What are the best herbs for a muscle cramp?

Finding relief from a muscle cramp consists of several different steps.  Herbs can help to relieve the pain, soothe the muscle and return the muscle to normal operation.  Naturally recovering from the cramp involves several parts:

  1.  Reduce the pain
  2. Relax the muscle
  3. Improve the circulation
  4. Provide nutrients for rebuilding muscle

Reducing the pain

Reducing the pain is not always necessary.  Many times, people spend excessive resources reducing pain, when the level of pain is bearable,  but uncomfortable.  Pain is the body’s way of communicating with us.  Listen to your body.

The easiest, most common herbal ingredients for reducing muscle pain are ginger and/or turmeric.  Dried or candied forms of these medicinal roots can be used, but the fresh form is generally considered better.  Ginger and turmeric have been used for centuries to reduce pain and are also beneficially in many other ways.

Cayenne pepper has also been used to naturally reduce pain.  Look for an ointment that contains capsaicin, a substance in hot peppers that provides heat, or make your own.  Capsaicin can provide relief from some types of pain.

Relax the muscle

Some common methods for relaxing tensed muscles are:

  • Massage
  • Warm bath
  • Camphor ointment
  • Valerian
  • Hops
  • Stretching
  • Movement, such as swimming

Feed the muscle

Some types of cramping and tension are caused by a nutritional deficiency in magnesium or potassium.  Eating yogurt or a banana can help to reduce these types of cramps.

Also, water is an important part of our bodies and the natural processes that are involved with day to day operation of these complicated machines that human’s call “our bodies”.  Drinking plenty of water helps our bodies to get rid of toxic chemicals.  Drinking water is probable the most important thing that you can do to help your body get rid of toxins.

 

What is in my sports drink?

Sports drinks are becoming more common.  Many people drink them because they are high in caffeine and nutrients and support increased activity and alertness at work, but now there is some evidence that they may not be good for your long-term health.  What is it about the sports drinks that help people to stay active?

Some common ingredients for sports drinks are:

  • Choline – Found in beef liver, cauliflower, eggs and brewer’s yeast, choline is an important part of cell membranes and it is used in the formation of various parts of the brain and nerve cells.  Other foods that contain choline are fatty fish, garbanzo beans, peas and other legumes as well as in cruciferous vegetables.
  • Inositol – Actually a sugar alcohol, inositol contributes sweetness without adding sugar. Inositol is present in many foods and is used in a variety of biological processes and systems inside the body.  There is no FDA recommendation for daily intake.
  • Taurine – A very common compound in the human body, taurine has been proven to have many benefits and uses.  It is necessary for many biological systems including skeletal systems and the central nervous system.
  • Caffeine – Well known to help people stay alert, caffeine can also cause jitters and sleeplessness when consumed in excessive quantities.
  • B-Vitamins – Found in many nutritious foods, like leafy greens and beans and whole grains, b-vitamins are important for many of your body’s natural processes.  Your body uses these water-soluble vitamins for generating energy, among other things.  Healthy levels of vitamins like riboflavin and niacin are associated with heart health and a healthy metabolism.

Energy drinks have come under scrutiny in the news lately due to some statistical connections with health problems and excessive consumption of energy drinks.  While some of the chemicals in energy drinks are known to cause some health problems, some of the ingredients are to be important components to healthy living.

Is it possible to get the benefits of these compounds by consuming organic extracts and plant materials?  It is possible for a person to achieve higher health and optimum stamina and activity levels by learning about what things benefit your health and by locating organic sources for those compounds.

Enjoy your energy drinks responsibly, and be aware of your consumption of sugar, caffeine and artificial sweeteners.  Be careful and aware of your health.