Monday, August 12, 2013
Natural Remedies for Chronic Pain: Arthritis
Besides writing the next book in my natural remedies mystery series, Garden of Death, I'm also working on a new site that will feature natural remedies for chronic pain. Natural remedies can offer effective relief for chronic pain without many of the side effects. This is true for arthritis as well.
The word arthritis comes from a Greek word, arthron, meaning "joint" and itis, meaning "inflammation." When the condition is acute, joint swelling, pain, heat and redness may be present. As a chronic condition, joint pain, stiffness, lack of mobility and eventually bone deformity can occur. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition and autoimmune disease. Osteoarthritis, affects the weight bearing joints (knees, hips and spine). Here’s how to ease pain and discomfort:
Topical Herbal Relief
Ginger compresses can be deeply comforting. Just dip a clean washcloth into a cup of hot (not scalding) ginger tea, and apply to the aching joint in question. Cover with a dry cloth to help hold the heat in until it’s cool. Replace as needed.
Cayenne pepper cream will naturally decrease the amount of a neurotransmitter, called substance P, which relays pain messages to the brain. The key ingredient in cayenne pepper is Capsaicin. A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 1992 showed that Capsaicin is effective in reliving the tenderness and pain associated with OA. To make your own liniment for topical use of arthritis pain, steep one tablespoon cayenne in 1 pint apple cider vinegar for two weeks, shaking daily. Strain. Apply gently topically, but wash your hands afterwards and avoid getting it close to your eyes.
Vitamins for Joint Health
Calcium is a key player in arthritis. Take 1000 mg. for healthy bones. Add magnesium (400 mg) and vitamin D (1000 mg.) so it’s properly assimilated into the body. Magnesium also relaxes tight muscles and inhibits the action of hyaluronidase which can destroy synovial fluid and joints.
Reduce the Inflammation of arthritis with essential fatty acids found in fish oil. Use one to three capsules daily. Include at least a couple of servings weekly of fatty fish like salmon; mackerel, herring, sardines and halibut. Add even more lubricating oils, by sprinkling chia seeds and flax seeds on salads, in cereal and yogurt.
Glucosamine sulphate is essential for the formation of mucopolysaccharides, necessary for connective tissue. This nutrient reduces inflammation, helps to repair traumatized tissue and cushions joints so it is particularly helpful in osteoarthritis. Glucosamine also thickens synovial fluid and stimulates the production of new cartilage and connective tissue. Take 250 to 500 mg. three times daily. Bromelain, an enzyme that comes from the pineapple, also reduces inflammatory prostaglandins. 500 mg. can be taken daily.
Foods for Flexibility.
Beneficial foods for arthritis include nutritive and anti-inflammatory almonds, barley, brown rice, kamut, quinoa, millet, oatmeal, black beans, artichokes, beets, burdock root, endive, kale, okra, parsley, parsnips, sweet potatoes, watercress, winter squash, yams and pecans.
Raw string beans have long been considered a therapeutic food for arthritis for their ability to eliminate uric acid which can contribute to joint pain. Celery seed as a condiment helps eliminate uric acid in the body too.
Cherries as well as hawthorn berries and blueberries are rich sources of anthhocyanidins and proanthocyanidins and help prevent collagen breakdown. Use lots of turmeric in the food for its anti-inflammatory properties. A shot glass of aloe vera ten minutes before each meal will also reduce inflammation.
Minimize foods rich in oxalic acid such as beet greens, rhubarb, Swiss chard, and spinach, which can contribute to irritating crystals forming in the joints. Nix foods in the Nightshade Family like tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, green pepper, paprika and tobacco because they contain solanine, a neuromuscular toxin.
Bathing in warm water to which a pound of Epsom salts has been added is very pain relieving. Add five to ten drops essential oils of coriander, eucalyptus, fir, ginger, lavender, pine, rosemary, or wintergreen. All of these herbs help improve circulation, and wintergreen even contains salicin, a pain relieving compound. If you are feeling bold, practice dry brush skin massage and alternate hot and cold showers (ending with cold). I hope that these remedies help you to feel better!
Do you use any natural remedies for your arthritis?
I'm the author of SCENT TO KILL, (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster) the second in the NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERY series, DEATH DROPS: A Natural Remedies Mystery, the non-fiction title THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO NATURAL REMEDIES (Alpha, 2009), co-author of BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW! (Fairwinds Press, 2010), currently in its fourth printing, the BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION NOW!COOKBOOK (Fairwinds Press, 2012) and THE COUNTRY ALMANAC OF HOME REMEDIES (Fairwinds, 2011). My magazine articles featuring natural remedies have appeared in many national publications including Natural Health, Vegetarian Times, Better Homes & Gardens and Remedy. Visit www.chrystlefiedler.com.