If you hesitate to reach for the hard stuff (OK, ibuprofen isn’t exactly “hard,” but it’s not something to be in the habit of) every time you feel a twinge of stiffness or pain, we feel you. It can cause gas or bloating, disrupt the delicate digestive balance you’ve worked so hard to cultivate, and in worst cases, if you’re totally hooked, cause ulcers. We know that’s a rare case, but if you can prevent popping a symptom-subduer and use natural remedies to treat the source, you’re doing yourself a solid.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg's ACV with "The Mother"
Apple cider vinegar is both anti-inflammatory and alkalizing. You can drink this potent-tasting elixir in water (around 2 tablespoons and up to an ounce diluted in at least 10 ounces of water so as not to upset your stomach), or apply it straight to your muscles to reduce pain and swelling. If you are looking to alkalize all over the surface of your skin, pour 2 cups of it into a bath and soak.
Turmeric and Ginger
Mega Food Turmeric Strength
Well-known inflammation fighters, these aren’t just amazing for cold and flu, but also for muscle soreness, tightness, or strain. You can drink turmeric or ginger tea, or make a golden milk latte with fresh grated ginger (bonus points if you add a little spicy, warming cinnamon). Tight muscles love to be warm, so warm them from the inside out. Make sure to add a pinch of black pepper—its properties help our bodies fully absorb curcumin, the anti-inflammatory hero compound in turmeric.
Kyolic Garlic With Selenium Capsules
Selenium is a beauty compound—a powerful antioxidant for fighting free radicals and aging—but it also has antirheumatic effects, meaning it’s great for joint pain and stiffness. You can take it in supplement form, but it’s abundant in foods like garlic. Garlic also contains sulfur, which is anti-inflammatory, so you get a lot of bang for your buck if you consume garlic, or garlic oil capsules if you want to avoid smelling like an Italian nonna’s kitchen.
Epsom Salts and Mustard Baths
Mr. Singha's Mustard Bath
Soak, soak, soak. Applying heat to sore muscles is an amazing way to loosen them up and get the tension to relax. Soaking in a salty or herbal bath is the best way to do two things at once: apply heat to your muscles, and let the magnesium and sulfate minerals found in Epsom salts absorb into your muscles through your skin. Mustard baths are very detoxifying and will open your sweat glands for purging as well as relax your muscles and any lactic acid buildup.