Thursday, May 17, 2012

JOINT RELIEF IN THE BACKYARD



Solomon's seal in early spring




Joint pain from arthritis can spoil your day and night both. While many medicinal plants can help (see Herbal Analgesics), a couple are particularly useful for acute exacerbations of chronic joint pain - Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum) and cayenne (Capsicum annuum).


Solomon's seal is declining along with the eastern North American forests. Fortunately, a plant or two from a healthy native patch can be transplanted to a shady spot in the yard where it's rhizomes will readily replicate. The young plants look alot like the non-medicinal false Solomon's seal (Smilacina racemosa) but can be distinguished by flowers hanging down from the stem. The roots are considered a nutritive tonic (alterative) for the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems, helping joint pain by providing lubrication and easing tendon and ligament strain.


True or false Solomon's seal?

False (left) and true Solomon's seal





















Ripe cayenne peppers in late summer
You can find cayenne peppers (Capsicum annuum) for drying in the nearby grocery or farmer's market. The seedlings can also be grown in your garden where they'll produce a late summer crop with enough sun and not too much water. We all know how peppers make us feel - hot, flushed, sweaty - and they do this by stimulating circulation as a cardiovascular alterative. But cayenne also blocks pain by inhibiting substance P, a chemical initiator of pain, making it an effective topical treatment for arthralgia (joint pain) and neuralgia (nerve pain).



HERBALIST'S NOTE: Chronic joint pain is best treated as a systemic condition with possible gastrointestinal, renal, cardiovascular, or immune influences.


JOINT EASE TINCTURE (2oz)

Solomon's seal tincture - .5oz
burdock root tincture - .5oz (substitute black cohosh or yellow dock)
willow bark tincture - .5oz (substitute cayenne or wild yam)
boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) tincture - .5oz (substitute goldenrod)

Solomon's seal roots

1) Clean and chop Solomon's seal roots and place in a jar with a tight fitting lid;
2) Cover with high-proof alcohol (50% or greater), seal the lid, and place in a warm dark room for 2-4 weeks, swirling the jar whenever you pass through;
3) Strain the tincture into an apothecary jar and label with plant name, date, tincture method (folk or 1:2), and alcohol percentage and type;
4) Combine .5oz each of tinctures of Solomon's seal (alterative), burdock (adaptogen), willow bark (analgesic), and boneset (joint specific) into a 2oz dropper bottle;
5) Take 1-2 droppers three times a day for joint pain.







JOINT EASE ROLL-ON (1oz)
JointEase Roll-On






cayenne tincture - .5oz
willow bark tincture - .5oz











1) Chop dried cayenne peppers and place in a jar with a tight fitting lid;
2) Cover with apple cider vinegar or vodka, seal the lid, and place in a warm dark room for 2-4 weeks, swirling the jar whenever you pass through;
3) Strain the tincture into an apothecary jar and label with plant name, date, tincture method (folk or 1:5), and alcohol percentage and type;
4) Combine .5oz each of cayenne and willow bark tinctures into a 1oz bottle with roller-ball top;
5) Apply to painful joints every two hours, avoiding contact with eyes or mucous membranes.



DOCTOR'S NOTE: Acute joint pain with swelling, heat, or redness can be caused by an injury, infection, or inflammatory disease and is best evaluated by a health care professional if unresolved after one week.

1 comment:

  1. It was a bitterly cold hinterland day and the font water wasn't all that warm, either, and as they had been cooling off on the side of the font this whole time, everything was at absolute attention and rendered in bas-relief.
    Joint relief

    ReplyDelete