Homegrown Pain Relief/Leaf

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Traditional Garden Cures That Work

I just visited my first pot shop and all I can say is, wow, man. Cannabis use is legal in Washington State, so we can buy and use various forms of cannabis treats as well as trips. There are bonbon bombs and brownies, bongs and assorted pedigreed splif-stuffings as well as more mundane ointments and salves. I was in search of a cannabis cream that has helped a surprising number of my friends find relief from arthritis pains as well as sore muscles and aching joints. My amazing massage therapist had used some on my hands and back and the result sent me straight off to the local den of iniquity with very rewarding results.

As any aging boomer knows, gardening in cold, wet weather can leave a body feeling rather worse for wear. Thus, I found myself waiting in line (!) with a dozen or so other folks of all legal ages. After a chat with the friendly, knowledgeable staff, I paid (cash only) (!!) and left bearing a little pot of Muscle Melt Heating Rub. Do I know how to have fun or what?

Home Remedies, Sensible Precautions

Perhaps I’m odd, but taking medicine makes me uncomfortable, like I can’t trust my body. Of course, after caring for a number of seriously ill and/or dying people, I absolutely get that medications can provide invaluable comfort and ease. Pain meds in particular can be extremely helpful. I’m certainly not into pain for myself, either, especially at my age, but most of mine is only low-level grumble-worthy. Thus, I prefer to treat my modest aches with herbal potions and lotions, especially when they work as well (for me, anyway) as the ubiquitous over-the-counter pain drugs that are now proving to have significant side effects.

Herbs can have significant side effects too, of course, especially the most powerful of them. It’s always wise to use herbal remedies as cautiously and respectfully as you would a prescriptive drug. It also helps to be very aware of your own allergy/sensitivity patterns; if you are triggered by lavender fragrance or oil, or birch or willow pollen, don’t use those plants as traditional medicinals. Children under 16 should not be given willow bark remedies, since salicylates similar to those that make aspirin potentially dangerous for kids are present in willow extracts.

Tried And True

That said, traditional folk medicinals have been used for thousands of years. People have been chewing willow bark since forever to relieve headaches, arthritis, joint pain and so forth. Back in the 1800s, when aspirin was brand new, it was initially derived from white willow bark (Salix alba). Today, aspirin contains acetylsalicylic acid, which is a created form of the salicin found abundantly in white willow bark (and more-or-less so in other species). What commercial aspirin lacks are white willow’s potent flavonoids, anti-inflammatory compounds that are a bit slower to kick in than over-the-counter aspirin but with longer lasting effects.

Here’s a link to a recipe if you want to make your own willow tea:

And here’s a link to a lot more info about white willow use:

All-Purpose Birch

Birch trees have been used in folk medicine to treat a surprisingly broad range of woes for millennia. Since birches are circumpolar, they are found in most temperate parts of the world, and though many traditional remedies use European birch, Betula alba, native peoples used native birches in similar ways in North America as well. Like willow bark, birch bark includes salicylates which can relieve pain, while birch leaf teas are commonly used as diuretics and spring tonics. When I was a girl, I loved birch beer, which has a haunting, wild flavor. It was often sold in pop machines in Northern New England, right between the root beer and sarsaparilla. In Maine, birch sap was tapped as well as maple sap and cooked down to make a totally delicious syrup, too. Birch sap can be made into mildly alcoholic beer or wine as well as the soft drink, if you are so inclined.

To make your own birch leaf tea, harvest young leaves when they are full sized but still tender and bright green. You can use them fresh to make teas, or dry them in a single layer on a clean screen or  tea cloths. Store the dried leaves in tightly sealed glass jars, and keep them in a cool, dim place out of direct sunlight.   Birch leaf tea is a traditional spring tonic and diuretic, and has also been used to mitigate symptoms of arthritis, gout, and rheumatism as well as various skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. And of course, you can always make little switches of birch branches and whap yourself with them to get yor circulation flowing, as some Nordic folks do…

Birch Leaf Tea

4 fresh birch leaves, rinsed
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon maple syrup

Place the leaves in a glass jar and pour the boiling water over them. Steep for 5-10 minutes, strain into a mug and add maple syrup to taste. Makes 1 cup.

Harnessing The Buzz

For those who want to try their hand at crafting home remedies, the key will be finding Full Extract Cannabis Oil, which has been heated and treated to make it effective for topical pain relief use. Available from many pharmaceutical cannabis suppliers, it’s thick, sticky and very green, and can stain clothing as well as skin. This link will help you do your homework:

Cannabis Muscle Relief Cream

1/2 cup coconut oil OR shea butter OR mango seed butter
2 tablespoons full extract cannabis oil

Bring coconut oil, shea butter, or mango seed butter to room temperature or warm it until it’s runny. Stir in cannabis oil concentrate until throughly mixed, then refrigerate until firmly set. Rub gently into sore areas several times a day. Do not use if skin is raw or broken.

Need more ideas? https://www.hempista.com/2014/diy-cannabis-spa-marijuana-lotion/

To Your Health!

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2 Responses to Homegrown Pain Relief/Leaf

  1. John Peters says:

    04 06 16
    I appreciate your advice on using baking soda to get rid of moss on walks, stairs and roofs – and I shall give it a try.
    However, for several years now, I have been using Clorox to do that and found it to be quite effective.
    Clorox contains sodium hypochlorite at I believe a level of about 3 percent.
    It will kill most anything it touches so accurate application is essential.
    But it sure works good on unwanted vegetation.
    I would appreciate your comments.
    Thank you,
    John Peters

    • Ann Lovejoy says:

      Hi John, As you say, Clorox kills anything it touches and that includes soil dwelling bacteria and other biota, so I would not use it myself. Sounds like you are being careful, however.

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