Herbs & Natural Remedies:
Willow bark, bromelain, arnica (Arnica spp.) and massage.
Willow bark: tea or tincture. Bromelain: tablets. Arnica: homeopathic preparation. Massage: do it yourself or professional massage.
How it Works:
Willow bark is natural aspirin. Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, is a natural anti-inflammatory. German researchers gave it to people with musculoskeletal injuries, including sprains. They healed significantly faster than people receiving standard care without bromelain. Arnica: it’s not clear how homeopathy works, but arnica is its mainstay treatment for musculoskeletal injuries. Massage: increases the blood supply to the injured area.
Willow bark: 2 teaspoons of powdered bark per cup of water. Simmer at a low boil for 10 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day. Bromelain: 450 mg three times a day between meals. Arnica: consult a homeopath or buy arnica at a health-food store and follow package directions.
Willow bark may cause stomach distress.
R.I.C.E.: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest the injured part. Use an ice pack on the affected area: 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Use a compression bandage. If possible, elevate the injured part above the level of the heart. As pain subsides, return to gentle exercise.
San Francisco health writer Michael Castleman is the author of 11 consumer health books. Visit www.mcastleman.com .