Monday, 10 August 2009

Cramp Bark for Cramps

In Healing with Herbs: Simple Remedies for 100 Common Ailments, Penelope Ody suggests making a massage oil to rub on muscles that are cramping. She suggests mixing 40 drops each of lavender and chamomile essential oils to 25ml of cramp bark tincture and 20ml of sweet almond oil. Ensure that the oil is mixed thoroughly before massaging a little into the affected areas. Re-apply as required.

Lavender and chamomile essential oils are anti-spasmodic making them an excellent choice for cramps.

I knew very little about cramp bark as it is not something I have come across in aromatherapy before so I decided to do a bit of research on it. As the name suggests, cramp bark is good for cramp – but not just muscle cramps. It is excellent for uterine cramps, breathing difficulties in asthma, intestinal cramps, muscle spasms, stiffness and tension, general aches and pains, night cramps, and can even help lower blood pressure by relaxing the walls of the blood vessels.

Cramp bark is an anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, emmenagogic, anti-spasmodic, nervine, hypotensive, astringent, and sedative.

Cramp bark can be taken internally in water (follow the instructions on the bottle), added to water (25ml to 500ml water) and used in a compress on the affected area, or added to a massage oil and rubbed in to the area as mentioned above.

You could add 5ml hypercium (St John’s Wort) oil to the blend above and reduce the sweet almond oil to 15ml as it is also well known for helping with cramps, neuralgia, stiff and aching joints, and tired and aching muscles.

Always perform a patch test before applying a blend to a large area of skin.

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