15 December 2012

Simple Herbal Treatment for Strained or Sprained Ankle

This post is written by contributing author Cory Trusty.

Strained and sprained ankles can seem to take forever to heal.  Mugwort is one herb that can be used externally to help speed recovery. Mugwort or Artemesia vulgaris is an easy to grow garden herb which has many uses in Traditional Westen and Chinese Herbal Medicine. The Chinese name for dried Artemesia vulgaris is Ai Ye

Photo from one of my visits to the Bastyr University Herb Garden.

Mugwort is used to make moxa which is used in warming external moxabustion treatments by Chinese medicine practitioners for various injuries. In order to make moxa from mugwort the herbs must be dried, ground and allowed to age for 2 to 3 years.

photo by Wolfgang Michel
I prefer to dry my Mugwort and save it for making pain relief salve or liniment, or I keep some stashed for in case of ankle sprains or strains. 

I collect my mugwort in March in Central Florida, but the time of year will vary from region to region. You should harvest Mugwort when it is in full flower. Cut back the stalk and hang it to dry in a well ventilated dry place. 

The mugwort I use is a variagated  variety that I got a start of from the Bastyr University medicinal herb garden in Seattle, Washington.  Here it is up close under our digital microscope.

Once you have your Mugwort dried to a crisp you can store it in a glass jar away from the sunlight. 

If you need it later for yourself or a friend, you can simply take up a few large handfuls and add it to a big stock pot with lots of boiling water. Let the water boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes. 

The next step is to let the water cool just to the point that the hot water will not burn the skin. Then dip a towel into the hot water.  Wring out the towel and wrap it around the sprained ankle.  Let the towel sit on the ankle until it starts to cool, then dip it again in the hot brew and wrap again one or more times.  When the brew cools it can be stored in the refrigerator and used again the following day by reheating on the stove top. 

Don't have mugwort?  You can also try this with Comfrey root or Comfrey leaf. Frankincense and Myrrh resin can also be used, but it needs to be ground a bit and boiled for a full hour.   

What are your favorite remedies for strain or sprained ankle?

Cory's Kanelstrand blog posts are licensed under Creative Commons. You are free to copy, distribute and adapt Cory's Kanelstrand content provided you attribute it to her by linking back to the original post as well as Cory's AquarianBath.com website.

Cory Trusty is a soap maker, community herbalist, organic gardener, and homeschooling mom to two girls. Cory and her family live in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cory's background is in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Biology.  She is sharing tried and true natural home remedies and mini lessons from herbal classes that she teaches. Cory works full time making soaps, shampoo bars, herbal salves, flaxseed heat packs and more for her website AquarianBath. Read more from Cory at the Aquarian Bath blog. Cory is also a Food and Gardening writer for EcoEtsy and has published in The Essential Herbal Magazine and on the Herb Companion Blog. Connect with Cory on TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus and Pinterest.


  1. Thanks for this information, Cory! I often overlook the very real powers of natural healing. Also to trust my body - it often heals itself with just enough fluid and rest (cold and flu season is upon us!)...

  2. Thanks for commenting Melissa. You're very welcome. :)