After a grueling Crossfit workout one day, my sweetie and I stopped at the farmer’s market to pick up some stuff for dinner. This was when I had just started Crossfit. My knee was hurting so bad I could barely walk. As I browsing the stalls, I came across a table for Farmacy Herbs. Desperate, I picked up a jar of their Ache Away salve and put it on during the car ride home. I instantly felt better and I couldn’t believe it.
It doesn’t help you guys since you can pretty much only get this in Providence, but I wanted to give a look at how this completely natural product can actually work for you. Every time my muscles are sore, I use this and it works. It has a bit of an herbal smell but nowhere near as vile as Ben Gay or Icy Hot type of rubs. My jar is over a year old and I can tell that some of the “oomph” is fading, but it still works and best of all, the ingredients are completely free of chemicals. Keep reading for more info about what makes this stuff works.
I was curious about what makes this salve relieve my pain so I did a little research on the ingredients.
The product’s ingredients in order are:
- eucalyptus oil
- solomon seal oil
- arnica oil
- St. John’s Wort oil
- Cayenne oil
- plus vitamin E oil, beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, essential oil
Eucalyptus oil – Aside from having a menthol-y cooling effect similar to BenGay and commercial muscle rubs, eucalyptus oil is supposed to be good for muscle aches due to its anti-inflammatory properties. That cooling, tingly sensation and minty smell also distracts you from the pain and makes you feel refreshed, which is one of the reasons why a lot of commercial muscle rubs do this. It is also naturally anti-bacterial, which may help this natural product stay preserved. (more about eucalyptus oil)
Solomon’s seal oil – I couldn’t find much information on this, other than it is from Salomon Seal Root and is a traditional herb that is used for muscle and arthritis pain.
Arnica oil – Arnica is historically used to treat sprains and bruises, which is excellent for a muscle rub. According to this NYTimes article, it speeds up healing by increasing circulation and stimulating white blood cells. And fashion people use it to get skinny? More about arnica oil.
St John’s Wort oil – I couldn’t find any science-backed articles about St. John’s Worst oil for pain, but herbalists say that it relieves nerve pain and heal blood vessel-type wounds such as bruises, hemorrhoids, varicose veins.
Cayenne oil – You will notice that most muscle rubs have a hot/cold effect, so this cayenne oil provides the counterpart to the cooling eucalyptus oil. It isn’t that “hot” per se, more just warm. There are also a lot of muscle creams out there that are capsaicin-based (the burning oil from chile peppers) so the cayenne oil serves that purpose. Capsaicin oils are scientifically proven to provide pain relief by dulling the nerves that are experiencing pain.
And those main ingredients are gives this salve its punch. So there you have it: natural, herbal remedies for pain that actually work and some of them are backed by science. My farmer’s market has a handful of stalls that sell indie-made soaps, lotions, etc that are infused with ingredients like local goat milk or herbs and I usually just pass them by. Next that you are dealing with sore muscles, poke around your local farmer’s market to see if any herbalists would have a solution for you.