Your muscles, tendons and ligaments allow you to move your body and help stabilize your joints. Muscles, tendons and ligaments are collectively known as soft tissues. Muscles are the prime mover of your body. Tendons connect your muscle bellies with your bones and help transmit force across a joint, or joints, to allow movement of your skeletal system. Ligaments connect bones and are essential for joint stability. Certain herbs may help treat injuries to these structures, although you should always consult a qualified health professional before using herbs.
Soft Tissue Problems
Soft tissue injuries often involve your muscles, tendons, ligaments or other structures, and they commonly occur in athletes and other active individuals. Soft tissue injuries, notes MerckManuals.com, include contusions or bruises; muscle, tendon and ligament tears; and other injuries. Soft tissue injuries can range from mild to severe, and the extent of your pain, swelling and discoloration is usually commensurate with the severity of your injury. If you experience severe soft tissue injuries, you may require advanced medical care to resolve your problem.
Important herbs for muscle, tendon or ligament damage include herbs that possess anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Naturopathic physician and herbal medicine expert Sharol Tilgner, author of "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," states that herbs with anti-inflammatory action include arnica, ashwagandha, devil's claw, fennel, feverfew, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, lavender and licorice. Herbs that may help relieve your soft tissue-related pain include celandine, comfrey, dong quai, goldenrod, gotu kola, kava kava, myrrh and passionflower.
Devil's claw is a commonly used herb in treating muscle, tendon and ligament problems. In her book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," nutrition researcher and certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A. Balch notes that devil's claw helps treat both pain and inflammation -- two symptoms that often accompany soft tissue injuries. Devil's claw has been used to help treat numerous ailments, including muscle, tendon and ligament pain; arthritis; backache; and various disorders associated with the kidneys, liver and gallbladder.
Soft tissue injuries, especially moderate-to-severe injuries of your muscles, tendons and ligaments, should always be evaluated by a qualified health care professional. A sports medicine doctor, chiropractor or other trained musculoskeletal health specialist can counsel you on what treatments may be beneficial in helping your soft tissue injury. Avoid using herbs for your musculoskeletal problem without first discussing the possible risks and side effects with your health care provider.
- MerckManuals.com: Soft Tissue Injuries
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2010