The holiday season brings about plenty of family fun. From ice skating to taking a walk to see Christmas lights, we’re more active than ever, and our bodies may be feeling it. But after a fun-filled day, who wants to drive to the drugstore for meds to relieve lingering aches? Not us! Luckily, these study-proven natural pain cures are likely already in our kitchens.
Sore knees? Try a rosemary wrap.
After holiday shopping, rub your knees with olive oil infused with a sprig of rosemary, then cover with a warm washcloth. Arthritis Foundation scientists say the warmth alone reduces pain scores by 40 percent by increasing blood flow to joints. Meanwhile, analgesic compounds in rosemary tag-team with polyphenols in olive oil to ease inflammation and osteoarthritis as effectively as the most prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) gel, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.
Headache? Sip a gingerbread latte.
Instead of reaching for Advil for head pain, brew a “gingerbread latte.” Research in the medical journal DRJ suggests the combo of cinnamon and ginger calms pain as effectively as NSAIDs without the risk of rebound headaches. To do: Stir 1 ⁄8 tsp. of ginger, ⁄2 tsp. of cinnamon and 1⁄4 tsp. of nutmeg into a cup of warm milk or dairy alternative. Sweeten as desired.
Back pain? Rub on cayenne cream.
If long drives leave your back stiff, reach for cayenne. Harvard scientists say its capsaicin relieves pain more effectively than prescription NSAIDs. By faking a sensation of warmth, capsaicin confuses chemical messengers in the body, leaving them less able to transmit pain signals. Just stir 1 tsp. of cayenne powder into 2 Tbs. of vegetable oil, then rub a few drops into sore lumbar muscles.
Achy feet? Warm a water bottle.
Feet throbbing after cooking a holiday feast? Fill a plastic water bottle with warm water, then roll your feet over it for five minutes. Japanese research suggests this boosts healing blood flow to the tiny aching muscles in your feet, relieving pain in the process.
However active your holiday traditions are, you’ll be glad to have these natural pain cures to turn to!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.