Pain and inflammation from injuries, stress, over use of muscles and joints, and acute and chronic conditions seems to affect all of us at some point in our lives. Finding relief from pain is often crucial to continuing daily activities and getting rest. There are many prescribed and over the counter pain relievers that are effective but also have some pretty scary side effects. Topical herbs, oils and essential oils have far fewer side effects and can be used alone or as an adjunct to an oral pain reliever. Cayenne, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, comfrey and olive oil are some of the essential components in a topical pain relief preparation.
Cayenne is one of the strongest topical pain relievers. It works by triggering endorphins and hinders pain perception by blocking a neurotransmitter called Substance P. Substance P is believed to be involved in communicating pain between the nerves in the spinal cord and other parts of the body. Cayenne first stimulates, then decreases the pain signals in the body. You will often feel a burning sensation on the skin when you first apply it but that diminishes quickly.
The pain trio: peppermint, rosemary and lavender. Peppermint is one of oldest herbs used for pain relief. There are accounts of it being used as far back as 1000 BC and in ancient Chinese folk medicine. It is effective for pain relief and muscle relaxation and is especially beneficial for relieving tension headaches. Lavender has analgesic and anti inflammatory properties. It is also calming and relaxing making it an excellent choice for relief of tense and sore muscles. Rosemary reduces inflammation and stimulates circulation and works well topically for pain relief especially when combined with lavender and peppermint. These herbs can be used alone but have a powerful impact when combined. They can be used in herbal infusions or in the form of essential oils.
Eucalyptus is another herb that has analgesic and anti inflammatory properties. It eases joint and muscle pain and promotes relaxation. It is most generally used in the form of an essential oil. It can be used alone but works well in conjunction with other herbs and oils.
Comfrey has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. It contains two beneficial compounds, allantoin and rosmarinic acid that provide the herbs anti inflammatory and pain relieving effects. These compounds work by causing the regeneration of damaged tissue which leads to the reduction of inflammation and pain. It not only offers pain relief but it stimulates healing. Both the root and the leaves are used for their healing properties. Comfrey can be used in an infusion or as a poultice.
Grandma’s Lavender has developed a Muscle Balm using these herbs in an olive oil base. Olive oil is used because it also has properties that stimulate connective tissue to regenerate. The balm not only offers fast pain relief but because of its components it also aids in decreasing inflammation and promoting the healing of damaged tissue. It can be used for muscle strains and sprains, joint and muscle pain, nerve pain, back pain, menstrual pain and tension headaches.
Kathie Kesterson founder and creator of Grandma’s Lavender