Health

15 Natural Remedies for Muscle Pain and How to Use Them

2. Some like it hot – cayenne pepper Cayenne pepper features in many natural remedies. So, in addition to the fact that it adds a special… Simi - June 4, 2018

2. Some like it hot – cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper features in many natural remedies. So, in addition to the fact that it adds a special flavor to a meal, it is worthwhile having in the house as it is so versatile. The ingredient in cayenne pepper that makes it an effective natural muscle relaxer is capsaicin. Capsaicin is a naturally occurring compound which is contained in cayenne pepper. Capsaicin has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties which assist with muscle tension, cramps, spasms, etc. It is even believed that capsaicin blocks the brain’s pain transmitters and prevents them from sending pain signals.

You can buy capsaicin cream or capsules at your local health store or pharmacy. When applied topically, capsaicin cream gives relief to muscle pain. This is substantiated by a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Anesthesia. Another study, from 2010, indicates that topical application of capsaicin cream can relieve pain in the soft tissues. When experienced on a chronic basis, this can be debilitating. Gentle massaging of affected areas with capsaicin cream can even relieve muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia and some types of arthritis. Be careful not to apply capsaicin cream to open wounds, as it will be extremely painful.

If you prefer not to drink capsaicin capsules, consider adding cayenne pepper to your daily cooking.  It will give your body a capsaicin boost. Increased capsaicin levels will prevent further muscle pain.

If you’re in pain and don’t have immediate access to capsaicin cream, consider the following combination: add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to 2 tablespoons of warmed olive oil. Apply to the affected area for 30 minutes to experience relief from muscle pain symptoms.

3. Calm the pain with chamomile

Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory. It contains 36 flavonoids which, combined with its anti-inflammatory properties, gives this herb the ability to treat muscle pain effectively. Chamomile has been in use as a pain reliever and muscle relaxer for many years. It is also well-known for its soothing and calming effect. That is why so many people turn to chamomile tea in times of stress or before bed to make them relaxed and sleepy.

Some research backs up what we already know about chamomile. In 2005, research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry suggested that chamomile tea is also effective in treating menstrual cramps as it causes the powerful muscles of the uterus to relax. Research published in the Molecular Medicine Reports in 2010 elaborated on studies done on the composition of chamomile, including its anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing abilities.

Chamomile does not have to be consumed as a beverage. It can be bought as an essential oil. When mixed with a substance such as olive oil, it makes a massage oil that can bring relief to areas affected by muscle pain.

The taste of chamomile tea is acceptable to most palates. It is useful to include 2-3 cups of chamomile tea into the daily diet as it builds up a supply of chamomile’s anti-inflammatory properties in the body. To make chamomile tea, ensure that you leave the teabag in boiling water for at least 5-10 minutes to get the most it. Drink the tea while it is hot.  Instead of buying chamomile teabags, use fresh chamomile flowers. You’ll need about a tablespoon of chamomile flowers to make a cup of tea.

4. Try some relaxing rosemary

Rosemary is usually associated with its aroma. As an aromatic herb, it is used in cooking in many cultures. In the European Review of Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, a 2015 study indicates that rosemary is also effective in the management of pain. Rosemary has also been shown to increase the rate at which blood flows through the body, speeding up the healing process.

The herb can be included in your cooking to increase your intake of this healing herb. It is also available as an essential oil which can be applied directly to the affected area for pain relief from muscle pain, headaches, and some types of arthritis. It is better to dilute rosemary oil with olive or coconut oil before massaging it in. As with most essential oils, don’t apply it directly to open wounds.

You can buy rosemary fresh or dried. In fact, it is quite a hardy plant and grows well in most climates. So, you might consider planting your own rosemary plant for a continuous, free supply of this marvelous herb. You can dry it and crush it yourself for those times of the year when it’s not in season. To prepare a rosemary drink, add a teaspoon of dried rosemary to a cup of boiling water. Allow it to soak for about 10 minutes, before straining it, and drinking the healing tea. You can make and drink this 2-3 times a day.

If you are experiencing menstrual cramps, you can add rosemary essential oil to your bath. A teaspoon of this highly concentrated oil should suffice. Allow the healing properties of the rosemary to soak in for about 15 minutes.

5. Prepare for powerful peppermint

Peppermint makes us immediately think about delicious candies and chocolates. But, peppermint is actually an effective muscle relaxer as well. The compound in peppermint that allows it to ease muscle pain is menthol. Again, when we think about menthol, we think about toothpaste and chewing gum. But this compound has another super-power:  it has pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory properties and also helps to ease muscle spasms. In the same way as rosemary, peppermint speeds up the blood circulation which allows healing to take place faster.

You can buy peppermint tea bags and drink peppermint tea 2-3 times a day. Alternatively, you can buy freshly dried peppermint leaves and use them to brew your own tea. You’ll need about a teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves to make a refreshing cup of tea. Like rosemary, you could consider growing your own peppermint plant. However, unlike rosemary, a peppermint plant is not very hardy and needs a lot more care.

If you prefer a more direct approach to an area where your muscles hurt, you can use peppermint essential oil. Do not rub it onto the skin directly. It is preferable to combine it with a carrier oil such as almond oil before gently massaging it into the skin. Don’t use more than two drops of peppermint oil – it is very strong.

It will reduce swelling and tension and allow a sense of relaxation to flow through the muscles. Applying peppermint oil to an open wound will be a most uncomfortable experience. Double check that there are no open wounds before applying it to the skin. Even the smallest scratch can leave you in more pain than a muscle spasm did!

6. Eliminate pain with Epsom salt

Epsom salt is named after a saline-rich spring in Surrey, England. It is in fact not a salt. It is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. It is associated with a number of health benefits and is recommended as a natural remedy for a variety of ills such as digestive complaints, dry skin, cracked heels, etc.

When your body does not have enough magnesium in it, it will communicate this to you by means of muscle spasms, cramps, and tics. Epsom salt contains good levels of magnesium.  Magnesium is important for good muscle functioning. Even soaking your feet in water treated with Epsom salt will immediately raise your body’s magnesium levels. The skin absorbs magnesium very easily. This will cause relief for sore muscles. Epsom salt is also known to relieve the swelling associated with muscle spasms and stiffness.

For a more drastic effect, soak in a bath that has been treated with Epsom salt. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath water and make sure it is dissolved completely. Enjoy a relaxing soak for 15-20 minutes. You can do this once a week. Continued treatment of the body with Epsom salt will stabilize magnesium levels and keep muscle aches and pains away.

Epsom salt also has a detoxifying effect. It will remove toxins from the body leaving it invigorated and renewed. Inflammation visibly reduces, and pain starts to reduce once contact with water treated with Epsom salt is established, according to many users. Epsom salt is easily obtainable at your local grocery store, and it is inexpensive and versatile, which makes it even more attractive as a natural muscle relaxer.

7. Fall in love with lavender

Lavender is a centuries-old favorite for the treatment of pain and discomfort caused by muscle pain, tension, stiffness, and spasms. The properties of lavender have a calming effect on the body which straightaway causes the muscles to relax. Lavender is not usually ingested, although it can be used in cooking and baking. Because its odor and flavor are powerful, sparing use is suggested in the kitchen. Otherwise, the lavender will dominate the other flavors in your dish.

When thinking about lavender, most people think about a topical application. This is how lavender is typically used. Lavender essential oil is a must-have in the home. It can be used in different ways to ease muscle pain. You can use lavender oil mixed with coconut or olive oil and massage the affected area directly. Only 1-2 drops of lavender oil are necessary as it is very rich. You can massage this mixture into your temples if you have a headache. This is especially effective for a tension headache.

A few drops of lavender essential oil in your bath water will make for an unwinding soak, leaving your muscles relaxed and your sense of well-being restored. Many store-bought bath products contain lavender because of its popularity as a relaxant. They are a thoughtful gift for a friend or family member who experiences muscle pain.

Inhaling lavender essential oil as part of an aromatherapy treatment also has a relaxing effect on the muscles. But avoid using too much lavender. Follow the instructions provided with the essential oil or consult with a knowledgeable person. Lavender-scented candles will have a similar effect but are less potent than the essential oil.

8. Viva valerian

Valerian has been used for many centuries for neck, shoulder and back muscle pain. It is not as well-known as other substances such as rosemary and lavender, but that does not make it any less effective. Valerian is an herb that contains several oils which relax the muscles and ease tension. The valerian plant is indigenous to Europe and parts of Asia, although it is also grown in North America. The root of the valerian plant is dried and used as an herb to treat various disorders.

A study conducted in 2010 which was published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology found that animals who were exposed to the whole extract and essential oil from the valerian plant showed signs of relief from pain. This points to but does not confirm that valerian may have a similar effect on humans. In 2011, a study published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics pointed to the antispasmodic effects of valerian as a useful treatment for severe menstrual pain.

You can buy liquid valerian extract from your health store or pharmacy. It is recommended that you take half a teaspoon daily to minimize pain and cramping of muscles. Alternatively, you can buy dried valerian root and use it to make valerian tea.  You need 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root. Allow it to soak in a cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes to get the most effective dose of this muscle pain-busting herb.

It is important to note that the use of valerian is contra-indicated by pregnancy and breastfeeding. Similarly, you should not use it if you are taking prescribed pain or sleeping medication. 

9. Arm yourself with amazing arnica

Arnica is a plant that belongs to the daisy family. It has yellow daisy-like flowers and grows in the Northern Hemisphere. Arnica is generally sold in oil or ointment (cream) form. A study in 2014 linked topical application of arnica with improved management of pain and muscle damage after strenuous exercise. The study was published in the European Journal of Sports Science.

Arnica can be bought as an essential oil, but it is potent and should not be used directly to the skin unless diluted with oil, ointment or gel. It is not recommended that the pure essential oil is used for aromatherapy as its potency makes inhalation dangerous.

Arnica is used for the treatment of inflammatory injuries related to sports and exercise. It has been a staple ingredient in traditional medicines used to treat bruises, sprains and joint diseases. Arnica oil contains thymol which dilates capillaries near the surface of the skin allowing blood to move quickly to injured areas. If you buy arnica essential oil, dilute it with a carrier oil like olive oil before applying it to the affected area. Otherwise, buy it in ointment or massage gel form and use it as is.  Apply it 2-3 times a day.

Test arnica on a small patch of the skin before using it over a large area. Some people’s skin reacts badly to arnica. It can be an irritant and cause a rash. If a rash becomes apparent, discontinue use immediately. Do not apply arnica to any broken skin as not only will it be very painful, but too much arnica absorbed into the system has the potential to be toxic.

10. Discover the mystery of the passion flower

The passion flower is a little-known muscle relaxer. It is a plant that was discovered in Peru by Spanish explorers who saw the flower as a symbol of the passion of Christ and His approval of their explorations. In most cases, passion flower is found in many herbal products as an ingredient. It is not that well-known for being used on its own. But it has many antispasmodic properties as well as a sedative effect, both of which make it a great muscle relaxer. Because it relieves spasms, passion flower can be an excellent answer to menstrual cramps.

The fact that passion flower has a sedative effect means it helps muscles to relax in general and relieves anxiety and stress, both of which are prime causes of muscle pain. Passionflower is bought as a dried product. All the above-ground parts of the passion flower plant are used in production.

As a dried product, passion flower is ideal for making tea. You’ll need about 1 teaspoon of dried passionflower to add to a cup of boiling water. Leave it to steep for at least 10 minutes to get the maximum effect, before drinking it while it’s hot.

Passionflower liquid extract should be available for purchase at your local health store.  2-8g can be ingested orally on a daily basis. Research and study on the effectiveness of the passion flower as a muscle relaxer and pain reliever are ongoing. As it stands, research has only been conducted on its efficacy as a sleep remedy. However, it is not recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women use passion flower, as its safety has not been established.

11. Catch the catnip craze

Catnip is a perennial herb that is part of the mint family. There are many varieties of catnip plants, but the most common features hairy stems, grey-green leaves, and small white flowers with red spots when it flowers during the summer months. It is predominantly grown in the Northern Hemisphere. Another popular type of catnip favored by people for human consumption is lemon catnip which has a lemon odor and flavor.

Catnip is an effective treatment for tension headaches. So, aside from being kitty’s favorite treat, it can become a household essential for tension headache sufferers! Catnip also has antispasmodic properties which makes it a great treatment for muscle cramps and spasms.

One of the ways in which you can use catnip is to make a catnip tea. You need to place 1-2 teaspoons of dried catnip leaves and flowers into a cup of hot water (not boiling). Allow it to brew for 10-15 minutes before straining it and then drinking it. If you find the flavor unpalatable, add lemon and/or honey to the tea for extra flavor. You can purchase dried catnip at your local health store.

Catnip tea is recommended for menstrual cramps.  It is also good to drink catnip tea after a strenuous workout, as it may help to relax your muscles.  Allow your catnip tea to cool down and apply it to the affected area. A catnip plant is easy to grow. Then you can cut the stem with its leaves and flowers, hang them upside down in a bunch and let them dry. It’s worthwhile trying to grow your own catnip as you’ll have a free supply of this remedy on hand.

12. Let Cannabidiol (CBD) oil cure the pain

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid compound. You can find cannabinoids in many plants, but they are usually linked to the cannabis plant. CBD is a different cannabinoid compound to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound that produces the euphoria or ‘high’ associated with the use of cannabis. CBD does not produce a high. It induces the body to use its endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are produced in the body. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps to regulate how the body experiences pain.

A study published online in 2008 indicates that CBD oils may prove helpful in the management of pain. They slow down and inhibit the transmission of pain messages through the neural pain pathways in the body. This allows the muscles to relax. CBD oil is also often used to treat patients with chronic fibromyalgia as it seems to relieve the chronic pain and inflammation associated with the condition.

A study published in the European Journal of Pain detailed the responses of animal test subjects to CBD oil application for arthritis. After four days of applying the oil to the affected joints, there was a decrease in inflammation and pain symptoms. Whilst this is not incontrovertible proof that the same effect will be evident in humans, it is an indication that it may be. People with Multiple sclerosis have reported decreased levels of spasticity when they use CBD oil.

Another factor that makes CBD a desirable treatment for muscle pain is that the body does not build up a resistance to it, so the doses are not subject to increases. It is advisable to use CBD oil under the care and instruction of a healthcare professional or expert.

13. Live, love and laugh again with lemongrass

When we think of lemongrass, our minds conjure up the delectable smells and tastes of Thai food. But lemongrass is more than an addition to a favorite dish. It has healing properties as well. Lemongrass is an herb that forms part of the grass family of plants. It is also known by the name Cymbopogon. The plant is indigenous to tropic areas such as Southeast Asia.

Lemongrass essential oil is made up of compounds that have many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. It contains limonene which is a known natural anti-inflammatory. Among the contents of lemongrass essential oil is magnesium which is also known to help with muscle pain. Lemongrass essential oil is an effective treatment for headaches, stomach and muscle pain, and spasms of the digestive tract.

Lemongrass essential oil must be diluted with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. It can then be rubbed onto the affected areas. You can also add about ten drops of lemongrass essential oil to a foot bath for a relaxing soak. If you have a headache, dilute a few drops of lemongrass essential oil and rub the mixture into your temples. The smell of the lemongrass essential oil is also known to have a calming effect. Experiment with diluted lemongrass essential oil on a small patch of skin to make sure it doesn’t cause irritation before using it over a bigger area.

You can make lemongrass tea if you experience menstrual cramping. You can drink 2 cups of this tea daily to relieve your cramps. Use five lemongrass leaves in a cup of boiling water. Add honey and lemon to taste.

14. A blaze of blueberries for pain-free bliss

Blueberries come from a flowering shrub. They are dark blue to purple in color. The blueberry shrub is related to the shrubs that produce huckleberries and cranberries. The humble blueberry is a pie-making staple. Blueberries are tasty and sweet. They are low in calories, but high in nutrients, and have many health benefits. They have the highest levels of antioxidants in comparison with most fruits and vegetables people include in their daily diet. You can buy both fresh and frozen blueberries from your local supermarket or grocer.

Research published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition showed that athletes given blueberry smoothies 5-10 hours prior to testing, straight afterward, as well as 12-36 hours later. They showed improved levels of muscle recovery from exercise in comparison with those not given blueberry smoothies. It is not clear exactly what relation the blueberries had to the muscle recovery, although scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidant levels in the blueberries. Continued study to establish a firm link between these antioxidants and muscle recovery will continue.

One of the many functions of the antioxidants such as those found in blueberries is to relieve oxidative stress. Exercise is a major cause of oxidative stress. The body will heal itself from this oxidative stress. It seems that introducing additional antioxidants to the body speeds the process up.

There are many recipes for blueberry smoothies. One common recipe calls for 1 cup of blueberries (preferably frozen), 1 ripe banana, and 1 cup of plain non-fat yogurt. Blend these ingredients together for a delicious, healthy smoothie. Add a few ice cubes before blending to thicken the mixture.

15. Radical radishes for pain relief

Radishes are more-often thought of as part of sumptuous soups and dishes. But the healing properties of these plants which belong to the Brassica family should not be underestimated. Radishes are thought to have originated in China and slowly moved to other parts of the world as their benefits were discovered. They were highly regarded in Ancient Egypt and Greece.

The black radish is full of minerals that are good for the body. This includes magnesium which is known to help with muscle pain. The potassium, calcium, and iron present in radishes also help with muscle relaxation. The spicy variant of the radish has been used for hundreds of years to provide relief from muscle tension. This includes muscle cramps and spasms. Horseradishes also cause an easing of the stress in muscles. It can also be effective in the treatment of rheumatism.

The first and most obvious method to increase your intake of radishes is to include them in your cooking. Look for recipes that call for radishes and try to cook them 2-3 times a week. They can be included in salads or on sandwiches. You can drink black radish juice as well. Radishes can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. You can buy or make radish essential oil.

When a few drops of this essential oil are added to your bath water, it will create a muscle-relaxing soak. Alternatively, mix a few drops of radish essential oil to a carrier oil and massage it thoroughly into the affected area. Many people grow fresh radishes in their own vegetable gardens. They grow quickly. The timeframe from planting to harvesting is about four weeks.

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