February 19, 2012

Healing Injured Joints

Being a gardener or farmer definitely puts some wear and tear on the joints and connective tissues, so familiarizing your self with plants specific to healing connective tissues is a very good idea.  In my case, not only am I a gardener, but I am a student of Jiu Jitsu, a martial art that specifically emphasizes joint locks--so researching this topic definitely has its personal benefits.  Unfortunately, it took a sprained ankle to motivate me to finally get around to it!  The information below is the result of that research—I hope you find it helpful.

The most common herbs used externally in varying configurations for an injury like a sprain are:
St. Johnswort (effective enough on it’s own!)
Arnica Montana
Cajeput (a species of Tea Tree!)

Some of the many other herbs indicated for external use in trauma and inflammation include:
Plantain Plantago major 
Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare
Indian Tobacco, Lobelia inflata


Olive Oil                                              12 Parts
Hypericum Oil                                       3 Parts
Beeswax                                            2 ½  Parts
Calendula Flowers                                 1 Part
Arnica montana Herb                            1 Part
Grain alcohol/witch hazel                     1 Part
Cajeput Essential Oil                            ¼ Part

Make a 1:6 steeped oil with the Calendula and Arnica.  Add the Hypericum Oil (made from the fresh flowers), heat slowly, dissolve the beeswax.  Add the Cajeput and pour into tins.
The names for this salve are CHAC Salve (Calendula, Hypericum, Arnica and Cajeput), OSFA Salve (One Size Fits All) or Rescue Grease or Limbaugh Leech. (Michael Moore, 2008)

Internally, some of same herbs can be used in a different formulation by Michael Moore. 
  Hypericum (fresh plant tincture)                  3 parts     
  Calendula (fresh flower tincture)                  2 parts
  Arnica montana (fresh plant tincture)          1 part

“Mix these tinctures from fresh plants (if you can), using the volumes of compressed herbs for the parts. Useful in acute conditions, such as sprains, contusions, hyperextensions and muscular-skeletal trauma.  It should be applied topically and taken internally, (10-20 drops) both modalities every two hours for three or four rounds.  Taken internally it will also help for faintness and lightheadedness resulting from parasympathetic or vagus discharge caused by physical manipulation or trauma.”(Michael Moore, 2008)

Note: According to The Eclectic Materia Medica, and Kings Dispensary, ¼ to 10 drops of Arnica can be taken safely.

Other random tidbits of herbal information:

  • For tendinitis and sprains with dull pain and muscle strain add Black Cohosh (be aware though, that some people report headaches with using Black Cohosh.)

  • Add silica rich herbs like horsetail and the green herb parts of oats to teas and formulas to help rebuild the tissues, and especially if bone healing is needed.

  • Comfrey can be used in external applications; internally it is not recommended due to the potential hepatotoxicity, though I could not find any research on the short term use. 

  • Now let’s not forget Solomon’s Seal, which is also a powerhouse herb for healing insults to the connective tissues.  It can be used internally and externally.

  • Two other herbs that have been used as folk remedies in external applications on sprains are wormwood, as a warm fomentation or vinegar, and Chrysopsis graminifolia (Fevergrass/Grass-leaved Silver Aster) as a poultice.   I couldn’t find much more on the use of these herbs, but I figured I would throw those in there just in case you want to try something new!  

~ posted by Melissa EmmaConnecticut Herb Association board member

The information, products and statements posted on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Please seek professional medical advice for the treatment of any health conditions.

Rosemary Gladstar (2001) Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! I use SJW frequently for sore, overworked and injured muscles … even as a preventative. In recent years I've come to honor Solomon’s Seal for those wonderful connective tissue healing properties.