Herbal Aids for Natural Pain Relief

I made a commitment this year to improve my cardiovascular endurance by running. An activity I’ve never enjoyed. Instead of fueling my dislike for the sport, I decided to focus on the benefit. Running is not only good for the soul but great for the heart, strengthens your joints, torches calories and tones leg muscles. Now that I know the benefits, it’s time for the plan. My achievable goal is as follows:

  • One 5k every month (3.1 x 12 = 37.2 miles)
  • A minimum of one mile on the treadmill 3x a week (1 x 3 x 52 = 156 miles)
  • One half marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Bonus: additional sprinkling of 5Ks, 10Ks and possibly another half marathon with friends.

Running, as with just about any sport, brings with it aches and pains.  Shin splints, ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome), plantar fasciitis, hip pains, knee pains, sore muscles, etc. As an herbalist, a natural care system is important to me for dealing with aches and pains. I have three go-to-formulas that have changed running for me. I still get aches and pains to some extent but the aches leave quickly and are much less severe.

Comfrey.  Often referred to as “people putty.”  It rebuilds tissue and muscle more effectively than anything I have ever seen.  I use Dr. Christopher’s Comfrey Ointment at night before bed.  I rub it thoroughly on my knees, down my shins, and around my ankles and feet. Note: comfrey ointment may stain your bed sheets; I suggest you wear pajamas and socks.

Complete Tissue and Bone. A synergistic combination for healing and rebuilding tissue, bone, flesh and cartilage. I use the ointment before and after running and I take the capsule supplement everyday. I usually take 9 capsules a day; 3 at breakfast, 3 at lunch and 3 at dinner. The capsule formulation consists of oak bark, marshmallow root, mullein herb, walnut bark (or leaves), gravel root, wormwood, lobelia, and skullcap.

Cayenne.  One of the richest and most stable sources of Vitamin E and especially good for the heart, arteries, blood, and the digestive system.  I like to take ground cayenne pepper every morning by mixing ¼ teaspoon with my herbal tea.  I also apply the ointment on the soles of my feet before running. Along with warming my feet, the cayenne heat ointment promotes the relief of sore and tense muscles and joints. 

Whether you’re a runner or not, there is benefit in using herbs internally and externally. These are my three favorite go-to-formulas for running.  What are some of your natural go-to-formulas?