Tag Archives: herbal medicines

Sore Muscle Relief

I don’t quite like the feeling of muscle soreness. Do you? It’s just irritating. Every small or involuntary action that you make, like lifting your hand, for example, sends spasms of raw muscle pain and waves of discomfort up your body, making you take every step cautiously. Muscle soreness thwarts every small action that you’ve set up for yourself and that is no way to live. That is why sore muscle relief becomes important and that is exactly what we will be discussing today. Continue reading for various ways to get rid of sore muscles.

What are Sore Muscles?

Sore neck and shoulder muscles

 

Typically you’ll experience sore muscles after workout or a strenuous day of physical activity. This is caused by Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). This occurs when there is a sudden change in activity that exerts more pressure on the muscles and causes exertion. The muscles becomes sore as a result of that and take some time to adjust to the sudden pressure that is put on them. If you continue to exert the same pressure on the muscles then they will get used to the stress and the pain will diminish.

Muscle soreness should not be confused with a sprain or strain in the muscles which are caused by a sudden jerking action. You will typically experience sore muscles after 8-12 hours of physical activity unlike a sprain. The burning sensation that sore muscles have to is caused by the lactic acid build up in muscles. This is released in the body to supply the excess need of oxygen which is not possible for the blood to fulfill. Being an acid, it burns every time the muscle is moved.

 

What a Pain in the neck!

Natural Methods of Relief

The sore muscles and joints pain isn’t pleasant even though you know that something good has brought it on. Then what is one to do about it? Continue to bear it or take some measures to remedy the pain? Here are some muscle sore relief methods that you can take up.

 Cold Packs or Hot Packs…or Both?

Hot Packs – Soreness, overexertion

Cold Packs – Injury, inflammation

 

Kat’s Handmade Herbal Hot/Cold Packs

 

The most effective sore muscle remedy is Hot Packs. Better still, take a warm bath, shower or sit in a jacuzzi right after a strenuous workout for instant relief.  By using a Hot Pack or some other warm therapy you soothe the aching muscles and also send fresh blood/lymph to the area to “clean” out the lactic acid and wastes/toxin build-up.  Apply this Hot Pack for 10-20 minutes several times a day for a day or two.

Cold Packs are specifically for treating injured or inflamed conditions.  Cold reduces the blood flow to the muscles by constricting the blood vessels. Therefore, the pain and inflammation will ebb away. If a Cold bath is not possible then use a cold pack on the injured/inflamed muscles and the pain and inflammation will die down. Apply these cold packs for 15-20 minutes every hour for the first two to three days.

Both Hot Packs and Cold Packs can be used in some situations quite effectively as contrast therapy.  When you need to bring the healing power of fresh blood/lymph to the area AND bring down inflammation contrast therapy is perfect for this.  If inflammation IS present, start with a Cold pack; 10 minutes on and then transition to a Hot Pack; 10 minutes on.  Cycle a few more time and do this at least 2-3 times per day for 2-3 days.

 

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Certain anti-inflammatory capsules are designed to reduce the pain and ease the symptoms of sore muscles. These would include aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen etc. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking these pills.

 

Herbal Medication

If you aren’t into the synthetic medication forms, then you can try some herbal medicines. Ginger, dong quai, St. John’s wort, sage, arnica, devil’s claw and others are known to lead to instant relief.

 

Gel, cream, pill…Arnica is superior at natural pain control

Arnicare Cream, Horizontal, 2.5 Ounce Sore Muscle Relief
Arnica Montana by Hyland’s Homeopathic – 250 tablets, 30X Sore Muscle Relief

Other Methods for Relieving Sore Muscles

  • Giving the sore muscles a light massage with the help of aromatic oils is known to provide relief.

Aahhh…Massage!

 

  • Doing light stretches will help to open the constricted muscles and lead to relief.

 

 

Gently, slowly, easy.

 

  • Swimming is another very effective way of bringing in sore muscle relief. The movement of muscles used helps to reduce the inflammation and pain.
  • Start taking vitamin supplements to aid the body in handling the stress.
  • To prevent sore muscles after running or jogging or any other physical sport, make sure that you do some warm up exercises, that focuses on working all muscle groups.
  • Increase the intensity of the workout steadily so that it does not lead to a strain on the muscles and cause sore muscles.
  • Drink water, water, water, water!
  • Gentle stretching after Hot Pack use is highly recommended!

This article can also be viewed at Simply-Living-Simply

Herbal Medicine Kit – Cuts & Scrapes Pt. 3

“Earaches and bellyaches, colic we tend
Hoping our kindness and herbs they will mend”

Welcome back…

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit. Today we are looking at deeper wounds requiring a Poultice and Wound-healing Tea. We will look more in-depth at Plantain, Astragulus and Baptisia

Let’s get to it…

Deeper Wounds & Infections

Deep Gashing Wound

Infected cuts and scrapes sometimes call for internal as well as external action, especially if an infection is more than skin deep. Indicators are wounds that take longer to heal than seems reasonable and infections that seem to spread, traveling through the bloodstream and reappearing in new areas. When an infection travels from the location of the original wound and takes hold elsewhere, there is usually an accompanying fever. If this happens to you or your loved one, this means you have a spreading systemic infection and you MUST see a doctor immediately!

Skin-Healing Poultice

Click HERE to print

Wound-Healing Tea

Click HERE to print

Plantain

Plantain

A perennial “weed” that can be found almost anywhere in North America and much of Europe. You probably have some in your backyard! Plantain is thought to be indigenous to Eurasia. It will grow in sun to shade, and in almost any soil – plantain is very adaptable. Plantain spreads by seeds.

There are over 200 species in the plantain family, and they are found worldwide. Many have herbal uses. Plantago major is the most common one in North America, but Plantago lanceolata can also be found. Both have the same medicinal uses, and are very similar in appearance. Plantago major has wide rounded leaves, with a flowering spike covered with small nubbly seeds; Plantago lanceolata has longer, slender leaves, and a mostly bare flowering stem, with a conelike cluster of flowers on the top.

(Please note that plantain – the starchy, banana-like fruit, is completely different and not related to the plantain “weed” we are talking about!)

Plantain is edible – harvest the young, tender leaves for use in a salad, or steamed and used as a spinach substitute. The leaves do get tough quickly, so make sure to harvest only the youngest leaves. The immature flower stalks may be eaten raw or cooked. If you’re really adventuresome, you can harvest the seeds. They are said to have a nutty flavor and may be parched and added to a variety of foods or ground into flour. The leaves, seeds and roots can all be made into an herbal tea.

Plantain was brought to the US and also to New Zealand by European settlers who valued it, for it’s culinary and medicinal properties. The settlers seemed to leave the plant wherever they went, thus earning it the name “White Man’s Foot’ or “Englishman’s Foot” by the natives of both countries.

Plantain has been used medicinally by Europeans for centuries. Herbals dating from the 1500′s and 1600′s are full of recipes and uses for plantain. It was considered to be almost a panacea – a cure-all, and a quick search shows that is has historically been recommended as a treatment for just about everything, up to and including dog bites, ulcers, ringworm, jaundice, epilepsy, liver obstructions, and hemorrhoids! Plantain was so commonly known it is even found referenced in works by both Chaucer and Shakespeare.

Plantain is usually plentiful and can be easily harvested anytime from early spring until frost. Please do be careful where you harvest it – roadsides are notoriously dirty and dusty, and ditches are often sprayed with herbicides. Leave a spot in your backyard where you allow it to grow, and you can harvest your own all growing season! If your neighbors think you are crazy, let them know that plantain is a food source for some friendly wildlife such as butterfly caterpillars, and that the seeds are a food source for many varieties of birds.

Plantain is very high in beta carotene (A) and calcium. It also provides ascorbic acid (C), and vitamin K. Among the more notable chemicals found in plantain are allantion, apigenin, aucubin, baicalein, linoleic acid, oleanolic acid, sorbitol, and tannin. Together these constituents are thought to give plantain mild anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihemorrhagic, and expectorant actions. Acubin has been reported in the Journal Of Toxicology as a powerful anti-toxin. Allantoin has been proved to promote wound healing, speed up cell regeneration, and have skin-softening effects.

Modern medical research is proving to uphold many of the historical uses of plantain – especially as a wound healer, and as a treament for lung conditions such as bronchitis or asthma. Medicinally, plantain is astringent, demulcent, emollient, cooling, vulnerary, expectorant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antitoxin, and diuretic. Plantain is approved by the German Commission E (a sort of German “FDA” that studies and regulates herbs and herbal uses) for internal use to ease coughs and mucous membrane irritation associated with upper respiratory tract infections as well as topical use for skin inflammations. Two Bulgarian clinical trials have suggested that plantain may be effective in the treatment of chronic bronchitis.

How much is usually taken? The German Commission E officially recommends using 1/4-1/2 teaspoon (1-3 grams) of the leaf daily in the form of tea made by steeping the herb in 1 cup (250 ml) of hot water for 10-15 minutes (making three cups (750 ml ) per day). The fresh leaves can be applied directly three or four times per day to minor injuries, dermatitis, and insect stings. Syrups or tinctures, approximately 1/2 teaspoon (2-3 ml) three times per day, can also be used, particularly to treat a cough. Finally, 1/2-1 1/4 teaspoons (2-6 grams) of the fresh plant can be juiced and taken in three evenly divided oral administrations throughout the day. Of course as with all herbal medicines, you are your own best doctor – listen to your body and pay attention to it’s interaction with the herb, and you will undoubtedly figure out your own best uses and dosages.

Plantain is not associated with any common side effects and is thought to be safe for children Plantain is classed as “able to be safely consumed when used appropriately” by the American Herbal Retailers Association. Some preliminary research does show, however, that some allergy sufferers may have a reaction to plantain pollen, so if you feel this may be a problem for you, you may want to only use the plantain leaves for your herbal preparations.

One of plantain’s most common uses is as a poultice for stings, bites, scrapes and rashes. The simplest way to harness plantain’s healing powers is to crush a few fresh leaves, and apply to the affected area. Replace fresh leaves as necessary. The fresh plantain “juice” takes the pain away and seems to work wonders at staunching blood flow and closing wound edges. It’s also wonderfully refreshing and soothing to sunburn.

Plantain infusion (tea) can also be used as a soothing wash for sunburn, windburn, rashes, or wounds. To make a plantain infusion, simply add a small handful of fresh plantain leaves to a cup or two of water, and bring to a gentle boil. Turn off heat, and let steep, then strain out the leaves. The infusion is best when fresh, although it can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

*Courtesy of Prairieland Herbs

Astragulas

Astragalus

Astragalus root is commonly used as an herbal remedy in China, Mongolia and other Asian countries. The roots of the astragalus plant are dried and aged for at least three years before they are used to prepare extracts, powdered capsules and medicinal teas. Historically, astragalus was used to promote longevity and speed recovery from illnesses, although it’s now viewed as an immune system booster, antioxidant and mild antimicrobial.

The common name “yellow leader” refers to the yellow interior of the root, and the fact that this is one of the superior tonic roots in traditional Chinese medicine. A typical member of the pea family, astragalus has finely divided leaves, small pealike flowers and seed pods, and a sprawling, vinelike stature. Astragalus membranaceous, the species used medicinally, grows up to 6 feet tall and has an appearance similar to licorice, another member of the large Astragalus genus. Some herbalists believe that the North American milk vetch, A. americus has many of the same properties and may even be a wild, medicinal Astragalus.

Immune Boosting
Astragalus root may boost the immune system in multiple ways, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The evidence suggests that astragalus extract contains compounds, such as polysaccharides, which stimulate specialized immunity cells called natural killer cells, monocytes and lymphocytes. This root may trigger the release of strong antiviral and anticancer substances named interleukin-2 and interferon, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stresses that more research is needed before any medical claims can be made. Other compounds in astragalus root called saponins display mild antiseptic properties especially against pathogenic bacteria, helping to prevent the immune system from being overworked.

Antioxidant
Antioxidants are beneficial to health because they eliminate or neutralize free radicals, which are end products of oxidation that harm a variety of tissues, especially the insides of arteries. The saponins, flavonoids and triterpenes in astragalus root extract are strong antioxidants and may help to slow the deterioration of tissues, which is the primary cause of aging and a significant cause of many degenerative diseases such as arthritis, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.

Adaptogen
Astragalus root is also classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body resist the harmful effect of stress and fatigue by stimulating the production and secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands and by balancing other endocrine hormones. It may help to keep you from feeling rundown, although you shouldn’t rely on it solely for this purpose. Adaptogens, which also include ginseng root and licorice root, may also enhance libido and give you an extra boost while working out.

Anti-Aging
Anti-aging potential has been the claim to fame of astragalus for centuries, and there now seems to be some biochemical understanding of how it may contribute to well-being and longevity. Compounds in the roots called astragalosides and cycloastragenols activate telomerase enzymes, which help to prevent the protective ends of chromosomes, called telomeres, from degrading. The degradation of telomeres negatively affects cell division and contributes to tissue aging. Astragalus protects the telomeres from degradation and may also stimulate telomere renewal. Although intriguing, much more human research is needed before astragalus can be touted as a fountain of youth.

Dosage
Some adaptogens are recommended only for short-term use, but astragalus is commonly recommended for many months at a time by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine. Typical dosages of astragalus root extract range from 200 up to 500 milligrams three times a day, but consult with a health professional familiar with herbal remedies before starting supplementation. The dried root in the form of tea, encapsulated or as an extract. Powder is mildly sweet and may be sprinkled on food or whipped into a shake or smoothie. Most authorities on traditional Chinese medicine recommend taking 9-15 grams (3 to 5 tablespoons) of the whole herb per day as a decoction, made by boiling the ground, dried root in water for a few minutes and then brewing the tea. May also be taken in capsule or extract form.

*Some content courtesy of The Nest & Annie’s

Baptisia

Baptisia Tinctoria

Baptisia tinctoria, also known as horsefly weed, is a plant with light-colored flowers and seed pods. It generally grows in warm regions of North America. The plant’s name is a combination of each of the Latin and Greek words for “dye.” The extract from the flowers and seed pods of baptisia tinctoria were historically used as a garment dye because they would change to a dark blue color when exposed to air. The extract’s most common modern use is as an herbal medicine.

The flowers and seed pods of the plant can both be used for medicinal purposes. For use as a tea, the flowers can be dried out and boiled with water. The seed pods can also be steamed to release their natural oils, then combined with alcohol for a mixture known as a tincture. Tinctures can be diluted in water and drunk. The oil from the seed pods can also be added into capsules or mixed with creams for topical application.

One of the possible uses for baptisia tinctoria is as a laxative, a substance that helps the body produce bowel movements. A person may need to use the medicine as a laxative to help treat constipation, a condition in which solid waste becomes backed up in the digestive system and makes regular bowel movements difficult or painful. Taking the herbal capsules orally may help loosen any backed up waste in the intestines so a person can have regular bowel movements. The herb can also work as an emetic, meaning it promotes vomiting. This use can help treat nausea or rid the body of toxins.
Tea made from baptisia tinctoria may be promoted by herbalists as a treatment for respiratory infections. It may be consumed to help soothe sore throats or chest colds. The tea may also be used as treatment for respiratory inflammation pain due to tonsillitis or laryngitis.

Baptisia tinctoria oil may also be implemented as a possible herbal treatment for various aches. It can be mixed with warm water, then used to soak a cloth known as a poultice. The poultice can be pressed against the outside of the jaw for toothaches or applied to other painful areas of the body, such as sprained ankles. The oil mixture can also simply be used as an antiseptic wash for cleaning cuts and scrapes, as herbalists believe it has antibacterial properties.

Some people may experience side effects if they are allergic to the herb. Signs of an allergic reaction generally include itching, vomiting, or diarrhea after applying or consuming. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are typically not advised to use the herb because it is not known how it affects infants or children.

Recap: Today we looked at several herbs; Plantain, Astratulus and learned a little on the controversial herb Baptisia or Wild Indigo. Since this herb is so controversial I highly suggest before using consult your naturopath, doctor or herbalist. We also made a Skin healing Poultice (with Printable) and a Wound Healing Tea!

Looking ahead: Next week we will take a look at Fainting & Dizziness. We will be talking about the lovely herb Lavender and making Lavender smelling salts and a Lavender Compress.

Reminder: Get your Lavender!!

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Until next post…
Blessings to you and yours,

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Disclaimer
Nothing in this post is to be construed as medical advice, simply a sharing of things that have worked for me & my family. If you have any symptoms of serious illness, taking medication, pregnant or nursing, or have never worked with herbal materials before, please consider consulting a medical professional before use. I am unable to offer advise for your particular medical situation; please ask your doctor, nurse practitioner or naturopath for further guidance.
The statements made here have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

 This article can be viewed here:  www.modernhomesteaders.net