Thursday, December 13, 2012

Relieve Muscle Aches With Arnica

Ugghhhh...  Ohhhhhh... The agony....

No more than an hour after getting inside the house, my muscles ached severely.  I had been out all day, playing with my daughter and attempting to build an igloo.  It was fun, but the result wasn't exactly pretty.  I knew I was going to be in serious pain the next day if I didn't do something fast!

Fortunately,  my medicine cabinet was well stocked, and there are certain items that are always on hand.  Baking soda, and tea tree oil are two of those items.  The third, though, is the one I use for muscle pain.


Sweet, heavenly, amazing arnica.  There's no better muscle pain reliever out there... or, at least, nothing I've ever discovered.

It never ceases to amaze me just how few people know about it.  Arnica is certainly not rare.  You can buy the cream at any health food store.  They even sell arnica drops in some places... though, those aren't as common.

medicine cabinet shelf holes Arnica drops in a box and Arnica Rub (cream) in a squeezy tube.

To be honest, though, even I didn't pay much attention to arnica until a few years ago.  I knew what it was, but I had never used it.

What changed?

After taking a blood sample at the doctor's office, a nurse grabbed some cream and put some on top of the area in which the horrible, vampiric needle had broken the skin of my arm.

"What's that?"  I asked, intrigued.  I had never received any sort of ointment after having blood drawn.

"It's just a little something to keep you from forming any bruises."  He showed me the small container of arnica.

True to his word, no bruise ever formed... one of the only times I've ever been able to say that.  Naturally, I researched.

Arnica montana is actually a perennial flowering herb that resembles a daisy, and the blossom is what is used to prepare the cream for medicinal purposes.  It's been used in medicine since the 1500s as a way to reduce inflammation and aches.

The herbal form is for topical use only, and should not be ingested.  

The arnica drops shown above are actually heavily diluted.  Never, EVER eat any form of arnica unless it was specially prepared for ingestion, and don't take any more than the package suggests.  Oral misuse can be dangerous.

The cream, on the other hand, you can go crazy with.  It has no known interactions with medications.  It should be used on unbroken skin only, but it's perfectly safe... unless, of course, you're allergic to it.  I've never met anyone that is allergic to arnica, but there's a first time for everything, right?

After playing hard in the snow all day, I ached beyond belief.  I knew that if I didn't do something, I'd be in agony the next day, for sure!  Arnica, of course, came to my rescue.

To be honest, though, I didn't just use arnica, this time.

Normally when it comes to muscle pain, I use arnica, and that's it.  I'm good to go.  I knew that after building masterpieces with my daughter, shoveling an extraordinarily long driveway, making snow angels, throwing snowballs, and building half an igloo, I was going to regret my fun the next day...

So I went into the bathroom and ran some hot water for a bath.  

Hot water soothes muscles, of course, and I needed all the help I could get.  I added some coconut oil, not because it does anything for muscles, but because it's great for dry skin... something that gets worse when environmental temperatures dip.  We all know how much I love coconut oil.

I sat laid in the hot water for around 22 minutes (based on the length of a South Park episode I watched on Netflix), then got out and grabbed my arnica cream.  I used it on all the muscles I knew would be effected... which was, pretty much, my entire body.

I also ate one arnica drop once per hour, which is something I only do when I know my pain is going to be intense.  To be honest, though, I'm not entirely sure the drop form of arnica actually does anything more than soothe my emotions.  A placebo effect, if you will.

The next morning I woke up feeling fantastic.  

My muscles were a little tired, but only as tired as they would feel after a nice round at the gym: a good, healthy tired.  The kind of tired that doesn't effect your ability to function normally.

Well, except my butt.

I never even thought about rubbing any arnica on my gluteous maximus, and I should have.  It was the only part of my body that was in pain.  I couldn't sit for more than a few moments, and that lasted all day.  So, yeah... neglecting to rub arnica in that location was a huge pain in the butt.  Literally.


1 comment:

  1. You make a good point. While arnica is itself an herb, the creams have additional "fillers". Being able to recognize the ingredients on the container is very important.