Posted on: February 3, 2017 at 10:44 am
Last updated: September 22, 2017 at 1:50 pm

This amazing post was written by Jenn Ryan, a freelance writer, and editor who’s passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. You can read more of her work at

Taking Tylenol doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? Research that shows taking the popular painkiller acetaminophen can make you feel less concerned about others’ pain will make you question that assumption [1].

Acetaminophen is found in more than 600 different medications and is the main ingredient in Tylenol [2]. The drug is typically called paracetamol in areas outside of the United States.

The study found that the drug helps alleviate pain, but it also lessens our feelings about other people’s pain as well. These alarming results showed that those taking acetaminophen were less concerned about what they perceived as a lower level of pain in other people when on the drug.

The Results

The study examined 80 college students, half of whom were given a placebo and half of whom were given 1,000 mg of acetaminophen.

The students were then read stories of people who had experienced pain and were asked to rate their pain level. The students who had taken acetaminophen consistently gave lower pain ratings for the people in the story [3].

One of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Baldwin Way, links these findings to a lack of empathy in other areas of people’s lives, such as having an argument with a spouse. Dr. Way speculates that taking acetaminophen will make you less likely to empathize with the other person and understand what you did wrong.

What It Means


As one of the most commonly used medications out there, it’s estimated that billions of doses of acetaminophen are taken every year [4]. What’s worse is that people often ignore the labels and take more than the recommended dose, increasing their risk for liver damage or fatal skin reactions [5].

People take acetaminophen for all kinds of reasons, including menstrual pain, colds, flu, and arthritis pain. With millions of people taking this medication every year, it could mean that we’re all that much more apathetic towards each other’s pain in addition to the impact we’re having on people and the planet by taking these drugs.

Researchers plan to test ibuprofen next to determine if this medication has the same effects as acetaminophen.

Why Else Is Acetaminophen Bad?

I stopped taking this crap some time ago and switched to natural alternatives. It definitely motivates you to stop taking it when you find out that:

  • It’s responsible for thousands of emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year.
  • Over 450 people die from liver failure from taking this drug every year.
  • Taking even just a little more than the suggested amount (about two pills more) can damage your liver.
  • Drinking alcohol when on acetaminophen can cause kidney dysfunction.
  • Acetaminophen treats the symptom of your pain rather than the cause.

It looks a little less safe when you consider all of these things and more [6]. Combine these effects with the fact that it makes you less empathetic and caring and this drug is looking more dangerous than ever.

If we ditch acetaminophen, though, what can we take for our pain?

6 Natural Painkiller Alternatives

lavender oil bottles

First of all, it’s important to know what’s causing your pain.

Taking drugs like acetaminophen only mask your pain. They don’t actually address the real problem. See a holistic doctor or herbalist discover what’s going on in your body. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Don’t you want to find out what’s wrong rather than taking a drug that’s going to cause your body, even more, damage?

Once you figure out what’s going on with your body, you can utilize these natural painkiller alternatives to help manage your pain.

1. White Willow Bark and Boswellia

This combination of herbs has been said to have a Motrin-like effect on the body. It’s great for menstrual cramps in addition to arthritis pain [7]. You can take Boswellia Tablets and white willow capsules, or consider utilizing a tincture. Only take under the direction of an experienced herbalist for the correct dosage.

2. Turmeric and Ginger Root

These age-old remedies are highly anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer. Use fresh ginger and turmeric root in tea, or consider taking capsules or a tincture. You could even do a ginger compress! While a fresh tea won’t hurt you, talk with a herbalist before taking capsules or a tincture to ensure accurate and effective doses.

3. Old-Fashioned Ice or Heat

Ice and heat used alternatively can increase circulation. Ice by itself can reduce swelling and help numb the area, while heat can increase blood flow and just feel good. You may also consider taking warm baths depending on your affliction.


4. Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Massage

For everything from back pain to arthritis and muscular pain, these three wonders have been practiced for centuries to bring you with natural pain-relieving methods. Talk with your natural doctor about which would benefit you the most or even combination therapies to help manage your pain.

And if you can’t get to an acupuncture specialist, you can always try this acupressure from aculief, which goes directly on your hand for drug-free pain relief all day.

5. Lavender Essential Oil

Essential oils are pretty powerful when it comes to helping you manage your pain. Combinations with lavender are especially effective. Studies show that lavender can even help the stress and depression that often come with chronic pain [8]. You can also use rosemary, cloves, wintergreen, and eucalyptus to help with your pain.

6. Exercise, Meditation, and the Outdoors

Exercise can help you strengthen your muscles and your joints to reduce chronic pain [9]. Meditation has also been shown to be effective when it comes to managing pain [10]. Doing both of these things outside can boost your vitamin D and just help you feel better overall!

Are you ready to feel better without acetaminophen? Don’t be apathetic to the pain of other people and damage your liver. You can feel better and still keep your sense of empathy with these natural remedies. Try some of them out and stop taking acetaminophen for good!



Jenn Ryan
Health Expert
Jenn Ryan is a freelance writer and editor who's passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. She loves running, reading, and playing with her four rescued rabbits.

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