Natural Body Care: Homemade Sore Muscle Salve

A creamy salve to soothe the soreness!

Delightful DOMS…Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is what you may experience when you begin working out again or just generally overexert yourself. It usually takes 2-3 days to reach “peak” soreness, and as you get older, it seems like it takes longer for your muscles to recover. So what do you do? Break out the BENGAY®? Nope – make your own herbal salve for those aches and pains, instead!

I used Dr. Axe’s Homemade Muscle Rub recipe. It calls for ingredients that I have on hand and is easy to make. I opted to use ginger instead of turmeric (and I love turmeric!) because I didn’t want to risk staining skin or clothing. Along with the ginger, cayenne is also a natural anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic

The recipe begins by melting coconut oil and beeswax in what is basically a double boiler. If you use a glass jar, you can just let the salve solidify in there and use it as your container (like I did). Using a glass container revealed that the cayenne sinks to the bottom of the jar when it hardens.

Once the oil and beeswax have melted together, you add the ginger and cayenne and stir well. Then you let it cool a bit and add the essential oils. It smells great!

Almost looks like caramel, doesn’t it?

My triceps are sore from working out, so I smeared some salve on the back of my right arm to test the salve’s efficacy. I seriously think it helped alleviate the soreness…it hasn’t disappeared, but I’d say it went from a 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10) to to a 3 (from wincing to mild soreness) with the first application, and down to a 2 after the second (a few hours later). I’d call that an excellent result for a natural, topical treatment…no NSAIDs needed.

Don’t let the threat of DOMS stop you from beginning a workout routine – and it’s never too late to start improving your physical fitness. DOMS isn’t fun, but I remind myself that the reason it hurts is because muscle fibers have been damaged – and they’ll rebuild themselves, bigger and stronger than before. While “no pain, no gain” is a risky mantra, I think a little (manageable) soreness reminds me that I’m on the right track.

And if you’re at the gym and you see an out-of-shape individual struggling on the treadmill or looking uncomfortable in the free weights area, be kind and give them the credit they deserve for even getting on that treadmill or picking up that dumbbell. Some of these folks may be people who were once in very good shape and for one reason or another fell out of the exercise habit and wisely decided to pick it back up again. Whatever the motivation, a population that’s fit is a healthier population, which is good for everyone.

How do I use this from the bottom?

Update: I decided to re-melt the salve using my tiniest Crock Pot as a bain-marie, and stirred it thoroughly before it solidified again. This time, the cayenne is more evenly distributed, but it’s gritty when applied. I’m still satisfied with its efficacy, but will make a cayenne-infused oil (and strain out the grit) for this salve in the next iteration.