A few months ago I was approached by a new supplement company called Martial Herbs and offered a sample of their products to try out. I took a look at their website and after a few emails back and forth, decided to see what they had to offer.
There were two things that initially grabbed my attention - the first being the company's name. Could it be that the UK supplement industry finally has a competitor with a pure focus on supporting the physical training of martial artists? Indeed, my email discussions revealed that the guys at Martial Herbs are complete fanatics of the combative arts (both traditional and more contemporary styles). The second thing that interested me was their strong belief in the effectiveness of natural remedies, without the addition of non-essential chemical additives.
Their mission statement is simple..."design and supply high quality supplements from natural ingredients that we would want to use!" Currently, their product range only amounts to three items, which for me certainly adds to their 'quality not quantity' standpoint.
My sample from Martial Herbs arrived promptly within a couple of days. It just so happens that I'm suffering a little from tennis elbow, so I was eager to try out their massage oil called Recovery. After some rest over the Xmas period and amongst other treatments, I've been performing deep cross friction rubbing across the lateral epicondyle tendon for a few minutes per day, along with some stretching of the associated muscles and nerves of the arm. I've primarily use the recovery oil to help aid the massage and promote healing. I've also taken a few knocks recently during training and have tried the oil on localised bruising and aching muscles.
The product itself only contains three ingredients - Nigella Sativa (fennel flower) and Lavandula Augustifolia (lavender) with an Almond Oil base - however, as you can see below, this combination is claimed by their website to have very effective results...
"This finely screened formula has been carefully designed to penetrate deeply into underlying tissues, allowing the important components in MH Recovery™ to alleviate the pain and discomfort of injuries from training and competitions.
So, did it work?
Well, although this is by no means a miracle cure (nor does it claim to be) and trying my best to discount any self-imposed placebo effects, I actually felt that this stuff helped in a positive way towards my treatment. The massage seemed to be more effective (increasing blood flow to the area), the pain was definitely more manageable (I hardly ever use pain killers unless an injury is really bad) and I was able to get back into my training fairly quickly - albeit purposefully modified to reduce the stress on my lateral tendon. The bruises and muscle ache also seemed to clear up pretty fast.
Now, of course, these effects could be simply due to the fact that as applying the product, I'm also stimulating the area in order to further promote healing. But overall, for me, the oil certainly seemed to help make that healing process more efficient and effective. Therefore, as a supplement and without any crazy expectations, it worked well. Plus with 100ml in the bottle and even with generous usage, I still have lots left over.
So, did I manage to grow a new bionic arm? Chance would be a fine thing! Has the use of this product cured my tennis elbow completely? Of course not. Have Martial Herbs managed to find a miracle elixir for human regeneration by mixing only three ingredients? Erhh...no. But let's be realistic now - is MH Recovery a useful and cost effective product to help support the treatment of local injuries and minor pains often experienced through intense martial arts training?...For me, absolutely!
Martial Herbs seems to be a very passionate company with an exciting vision and dedicated to tailoring high quality products especially for the martial artist. Their ingredients are natural, organic and all their products are suitable for vegetarians. There are no chemical bulking agents or fillers used, nor are any wild claims made. The prices seem very reasonable and certainly in the case of the particular product detailed in this review, it did pretty much what it said on the tin!
For those people out there who like to use training supplements and actually care about what's going into or onto their body, then these guys would certainly be worth a look! http://martialherbs.com
Chris Denwood has been studying martial arts since childhood and specialises in the practical application of karate's traditional principles for civilian self-defence, personal development, life integration and discovery.