Tendons attach muscles to bones while ligaments hold bones and tendons in place. Fascia guides muscle groups and allows them to slide over other structures. They all have a few things in common. Predominantly, they all mostly consist of collagen. This means that when they get damaged or excessively worn they need to be repaired by fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are like little elastic-tissue factories in your body that combine a couple of amino-acids with a vitamin C molecule to produce collagen. Your brain takes the clue from pain in a region to determine that it is time to turn up the fibroblast activity in that region. Turn up the fibroblast activity, create more collagen, repair the damage.
Collagen Repairs Damage to Tissue
When you pull or strain a ligament or mash/stretch or damage a tendon, you often get micro-tears in the tissue. The entire tissue may not be torn in half or may not even be pulled completely from the bone, but it will require collagen repair to regain its full strength and be able to handle a full load. When the damage occurs, there is local pain and inflammation. This acts as a signal to your brain to increase the activity of the fibroblasts. Your brain signals the liver which releases enzymes to increase fibroblast activity. These collagen factories produce the materials to repair the damage. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs actually inhibits this process and although it feels good, limits the extent of the repair. If you must take pain pills, it is best to use acetaminophen products like Tylenol to control pain. These don’t stop the inflammation process that is critical in keeping the collagen production going.
Arnica Relieves Pain
In most injuries, there are little blood clots that form in the connective tissues. These micro-
obstructions block the flow of nutrients and vital repair-constituents to the region. These blockages inhibit the repair. As we age, more of the small micro-capillaries in these tissues are also blocked with plaques. There is, however, tremendous benefit that can be gained by applying some simple herbs to the region. Enzymes within Arnica break-up micro-clots in damaged tissues and significantly enable the healing process. Also, Arnica contains constituents called prostaglandin blockers that relieve pain, and when this is combined with the natural salix of White Willow bark, the pain relief is terrific. Of course, the ability to break up micro-clots also means that the bruising will dissipate far faster and you will get greater flow to the region.
Allantoin Stimulates Collagen Growth
Comfrey and Plantain contain a constituent called Allantoin, which actually stimulates the fibroblasts and gets them to produce more collagen. By continually applying this to damaged tissue (ligament, tendon, fascia, or bone) the process of repair will continue…for as long as you keep applying it. If you apply these two herbs to a soft tissue injury for 4 or 6 weeks, a very complete repair can be generated long after the pain and inflammation are gone.
Rosemary & Thyme Increase Circulation
Rosemary and thyme increase circulation when applied to tissues and witch hazel increases flexibility. This is very important when healing tissues as the damaged area can hold residual trauma. Residual trauma immobilizes portions of muscles and this increases the load on adjacent fibers and puts them at risk of damage. The increased circulation facilitated by the rosemary and thyme allows more nutrients to the cells that are rebuilding.
If you put all of these herbs together with a little vitamin C for collagen production and a little peppermint leaf for soothing, you have a wonderful combination to facilitate complete healing of soft tissues. Using a water-decoction that is gelled, the vital constituents will be delivered transcutaneously. This gel, applied directly to the injured area, will make your damaged tendons, ligaments and fascia as-good-as-new and will actually reduce recovery time dramatically. Knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders…you name it, they will all benefit. The important thing to remember is to use it long after the pain stops to complete the repair. Support the repair process by oral administration of vitamin C, D, E, and A.
Steven R. Frank is an innovative herbalist for Nature’s Rite. His concoctions and decoctions have helped thousands achieve more comfortable healthier lives. Mr. Frank has spent more than a decade doing medical research and has numerous patents in the healthcare arena. His products and formulations can be seen at: www.MyNaturesRite.com. This combination of herbs in a water based decoction, gelled and ready to treat can be procured from Nature’s Rite, LLC at: www.MyNaturesRite.com. It is called Bruise-Strain-Tear Repair.