Sundry aches and pains are perhaps the most common complaint for gardeners – due to the physicality of maintaining a garden and the potential for repetitive strain or just plain old injury – never mind the headache of greenfly. Whatever the source or intensity there is help at hand but it is good to understand that pain is your body’s way of saying something is wrong, if you know that it is just the wrong lifting technique from earlier today or the wrong way the hammer just hit that thumb then ok reach from some natural ‘aspirin’ from the garden – but if you are not sure why you have stomach cramps or bad pain anywhere in the body then a visit to the GP is timely.
Garden treatment: The garden can produce many herbal analgesics (pain sensation suppressants), some best taken as herbal teas but also some that make great rubs or topical treatments. My favourite pain-relieving teas would be fennel seed – the seeds are magic bullets packed with at least 16 analgesic and 27 antispasmodic phytochemicals all yielding up into a cup of boiling water.
Liquorice root is also excellent with as much as 10 analgesic and 20 anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and you can’t beat meadowsweet tea hot or chilled. Meadowsweet was the inspiration for aspirin – in fact the word “aspirin” takes its middle letters from meadowsweet’s old botanical name “Spiraea Ulmaria” – and its similar compounds shut down pain receptors in a similar manner to the drug.
Feverfew as the name suggests lowers fevers but it also decreases the frequency and intensity of migraines and other headaches. Borage, evening primrose and black currants are potent sources of pain dampening Gamma-linolenic acid. Daylily flowers are edible and a tea of the petals is slightly sedative and somewhat analgesic – used for pain relief in the ethnobotany of its indigenous growing regions.
While topically, arnica- long lorded for shrinking bruises -with its phytochemical compound helenin, delivers analgesic and anti-inflammatory results and then there is the classic wintergreen is even to be found in OTC creams from muscle and backache.