According to a research review appearing in The Cochraine Library, back pain responds to certain herbs (Gagnier, J. The Cochrane Library, 2006; Issue 2, NationalCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: “Herbal Supplements: Consider Safety, Too.”). The studies under review involved a total of over 1,500 subjects. A standardized 50 mg. dose of devil’s claw outperformed placebo in reducing back pain; a 60 mg. dose proved to be more effective than 12.5 mg. daily dose of Vioxx. Willowbark also proved to be better than placebo for back pain, as did plasters made with cayenne pepper.
The researchers did fall short of an endorsement of these herbs, pointing out that the studies were all short-term. Also, the writers of the report pointed out that in some instances, there may have been prejudice by some of the researchers conducting some of the studies reviewed.