Natural Remedies for Pain Relief
Aches and pains are often a part of life, for the young and old, healthy and ill alike. Whether it’s a bruised knee or tight shoulders, life hurts sometimes! Tension and tumbles affect us all. Pain is our body’s way of asking for attention. Listen up! Something is not right! If we didn’t feel pain, we may not rest that torn ligament or pull our hand off a hot stove. Pain is not bad per se, but persistent, distracting pain is certainly no fun.
Now, you may expect the herbalist to tell you that herbs should be your first stop. Wrong! We are FIRM believers that herbs will “meet you halfway”. Meaning, when you take steps towards a healthier lifestyle, herbal support is able to work better!
So, natural pain relief can come in a few forms:
1. TLC – Yes, tender loving care to your body is the first step to natural pain relief. No herbal or pharmaceutical protocol will work to its potential without treating your body well. What does this mean? Favoring an anti-inflammatory diet,hydrating well, and getting good rest alone can make a world of a difference. Many studies suggest that simply shifting your diet can heal chronic pain.
2. Nervous system support – this would be in the form of nervine herbs to strengthen the nervous system or ease overactive pain triggers. Our Unwind tea is a great example of inside-out nervous system support. Another example of non-herbal nervous system support? Shifting your lifestyle! Assess what is triggering a stress response, whether it’s your daily routine, certain relationships, or even hobbies. Alter what is within your power so that you have fewer stress triggers. Less stress means less cortisol in your body, which means less inflammation and, yes, less pain.
3. Topical support – Applying anti-inflammatory and circulatory-supportive herbs is an age-old method. It can ease pain and support healing. This can be done using a variety of herbal remedies: oils, liniments, poultices, soaks, and salves. Many of our nerves, ligaments, and muscles lie just below our skin. Thus, the topical application of herbs is a most efficient way to address pain there. Queue Town Farm Tonics’ Trauma Balm!
St. John’s Wort Plant Uses
It’s no surprise that mother nature supplies plentiful herbs to help us heal. One of our absolute favorites is St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). St. John’s Wort is plentiful in New England, where it grows easily on field edges as a weed. It can grow by seed dispersal and rhizome. So, once it finds a home in your yard, it is likely to stick around! It is most easily identified by the perforated leaves (hence its name, perforatum). Hold one to the sun and you’ll see the sun shining through tiny holes. That’s often seen as it’s “energetic signature”; i.e. that internal use of St. John’s Wort “let’s the light in” during times of emotional turmoil.
You may be already guessing that St. John’s Wort has applications beyond internal nervous system support. And you’re right! (Though the combination of internal/external is potent for pain.) Herbalist Mary Bove explains that St. John’s Wort is the perfect plant when muscles are sore from over-exertion. (We’re talking to you, tense shoulders, tired backs, and tight necks!) Bove also goes on to explain St. John’s Wort’s ability to ease muscular spasms, which can result from excessive use and tension. And finally, it’s a friend to the nerves from the outside-in, as well! Herbalists have long turned to St. John’s Wort for diminishing pain associated with nervous system issues.
Pain Relief Balm: Our Recipe for Soothing
Plentiful local St. John’s Wort lends itself to working with this powerful plant! We’re lucky enough to have access to old farms, conservation areas, and our very own homestead where St. John’s Wort runs wild. (An interesting note: we never had St. John’s Wort at home until we started paying mind to it. Interesting, no? The plants show up when we need them!) Therefore, St. John’s Wort is the primary ingredient in our wildly popular Trauma Balm! You see that deep, red color? That’s from the St. John’s Wort! Without those flowers, the salve would be a light yellow. As the beneficial compounds infuse into the carrier oil it turns a rich red.
Right around the solstice, when the flowers bloom like clockwork, we start our harvest. Each blossom goes straight from the plant to a jar of oil. After a month in the sunshine, we strain the oil. It’s infused again with a whole bunch of local Cedar and Arnica. These plants add additional pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory properties. It’s finished off with beeswax and shea butter. Voila! An all-purpose ache-away balm. We’re super proud of just how beneficial this balm has been. So much so that it’s hard to keep in stock! (So if you’re thinking you may want it, grab one now, we promise you won’t be disappointed.)