The key to healthy muscles and joints is to balance a strong structure with flexibility: this can become a challenge as we grow older.
If you do have long-standing problems with muscles or joints, a combination of manipulation, diet, lifestyle changes, and herbal remedies to detoxify and reduce inflammation will all help. The chart below, while not comprehensive, provides a quick reference to the most popular herbs that help to prevent pain and inflammation, with suggestions for their use.
Arnica (Arnica montana)
The first remedy to think of following any injury to muscles or joints such as bruising, sprains, or strains. Can also be used to relieve backache and the pain of arthritis and rheumatism. Apply locally as a cream, macerated oil, or salve.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Traditionally known as “knitbone” because of its remarkable healing properties. The fresh leaves can be pulverised to make a poultice for sprains, strains, aches and pains, and arthritis. Alternatively, use the cream or macerated oil.
Celery (Apium graveolens)
Detoxifying and anti-inflammatory, celery seeds are an important remedy in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. Combine with white willow and drink three times a day for several weeks as a decoction, or use the tinctures
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
With its anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties, meadowsweet is helpful in relieving the pain and inflammation of rheumatism and arthritis. Take as an infusion or tincture three times daily.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Stimulates the circulation and brings a feeling of warmth and comfort to aching muscles and joints. Dilute the essential oil in a massage base and rub into painful areas. Excellent for sports injuries such as pulled muscles; rub into the muscle before and after any exertion.
St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
With its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, St John’s wort is particularly appropriate for treating areas rich in nerves. Massage the macerated oil into the skin to treat backache, sciatica, and neuralgia.
Juniper (Juniperus communis)
A diuretic, detoxifying, and antirheumatic essential oil. Make a compress using the essential oil to relieve gout. Combine with ginger essential oil in a vegetable base oil to relieve muscular aches and pains.
Crampbark (Viburnum opulus)
An effective antispasmodic and sedative herb. Use to relieve the pain of backache [combine with white willow) and muscular cramp. Best used as a tincture. Combine with devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) for swollen joints and arthritis.
Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
An effective anti-inflammatory herb useful in the treatment of swollen joints and arthritis. Take as a tincture or capsules. Works well combined with crampbark or white willow.
White willow (Salix alba)
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory, white willow relieves pain in a similar way to aspirin. Helpful in the treatment of painful joints and muscles, arthritis, neuralgia, and sciatica. Take as a decoction or tincture in combination with other appropriate herbs.
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