About a year ago my right ankle swelled up and became tender to the touch. There was no recent injury that I knew of. After a few days, I wrapped it with an Ace bandage. The swelling went down under the bandage, only to pop up on the top of my foot. After wrapping the top of my foot, the swelling moved to the other side of my ankle. Weird. At that point, I got online to look for how to pull down swelling. What I found was an ancient Ayurvedic medicine: turmeric and salt. Well, those were two ingredients I had on hand, and easy to mix.
I tried it: applied it to a folded damp paper towel, slapped it on the ankle, and wrapped it to make it stay in place.
Lo and behold-- after a day, the ankle was less painful. After two days, the swelling was gone. GONE! And it didn’t come back. My ankle was stained bright yellow for a week, but, hey, it felt great.
Turns out that turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory. There is lots of evidence that this kitchen spice is also effective against cancer, arthritis, preventing and reversing Alzheimer's, and more.
What about the salt? You know how it kills snails: it pulls water through cell walls, essentially dehydrating them. This is an example of osmosis. It works on the same principle to pull extra water out of your skin or underlying tissues. I used RealSalt because it includes trace minerals. The salt and turmeric reinforce aspects of each other.
The basic mixture is 2 parts turmeric to one part salt, then mix with just enough water or oil to make a paste. If you use water, it's considered an actual paste; if you use oil, it's technically an ointment. Water might help it penetrate your skin better, but curcumin is fat-soluble, so it might be more potent as an ointment. I don't know for sure; it just seemed logical to use the oil, which has healing properties itself if you use either coconut oil or olive oil. Curcumin's bioavailability is said to increase if you add something with quercetin. Dock (sorrel) has large amounts; so does apple, broccoli, cranberries, and more. Since I didn’t find anything in my house and yard while I was mixing that was easy to use that wouldn’t spoil in it, I skipped that part. Maybe next time I’ll dry some dock and heat it for a couple hours with the coconut oil base. Or add a little green drink powder. It still works fine without it; there was no quercetin in what I used on my ankle.
This new batch also contains a couple essential oils this time around (didn't with my ankle), to hopefully enhance the healing properties; this will go on a leg injured by falling down the stairs, made worse by a lack of circulation and movement, now suffering- months later- with fluid in the joints and pain. Rosemary is relaxing, a good tonic for nervous and circulatory systems, and helps increase vigor and energy. Ginger relaxes blood vessels is a strong circulatory stimulant, and is often used in massage oils and to relieve aches and pains. A standard amount of essential oils for topical use is 1 drop essential oil per 25 mL of carrier oil, or about 5 drops per ¼ cup oil.
Please remember that anyone can be allergic to foods; don't use ingredients you've had reactions to, and watch for new reactions. When you apply this to your skin, wrap it with something that doesn't matter if it gets stained- because it will! (Turmeric is also a great fabric dye.)
Here are the quantities I used for this batch:
4 Tbsp. turmeric (1/4 c.)
2 Tbsp. RealSalt
2 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil (I used coconut oil)
2 drops rosemary oil, optional
2 drops ginger oil, optional
Best stored in a small glass jar. Babyfood jars are great.