Herbs for Performance, Enhancement and Recovery
Outdoor summer activities can sometimes leave the body a bit bruised and battered. While the tendency is to take extra care of ourselves only after the damage has been done, taking a proactive approach by using herbs to prepare for exertion can cut down on post-workout pain, improve athletic performance and help recovery.
Before heading outside to work out, Nature’s Rite Founder Steven Frank recommends using sweet marjoram for muscle cramp relief, peppermint leaf to improve circulation and witch hazel to lubricate muscle fibers. Penelope Ody’s The Holistic Herbal Directory suggests that using these herbs can also cut down on discomfort during strenuous physical activity. Devil’s claw can be applied to provide joint relief.
According to Andrew Chevallier’s Natural Health Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, applying juniper berry to flush lactic acid from muscles and white willow bark for pain relief can help to offset effects of pushing the body harder than usual during exercise. After the workout is complete, Ody’s Natural Health Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs recommends the application of comfrey to increase fibroblast activity for building new muscle fibers and repairing micro-tears in tendons, as well as Arnica montana to break up micro-clots to clear the way for recovery while easing pain.
Frank says, “Each of these herbs, roots and bark can be combined in a water decoction to provide the right preparation for outdoor activities. The mixture should be sprayed on or wiped on large muscle groups and joints for maximum effectiveness.”