The Herbs of Achilles and Hercules
Natural health solutions for Joints, Muscles and Injuries for MMA fighters, boxers and wrestlers.
Achilles was the greatest of Greek warriors. He became a hero during the Trojan war (played by Brad Pitt in the film Troy) when he defeated Hector in battle. The legend that grew up around him was that he was half man, half god and the only vulnerable spot he had was his ankle (Achilles tendon) where Paris eventually fatally wounded him, with an arrow.
Healing herbs in ancient Greece
Chiron, the centaur, taught Achilles to use the herb yarrow to staunch the flow of blood and heal his soldiers’ battle wounds. Yarrow now bears his name, Achillea millefolium . In ancient times it was called herbal militaris, and in Britain its common names were staunchwort, spearwort and soldier’s woundwort. In rural areas, children used to put yarrow leaves up their noses to stop a nosebleed!
Another herb passed on by Chiron to the hero Hercules and then to Achilles, was Centuary ( Centaurium erythraea) used for old wounds that refused to heal.
Healing herbs in mediaevel battles
From 1476, a specially infused tea was drunk by the injured during mediaevel wars. Called Eau d’Arquebusade (after the lethal arquebus, a handheld musket), it contained agrimony ( Agrimonia eupatoria) to reduce the swelling and pain of fractures, yarrow, mugwort ( Artemisia vulgaris after the hunter-goddess Artemis) for poisonous wounds and abscesses, and Sanicle (Sanicula europaea aka Self-Heal) for profuse bleeding, as well as other herbs. Lady’s Mantle leaf tea ( Alchemilla vulgaris) was applied externally to close fresh wounds very quickly.
Yarrow in modern times
We use yarrow in our Napiers Joint Ability Herbal Remedy. This is a strong 1:1 herbal extract, equivalent to 2150mg of herbs per dose. Yarrow helps the injured joints and muscles to recover speedily and is often used by our patients after hip or knee surgery.
It also contains 1000mg of white willow. Willow contains salicylic acid, like aspirin, but doesn’t have the side effects on the stomach that aspirin does. It is also, like Black Cohosh, an anti-inflammatory. As well as an antispasmodic herb to reduce muscle spasms, Joint Ability also contains burdock root, which reduces the toxic load in the body that aggravates joint and muscle problems.
Napiers Joint Ability Herbal Remedy is a licensed traditional herbal medicine for the relief of backache, rheumatic or muscular pain, and general aches and pains in the muscles and joints, based exclusively on traditional use only. Generally a two-week course will help to speed up the body’s healing processes and help to manage pain and inflammation flare-ups of old injuries.
A traditional close shave!
Yarrow Witch Hazel is a mixture of yarrow tincture and witch hazel extract and is applied externally, soaked on a piece of lint, for example, to make a dressing. In the Victorian times, it was dabbed on cotton wool and held for a few minutes on shaving sores, used as a post-shaving soother to quickly heal up nicks and cuts.
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