Summer is in full swing here in Southern Oregon, and that means more outdoor fun in the sun in so many ways: hiking, running, biking, camping, fishing, kayaking, and so much more. Increased physical activity means increased muscle tension, strains, and potential injuries. While allopathic medicine has brought us many incredible advancements in muscle recovery and pain management, professional and casual athletes alike have turned to traditional herbalists and their application of plant medicine for thousands of years.
Today, many incredible healing plants thrive in our biogregion, right here in Southern Oregon, and you can use these herbal allies to your advantage this summer to aid in increased muscle recovery, decreased tension and discomfort, and more. Faster muscle recovery means better athletic performance and more time out doing what you love. Here are some of the amazing plants in Southern Oregon that athletes can leverage to help reach peak performance.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) - While this climbing vine may be native to the Southeastern US as well as Central and South America, it can be found in abundance all over our region. Passionflower is often cultivated by local herbalists, gardeners, and organic farmers alike for both its healing and calmative properties as well as its almost otherworldly display of beautiful flowers. This herb is often used internally in traditional herbal medicine to calm the mind and to induce increased physical relaxation for aching muscles. Externally, passionflower is often used to support the inflammatory response. Decreased inflammation and increased relaxation can mean a shorter road to recovery for your overworked muscles.
Hemp (Cannabis sativa) - It’s no secret that varieties of cannabis have been cultivated in Southern Oregon for many years, and that this plant is perfectly suited to be grown in many parts of this beautiful state. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp became legal to grow and ship to all 50 states, and now many athletes are including it in their pre and post-workout plans due to the many potentially beneficial constituents of this marvelous plant. Hemp is often cultivated in Southern Oregon for the rich spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other natural elements present in the best strains of this plant. The most sought-after chemical found in the hemp plant is cannabidiol—or CBD—but there are many other constituents of this plant that many have found beneficial when recovering from a hard day working out. These constituents are believed to work together to increase the potential beneficial effects of the plant through a process known as the entourage effect, improving recovery time by supporting the inflammatory response and other systems the body uses to regulate and repair itself. CBD is often offered in products as an isolated chemical, but many believe that CBD alone won’t bring you the full range of benefits that hemp may have to offer. Look for hemp extracted using “full spectrum” methods, which preserves as much of the various cannabinoids and other plant compounds as possible.
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) - The traditional use of this plant to aid in muscle recovery dates back to the native tribes that inhabited the United States long before Europeans ever set foot on this continent. Both wildcrafted and deliberately cultivated for centuries, Skullcap is traditionally used to support exhausted nerves, particularly resulting from physical or emotional exertion. Skullcap can be taken both internally and topically, and helps to relieve muscle tension, soreness, and calm both the body and mind.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) - This flowering herb has been used for thousands of years by many cultures around the world as a natural plant medicine, and is a common ingredient in many herbal teas, lotions, tinctures, topicals, and more. Traditionally used for relaxation, to settle upset stomachs, and to soothe the skin, chamomile can be found growing in wild abundance all over the world, and has taken root all over Southern Oregon. Including this gentle herb in your post-workout recovery regimen can greatly increase relaxation, shortening recovery time.
Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis) - Originally native to Europe and parts of Asia, this flowering perennial has been found to be perfectly suitable for the growing conditions here in our bioregion. Many are familiar with valerian root being commonly used to help induce a restful night’s sleep, but this wonderful plant also has a long history of being used by herbalists to address emotional distress as well as promote the release of muscle tension. Valerian root’s amazing powers of relaxation can help aid you in recovery from athletic pursuits by allowing your sore muscles to better release tightness and discomfort, as well as by helping you get better sleep. Sleep is incredibly important for recovering from hard physical activities and ensuring that your body is ready to deliver peak physical performance.
Here at Sun God Medicinals, we offer a variety of herbal tinctures, teas, and topicals to help support muscle recovery and reduce tension, soreness and discomfort for athletes in our Hercules product line, manufactured right here in Southern Oregon. This summer, consider including traditional herbal remedies in your plans to reach your peak athletic performance.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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