Many health-savvy consumers are starting to avoid skincare products that contain petroleum, which goes into many commercial skincare products as a base. Petroleum has been linked to cancer in at least one study(1), although other studies claim that in small enough amounts – for example, the amounts that are typically contained in beauty products – it is not carcinogenic(2).
Regardless, it’s easy to see why many people are opting for petroleum-free skin products when given the option. While petroleum is often found in topical analgesic creams – the kind used for easing sore muscles after intense workouts, and relieving joint pain associated with inflammation – there is a natural alternative.
Coconut-oil based skin products are experiencing something of a heyday, due to the moisturizing and nourishing effects that coconut oil has on the skin. Try this recipe as a replacement for petroleum-based analgesic creams.
Pain-Relieving Salve Recipe
- 2 cups coconut oil
- 6 ounces died arnica montana flowers
- 3-6 tbsp cayenne powder
- 1/2 beeswax granules
1. Grind up the arnica flowers with a mortar and pestle, or using a food processor.
2. Place the dried, ground-up arnica into a double boiler or crock pot.
3. Add the cayenne powder to the arnica flowers.
4. Pour the coconut oil over the herbs and ensure that all the flowers are submerged in the oil.
5. Cover the mixture and let it sit over low heat for twelve to twenty-four hours, stirring occasionally. Once it has steeped, turn off the crock pot or double boiler and let the mixture cool – but not completely, or the coconut oil may solidify. The mixture should be warm enough to touch but not hot enough to burn you.
6. Place a cheesecloth over a bowl or jar and carefully pour the coconut oil into the cheesecloth, letting the cheesecloth strain out the herbs. Turn the heat back on and add the coconut oil back to the double boiler or crock pot.
7. Add the beeswax and whisk until it is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
8. Place the mixture into a container and let it cool. Once it’s completely cool, you can use it on your skin to sooth bruises and sore muscles – be careful using it on your face, as the cayenne pepper can burn your eyes and mouth!
How It Works
Arnica has a long history of homoeopathic use in pain relief remedies, and for good reason – studies have shown that when used topically, it has significant pain-reducing effects(3). It can also help with numbness and restoring function and mobility which have been impaired by inflammation(4).
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Cayenne pepper contains a compound known as capsaicin, which, when used topically, can be an extremely effective pain reliever(5). It works by inhibiting the function of nociceptor fibres in the skin, which numbs pain sensations.
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2237931
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1568427/
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC539394/
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24278813
-  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3169333/