If you’re a runner or an athlete, chances are you’ve tried pain relief gels like Icy Cold or Tiger Balm before. I have personally tried a couple brands previously for muscle soreness during softball tournaments and more recently for running recovery. Pro tip: don’t apply to areas that are sunburned.
I recently tested out the Earth’s Care’s Triple Action Pain Relieving Ointment, which comes as a paste in a small jar-like container. It is similar to the other products on the market but boasts having:
- No Petrolatum
- No Parabens
- No Artificial Colors or Fragrances
- No Phthalates
It is also allergy tested and is not tested on animals.
Similar to other brands, the Earth’s Care ointment contains three active ingredients that serve as a local analgesic: camphor, menthol, and methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil). The other ingredients are beeswax, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, tocopherols (vitamin E).
Camphor (paraphrased from Wikipedia): Camphor is a waxy, flammable, white or transparent solid with a strong aroma. It is found in the wood of the camphor laurel, a large evergreen tree found in Asia (particularly in Sumatra, Indonesia and Borneo) and also of the unrelated kapur tree, a tall timber tree from the same region. It also occurs in some other related trees in the laurel family, notably Ocotea usambarensis. The oil in rosemary leaves, in the mint family, contains 10 to 20% camphor, while camphorweed only contains some 5%. Camphor can also be synthetically produced from oil of turpentine. It is used for its scent, as an ingredient in cooking (mainly in India), as an embalming fluid, for medicinal purposes, and in religious ceremonies. A major source of camphor in Asia is camphor basil.
Menthol (paraphrased from Wikipedia): Menthol is an organic compound made synthetically or obtained from corn mint, peppermint, or other mint oils. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above. Menthol has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities, and it is widely used to relieve minor throat irritation. Menthol also acts as a weak kappa opioid receptor agonist.
Methyl Salicylate (paraphrased from Wikipedia): Methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil) is an organic ester naturally produced by many species of plants, particularly wintergreens. It is also synthetically produced, used as a fragrance, in foods and beverages, and in liniments.
I didn’t have any major running-related muscle soreness during the period that I tested this product. I only used it once on my quad that I tweaked during a run, however, I did use it a fair amount on my chronically stiff/sore neck (“perks” of working a desk job). I found that it did provide some relief when used and also the menthol helped with the low-grade headaches I’ve been getting lately (from not wearing my glasses), plus it smells amazing! I like that it is a waxy paste which doesn’t seem to stain clothes. It’s less messy that the usual gel tubes of other brands.