Tendons attach muscles to bones, and ligaments hold bones and tendons in place. Fascia guides muscle groups and allows them to slide over other structures. They all have a few things in common.  Predominantly, they all mostly consist of collagen. This means that when they get damaged or excessively worn, they need to be repaired by fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are like little elastic-tissue factories in your body that combine a couple of amino acids with a vitamin C molecule to produce collagen. Your brain takes the clue from pain in a region to determine that it is time to turn up the fibroblast activity in that region.

When you pull or strain a ligament or mash/stretch or damage a tendon, you often get micro-tears in the tissue. The tissue may not be torn in half or may not even be pulled completely from the bone. But it will require collagen repair to regain its full strength and be able to handle full load. When the damage occurs, there is local pain and inflammation. This acts as a signal to your brain to increase the activity of the fibroblasts. These collagen factories produce the materials to repair the damage. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs actually inhibits this process and, although it feels good, limits the extent of the repair. If you must take pain pills, it is best to use acetaminophen products, like Tylenol, to control pain.  These don’t stop the inflammation process that is critical in keeping the collagen production going.

In most injuries, there are little blood clots that form in the connective tissues. These micro-obstructions block the flow of nutrients and vital repairing constituents to the region. These blockages inhibit the repair. As we age, more of the small micro-capillaries in these tissues are also blocked with plaques.

There is, however, a great deal that can be gained by applying some simple herbs to the region. Enzymes within Arnica break up micro-clots in damaged tissues and are very enabling in the healing process. Also, Arnica contains constituents called prostaglandin blockers that relieve pain. When their effect is combined with the natural salix of White Willow bark, the pain relief is terrific. Of course, the ability to break up micro-clots also means that the bruising will dissipate far faster and you will get greater flow to the region.

Comfrey and Plantain contain a constituent called Allantoin, which actually stimulates the fibroblasts and gets them to produce more collagen. When Allantoin is continually applied to damaged tissue (ligaments, tendons, fascia or bones), the process of repair will continue . . . for as long as you keep applying it. If you apply these two herbs to a soft-tissue injury for 4 or 6 weeks, a very complete repair can be generated long after the pain and inflammation are gone.

Rosemary and Thyme increase circulation when applied to tissues, and Witch Hazel increases flexibility.  This is very important when healing tissues, as the area can hold residual trauma. Residual trauma immobilizes portions of muscles, and this increases the load on adjacent fibers and puts them more at risk of damage. The improved circulation facilitated by Rosemary and Thyme allows more nutrients to reach the cells that are rebuilding.

If you put all of these herbs together with a little vitamin C for collagen production and a little peppermint leaf for soothing, you have a wonderful combination to facilitate complete healing of soft tissues. Applied as a gel directly to the injured area, this will make your damaged tendons, ligaments and fascia as good as new and will actually reduce recovery time dramatically. Knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders . . . You name it; they will all benefit. The important thing to remember is to use it long after the pain stops, to complete the repair. Support the repair process with oral administration of vitamins C, D, E and A.

Note: This combination of herbs in a water-based decoction, gelled and ready to treat, can be procured from Nature’s Rite, LLC, at www.MyNaturesRite.com. It is called Bruise-Strain-Tear Repair.