Ready to make a soothing muscle rub for back pain that is natural and free from chemicals?
Well, great. Today I am going to share with you a homemade, soothing muscle rub that is easy and fairly quick to make at home. Many of these things you may already have in your kitchen. And the few you don’t, you can easily find at a natural food store or coop.
Now you may be wondering why cayenne would be the main ingredient for a muscle and joint rub. Great question!
Why Cayenne Works for Muscle Pain
Capsaicin, one of cayenne’s active constituents, stimulates the release of something known as “substance P” in the body. Substance P is released from nerve cells and the inflammatory cells of the immune system. Substance P is most noted for its role in helping the body perceive pain, and in stimulating the release of various cytokines to induce a healthy inflammatory response.
Cayenne also dilates blood vessels, which allows for more anti-inflammatory cells to make their way to the affected area. When substance P is released and subsequently depleted, as is the case when you repeatedly apply cayenne, the threshold of pain in that area increases. This is also known as pain desensitization. (1,2)
What happens is the area actually feels less painful. This allows you to take some much-needed steps to helping that part of the body heal. Whether it be walking, stretching, exercises or physical therapy, with the assistance of cayenne, you can help your body heal a lot sooner!
Beyond the Cayenne
This rub is full of additional ingredients that will help your tired, achy muscles relax and even heal some!
Coconut oil is a wonderful oil that nourishes the skin. It is antimicrobial so is a perfect base for this rub. Coconut oil has been shown to have its own pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. (3)
Raw cocoa butter is nourishing to the skin. It contains a high amount of antioxidants (just like chocolate) and will be nicely absorbed by the skin along with the beneficial herbs to help penetrate the muscles below.
Ginger is a spice with a long history of use in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is naturally anti-inflammatory and warming. When used in a muscle rub, it will help stimulate the movement of blood flow. This allows for new blood to come into the area, bringing with it new immune cells that help push along old blood containing inflammatory cells that have done their job at the site of pain. (4)
Turmeric, similar to ginger, is a spice with a very long history of use for its anti-inflammatory and healing effects. Turmeric will help to reduce swelling and keep the body’s inflammation in check. Remember, inflammation is good for the healing process. But not when the body is chronically inflamed. (5)
Peppermint Essential Oil has menthol in it. This is another common compound used for muscle soreness as it will reduce pain and relax the muscles. Peppermint cools an area, providing similar relief as ice. (6) There is a nice balance here with the ginger and the peppermint. The former is working to warm the area and bring new blood flow and immune cells, while the later is constricting the muscles and moving the blood along to get rid of waste.
It is a really wonderful combination!
In addition to using the rub for sore muscles, remember to:
- Rest the area. One of the worst things most people do is to not sufficiently rest an area that chronically has pain. Rest is paramount to healing! With low back pain, lying down or sitting with legs up is often helpful.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is needed to carry your blood around. In the blood, there are immune cells just waiting to help reduce inflammation. Adequate water is paramount to healing. Be sure to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water a day. If you are dealing with an injured area, another 15-20 ounces will go a long way.
- Consider taking Turmeric capsules for arthritis pain reduction and healing. Turmeric capsules, 1500mg/day, have been shown to be just as effective as NSAIDs for reducing pain in folks with knee osteoarthritis, and without the side effects like NSAIDS (one of which is delayed healing). (5)
Cayenne Muscle & Joint Rub Recipe:
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup raw cocoa butter (if you can’t find this, then just use all coconut oil)
- ¼ cup beeswax (grated to facilitate melting process)
- 2 teaspoons organic Cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon organic Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon organic Ginger powder
- 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 4 oz. glass jar
- Place the coconut oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax into a pyrex glass container and place that into a saucepan that contains 2-3 inches of water (the pyrex will be resting in the water).
- Bring the water to a simmer. Continually stir the mixture until the cocoa butter and beeswax are completely melted, along with the coconut oil.
- Add the cayenne, turmeric and ginger powder and stir until they are completely moistened (roughly a minute).
- Remove from heat and add the peppermint essential oil.
- Pour the mixture into a glass jar immediately and allow to cool before placing a lid on top.
- Use liberally on affected area.
Storage: best stored in the fridge due to the fact it does not have preservatives in it. Lasts approximately 6-8 weeks.
CAUTION: be sure to wash your hands after you apply to affected area, as both cayenne and peppermint EO can be very strong. Also, turmeric may cause mild skin yellowing, which is normal.