Method 1: Garlic, ginger and hot pepper oil
The first method requires garlic, ginger and hot peppers. These three foods contain oils which warm the skin, relax the muscles, and reduce pain. You will need one handful each of garlic, ginger and red chili peppers. Chop the garlic and ginger into tiny pieces, and crush the peppers. Next, heat three cups of coconut oil in a pot. Try using peanut or sesame oil if you don’t have coconut oil. Add the chopped garlic, ginger and the crushed peppers to the heated oil. Warm the mixture over low heat for five to ten minutes. Then remove it from the heat and let it cool, so that the oil doesn’t burn the skin. Strain out the ginger, garlic and peppers with a sieve or a loosely woven cloth. Your herbal massage oil is now ready to use.
Carefully massage the oil into painful areas of the shoulders, back, legs, or other parts of the body that are stiff or painful. Your tired, aching muscles will feel better soon. Remember to use this oil only on the surface of the body. Never apply it to open wounds or drink it. Keep it away from sensitive areas such as the eyes or nose. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly after giving the massage. Even a little hot pepper on your fingers can burn your eyes if you accidentally touch them. And remember too, that if the oil doesn’t relieve your pain, you should consult a health worker such as a doctor, a nurse, or someone at your local health clinic.
Method 2: Black pepper oil
The second method is similar to the first, but uses only oil and black pepper. Gently heat some oil for about five minutes, then add a few crushed peppercorns. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool. Now strain the mixture through a sieve or loosely woven cloth to remove the peppercorns. Apply the oil to painful areas of the body and massage. As with the previous method, avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes, and wash hands thoroughly after the massage. If the pain persists, consult a health worker.
These are just two of many examples of effective traditional healing methods. Get to know the medicinal uses of the plants that grow around you. Ask the traditional healer in your community to teach you about them. If there is no healer, talk to elders in your community. They might remember healing methods that were commonly used when they were young.
Many cultures have medical traditions that use plants to treat illnesses. Traditional healers have used healing plants for thousands of years to treat many illnesses and conditions. In fact, many modern medicines contain chemicals that are made from these plants. These traditions are cultural treasures – but they are in danger of dying out in many places. We mustn’t lose them! Natural medicinal plants offer cheap, effective and readily available cures for many conditions and illnesses.
- This script was written by Vijay Cuddeford, writer/researcher at the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network. It was reviewed by Conrad Richter of Richters Herbs, Goodwood, Canada.
- Drugs: part 3: Herbal medicine, in Outreach, No. 66. 1990. Outreach, Information and Public Affairs, UNEP, P.O. Box 30552. Nairobi, Kenya
- Philippine medical plants in common use, by Michael L. Tan, 1981. Self published. Quezon City, Philippines
- “Interest grows in nature’s medicine for us”, in World Neighbours in Action, Vol. 15, No. 4E,1983. World Neighbours International, 5116 North Portland Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73112 U.S.A.
- Understanding medicinal plants: World Neighbours Filmstrips, Film #112. World Neighbours International, 5116 North Portland Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73112, U.S.A.