As I mentioned yesterday, my foot has been bumming me out these days. And when I say bumming, I mean, bum planted on the couch, toes wrapped in ice, meh. But speaking of plants (stay with me as I reach for romanticism in this medically-charged* post here), to quell the inflammation, I’ve been exploring the many methods through which Mother Nature heals.
Coupling my strong aversion to western pharmaceuticals (I blame a sensitive stomach and exposure to the miracle of acupuncture) with the aches and pains that accompany a ballet career, in recent years I’ve found myself charging down a quite intriguing path towards holistic healing. I’m pretty convinced that plants rule the world. A few of my favorites and the strange ways I’ve been harnessing their powers recently:
ginger. minced up in sautéed kale, grated over strawberry-rhubarb crisp, bulky chunks steeped in tea. it’s healing gingerols are powerful, and I love them in all forms.
turmeric.which, thanks to my mom, i currently have in full root, ground and extract forms. the curcumin found in this tasty spice is hailed by masters of Chinese medicine as one of the world’s most powerful anti-inflammatories. try steeping the roots in hot water (mixed with a bag of green tea for added anti-inflammatory benefits!), sprinkling its grounds over a cauliflower before roasting or blending into your favorite smoothie recipe (it’s taste usually disappears amongst fruits and berries), or popping the extract capsules along with water and some food (the most potent and effective method, so I’ve read).
tea.tea is a great way to absorb more of those wonderful inflammation-fighters found in the aforementioned ginger, turmeric, and yes, the magical flavonoids packed into green tea leaves. the high level of catechin polyphenols in green tea have many healthy benefits, and relief from joint pain and swelling just so happens to be one of them. fill a mug and drink up!
maple and walnut.curled into a beautiful (and efficient!) foot roller by the talented husband of a fellow FBP dancer, what once branched up from the earth now relaxes my roots. it may look unassuming, but this bad boy has been a lifesaver for my cramped arches and stuff joints.
garlic.in my (italian) opinion, garlic turns any dish it touches to gold**. but its strength is not just in flavor; did you know garlic works hard to fight inflammation, too? okay, so this is mostly based on dancer suspicions and old slavic advisors, but hey, it can’t hurt to add a little more gusto to your dish in the hopes of reliving some pain, right? if you can get your handsome boyfriend to cook said dish for you, you’ve got it made in the shade!
arnica.conveniently gel-ified by the wizards at arnicare, the arnica flower delivers an impressive collection of natural soothers. the sesquiterpene lactones, found predominantly in the stem of the plant, share their anti-inflammatory effects to the body when applied topically. yes, please.
actual flowers.last but not least, never underestimate the effect of a cheery spring bouquet in lifting your spirits (especially if you’re currently experiencing a snow storm during the first week of April). positivity=power! bonus points if they are delivered by your sweet mother.
*full disclosure: I am not a doctor. The suggestions in this post are just that. If you are experiencing pain or swelling in your body, I recommend seeing a medical professional whom you trust, listening to their advice, and experimenting with plant-based treatments that work for you and your body.
**unless your mom accidentally slices up a chocolate-almond croissant on your garlic cutting board. garlic-flavored sweets are decidedly disgusting…haha.