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Iron Neck Or Stiff Shoulder and Neck

Iron Neck Or Stiff Shoulder and Neck
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Iron Neck is a condition where the muscles in the neck get stiff. There are a number of remedies that can be used that do not include using drugs. One recommendation is a hot wrap with a therapeutic massage. There are also teas that help relax the body. I will discuss some of these and other therapies directly.

Helpful herbs:

  • Kudzu
  • Passion Flower
  • Valerian

This list is far from being comprehensive; it is just a starting place. Each of these herbs should be used with caution, and under the supervision of a trained herbalist or holistic doctor. I like Kudzu as an herb because it is very prolific. When used as a tea, it will help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. It primarily targets the muscles in the neck and shoulders. The Chinese refer to Kudzu as Ge-Gen. You can find many references to it in Chinese medicine. Kudzu has many other applications besides loosening the neck and shoulder muscles; one of these uses is being looked at by Harvard Medical as a treatment to reduce alcohol cravings. Kudzu also contains a number of useful isoflavones, including daidzein (an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent), daidzin (a cancer preventative) and genistein (an antileukemic agent).

Caution: As with all medicinal herbs, Kudzu should only be used under the supervision of a qualified Herbalist or Holistic practitioner, especially where coronary concerns are present. The Chinese have used Kudzu Root for Angina (an irregular heart beat) as part of modern medicine. However DO NOT treat yourself for a heart condition; see your doctor.

A word of warning about planting Kudzu in your garden: DON’T. It will take over your garden, house, yard, and in one case I saw the person’s car was covered. Kudzu has been known to grow at a rate of 1 foot a day up to 60 feet in a single growing season. Once it is established there is no way to get rid of it. It thrives on some herbicides. There are many commercial herbal mixtures and powders available, so you do not need to grow your own.

Passion flower tea is great for relaxation. You can get many commercial preparations of this as a tea at you local health food store or co-op. passion flower tea is most commonly used for its ability to calm the central nervous system. Like benzodiazepines and other herbs, the passion flower increases the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells. It decreases the activity of nerve cells in the brain, causing relaxation. It is helpful for anxiety and insomnia because of its calming effect. Chemicals known as harmala alkaloids, used to block an enzyme involved in depression, are also apparent in the passion flower. It is effective in increasing the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin for increasing mood stability by blocking monoamine oxidase.

Passion flower tea is great for relieving pain and muscle spasms. Take a ¼ teaspoon of herb and steep it in near boiling water for 4-5 minutes and sweeten with honey, as a nightcap to aid in sleep. This will help with anxiety, insomnia, and nervous gastrointestinal conditions. Valerian tea is used as a sedative and a muscle relaxant. Valerian seems to work best as a long-term treatment instead of an acute cure. If a patient takes Valerian tea on a daily basis he should begin to feel the effects in a couple of days and should not use the tea for more that two weeks without seeking professional help from a Holistic healer. There are a few adverse effects of Valerian. In large doses or chronic use one may experience stomachache, apathy, mental dullness, or depression. Some people have experienced anxiety, night terrors, and stomachaches. If you experience any of these, stop using Valerian and seek profession help.

Using a tea of a ¼ teaspoon to a cup of water two to three times a day for a week should alleviate most pain. Recipe: Using a tea ball that you can get from almost any health food or grocery store, put about a ¼ teaspoon of kudzu and a ¼ teaspoon of valerian together and let it steep in just below boiling hot water for about 5 minutes. Add some honey to taste to sweeten and enjoy the relaxed feeling.

If you are carrying a lot of stress in your neck try a ¼ teaspoon of Skullcap in a tea ball in not quite boiling water for about 5 minutes. Caution: Pregnant women or women planning on becoming pregnant in the near future should NEVER use skullcap as it might induce a miscarriage. Pregnant women should never handle this herb in any form.

I have observed in making teas that less is often better; by that I mean if you put too much herb in a tea ball, water is not able to flow through and you don’t get as strong a tea as you might otherwise get. Again as with all medicines both traditional and alternative you should consult a trained professional before starting any new health regiment. The information presented here is to help you make a better decision on your own health care. I believe that each one of us is responsible for our own health and the only way to do that is to be better informed.

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