Are You Ready For The Olympics?

With the Olympics just a week away you have got to wonder how athletes manage to stay in such tip top shape. Sure you hear about them injuring their muscles and ligaments every now and then but they always seem to recover so fast.

Maybe I am being naïve to the whole physiotherapy process, but the concept of sport injuries and treatments did get me wondering if there are any herbs or oils you can use to heal them, and I think you’ll be quite impressed with what I found.

Take a look at these hidden gems:

  • Comfrey – often called the ‘knit bone’, comfrey has been used for centuries to heal fractures, muscle aches and pains. Rich in allantoin, this helps to encourage the growth and development of your bones, cartilage and muscles.
  • Arnica – used immediately after an injury it can cut your healing time in half. Often used in a diluted form to treat concussion, falls, fractures, inflammation, injury and stress, arnica causes the fluid that has escaped as a result of an injury to be reabsorbed whilst stimulating macrophage activity which can reduce swelling.
  • Epsom salts – add to your bath and these can relieve sore muscles. Other good ones for muscle soreness are calendula, juniper berries and rosemary. Tie these in a wash cloth and you can add them to your bath whilst the water is running.
  • Ginseng – this simple herb is often used to increase your energy levels, fight fatigue and improve your immune system.
  • Ginkgo – a natural antioxidant, Ginkgo helps to combat free radicals which can damage your body and cause inflammation. Also it is believed to increase your blood flow, improving your mental and physical endurance.

But what about more specific treatments? You know for cuts, pain relief and broken bones? Well I found out some interesting natural treatments for these too, come see:

Massage – it is widely known that massage oils are a great way to loosen tight muscles. Athletes often combine the essential oils of rosemary, birch or fir to help relax their muscles and relieve muscle spasms and joint pain.

Pain relief – I have mentioned a few above but other good herbs which can help to calm your nervous system and ease pain are catnip, chamomile, passion flower, skullcap and valerian. Fresh ginger root too is often used externally to help sore, painful and even inflamed muscles.

Cuts and wounds – natural antiseptics such as tea tree oil can help to clean the area, but to increase your healing time athletes often apply a salve of calendula or comfrey to their skin to help heal cuts. At the same time they use Echinacea, goldenseal, chaparral or propolis to prevent infection.

Broken bones – as athletes this particular type of injury is bound to happen, yet it is possible to speed up your recovery time by using nettles, oatstraw and horsetail as these can provide your body with the minerals it needs to encourage bone repair.

Energy and endurance – okay, this isn’t an injury as such, but it is easy to imagine that athletes often push their bodies too far and suffer from lack of energy. Fortunately, astragalus (a Chinese herb) can be taken as an energy tonic to strengthen your immune system, speed up digestion and improve your metabolism, giving you the energy to keep going.

With the right herbal arsenal, you too can offer your body a fighting chance of healing quicker and becoming a better athlete. So if you secretly yearn to one day go to the Olympics, remember to keeps this assortment of herbs and oils to hand to help protect your body from serious injury.

Please Note: you should always speak to your doctor first before trying one of these treatments.

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