Seven Natural Relaxants for Muscle Tension

31 October, 2020
Natural muscle relaxants are ideal for muscle tension that may arise from physical overexertion, too much exercise, or poor movement. What else should you know about it?

Muscle relaxants are drugs used to combat muscle tension, spasms, and other common ailments that often affect the range of motion of areas such as the back, neck, hips, etc. What are natural muscle relaxants?

There’s a wide variety of naturally occurring ingredients that provide a similar effect as conventional muscle relaxants. However, they aren’t a substitute for the medication and their effect tends to be more moderate. Let’s look in detail at 7 options you can try.

Seven natural muscle relaxants for muscle tension

Muscle tension can come from an injury, muscular overexertion, disease, among other factors. Because of this, once they’re perceived, you must be aware of how severe it is and other associated symptoms. If necessary, it’s important to consult your doctor in order to receive a more precise diagnosis.

Natural muscle relaxants can be used for pain relief when there are no other serious injuries. In other words, they’re ideal for pain caused by exercise, incorrect movement, or overexertion.

1. Peppermint oil for muscle tension

Peppermint oil is one of the natural products that can help you to relax your muscles if they’re tense and rigid. According to information in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, topical application of this oil can help reduce pain.

It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. These reduce pain and swelling, at least temporarily.

Some peppermint oil on a table.
Peppermint essential oil has active compounds with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Ingredients

  • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 2 tbsp. of coconut oil

How do you use it?

  • Firstly, mix the oils together
  • Then, moisten the palms of your hands with a small amount of peppermint oil; rub it on the muscles you want to relax
  • Be sure to massage them for at least 5 minutes to get good results

Read also: 6 Body Parts You Should Massage

2. Valerian for muscle tension

Thanks to its calming and anti-inflammatory effects, you can get benefits from both Valerian oil and tea. It can have a positive effect on muscle stress. Its consumption and direct application can contribute to muscle relaxation, as indicated by a study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. of valerian
  • 1 c. of water

How do you use it?

  • Firstly, pour the valerian into the cup of boiling water, and let it steep
  • When it’s ready, pass it through a sieve
  • Finally, drink a cup and relax

Note: This plant can cause drowsiness

3. Epsom salts for muscle tension

Baths with Epsom salts are perfect for relaxing your tired muscles. This is thanks to their high levels of magnesium. As detailed in a publication at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, magnesium helps mitigate hypersensitivity to pain and plays an important role in pain management.

Some epsom salt which helps with muscle tension.
Because of their magnesium content, Epsom salts are recommended for treating muscle aches.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. of Epsom salts

How do you use it?

  • Firstly, add half a cup of Epsom salts to water in your tub and submerge your body for twenty minutes
  • Use this treatment before sleeping to guarantee good rest

4. Chamomile for muscle tension

Chamomile is known in the natural medicine world for its digestive and emollient properties. This herb is also a natural solution for relieving pain and muscular swelling.

According to research published in Molecular Medicine Reports, it has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. These encourage muscle relaxation. This is especially true when muscle tension is due to stress. For this reason, it is considered a good muscle relaxant.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. of dried chamomile
  • 1 c. of water

How do you use it?

  • Firstly, prepare a cup of chamomile tea by adding the dried plant to the hot water
  • Then, drink a cup of chamomile tea two or three times per day
  • In addition, optionally apply it as a compress in the areas of pain

5. Arnica oil for muscle tension

Arnica has a chemical compound called thymol. Because of the way it works, it’s perfect for relieving muscle pain. However, its effectiveness as a muscle relaxant hasn’t been proven to date.

Applying its oil directly creates a gentle heating sensation that reduces tension.

Some arnica oil beside a flower.
Arnica oil combined with coconut oil can serve as a muscle relaxant.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. of arnica oil
  • 2 tbsp. of coconut oil

How do you use it?

  • Firstly, put several drops of arnica oil or gel on the tense muscles and massage them for five minutes.
  • Then, repeat this treatment two times per day if you think it’s necessary.

6. Cayenne pepper 

Its spicy flavor can be unbearable for some people. However, cayenne pepper is a good solution for muscle pain.

It has an active substance called capsaicin. This gives it anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties according to a study published in Pain and Therapy.

How do you use it?

  • Firstly, add small amounts of cayenne pepper to your smoothies and teas
  • Additionally, get cayenne pepper and use it to massage your tired muscles

Check out: How to Use Salt as a Beauty Treatment

7. Passionflower

Passionflower is a very well-known plant in natural medicine. This isn’t just because it helps to control your nerves. It also works as an anti-inflammatory and relaxes your muscles.

According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, it has phytosterols and flavonoids. These two substances have antioxidant effects that reduce oxidative stress. They also help to control problems like anxiety and insomnia.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. of passionflower
  • 1 c. of water

How do you use it?

  • Firstly, pour the passionflower into a cup of boiling water, and let it rest for 10 minutes
  • Drink the tea before going to sleep
  • As another option, soak an absorbent cloth in the hot tea and apply it as a compress on the painful area

Muscle relaxants for mild pain

The above-mentioned remedies are useful as muscle relaxants for mild ailments. However, it’s essential to keep in mind they aren’t a cure for pain and there’s a lack of evidence about their safety and efficacy. Therefore, if the pain is severe or persistent, it’s best to see your doctor.

  • de Cássia da Silveira E Sá R, Lima TC, da Nóbrega FR, de Brito AEM, de Sousa DP. Analgesic-Like Activity of Essential Oil Constituents: An Update. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(12):2392. Published 2017 Dec 9. doi:10.3390/ijms18122392
  • Caudal D, Guinobert I, Lafoux A, et al. Skeletal muscle relaxant effect of a standardized extract of Valeriana officinalis L. after acute administration in mice. J Tradit Complement Med. 2017;8(2):335–340. Published 2017 Oct 12. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.06.011
  • Na HS, Ryu JH, Do SH. The role of magnesium in pain. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, editors. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507245/
  • Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Mol Med Rep. 2010;3(6):895–901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377
  • Miroddi, M., Calapai, G., Navarra, M., Minciullo, P. L., & Gangemi, S. (2013, December 12). Passiflora incarnata L.: Ethnopharmacology, clinical application, safety and evaluation of clinical trials. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.09.047