Most cyclists, even those with no joint problems are concerned with joint health, particularly knee pain. While there are a number of pharmaceutical products on the market geared for this problem, more and more athletes are taking a holistic approach to joint pain relief and turning to traditional forms of medicine, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and Ayurvedic medicine.


Some herbs that are helpful in reducing the inflammation associated with knee pain can be found in the spice aisle of your local grocer including cayenne pepper, turmeric, and ginger. But to combat inflammation with these spices only through consumption in food is likely not effective. You can actually buy these as supplements in your local pharmacy. The other benefit to using herbal supplements instead of just cooking with them is that they frequently have added ingredients that boost the effectiveness of the herb. For example, many turmeric capsules have piperine added which increases absorption.

Another herb that is effective for joint health is stinging nettle. A tea made from stinging nettles can be very effective in reducing swelling. However, it's important to remember to wear gloves when handling stinging nettles, because, as their name indicates, they can cause serious skin irritation.


Shilajit (a Sanskrit word meaning "rock invincible" -- every cyclist's dream) is a black resin. This mineral supplement seeps out of rocks warmed by the summer sun at extremely high altitudes of the Himalayas. The mineral substance is highly revered among India's Ayurvedic practitioners. Rich in fulvic acid and containing over 80 trace minerals, it is traditionally used for joint pain relief by the mountain people, particularly for elderly villagers during their long harsh winters.

It's important to get real shilajit, because there are many products on the market which claim to contain shilajit in powdered or extracted form. These products are not shilajit, but rather are formulated using solvents applied to common dirt to extract minerals. These products not only fail to deliver the promised Ayurvedic benefits, but can actually be harmful. You will know you have the real thing if at room temperature, it is a sticky tar-like substance and it passes one of these 2 tests to ensure it is not another impostor, petroleum tar:

  • Put the substance in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Real shilajit becomes rock hard and breaks easily.
  • Dissolve a small amount of the substance in warm water. Shilajit is water soluble.

Add a rice-grained size bit of shilajit to a tea with honey in it to boost effectiveness. Or take it with ghee. Some prefer to take it under the tongue, but it is an acquired taste. Many find that taking a capsule of ubiquinol, a form of CoQ10, with their daily dosage of shilajit increases its effectiveness.

You can also apply a little of this magical mountain elixir topically to your latest knee scrape. Laboratory tests have shown that shilajit increases the speed and orderliness of cell reproduction, thereby shortening the "owie-time" between the epic flying smooshes which we all so proudly endure.

 Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Another excellent and delicious way to promote joint health is by eating fish. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies suggest that fish oil supplements decrease the stiffness associated with joint pain. You can take fish oil supplements or increase your consumption of actual fish which is also a great source of protein. Wild salmon, Atlantic mackerel, sardines and sablefish are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids and are considered environmentally friendly choices. So slide up to your neighborhood sushi bar and enjoy some great food while doing your joints a favor.

Proper stretching before and after cycling along with good nutrition and one or more of these supplements should keep you pain-free and pedaling for a long time.

Author's Bio: 

Johann Helf has a passion for natural healing practices such as Ayurveda. He enjoys learning and sharing his knowledge to help others find health and well-being. He is founder of Lotus Blooming Herbs, LLC, retailer of Authentic Shilajit. Read about his sometimes dangerous journey seeking shilajit Ayurvedic medicine.