Drugs You Don’t Need: The Best Natural Alternatives to Tylenol for Kids and Adults

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An extract of the herb turmeric, curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help relieve fever and pain

With all the recent ‘flu cases that occurred this fall and winter, the use of acetaminophen has significantly increased to the point where many respiratory tract medications containing this drug are in short supply at pharmacies. Unfortunately, the general public is not being fully informed about the health risks that come with Tylenol use.

Links to Autism, ADHD, and SIDS

Ten years ago I wrote an article entitled “The Perils of Painkillers” in Vitality magazine about the danger to the liver of the popular painkiller acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol). What I did not report on was the emerging link between this drug and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as well as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

There is now also a growing body of literature showing a link between Tylenol and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It has also been associated with asthma and other health conditions.

Coupled with this are the hundreds of lawsuits recently filed in the U.S. alleging that drugs containing Tylenol given to pregnant women can cause children to be born with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These lawsuits have been filed against retailers and manufacturers who knew that Tylenol could harm the developing fetus. The lawsuits allege that retailers falsely advertised that acetaminophen-containing products were safe for pregnant women and did not pose a risk to fetal development.

And Johnson & Johnson in particular can expect lawsuits in the thousands for their alleged encouragement of widespread acetaminophen use during pregnancy. Despite the existence of dozens of peer reviewed studies showing acetaminophen poses serious risks to pregnant women and unborn children, the acetaminophen-containing products have been marketed as safe for pregnant women. Drugs containing acetaminophen include Alka-Seltzer Plus, DayQuil, Excedrin, Nyquil, Mucinex and Robitussin.

“I am absolutely convinced that it’s not only a link, but it’s a cause. I would say in the last seven years, the manufacturers, the FDA, OBGYNs, have been or should have been aware of this evolving literature and how convincing it is. None of them have done anything to alert the American public.” Dr. Roberta Ness (Nov, 2022)

Alternatives to Tylenol for Kids

Homeopathic remedies for children and pregnant women are often safe and effective.

ARNICA – is particularly useful for most injuries like bumps, bruises, strains or sprains and can be taken orally as well as applied topically to relieve pain and speed healing.

CALENDULA – is especially effective with mild cuts and scrapes and prevents infections when used orally or topically. The pain and discomfort of diaper rashes can often be cleared by calendula.

CHAMOMILA – Pain caused by teething can be helped by liquid homeopathic chamomilla.

MORE HOMEOPATHICS – For fevers and colds one can use homeopathic combinations that include belladonna, gelsemium, ferrum phos, aconite and arsinicum.

Homeopathy for Numbness and its Underlying Health ConditionsHERBS AND MINERALS – Herbal remedies like elderberry are excellent for coughs and viral infections. Magnesium bisglycinate is an effective muscle relaxant and pain reliever while turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can be mixed with fruit juices or cooked foods and salads.

 Alternatives to Tylenol for Adults

Over the years I have noticed that there are many natural approaches and remedies that can be used as Tylenol alternatives. Here’s a list that I have found to be safe and effective without significant side effects.

GINGER ROOT: This is a very effective traditional anti-inflammatory herb which also has anti-nausea effects. Many people use it for arthritis, and it can also be a very effective remedy for morning sickness during pregnancy.

ACUPUNCTURE, MASSAGE THERAPY, CHIROPRACTIC, OSTEOPATHIC and PHYSIOTHRAPY: These may all be effective physical therapies, especially for chronic pain conditions, thus replacing the need for pain killers like acetaminophen.

BOSWELIA: Together with bromelain and ginger root, this herb has potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits for just about any kind of arthritis.

BROMELAIN: This pineapple enzyme has long been successfully used as a natural pain and anti-inflammatory remedy; it works best when taken on an empty stomach. There are no reports of issues with this enzyme during pregnancy.

SERRAPEPTASE: This enzyme comes from the silkworm. It has been used extensively in Europe for the past 50 years to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. The usual dose is 2 capsules (240,000 units) taken twice daily on an empty stomach.

CURCUMIN: An extract of the herb turmeric, this powerful anti-inflammatory can also protect the liver from damage caused by a long list of viruses, drugs and chemicals. The usual effective dose is 1,000 mg, three or more times daily. Chronic pain conditions can be helped with curcumin. It should be taken with food to prevent stomach upsets. Turmeric is also an effective fever remedy.

OMEGA- 3 OILS (EPA and DHA): Usually found in fish oil but also in hemp, Omega-3s can be anti-inflammatory in doses of 12 grams daily, reducing pain and inflammation in conditions as diverse as migraine headaches and sciatica.

OTHER OILS: Evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant seed oil are all high in the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which has been found helpful in any kind of arthritis and eczema.

CAPSAICIN CREAM: This is an extract of cayenne pepper that can be applied to painful areas topically. It works to relieve pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical that transmits pain signals.

CLOVE OIL: This provides excellent temporary pain relief when used topically for dental pain. It also works as an oral disinfectant.

GARLIC MULLEIN OIL: This is an excellent topical remedy for ear pain caused by infections to the middle ear (such as when water gets in the ear after swimming). Use 3-4 drops in the affected ear 3 times daily.

D,L-PPHENYLALANINE: An amino acid that boosts the body’s production of its endorphins (opiate-like compounds), thereby producing pain control; the usual effective dose is 1000 mg three or more times daily between meals.

EXERCISE: Movement stimulates blood flow and synovial fluids that lubricate the joints. Exercise also boosts endorphins, the body’s own painkillers. It also releases serotonin – the body’s “feel-good” hormone. Of course if your pain is due to a fracture or a torn ligament, exercise would then be contraindicated.

EPSOM SALTS BATHS: These help relieve all kinds of aches and pains and can often cure headaches because of the magnesium content.

MAGNESIUM BISGLYCINATE: This can be taken as a preventive for all manner of aches and pains. Use at least 200 mg 3 times daily.

CANNABIS: is even effective for pain caused by cancer. Edibles and oil with THC can be consumed for pain control that rivals even the effectiveness of opiates.

Some of these remedies will be effective for at least a few individuals. Work with a natural health practitioner for a personalized regime.

“Autism and mental health development, or mental development issues, touch a huge number of Americans. We believe the science indicates that taking Tylenol can cause many of these problems, period. We think the science backs this up, we think the biology backs it up, and we are eager to prove that in a court. The goal here is not to take Tylenol off the market. The goal here is to put a warning on it so that doctors and expectant mothers are able to make an intelligent decision of what risks they will expose their child to during pregnancy.”    Mark Lanier, Founder and CEO, Lanier Law Firm, Houston, Texas


Zoltan P. Rona, MD, MSc, offers consultations on nutrition and natural remedies in Thornhill. He has recently retired from medical practice as a Complementary and Alternative medical practitioner and now strictly offers nutritional consultations. He is the medical editor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing and has also published several Canadian bestselling books, including Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin. To see more of Dr. Rona’s articles, visit: www.highlevelwellness.ca and for appointments, please call (905) 764-8700; office located at: 390 Steeles Ave. W., Unit 19, Thornhill, Ontario

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