A few weeks ago I had sore hammies from gardening so, somehow, I managed to come up with a surprisingly good muscle soothing balm. I know right, I’m a genius..!
But seriously, sore hamstrings from gardening? What the..?! Yep, I know it sounds silly, but I over-stretched the back of my legs while gardening for hours one day because I have a container garden, and the way the pots are all set up makes it hard to get to some of them. I can’t kneel or sit to reach some, which is fine, I don’t mind leaning over while standing, but for long periods of time isn’t so good. I woke up the day after with very sore hamstrings. So sore that I heated up the rice pack and laid it under my thighs for a while.
As I was laying on the lounge though I had a thought. I decided to Google “DIY heat rub” and from a few recipes I found and what from ingredients I had handy, I concocted a mixture that didn’t end up acting as a heat rub but still totally soothed the pain in my muscles.
I was shocked! It really worked! And I’ve used it a few times since just to prove to myself that it really does work and wasn’t just a fluke on the day!
So it was intended to be a heat rub but I find the mixture doesn’t really feel warm when rubbed on. I do find though that it noticeably reduces pain and also the timeframe of the pain/injury all up. I’m pretty darn happy with this little accidental creation and am keen to share it with you, so here’s the recipe…
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 cup oil (I had sunflower oil in the pantry, so that’s what I used. You could also use olive or coconut oil)
1 tbsp beeswax (I used a beeswax tea light candle that was down to the bottom of the wick – $1.50 from Kunara, or buy big chunks beeswax from health food stores and some craft stores)
1 tsp pure spearmint or peppermint essential oil (I only had spearmint available)
1 tsp pure eucalyptus oil
1. Place the sunflower oil and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan on low heat (use a saucepan you can keep for this kinda thing as it’ll be really hard to clean afterwards and then use for food!)
2. Let it heat up but not reach boiling, then turn off the heat and leave it there for a few minutes
3. Repeat this a few times (about 5 or 6), stirring occasionally. This will allow the cayenne to infuse without overheating the mixture and causing it to breakdown
4. During the last heating round, stir in the beeswax and let it completely melt
5. Place some muslin cloth folded over 4 times over the top of a jar, secured with a rubber band, then pour the oil mixture into the jar so the muslin catches most of the cayenne. (muslin cloth is only a few dollars per meter at fabric stores)
6. Add in the essential oils and stir through
7. Place the jar in the fridge or just on the bench somewhere to cool down. It’ll eventually cool right through and will set and become firm. It should be a dark orange colour and it’s fine if some of the cayenne got in and settles at the bottom
8. Place a lid on the jar and keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight
Note: If mixture cools down and is runny, return to the saucepan on low heat and add more beeswax. If it’s the opposite and sets too solid then return to the saucepan on low heat and add more oil.
Also, I had added essential oils to the saucepan and realised later when the mixture set that the smells of those oils had reduced, so I figured out it’s best to add those in at the end so they don’t heat up and breakdown.
To use: Rub a 20c piece-size amount onto sore muscles and massage in. It will leave some oil residue but for me I haven’t noticed it leaving any stains on clothing even though it’s a dark orange colour itself. Within a few minutes you may notice muscle pain easing. Even though the mixture to me didn’t feel warm or hot when applied, the properties of the cayenne and essential oils must have a warming and relaxing effect on muscles. Be careful using this on children’s skin and sensitive skin because it may feel hot or may cause a reaction. I don’t have sensitive skin so I’m not sure how someone with it, or children’s skin, would go.
Safety: do not ingest this mixture, keep out of reach of children, label it clearly, if it starts to discolour of go mouldy stop using it and throw it out, test it on your skin first with just a very small amount, if you react badly in any way then stop use immediately. This is only a recipe I made for myself and is only a suggestion of something that can assist in soothing muscle pain, this is not medical advice. Always seek professional medical advice if pain and symptoms persist.
There you have it! Now you have the recipe to make your own muscle soothing balm that’ll hopefully give you some relief next time you strain a muscle in some way. Even if you’ve been sitting at the computer for hours (which is naughty by the way!! Um ma!) and your neck and shoulders are feeling tight, rub some of this on and it might help relax them a bit.
One of the main benefits of making your own concoctions is you know exactly what’s in them and how they’ve been made. You know they’re safe for you and your family. And they didn’t cost the earth. Yay!!
How cool is DIY?! You’re getting a little hooked now aren’t you? Go on, admit it!!
Enjoy guys, and let me know how you go with it 🙂
The five things I’m very grateful for today are:
1. Spending the day with family at the beach, it was perfect weather and so much fun
2. Living on the Sunshine Coast with so many beautiful places to visit
3. My Gelatin Workshop this Sunday!
4. Organic cocoa powder cos it’s pure and delicious
5. Star gazing with Clint the other night in the hinterland with the swag, it was so nice xx