Ají & Mint Pain Relief Spray is inspired by Icy Hot, a cooling and warming topical pain relief ointment. This herbal version, however, is easy to make yourself and contains only natural ingredients. It’s great to have on hand to help relieve aches, leg cramps, muscle soreness and pain.
I used a homemade tincture of ají (Capsicum pubescens), a spicy pepper that’s common here in the Ecuadorian Andes and grows abundantly in our gardens, in this spray, but cayenne (Capsicum annuum) tincture is a wonderful substitute for those living in Northern climates.
Both ají and cayenne peppers contain a constituent called Capsaicin that is responsible for their warming sensation. Studies have found that capsaicin is anti-inflammatory and helps to inhibit the sensation of pain (Ilie et al., 2019). In allopathic medicine, capsaicin is used topically in the form of a cream, gel, lotion, or skin patch to treat pain disorders, nerve pain, and arthritis (Healthwise, 2020). It’s also helpful for easing muscle spasms (Tierra, 1998).
Menthol is a naturally occurring compound found in corn mint and peppermint oils. It has a cooling sensation and is a common addition to creams for relief of pain. One study found menthol applied topically to be an effective for relieving pain and muscle soreness (Johar et al., 2012).
The essential oils of peppermint and eucalyptus are cooling and help to relieve achey, sore muscles and inflammation. Ginger essential oil is warming and pain relieving (Cronkleton, 2019).
The addition of magnesium oil helps further relieve pain and is helpful for muscle cramps or spasms.
To make this spray, you will need:
- 15ml (1/2 oz) magnesium oil
- 15ml (1/2 oz) ají or cayenne tincture
- 5 drops ginger essential oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 1 menthol crystal
- 30ml (1oz) glass spray bottle
Combine ingredients in a small glass measuring cup. Stir until the menthol crystal dissolves. Then pour into a spray bottle.
To use: Shake well before each use. Spray liberally onto sore or painful muscles and massage into skin. Avoid contact with mucus membranes & sensitive or broken skin and wash hands after applying.
Cronkleton, E. (2019). Try This: 18 Essential Oils for Sore Muscles. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/essential-oils-for-sore-muscles#for-one-symptom-only
Healthwise. (2020) Capsaicin. University of Michigan Health. Retrieved from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ut1025spec
Ilie, M.A., Caruntu, C., Tampa, M., Georgescu, S.R., Matei, C., Negrei, C., Ion, R.M., Constantin, C., Neagu, M., & Boda, D. (2019). Capsaicin: Physicochemical properties, cutaneous reactions and potential applications in painful and inflammatory conditions. Spandidos Publications. 916-925.
Tierra, M. (1998). The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books. (pp. 74-75).
Johar, P., Grover, V., Topp, R., and Behm, D.G. (2012). A Comparison of Topical Menthol to Ice on Pain, Evoked Tetanic and Voluntary Force During Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Internacional Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 7(3): 314–322. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3362986/#__ffn_sectitle