An herbal muscle relaxant is an herb that causes the muscles of the body to relax, often easing pain associated from muscle spasms or tightness. Some of the most popular herbs used to relax muscles include chamomile, licorice, and kava root. Devil's claw, valerian root, and cayenne pepper may also be used for this purpose. Any herbal muscle relaxant has the potential for causing negative side effects and medication interactions and should be approved by a doctor. It is also important that such muscle relaxants are not used as a substitute for proper medical care.
Chamomile is a popular herbal muscle relaxant and is often used to treat muscle spasms. Muscle tension tends to worsen in times of stress or anxiety, and this herb helps to calm the nerves, adding to the natural muscle-relaxing properties of chamomile. Side effects are rare, although allergic reactions may sometimes occur, especially among those who suffer from seasonal allergies such as hay fever.
Licorice is thought to be an excellent herbal muscle relaxant. This supplement reduces muscle inflammation and is reputed to relieve pain in much the same way as more traditional steroid medications. Possible side effects of licorice include high blood pressure, weight gain, and hormone fluctuations.
Kava root and devil's claw are frequently used as natural muscle relaxants. Both of these herbs are believed to provide relief from pain, and devil's claw may also reduce inflammation. Side effects of kava root may include headaches, dizziness, and skin discoloration. Devil's claw is thought to be safe when used in moderate doses, although taking too much of this supplement may lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Valerian root and cayenne pepper may be used to help relax muscles. Often considered to be the best herbal muscle relaxant, valerian root reduces inflammation, eases pain, and promotes restful sleep. Vivid dreams and daytime drowsiness may occur when taking valerian root supplements. Cayenne pepper can be added to recipes or used in muscle rubs for topical pain relief. This remedy can cause a burning sensation when applied topically or taken internally and may cause damage to the skin, esophagus, or stomach.
A doctor should be consulted before taking an herbal muscle relaxant to find out the reason for the muscle tension and pain. Some herbs may not be appropriate for those with certain medical conditions and may impact the effectiveness of some medications. These herbal supplements may be safe for most people, but they should not be used as a substitute for traditional medical treatment.