According to a research review appearing in The Cochraine Library, back pain responds to certain herbs (Gagnier, J. The Cochrane Library, 2006; Issue 2, National Center 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. Willow bark also proved to be better than a 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.