Most people know that certain creams can be effective for relief from muscle pain. However, knowing which creams will be the most suitable can be challenging. Without research to highlight the best ingredients, you can be in possession of countless creams that provide lackluster results.

If the time has come to try yet another sports cream to ease painful muscles after a workout, don’t make a purchase without knowledge. Learn about some of the best ingredients in creams for sore muscles below. You can then choose a product with as many of them as possible.


If you can find a hemp cream with plenty of CBD, you might experience the relief you’re looking for. Many high-quality hemp creams contain phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract to ease sore muscles and aid in muscle recovery.

Studies seem to support this theory. CBD may have many physiological, psychological, and biochemical effects that might benefit athletes. Preclinical studies showed that CBD could reduce tissue damage, with benefits attributed to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Whether you’re experiencing sore muscles or have sustained muscle damage, creams containing CBD might be worth exploring.


While not all creams for sore muscles will contain menthol, you might be more inclined to choose one that does after learning what the research says. Menthol, also known as mint camphor, has been used as a non-opioid pain reliever for hundreds of years.

As a topical agent, it provides a cooling effect by stimulating and desensitizing your sensory receptors. The cooling effect of menthol may provide comfort and pain relief, especially for muscle strain, joint pain, back pain, and arthritis-related conditions. Menthol is also used in a range of other products, such as cold medication, toothpaste, confectionery, and pesticides.


Studies haven’t gone into great detail about the benefits of safflower, also known as Carthamus tinctorius. However, it’s sometimes added to muscle creams for pain relief. Safflower is an annual plant often cultivated for vegetable oil. While it’s usually favored for its coloring, flavoring, and oil, it can be added to balms and creams for some of its other believed benefits and uses.

According to research, safflower has long been used as a treatment for rheumatism, psoriasis, myocardial ischemia, toxicity, inflammation, and several other ailments. In fact, it was even recommended for ‘melancholy humor.’

The plants grow up to around 59 inches tall and have large yellow, orange, and red flower heads. This fast-growing annual herb resembles a thistle and is one of the oldest crops in humanity. It was first cultivated in Mesopotamia and is believed to date back to around 2500 BC.


Camphor is a waxy and colorless chemical that was once made by distilling wood and bark from the camphor tree. More recently, it’s made with turpentine oil. Camphor is believed to assist with pain and nerve stimulation. It’s even FDA-approved at 3% to 11% dosages for use on the skin to reduce pain.

Companies making creams for muscle pain are potentially on the right path when using camphor. Current studies suggest topical compounds featuring camphor and menthol ‘demonstrate potential’ in pain relief. If you read camphor on an ingredient list for a muscle cream product, it might be more than suitable for your needs.

However, camphor is not exclusive to muscle pain products alone. You might also see it included in products for acne, insect bites, coughing, and itching. The potential benefits of camphor for these uses aren’t widely studied.

Calcium Gluconate

Calcium gluconate is medication healthcare professionals use to manage hypocalcemia, cardiotoxicity, and cardiac arrest. As curious as it might seem for calcium gluconate to be included on a list of muscle cream ingredients, it deserves to be there. There’s potential for it to relieve uncomfortable muscle pain.

This might be accurate if studies on post-operative patients are anything to go by. Forty of 80 patients received calcium gluconate pretreatment to determine postoperative muscle pain. Post-operative muscle pains were reported to be 5% less in the test group. As a result, calcium gluconate is believed to decrease the incidence and severity of postoperative myalgia, a similar feeling you get after new exercises.

Choosing a new cream, balm, or topical product for sore muscles can be overwhelming. So many products on the market don’t provide the desired effects. However, if you see a product with hemp, camphor, menthol, calcium gluconate, and safflower, you might be more inclined to add it to your shopping cart.