CognosyPharm Herb of the Month Wood Betony (Pedicularis Canadensis)
Pedicularis canadensis (Wood Betony) If you are looking for a wildflower to plant in damp meadows and open woods, here is a flower for you.
It has a long blooming period and self-seeds without an aggressive spread.
Pedicularis is a useful skeletal muscle relaxant. A quick review; skeletal muscles are those that you can generally move voluntarily (‘I am now going to look over my right shoulder’), and smooth muscles are those that are a part of your viscera
and are involuntary, you don’t have to think about coordinating your gastrointestinal tract to propel food from one end to the other.
I find it most useful for back pain, upper to lower. This is not a narcotic, so it cannot remove all the pain associated with sore skeletal muscles, but by relaxing the tension it can decrease the need for stronger pain medicines. Also please remember that when pain is decreased, it does not mean that the underlying problem is resolved, and so caution is necessary to make sure one does not reinjure themselves (an all too often occurrence).
Pedicularis is also useful for neck and shoulder tension. An advantage of skeletal muscle relaxants is that they do not dumb down one’s thinking and so can be taken throughout the day (with the consideration of not reinjuring).
While I have outlined the back, shoulders and neck here, Pedicularis can be tried for any skeletal muscle pain.
Pedicularis combined with other herbal pain relievers such as hops can be used in place of over the counter and pharmaceudical medications ( check with your physician).
negative side effects are uncommon. The most common is the medicine causing some ‘spaciness’ or mild disorientation. For some people this will be enough to warrant trying a different remedy, for others it can be helpful as it reduces their sensation of pain further.
This herb lends itself to tinctures and oils very well
Muscle Therapy [MT]
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