Monday, December 3, 2007

Herbal muscle rub

Recipe courtesy of a dear friend, Crystal_Dragon.

First, make some Arnica oil using 6 ounces of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of dried Arnica flowers. (CAUTION: Arnica can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people so gloves may be needed. Do not get Arnica in an open wound or near mucus membranes as it is toxic when used internally) Heat the oil and Arnica flowers in a double boiler for 2 to 3 hours, then strain the oil into a container. NOTE: Arnica is great for reducing swelling.

Next, make a deconcoction of Cramp Bark and Prickly Ash Bark. Place 8 ounces of water in a pot with 1/8 cup each of the Cramp Bark and the Prickly Ash Bark. Simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, then strain into a container. NOTE: Both Cramp Bark and Prickly Ash Bark are "warming" herbs and go deep into the muscle tissue to help maintain blood flow.

Now, place the bark deconcoction and the oil in a double boiler with 1/2 ounce of beeswax, an emulsifier (to keep the water and oil from separating - I used an emulsifying wax) and a little citric acid concentrate (as a preservative to extend the shelf life). Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it's uniform in appearance. Pour into clean, sterilized jars and allow to cool. You may need to stir the mix as it cools in the jars to maintain uniformity. Once it's cooled, it's ready for use! Store in sealed jars in a cool dark place. Recipe yields about 12 ounces.

Ages ago, I made a batch of Crystal's herbal muscle rub for Jeffery. He's got chronic lower back pain and I just can't do much for him. Rubbing his lower back is akin to trying to massage concrete. Not only is it boring, but I have problems with my wrists and rubbing this area on his back makes me cry because I can't feel my hands.

I learned one very important thing: storing the mixture in a 'cool, dry' place is not a suggestion. Really, store it in a cool, dry place. I made this over the summer, and it moulded before I could use it all. I must have skimmed over that part when reading the instructions, much like I space out over anything that instructs me to 'pat dry' and don't realize why until I'm rubbing my skin raw instead of patting. Seriously, throw this shit in the fridge.

I did not get the opportunity to use very much of it, but I really liked this recipe. I had fun cooking it up; Jeff went out and bought a double boiler for me and he helped me make it while watching a movie. It smells sort of funny and it's a lot of work for a lazy girl like me, but I'll make it again.


TurtleHeart said...

This sounds like an awesome recipe; I think I'm going to have to try it. I get terrible muscle pain and restless leg syndrome from Fibromyalgia-- especially in the winter. I have an arnica cream that helps, but sounds like the addition of cramp bark and prickly ash bark would help even more. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Jade said...

Hi Turtleheart,

Crystal made some modifications to her recipe that I'd like to share with you if you are interested in making it:

"The last batch I made, I used half the amount of cramp bark and substituted borage (an anti-inflammatory) and then added about 1/8 cup of yarrow flower to the deconcoction mixture. Yarrow flower is anti-spasmodic and helps reduce pain, but use with caution if you are allergic to aspirin as it contains salicylic acid. I also substituted high-heat safflower oil for the olive oil."

Crystal said...

Jade, dahling, you forgot the most important bit on the modifications ... cutting back on the cramp bark was a huge improvement for the olfactory sense (simmered crampbark smells something like baby barf)!

Turtleheart, do let us know if this stuff helps ... I am always interested to know if others have a similar experience. :)

Jade said...

I dunno, Crystal ... I always kinda liked that baby barf smell. ;)

I haven't tried it with your recent modifications, but I never got the baby barf smell. Either I'm doing something wrong (likely), or I'm deviant and totally dig baby puke (also likely).

Anonymous said...

I been looking for a truly "high terrible almost unbearable hot" muscle rub and have not been able to find anything. soooooooo. Gonna make my own.
Going to use some your recipe and kick it up with some baulm of gillea, eucalyptse oil, aloe, menthol, and capsaicin
if you see any problkems or have any ideas give me a holler and i'll let you know how it turns out

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