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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:17 am 
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Herbs Effective For Treating Muscles And Tendons
by Matthew Wood


NOW WE HAVE reached the third and final in our installments on the treatment
of spinal injuries, pains, aches, and problems. We have already covered
nerves, cerebrospinal fluid, bones and discs. Now we will approach the
tendons and muscles. We will also consider a subject I could have put first,
but forgot to mention--the blood. Spinal injuries are usually accompanied by
internal bleeding and clotting, which causes pain and (sometimes) chronic
difficulty.

Remedies for tendons

Tendons get stretched or torn. Often, when we are treating other components
of spinal or muscular and skeletal injury, we need to attend to the tendons.
There is another problem as well. As people get older their tendons get
dried out. That means that when they stretch them either the tendon won't go
far enough and they feel restricted and stiff, or the tendon will over
stretch and be loose and out of place afterwards.

There is a specific remedy for stretched and torn tendons. It is called true
Solomon's seal. This was known to the American Indians and I have
occasionally heard from Indian practitioners of its use in native herbalism.
It was originally thought to be poisonous by the Europeans--actually, only
the berries are poisonous--so it was not reported as a medicinal herb until
John Gerard wrote in 1597:

"Galen saith, that neither herbe nor root herof is to be given inwardly, but
note what experience hath found out, and of late dayes, especially among the
ulgar sort of people in Hampshire, which neither Galen, Dioscorides, or any
other that have written of plants have not so much as dreamed of." And he
goes on to tell us that it helps restore bones to their joints and keep them
there, i.e., strengthening the tendons. Also that it is good to help the
bone heal and to disperse the clotted blood around the injury. "Moreover,
the said people do give it in like manner unto their cattell, if they chance
to have any bones broken, with good success."

Gerard was a "chirurgeon," very often concerned with injuries and broken
bones. He tried the remedy himself and found that it works. Finally he says,
"That which might be written of this herbe as touching the knitting of
bones, and that truely, would seems unto some incredible; but common
experience teacheth, that in the world there is not to be found another
herbe comparable to it for the purposes aforesaid."

One of my students had an adult son who pulled the tendon in his foot. The
doctor wanted to cut out an inch and sew it back together. Instead he took
Solomon's seal and homeopathic Calcium carbonate (which I had not
suggested). Within a week he was much better--cured within a month.

Solomon's seal good for bone spurs

We had a little debate on our herbalists' internet chat room about curing
bone spurs. Many people wrote in to say they had luck with Dr. Christopher's
BF&C cream, which you can get in a nutrition or herb store. I wrote to say
how I had cured this condition about a half dozen times by using Solomon's
seal. My theory was, based on what a chiropractor told me, that the bone
spur was caused by tight, binding tendons pulling against the bone. Somebody
else wrote in to make fun of my nonsensical explanation. Calcifications are
due to a whole, long, involved chemical process which he boastingly
recounted for me. Typical allopathic medical nonsense. It is not the process
which matters, but the local condition which precipitates the calcium in a
specific spot. Much to my gratitude somebody wrote in to note that there
were well accepted mechanical laws which denoted where a bone spur would
form, based on local stress on the bone. True Solomon's seal has a cousin
called, appropriately, "false Solomon's seal." My ace student, Lise Wolff
(also an herbalist in Minneapolis) prefers it to the true. We still are not
sure of what the differences between the two are, but one thing is clear,
false Solomon's Seal, in addition to helping torn and stretched tendons,
also has a nerve soothing ability, so that it will cut down on pain as it is
curing. A handy trick.

Herbs to treat muscles

There are several things that can happen to muscles. First, they can be too
tense in general. When this occurs it is necessary to sedate the
neuromuscular system. Sometimes we need neural sedatives like skullcap or
passionflower, but other times we need antispasmodics and relaxants. These
are generally acrid herbs--lobelia, kava kava, agrimony and wild ginger. The
last named plant was used in the 19th century (from Indian origins) as a
remedy for tense muscles. My friend Lise Wolff has proven its applicability
in modern practice.

The other thing that can happen to muscles is that they get stretched, torn,
and inflamed. The great remedy for this, in traditional Chinese medicine, is
Japanese teasel. I was taught by herbalist and acupuncturist William
LeSassier in New York City that the American (or European, really) teasel
will do the same job. This is an excellent remedy for torn muscles, inflamed
muscles, even Lyme disease in some cases. Sometimes the muscles are damaged
by a bruise, with blood flowing in between the fibers and tissues becoming
coagulated, inflamed, and swollen. For this reason we must also consider
blood remedies. Since Solomon's seal and teasel are rare and hard to find at
a store I will again recommend the herb companies I mentioned at the
beginning of this series, Woodland Essences (315-845-1515) in Cold Brook,
New York, and Walker Farm (763-498-7140) in Greenfield, Minnesota.

When blood is the problem

When there is a bruise the blood leaves the vessels and seeps through the
tissues, where it hardens up. After a while, the blood moves out of the
superficial tissues and the bruise disappears, or so it seems. In actuality,
there is often blood deeper down in the tissues, between the bones, tendons,
muscle fibers, discs, etc. It is hard for the body to get it out of the
"cracks" and sometimes it lingers here, causing pain and restricted motion
for years to come. Nothing shows up on the X-rays except a little bit more
space between the bones than there should be! I have heard this several
times, but the doctors haven't figured it out. Something is pushing the
bones apart, even if it can't be seen.

One time a woman came to see me at Present Moment Herbs in Minneapolis where
I used to work. She wanted a Bach flower remedy for depression, or rather,
for lack of joy or depression. She felt neither one, just blah. It happens
that homeopathic carbo vegetabilis (carbo veg) is specific for that emotion,
so she took that. Six months later she came in and thanked me for "saving
her back." "Hunhh?" I responded. She explained that the depression started
when she fell down an icy stairs in the winter and landed on her back. She
had no pain for a week, then terrible pain. The x-ray or MRI showed nothing
wrong, but the blood has seeped in between the vertebra and was causing
swelling. The carbo veg, which is also a blood stagnation remedy, cured the
situation. The favorite homeopathic for blood stagnation and bruises is
arnica, but my favorite is the herb yarrow. It is more specific in internal
bleeding, blood blisters, bruises from violent causes, but less specific
than arnica in sprains and strains.

There are many remedies for blood stagnation--yarrow, arnica, safflower,
elder, angelica, rue, sassafras, carbo veg (charcoal), etc. You have to know
the individualizing factors to get the right remedy. Generally, however,
yarrow will serve to turn the case around.

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