Today’s recipe is an extremely useful home remedy to have in your medicine cabinet. Today we’re talking all about Cramp Bark for muscle aches, cramps and muscle spasms.
Last year, I started a quest to find a natural home remedy for muscle aches and spasms. Several times a year (and almost always around the time that I till my garden!) I put my back out. The muscles get all tight and tense, they spasm, and even after a visit to my chiropractor, it takes several days to regain my full mobility. I was looking for something that would help reduce the pain and relax those tight muscles.
One of the herbs I discovered in my research was cramp bark. Even the name is fitting for it’s most primary function.
Cramp bark is an antispasmodic herb. It’s primary use is to relieve cramps and other conditions caused by an over-contraction of muscles.
What is interesting about cramp bark is that not only does it relax the muscles in the back, neck and extremities but it is also helpful for menstrual cramps, intestinal cramps, and pain and cramping of the bladder (such as with a bladder infection.) It can even be helpful for arthritis if the pain is caused by muscle contractions.
Cramp bark is one the star players in our cramp bark tincture and it can be used both internally and externally.
Another herb we’ll be using in our tincture is valerian root. Probably most well known for it’s sedative qualities, valerian root is a relaxant and can relieve anxiety. It relaxes over-contracted muscles and relieves tension and muscle spasms. It has a calming effect on the body, something you will most likely feel within minutes of taking the tincture. Be advised, valerian root may increase the effects of some sedatives.
The final herb in our tincture is chamomile. Chamomile is certainly a well known herb with so many uses! Chamomile is a relaxing nervine (it nourishes and strengthens the nervous system) and it relaxes both the mind AND the muscles. I love that!
Chamomile can decrease pain caused by tense muscles or cramping and is very useful for relieving menstrual cramps and digestive cramping. Chamomile is generally considered safe for everyone; however, some people with sensitivities to the Asteraceae (aster family) may also be sensitive to chamomile.
Cramp Bark Tincture for Muscle Aches, Cramps & Spasms
1 jar with lid for storing your completed tincture
Tincture bottle with dropper and/or spray glass bottle like this one (if you will be using your tincture externally as a rub.)
1 part cramp bark –I purchase my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store.
1 part valerian root
3/4 part chamomile flowers
80-100 proof vodka (preferable if using it externally,) apple cider vinegar or food grade vegetable glycerin, enough to cover the herbs and fill your jar to the top.
Choose an appropriate size jar for the amount of tincture you will be making. You want to fill your jar 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full of the dried herbs.
Fill your clean glass jar 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full of the herbs.
Pour enough vodka (or apple cider vinegar or glycerin) over the herbs to completely cover them and fill the jar. Seal your jar with a tight fitting lid.
Let the herbs soak in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight for 4-6 weeks. Shake your jar often, every day if possible.
After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs from the liquid. Fill a small tincture bottle for daily use and a glass spray bottle (if desired for using as a muscle rub) and pour the remaining tincture in a clean glass jar. Label and date your tincture. Store in a cool, dark place.
Apple cider vinegar will cause your metal caps to rust. If using apple cider vinegar in your tincture, use either a plastic lid or place a piece of plastic wrap between the jar and the metal lid.
A standard dosage is 1 tsp of the tincture mixed with a small amount of water or juice up to 2-3 times a day. (Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine)
The tincture can also be used externally. If using it as a muscle rub, no need to dilute the tincture. I find it easier to apply using a spray bottle.
Looking for more home remedies? You might find these recipes helpful:
Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH
Rosalee de la Forȇt. http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/
This site is for educational purposes only. It does not provide medical advice. Information found on myhealthyhomemadelife.com is meant to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider.
My Healthy Homemade Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.