by ken winston caine
I have just made the most remarkable 3,000-year-old discovery that instantly soothes aching, inflamed muscles and nerves and relieves pain and inflammation.
And can’t believe that it’s taken me all this time. I must have first read about this technique at least 30 years ago and “learned it” again in numerous herbal medicine courses over the years.
The forgotten, ancient medical miracle used thousands of years ago in India and China and in other folk-medicine traditions in more recent centuries?
The ginger compress.
Just a hot, moist pack of ginger placed over acutely inflamed muscles and nerves.
I’d never tried it, having lost faith in herbal compresses years ago when I found that most I experimented with seemed to have no discernible healing power beyond the effect of the moist heat. Not so with the ginger compress. It really works. REALLY works. Fast.
It costs pennies, takes seconds to make. You probably already have the makings on hand in your house if you raid the spice cabinet and improvise a bit. And it instantly draws away the swelling and pain… Even better, the effect is lasting.
I’ll tell you how I made it in a moment.
Tried it yesterday during an exercise-muscle-strain-induced episode of severe sciatica. The kind of injury that in the past has laid me up for 10 to 21 days and would have required multiple visits to the chiropractor. (I’m prone to these episodes occasionally since blowing out my lower back in a head-on collision in 1971. Lap-belt injury. Before cars had shoulder straps.) You’d think I would have experimented with this long ago, since I preach about how effective ginger is as a systemic anti-inflammatory when taken orally, regularly. And can cite solid scientific studies that prove it.
But the ginger compress applied externally? I’m a latecomer to this party.
Only tried it yesterday because it was Friday evening and I knew I couldn’t get to my chiropractor until Monday and I was contorted in pain and desperate. WOW, am I glad I did.
The externally applied ginger pack gave me relief in 40 seconds. I left the compress on for about four minutes. (Could have left it on for hours if I’d rigged up some straps to hold it in place over my right S-I joints.)
Reheated it and repeated it an hour later and got even more relief. Awoke this morning with no sign of yesterday’s injury and painful spasms. Amazing.
Here’s how to make it:
I heated an inch of purified water in a pan. (I recommend purified water since ginger is a carrier herb. You don’t want it carrying mutagenic chlorine and other impurities into your muscles, nerves and bloodstream. And it is believed to be a “potentizer.” That is, that it increases the potency of other herbs and substances it is combined with.)
While the water was heating, I located a clean white cotton anklet sock and scooped into it about 4 heaping tablespoons of finely ground organic ginger-root powder ($6.63 per pound for the bulk powder at the Santa Fe Vitamin Cottage — this was maybe 40 cents worth). Spread it out evenly, maybe 1/8 inch thick in the bottom half of the sock (from toe to mid-arch area).
(Traditionally, herbal compresses are not made with old socks — or new socks for that matter. Rather, herbalists use thin clean unbleached cotton cloth, like muslin. You could be more clinical about it and use many layers of gauze, I suppose. The sock was an emergency inspiration.)
Carefully laid the sock in the steaming water for a few seconds, completely submerging it and letting it soak, poking it a bit with a fork to make sure it became saturated with the near-boiling water. Then, with the fork, lifted it out and held it over the pan and let it drip and cool just a bit for about five seconds.
Gingerly, I touched one finger to it, making sure it was not so hot it would burn my skin. It wasn’t. Yes, it was hot, hot, hot, but not scaldingly so. So quickly I gently pressed out the excess water, turning the ginger inside the sock into a paste, and then I flattened and held the sock firmly against the inflamed area.
Literally, in seconds, the inflammation began dissipating and the pain faded away. I could FEEL it happening. Almost like a shot of Novacaine. It was as if it soaked up the pain. Took it from an extreme agony to a mild toothache-like level. Minutes later I was able to walk and bend without yelping and jerking in pain. I kept holding it there until it cooled, then reheated it and held it there again.
In traditional medicine you would apply this to your patient, cover it with a rubber sheet and a folded wool blanket (or folded towels) to hold in the heat and moisture. The longer it can stay in place and stay warm and moist, the better. And the sooner you can get it in place once the inflammation starts, the better. (Less damage to heal.)
The makings for a ginger compress become part of my traveling first-aid kit later today.
Try it for sports sprains, runner’s injuries and yard- or garden- work muscle strains. And let me know how it helps.
Some similar posts:
- Not Exactly