Last week I experienced the most debilitating pain that Fibromyalgia has thrown at me yet. To make matters worse: my husband was out of town for the weekend. Which meant that I was solely responsible for the health and well-being of myself and our three (3) animals (two cats and a dog). Luckily, the cats can pee and poop without my help. Our dog, on the other hand, cannot. We live in an apartment complex with a large, but shared yard. There’s also no fence. Unless I was feeding the animals, taking the dog outside, or using the bathroom: I was laying down. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to move. I couldn’t cook and I only ate things I could eat laying on my side (e.g., Nilla Wafers). My usually RSO dosage couldn’t touch it. Plus, I was running out.
It was like that for two (2) whole days.
On Saturday, the second day, I decided to try a topical. I had been resistant to the idea in the past because I hadn’t found a great price point to fit my budget. But my local dispensary was having a holiday sale, so I decided to stop by. I bought a 2-ounce (350mg) jar of Dragon Balm Deep Tissue Relief by Ceres Garden; a Washington-state based company. Normally, it’s $17 per jar, but with a 15% discount, I only paid $14.45.
The label alone was enough to catch my eye: a dark red label with a gold leaf dragon. It looked like it wanted to make me feel better. It looked like the dragon was going to kick my pain’s ass. I read the ingredients and was happy to see menthol and mint oil on the list. It also listed camphor, but I was unfamiliar with that ingredient so it didn’t factor into my decision. I now know, however, that camphor is a known numbing agent. Plus, it was infused with 175mg THC and 175mg CBD.
Before I finalized my decision on the purchase, I asked a Budtender about other customers’ feedback on the product. I made a point to clarify that I wanted to know what other customers with chronic pain had said about Dragon Balm. The Budtender told me that other chronic pain customers buy it by the box because it works so well. I stopped asking questions immediately and bought the jar. I was giddy on my way home. My only regret is that I didn’t stop by Taco Bell on my way home.
When I got home, I stripped down as quickly as I could manage and then opened the jar. The first thing I noticed was the delicious combination of smells. When I looked up the full ingredients list on the Ceres Garden’s website, I found that — in addition to mint, menthol, and camphor — the balm contained clove and cajaput oil. Because I didn’t know what camphor or cajaput were used for, I looked those up.
According to WebMD, camphor “used to be made by distilling the bark and wood of the camphor tree. Today, camphor is chemically manufactured from turpentine oil.” The website claims it’s “likely effective” for treating pain, easing a cough, and soothing itching or irritation. WebMD also specifically states that it can be used to treat warts and hemorrhoids. Ceres Garden’s website simply describes camphor as “numbing”.
In regards to cajaput (WebMD spells it “cajeput”), WebMD states that — like camphor — cajaput is used for pain relief, but can also be used to treat certain fungal infections, toothaches, headaches, and joint pain. I did not find any information about cajaput on the Ceres Garden website.
A few minutes into reading more about some of the oils I had just generously rubbed onto my body, I could feel the debilitating pain start to fade away. It definitely wasn’t sudden, but OMG: it was magical. A few hours after the first application, I decided to go to sleep. I took a super hot shower, applied a second generous dose to my pain points, and then crawled into bed. Getting into bed that night was much easier than it had been the previous night. I was actually able to move around a little bit to get comfortable.
The pain was barely noticeable when I woke up the next morning. For someone with chronic pain, “barely noticeable” is like a healthy person’s “no pain at all”. I was able to function as normally as I am capable. I was finally able to make myself food! I was even able to sit up straight for more than 2 or 3 minutes. In fact, I sat up for nearly 6-hours while friends visited for the holidays. I was able to host them alone without wincing in pain or … you know … crying out in pain. When my husband got home on Monday, December 24, we took turns giving each other back massages with Dragon Balm. It was amazing! Both of us felt so relaxed and pain-free.
Now, I keep the balm on my side of the bed when I go to sleep. I also take it with me when I have to ride the bus into Spokane for doctor’s appointments. I also had it with me when we went bowling for my husband’s holiday work party last night; however, I forgot I had it with me and chose to use my vape pen to manage my pain throughout the night.
Bonus for anyone with a uterus: this stuff works great for pelvic cramping. I haven’t tested it on gastrointestinal pain yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it would help that as well. I have also used it for spot treating headaches and earaches. Tonight, I’m going to rub some on my husband’s chest before he goes to bed. He’s fighting off a nasty cold, so I’m hoping the camphor will help keep his chest clear. I think it will also help his throat and sinuses if we apply it properly.
Oh, and I almost forgot: a little bit goes a long way. Even when applying “generous amounts” I don’t actually use that much of the product. At least, not as much as I had personally expected to need to use at once.
Basically, Dragon Balm is amazing. I love the smell, its powerful pain-relieving effects, its distinct lack of mental impairment, and its amazing price point. I will buy this again.