We usually talk about getting out into the world to exercise on Fridays. Today we’re talking about the aftermath. Often, after exercising, you’re left “feeling the burn.” While stretching and warm down exercises can help, sometimes icing and topical ointments are better. When it comes to topical treatments, there are various options, from tried and true Icy Hot to homemade remedies. Today, we’re looking at using cayenne to help sore muscles feel better.
Some people love products like Icy Hot. But, others are looking for more natural options. Capsaicin in cayenne peppers can desensitize nerve fibers when applied to the skin so that they can’t transmit pain signals. Just like eating peppers, it burns or itches when you first apply it but then calms down. It helps mild to moderate pain from anything from bruising to strains and even sprains. It can also alleviate joint pain.
Talk to your doctor before adding anything, homemade or bought, to your skin. You may have an injury that needs medical attention. And your doctor may want to review how you got your injury to see if you need to change your workout or your behavior. Home remedy salves can be made in many ways. One recipe mixes a quarter of a cup of olive oil with a quarter of a cup of coconut oil and a tablespoon of beeswax in a double boiler. You add a quarter of a teaspoon each of ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper and mix until it has melted. Then, you strain it and add a couple of drops of peppermint oil. A different, simpler version uses half a cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of cayenne pepper and half an ounce of beeswax. You heat the oil and pepper together several times to infuse the oil with the pepper before removing the pepper and adding the wax. Neither of these salves should be used on broken skin or near a mucus membrane.
While you can make your own, there are also OTC pain creams with capsaicin as an active ingredient. The pain relief you get from these creams is almost immediate, but they offer another benefit. Massaging the creams onto your sore area increases blood flow. Getting more blood flow to an injured area can help speed up the healing process and have you feeling better faster!
Again, it’s important to speak to your doctor before adding a salve to your health routine. Some people do have reactions to them. If you have a history of rashes, they might not be suitable for you. But, if you are looking for natural pain relief, cayenne pepper might be just the ticket!