Sore muscles, aches and pains can really put a kink in your day-to-day activities. The problem is, new research now suggests that popping ibuprofen can be downright dangerous for your health. Instead, why not make your own all-natural spicy salve to block pain messages from reaching your brain? It’s easy, affordable and made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
Why choose a salve?
When muscles become sore and achy, your doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen for pain and inflammation. But here’s the thing…
Research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that taking NSAIDs – which includes ibuprofen – could increase your risk of heart failure. Topical NSAIDs are a better choice if you’re at risk of heart attack or stroke because they allow lower levels of the drug to enter the body.
But, if you are like a growing number of people who worry about using too many pain medicines, then perhaps you should consider making your own spicy salve for aches, pains and sore muscles.
Coconut oil as a carrier oil
Carrier oils serve as a base to dilute essential oil, and in this case, the ground spices prior to applying them on your skin. Coconut oil makes an excellent carrier oil for salves, and there are several health benefits to using it topically.
It contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful medicinal properties, and it won’t clog your pores. Unrefined coconut oil will solidify in a jar. But each time you scoop it out, it will melt with the warmth of your hands, making it ideal for spreading on the skin.
Ginger helps relieve chronic pain
Used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is proven to be highly effective for soothing sore, achy muscles — and even for chronic degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis. In fact, there are numerous studies highlighting its anti-inflammatory properties.
A study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing found that when ginger was used topically, there was a notable decline in pain, fatigue and even function in chronic osteoarthritis pain. In addition, ginger’s warming qualities are also known to help improve circulation and relieve tension.
Cayenne reduces pain messages
When applied topically, cayenne has powerful pain-relieving properties, making it a great addition for a pain relieving salve. Research suggests that cayenne reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. Less substance P, means pain messages no longer reach the brain, and that spells relief.
Apart from helping to relieve joint and muscle pain, it also works to relieve pain from arthritis, nerve pain and low back pain.
Lavender and peppermint essential oil for pain management
Lavender oil may be the number one natural remedy for a migraine and tension headaches, but it also useful in the management of chronic pain. That’s why it is commonly used to treat nagging neck pain. Similarly, peppermint oil is also a popular pain reliever.
When used topically, lavender oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and peppermint oil relaxes muscles, making it particularly helpful for lower back pain.
Homemade Spicy Pain Relieving Salve
This homemade salve is made with pure beeswax, which contains natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, extra-virgin, unrefined (available here)
- 1/4 cup beeswax, grated or in pastille form (available here)
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 1 tbsp cayenne powder
- 10 drops lavender oil (available here)
- 10 drops peppermint oil (available here)
- Wide-mouthed glass jar with lid
- Add coconut oil and beeswax in a saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat allowing the oil and wax to melt.
- Add the ginger powder and cayenne powder, and stir to combine.
- Remove mixture from the stove and allow it to cool slightly. Add the essential oils and mix well.
- Pour salve into a glass jar and allow it to cool and firm. Once it becomes firm, cover and store in a cool dark place.
This salve is not for internal use, or should not be used on the face. Additionally, do not use salve on open cuts or wounds.
Massage into sore muscles, achy joints and other sources of pain as often as needed. And remember, a little dab of this spicy salve goes a long way to relieving pain.