of pain relief, white willow bark has salicylic acid in it and can act as an analgesic, but does not have anywhere near the anti-inflammatory effect of indocin.
Other examples of pain relieving herbs are:feverfew, lobelia, mullein, pau d'acro, skullcap, and wood betony.
Herbalism though, can be very effective when applied correctly, as in traditional medical systems: herbs or herb combinations to address the whole person, the nature of the pain or problem, and to balance the potential toxic effects of one herb with others are prepared, individualized and applied.
Traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic herbalism, and traditional American herbalism all do this to some extent. You might well alleviate your problem but you need the help of a qualified practitioner. A naturopath [degree is ND] from one of the 5 accredited colleges on the continent can help. Call the southwest college of naturopathy, for example, to get help locating a practitioner. HEre is their link:
Hope this helps
Good luck

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