10 Herbs for Muscle Pain

The best herbs for muscle aches and soreness

Herbal remedies can be very effective for easing muscle pain and inflammation.

In this article I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best herbs to relieve muscle pain naturally.

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Herbs for muscle pain

What causes muscle pain?

  • Muscle tension
  • Exercising
  • Injuries
  • Overuse
  • Inflammation
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
  • Influenza and other viruses
  • Some medications


1. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chilli peppers and it can be used topically for muscle pain relief.

When capsaicin is applied to the skin it creates a warming sensation that activates nerve cells.

With regular use, capsaicin reduces the amount of substance P, a pain messaging chemical in the body.

Capsaicin can provide temporary relief of muscle pain and it can also relieve joint pain and nerve pain (neuralgia). [1]

Capsaicin is available in a cream, lotion or skin patch.

2. Skullcap (Scutellaria)

Skullcap is an excellent herb for reducing muscle tension related to anxiety or stress.

It’s particularly helpful for anyone suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or jaw pain, bruxism (grinding the teeth), restless legs, muscle twitches and muscle spasms.

3. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties.

It helps to reduce pain and inflammation by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.

Curcumin is particularly helpful for reducing delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise and inflammation associated with injuries.

Turmeric isn’t absorbed well by the body so to get the full benefits you can take a high strength curcumin supplement.

4. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger extract helps with muscle pain because it contains phytochemicals including gingerols and shogaols that reduce inflammation and have analgesic (pain relieving) properties.

Supplementing with ginger extract can also reduce muscle soreness after exercise. [2]


5. Devils Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)

Devil’s Claw is a South African herb that is helpful for reducing joint pain and muscle pain.

Studies have shown that Devil’s Claw is also helpful for relieving neck and lower back pain.

A study of 63 people with mild-to-moderate neck, back or shoulder pain, taking Devil’s Claw extract for a month showed that it provided moderate relief of muscle pain.

Another study of 197 people with chronic lower back pain showed that the people who took Devil’s Claw extract daily for a month experienced less pain and needed fewer painkillers than those who took the placebo supplement. [3]

6. Boswellia (Boswellia serata)

Boswellia is a popular Ayurvedic herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years.

It’s commonly used for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain and tendonitis but it can also help to reduce muscle pain.

A 2014 Indian study found that Boswellia significantly increased pain threshold and pain tolerance compared to placebo. [4]

7. White Willow Bark (Salix alba)

White willow bark contains salicin, which the body converts into salicylic acid. 

Salicylic acid helps to lower the body’s levels of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like compounds that can cause pain and inflammation.

White willow bark is helpful for relieving acute and chronic pain including muscle pain, back pain, headaches and menstrual pain.

It also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation in the joints and relieves joint pain.

A review by Columbia University on the effectiveness of White willow bark for musculoskeletal pain found that there was moderate evidence that White willow bark extract was effective for relieving lower back pain. [5]

8. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian is an herb most commonly used for insomnia and anxiety but it can also help to relieve muscle pain and tension.

Valerian also has anti-spasmodic properties and helps to reduce muscle spasms and cramps. [6]

9. Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

Cat’s Claw is an herb that has been used in traditional South American medicine for hundreds of years and gets its name from the thorns found along the vine that look like cats’ claws.

It has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects and can help to relax the muscles. [7]

10. Corydalis

Corydalis is an herb that is used in traditional Chinese medicine for pain relief.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain is caused by a blockage of qi, or life-force energy and Corydalis is used to clear the blockage.

Corydalis is commonly used to relieve back pain, muscle spasms, inflammation and headaches.

Corydalis can also relieve chronic nerve pain by blocking dopamine receptors.

Important note: Corydalis should not be used during pregnancy.

Ecostream Naturals Muscle Relax 24/7 is a natural supplement that supports muscle relaxation. It contains magnesium and calcium, along with a number of herbs including jujube, magnolia bark, ashwagandha, passion flower, lemon balm, l-theanine, valerian and chamomile.

It’s a good idea to discuss any nutritional supplements or herbal remedies for muscle soreness with your healthcare provider because some supplements and herbs can interact with prescription medications.

So there is my list of 10 herbs to reduce muscle pain.

If you’re looking for a natural approach for muscle pain relief, these herbs may be helpful for you.

Have you tried any herbs to relieve muscle pain? Let me know in the comments below.

You can also find me on Facebook.

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a qualified Nutritionist and Herbal Medicine Practitioner. I have a passion for all things natural, healthy and holistic. I created this blog to share my knowledge and inspire women who are looking for natural health solutions. Read more

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Thank you for this list. My joints aren’t good and I don’t want to take any more painkillers than I already take. I have ginger essential oil, so I think I’ll try that and I will look into buying some of the others.

  2. I have never tried herbal supplements to relieve muscle soreness. The next time someone in my house complains of muscle soreness after a hard workout, I may try the ginger extract to relieve pain. Thanks for the insightful tips.

  3. Excellent list of herbs and supplements for muscle pain. It’s great to know what to take when you or someone you know complains about muscle pain.

  4. I’m in constant pain so it’s always good to hear different methods of pain relief.
    Really useful post. Thankyou.

    Love, Alexa

  5. I had no idea tumeric was a good for muscle pain. I need to look into this for my husband. He gets random muscle spasms.

  6. I think it’s a great idea to put more effort in more natural way to help your body to go through whatever. I think it’s awesome to have some natural help for sore muscles.

  7. This is fantastic to know! I didn’t know there were so many herbs that were helpful for muscle pain. Thanks for putting this together.

  8. My mum is into things like this. I’ll share this with her. Thanks for the tips.

  9. My athletic friends have had a lot of luck with CBD lotion for muscle pain, but I’ll share this list with them as well

  10. Wow! so many great and natural options other than using chemicals. Love the natural alternatives for health issues.

  11. These natural remedies for muscle pain help me a lot. Thank you for sharing these advantages and benefits. It’s very useful. Good job!

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