All joints are critical to our wellbeing. They are required for us to stay mobile, and empower us at the same time. However, as we begin to age, our bodies start to wear down.
Joints are particularly susceptible to wear and tear, because of how much we use them. The amount of movement and pressure applied to our joints on a day to day basis is beyond comprehension.
The joint is the area where two bones meet – they’re connected with ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to each other and the surrounding muscles.
The knee is considered the largest joint in the human body and is also considered one of the most complicated. As the biggest joint, it sustains a tremendous amount of stress as it allows lower body mobility, while supporting the upper body. If not taken care of through proper nutrition, stretching, and strengthening exercises, the cartilage at the end of the bones that form the joint can deteriorate.
Lubrication of the knee joint is also made possible by fluid sacs in the knee capsule called bursae. If they become irritated or inflamed, bursitis may result.
What Causes Knee Pain?
There are many different causes of knee pain. Some of the most common include:
– Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Immuno-inflammatory conditions
– Injury or over-use
If your knee pain is a result of inflammation, reducing your consumption of inflammatory-causing foods, and drinking plenty of water (3-4 litres a day) can help reverse symptoms.
You can also use natural remedies to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain!
DIY Knee, Bone & Joint Pain Healing Salve Recipes
These healing salve recipes contain powerful, natural anti-inflammatories, as well as natural analgesics. All you have to do is mix the ingredients together and then rub on your joints to start feeling their healing properties. First, however, let’s take a look at what the ingredients do!
Possesses strong pain-relieving properties. The active ingredient is called capsaicin, a phytochemical that relieves pain by blocking a chemical pain transmitter, “substance P,” from reaching the brain (1). When applied topically, capsaicin also stops nerve fibres from feeling pain and transmitting it to the brain. It also prevents pain from spreading to other areas. In one study, application of a capsaicin patch (8% concentration) for pain management found that a single 1-hour application was effective in reducing pain for up to 12 weeks (2)!
Otherwise known as marigold, calendula is an anti-inflammatory herb with many active ingredients ranging from saponosides, carotene, polysaccharides, etheric oils and essential fatty acids. When applied to the skin, calendula can help reduce pain and swelling caused by inflammation, as well as varicose veins, hemorrhoids and nosebleeds (3).
Another potent anti-inflammatory, ginger, which can help with swelling of any joint. Gingerols in ginger are a group of phytochemicals that inhibit an excessive immune response that results in inflammation. A study done in 2014 found that the application of ginger on joints of people with osteoarthritis (OA) resulted in pain relief within a week. This effect persisted the whole 24 weeks that the study went on for.
“Topical ginger treatments were found to improve the subdimensions of quality of life scores of physical function, pain, and health satisfaction and overall global effect of OA. The noninvasive nature of topical ginger avoids the risks of conventional medication and surgery and has the potential to delay and possibly negate the use of these more invasive treatments (4).”
This herb’s main ingredients are etheric and volatile oils, which are anti-spasmodic and muscle relaxing. It also possesses flavonoids and other antioxidants that act as effective pain-relievers and anti-inflammatories. Arnica has been traditionally used for injuries, bruises, strained tendons, or broken blood vessels. It penetrates the skin, eases pain, prevent inflammation, relaxes muscle tension and speeds the healing process. It has even been found to be just as effective as ibuprofen gel in osteoarthritis of the hands (5).
Other essential oils that have healing effects on the joints are as follows:
• Rosemary helps with circulation and relaxes muscles.
• Peppermint cools the skin and acts as a catalyst to other herbs.
• Wintergreen warms the skin, and has a cortisone-effect on muscle and joint inflammation.
• Lemongrass can repair connective tissue and is great for healing and support of ligaments and tendons.
The Joint Pain Recipes
These joint pain salves can be applied on any joint to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Be careful with wearing clothes after applying the salves, especially the one with cayenne pepper, as it can stain clothing.
Cayenne Joint Relief Rub
– 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper powder
– 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
– 2 tbsp. castor oil
– 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
1. Add all of the ingredients together and stir well until a paste forms. Add more oil if it is too thick.
2. Apply the paste on the affected area twice a day, and leave it on for 20 minutes (such as when you wake up, and right before bed).
3. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
4. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator, and give it a stir before using again.
Healing Salve For Joints
This recipe is adapted from Real Food Outlaws.
– 1 cup organic castor oil
– 2 tbsp. calendula dried herb
– 2 tbsp. arnica dried herb
– 1/2 tsp. desired essential oil blend (you could do a mixture of all essential oils mentioned above, or just one)
– 1 tbsp. beeswax
1. Fill a pot halfway with water and place a glass measuring bowl inside the pot.
2. Turn the heat on medium low and add the oil and herbs to the glass bowl.
3. Simmer gently for 3 hours.
4. Strain through a cheesecloth into a clean bowl and return to the pot.
5. Add the beeswax and let it melt. To test for consistency, place a tiny droplet onto some wax paper and place in the fridge for a few minutes. Add more beeswax if not firm enough or add more oil if too firm.
6. Remove from heat and add the essential oils. Mix well.
7. Pour into a mason jar, let cool, and then put on the lid.
8. Rub a small amount onto the affected area as needed for pain relief.