Ask the Naturopath: The Herbal Rub

What everyone in the household should know how to do, is to give an herbal rub to anyone in pain!

From back aches to sports injuries to strokes, the techniques of the Herbal Rub were one of my first lessons in herbology. Growing up on a hard-working family farm, it seems like we annually needed to rub somebody down from a low back problem! One time my amazing mother bent over to pick up the dustpan, and down she went. She lay on the floor while I ran at top speed to the barn to fetch my father, I was super scared that something awful had happened to her, even a heart attack. She was in a lot of pain and couldn’t get off the floor. Somehow, we got her to the living room, but she only wanted to lie on the floor. Later, I would learn she had “put her back out,” meaning the lower lumbar vertebrae had gotten out of alignment from overwork. Every time she tried to move or roll over, she would have to holler; it hurt so bad.

A friend from church offered to come over and put some liquid herbs on her back to help with the inflammation and pain. Then, when she was feeling better, we could load her into the back seat of the family van and get her to the chiropractor! I watched Mrs. Jackson as she pulled out three bottles of home medicine; she layered one on at a time in a four-inch-wide column from the base of Mom’s head to her sacrum just before the tailbone. It was even down far enough we could see the crack of her butt! I was amazed at how calm and reassuring Mrs. Jackson was and how she was glad to teach me how to do this for my mom. She said if I would do this morning and night, I would help my mom out of pain and be up and moving in no time.  We placed a hot wet towel folded to 6 inches wide along mom’s entire spine, then we covered that with a dry bath towel and then a nice blanket. Mom said she felt hot, then very cold, then very relaxed. As soon as the wet towel felt cold to Mom, I was to remove it and keep her covered up.

Mrs. Jackson said the Herbal Rub worked so good they sometimes called in a Chiropractor in a bottle because it could help the back go into proper alignment again. I couldn’t understand how any Chiropractor could fit in any of her little bottles! She explained that peppermint would reduce inflammation, the lobelia is a muscle relaxer, and the capsicum reduces pain and brings healthy circulation to the painful area. Mom was soon better and didn’t have to lie down in the back seat to get to the chiropractor. Mom told him that her little herbalist kept the inflammation down using Peppermint, Lobelia, and Capsicum, and one could say that was the beginning of something important before either of us knew what journey we had begun.

Several more times throughout my life, I would give and receive the Herbal Rub using it on my father, for back problems, my own knee from a volleyball injury and even on those that had a stroke! The sooner, the better for the stroke, but even if it had been several weeks, I still find it to be helpful! Today we put each of the ingredients in its own separate roller bottle for ease of application. We still use Nature’s Sunshine Peppermint oil 15 drops and a nice base oil in the 1/3-ounce roller bottle. Secondly, we use Liquid Lobelia from Nature’s Sunshine with no need to dilute in the 2nd roller bottle. Finally, we use liquid Capsicum (Cayenne) from Nature’s Sunshine. Both the liquid Lobelia and Capsicum come in a 2-ounce bottle and will refill the roller bottle without diluting it at least 4 times. We now carry this 3-roller bottle combination in our store for under $20 and call it the Chiropractor in a bottle. I recommend it for daily back trouble on the entire spine. It is ok to even use it 2 to 3 times per day in very acute situations! It can be used around ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows and even the head and brain stem, depending on what area needs healing and inflammation reduction.

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