Herbs for Arthritis Pain Relief

 

Arthritis comes in different forms. There is knee arthritis, hand arthritis, and so on.  The type of arthritis experienced by a patient is dependent on the part of the body where the sickness is felt most. However, irrespective of the types of arthritis being experienced, arthritis comes with severe pain.

All arthritis causes pain and if not properly taken care of, these pains can impede the proper functioning of the patient. Although there are some drugs and medical treatments used for the sickness,  studies have shown that herbs are potent remedies for arthritis pain. This article focuses on seven great herbs for arthritis.

 

India Frankincense

India Frankincense is popularly known as Boswellia. It is rated as one of the most potent herbs for the treatment of arthritis among traditional herbal doctors.

 

According to a review published in 2011. Boswellia acid contains some anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.

 

Another study on the effect of the herb on humans revealed that when arthritis patients use a frankincense capsule regularly. They would experience a significant reduction in their pains and morning stiffness. Also, they would experience improved physical functionality.

 

These two studies show that India frankincense is a great herb for arthritis. However, it is noteworthy that when using the Boswellia capsule, the dosage should not be more than 1 gram. A high dosage can affect the liver.

 

Boswellia is available in capsule and topical creams.

 

Cat’s claw

Cat’s claw is a very popular herb in South and Central America. It is another effective herb for the treatment of arthritis and often used as a traditional remedy for pain and inflammation and also to boost the immune system.

 

In a small study conducted in 2002, Cat’s claw was used to treat about 40 patients suffering from arthritis, the result shows a reduced joint swelling up to 50%.

 

In addition to this, in a study conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, the result shows that just like many conventional drugs for arthritis, the cat’s claw helps to suppress tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

 

However, there are some side effects of using the herbs. This include:

  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Nausea and Dizziness
  • Headache

 

Also, if you have any of these health issues, do not use the herb:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Thin blood
  • On medications that suppress the immune system.

 

Cat’s claw is often taken orally.

 

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is another great herb used by many people for the treatment of different health-related issues. Among the different health issues that eucalyptus can be used for is arthritis.

 

Eucalyptus is said to contain a compound known as tannin. This compound helps to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritis.

 

Eucalyptus is often applied in topical form to the affected arthritis area. But before applying it, ensure you dilute the herbs in an essential oil or carrier oil. Also, do a patch test before applying it to the affected area.

Do the patch test by applying a small amount of the herbs on the affected area, leave this for 24 to 48 hours. If there is no significant reaction, it means the herbs are safe to use.

 

Green tea

Though green tea is often taken as a beverage, the antioxidant in it can help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. There are different ways of using green tea for arthritis:

It can be taken as a beverage

Supplement

By sprinkling it in food or smoothie

 

There is still more research to reveal how well green tea can work for arthritis. Nevertheless, it is advisable instead of consuming other kinds of beverages, an arthritis patient can consume green tea.

 

Turmeric

Turmeric is another great herb for the treatment of arthritis. Although it is often used as a spice for cooking because of its rich flavor, the benefits of this yellowish spice go beyond adding flavor to foods.

 

Turmeric contains curcumin referred to as curcumin. Lots of studies have revealed that curcumin is a great compound for the treatment of arthritis. The compound helps to reduce the enzymes that cause pain and inflammation in the body.

 

Therefore constantly using turmeric can help to reduce arthritis pain and inflammation to the barest minimum. Turmeric can be used both in topical form and in oral form.

 

Ginger

Like turmeric, ginger is often used as a spice for cooking. Ginger contains a component called gingerol. The gingerol component in ginger has been revealed as one of the best cures for arthritis pain and inflammation.

 

In fact, some researchers revealed that ginger could one day be an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

 

The author of one review in 2016, predicted that in the future ginger can be used to form the major ingredient for pharmaceutical treatment used for arthritis. The reason for this is because ginger does not only help with the arthritis pain but also helps prevent bone destruction.

 

Ginger is often taken orally by chewing it, blending it, and taken as a tea or by using it as a spice for cooking. For arthritis, it is advisable that the patient constantly use it in all these ways.

 

Thunder god vine

Thunder god vine is one of the ancient herbs often used for the treatment of different health issues. In ancient times, thunder god vine is usually used by Chinese and Japanese and Korean for the treatment of arthritis and inflammation. The herbs can be applied to the affected area as topical or taken as a dietary supplement.

 

When using thunder god for the treatment of arthritis, it is important to note that extract from other parts of the vine except the root can be poisonous. Also, the exact dosage to use when using as a supplement has not yet been determined, hence it is advisable to use it in small quantities. Taking it in high doses can be harmful to health.

 

Willow’s bark

Like thunder god vine, willow’s bark is another great ancient herbs for the treatment of arthritis pain. It is usually taken orally either by chewing it in its raw form or by cooking it and taken as a tea. However, when using the herbs for arthritis, it is important to take note of the side effects. Some of them include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach upset
  • Bleeding or stomach ulcer as a result of an overdose
  • Allergic reactions, especially if you are allergic to aspirin.

 

To avoid any of these side effects, it is important to first seek your doctor’s guideline. Also, take the herb in small quantities.

 

How Stretching Relieves Arthritis

 

Arthritis does not prevent you from stretching your joints, knees, hands, or body muscles. One of the good ways to treat arthritis at home is by stretching. There are lots of results revealing that stretching the muscle and joint can help to alleviate arthritis pain and morning stiffness. Arthritis patients who practice stretching their legs, joints, and knees experience less pain than patients who does not. Irrespective of the type of arthritis you are suffering from, stretching is among the best ways to take care of it. There are different ways an arthritis patient can practice stretching his or her body, these different ways include:

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

This is one of the simplest exercises for anyone who is suffering from arthritis. To do this:

  • Stand beside a wall and rest your left hand on the wall. Next, bend your right knees so that it would be easy for you to lift your foot up.
  • Next, reach behind you with your right hand and grab your ankles. Without stressing your ankle, pull it up and back slowly. Ensure that your ankle does not touch your buttock when stretching it.
  • Relax after the first practice before doing the same with the second leg.
  • Do this exercise for at least 10 minutes but ensure you rest at intervals.

Calf Stretch

Calf stretch is another great exercise for arthritis patients. Constantly practicing this exercise helps to relieve the pain in the joint and avoid earthly morning stiffness. To do calf stretch:

  • Stand facing the wall, but ensure that the space between you and the wall is at least two paces away. Next, place your two hands on the wall.
  • Take a step forward with your right foot while keeping your left leg straight and extended backward.
  • Next, try to lean forward until you can feel the pull at the back of your left calf. Keep yourself in this position for at least 10 seconds. Repeat this process three times for each leg.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip Flexor is also a very great stretching exercise for arthritis patients.  To do this:

  • Knee with both feet on the floor. Your knee should be bent on the floor and your right shin should be positioned in such a way that it is flat on the floor and further back than your shoulders.
  • Place your hands on your right knees as if you are resting them on it. Keep your back straight and try to lean a big forward. However, ensure that you don’t lean more than the end of your toes. Try these exercises for each leg and hold yourself in this position for at least 20 seconds.

 Forward Folds

Forward folds are a knee and leg exercise. This exercise is designed to strengthen the bone muscle and allow easy flow of blood in the body joints. To get started with this exercise:

  • Stand with your knee shoulder widely apart. Next, try to bend forward from your waist. While trying this ensures not to bounce and keep your legs as straight as you can.
  • This exercise is best performed if you can reach the floor, however, if you can’t, there is no need to worry. With regular practice, you would be able to do the exercise. Hold yourself in this position for at least 3 seconds.

Stretch Your Shoulders, And Arm Muscles

  • Stand the same way you would when doing any of the legs and knee exercises explained above. Clash your hand together behind your back. While doing this, ensure that your back is as straight as possible.
  • Next, roll your shoulders down and back. Repeat this exercise consistently. For at least 10 mins.
  • Ensure to relax at the end of each rolling for the first few seconds and repeat the exercise until it is up to 10 mins.

Things To Avoid While Practicing Stretching Exercise

Although stretching is a good exercise for arthritis patients, this might not yield any result when done the wrong way. Some of the caution to avoid when practicing any of the stretching exercises include:

  • Do Not Stretch A Cold Muscle

Amy Ashmore, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise states that stretching exercise should only be performed after a five to ten minutes warm-up exercise. Stretching a cold muscle can intensify pain and make the exercise very difficult to practice.

  • Use Dynamic Stretching Exercise To Warm-up

Dynamic stretching exercises include the different types of warm-ups often used by sports players. Practicing dynamic exercise before starting any of the stretching exercises help to improve blood flow and enhance the temperature of the body muscles and joints. Dynamic exercise also makes it easy to move the body. Some of the dynamic exercises that can be practiced as warm-ups include:

  • Tennis players’ warm-up exercises. This exercise includes side and front lunges. Tennis players use this as a way of practicing how to reach for the ball.

Before starting any of the stretching exercises, try the tennis player warm-ups for at least five minutes.

  • Walk around your surrounding for at least 10 minutes. However, start at a very slow pace and subsequently pick up your pace as you progress.
  • Practice squatting as your warm-up exercise. You can start with a half squat or full squat. Do this until you are thoroughly warm up and ready for the stretching exercise.
  • Practice the warm-ups used by footballers. These include jogging, kicking, and squatting. Do this for at least 5 minutes before starting your main exercise.
  • After practicing any of these warm-ups, proceed to the main stretching exercises.

Discomfort Is Inevitable

If you are new to the stretching exercise, be prepared to experience some discomfort while practicing it. However, it is advisable that during stretching exercise, do not stretch to the point of pain, only stretch yourself to a point of mild tension. If after the exercise you are experiencing some pain, this is very normal. But if the pain should exceed 2 hours, then try reducing the duration of each exercise. When stretching becomes an easy feat for you, you can increase the time.

It is noteworthy that before stretching, consult your doctor. The doctor understands your health and knows the best way to calm you.

 

Knee Osteoarthritis Alternative Treatment

 

Many sufferers of knee osteoarthritis believe surgery is the only solution, however, little do they know there are alternative treatments for arthritis. Thanks to medical experts who had availed humanity with these revelations. The paragraphs below explain these alternative treatments to knee osteoarthritis.

 

Yoga

Medical Experts emphatically stated that yoga is one of the best alternative treatments for knee osteoarthritis. Yoga is a system of exercises that involves breathing, stretching, and relaxation. It is targeted to enhance the overall health of the arthritis patient. Yoga also helps you to build your muscles, gives balance to the body, and at the same time eases off the stressful pains around the knee joints. Apart from this, yoga makes the body to become flexible and improves sleep.

 

In a study carried out by Haas in 2010, 75 osteoarthritis patients were randomized to an 8 weeks standard yoga program. The yoga class was held once a week and lasted for one hour. However, participants were advised to practice the exercise on their own for at least once a week. The patient was mostly women and within the age of 52. After eight weeks, participants experienced a significant reduction in the pain and improvement in physical functioning. Participants also experienced improved mental health and well-being. There was no adverse effect reported.

 

Just like the common parlance ” too much of everything is not too good”, too much of yoga may aggravate pains, thereby providing the reverse results. In fact, before you try yoga, consult a doctor to check your body and recommend necessary specifications.

 

Acupuncture

Another alternative treatment for knee osteoarthritis is acupuncture. Acupuncture is a Chinese method of treating pain and illness using special thin needles which are pushed into the skin in particular parts of the body( knee region in this context). Research had shown that this alternative treatment for knee osteoarthritis works for some people but doesn’t work for some. So doctors advise that if after adopting the acupuncture treatment and there is no improvement, the method should be discarded for another method. In all, ensure that you consult a certified practitioner.

 

Massage

Massage is another alternative method for treating knee osteoarthritis. Massage is the action of rubbing and pressing a person’s body with the hands to reduce pain in the muscles and joints. Massaging your leg helps to loosen the muscles that control your knees. However, the key part of reducing the pains of knee osteoarthritis depends on how far one can bend the joints. Doctors said that the potency of this kind of alternative treatment for knee osteoarthritis relies on the sufferer’s ability to do it at least one straight hour per week.

 

It is noteworthy that there are different types of therapeutic massage for osteoarthritis patients. They include Swedish, trigger-point, and neuromuscular massage. Among these three, in a study on the effect of Swedish massage on osteoarthritis patients, the result revealed that this type of massage is an effective alternative treatment for osteoarthritis. The study was conducted by Perlman et al. (2006) and involved 68 osteoarthritis patients who were randomized to a Swedish massage for 8 weeks. The patients were between the age of 50 to 70. In the first four weeks, the patients were massaged twice a week, while in the last four weeks, they were massaged once in a week.

 

After the eight, participants experience a significant improvement in pain and joint stiffness. Also, the physical functioning of the patients improved.

 

There is limited evidence supporting the use of massage therapy on older patients with knee osteoarthritis. However, there is no study on the long term effect of this treatment on patients, there is also no evidence of the extent of its effectiveness when compared to other alternative treatments. The efficacy of the treatment in minority elders is yet to be known.

 

Tai Chi

The popular Tai Chi steps is another alternative method of treating knee osteoarthritis. Tai Chi ( popular known as Tai Chi Chuan in China) is a Chinese system of exercises consisting of sets of very slow controlled movements. Studies have shown that taking at least an hour Tai Chi class for at least twice a week can help strengthen your muscles and improve the stability of your joints. In a particular study that was conducted in China, people who took Tai Chi classes twice a week for twelve weeks felt better up to a year later.

 

In one study that compares the effectiveness of tail chi and another alternative treatment for osteoarthritis, the result shows that both alternative treatment are very good

 

Chiropractic Adjustment

Furthermore, Chiropractic adjustment can also serve as an alternative treatment for knee osteoarthritis. This involves the treatment of some diseases and physical problems by pressing and moving the bones in a person’s spine or joints. This method of treatment can only be effectively carried out by a chiropractor. Research shows that chiropractic adjustment helps to relax the nerves and improves locomotion around the knee joints. According to a medical doctor in San Diego (Dr. Ryan Curda), One may need frequent adjustment at first, then drop to one to two times a month.

 

There are lots of study backing up the claim that all the above mentioned alternative therapy are very good for the treatment of osteoarthritis. However, there is no study showing which among the alternative therapies can be used together for effective results. Also, research on the effectiveness of the therapist did not reveal the duration of the sickness. This is an important area of study.

 

Apart from the methods above, other methods that can also yield positive results includes Meditation, Heat and cold method and Glucosamine, and Chondroitin.

 

In conclusion, Knee osteoarthritis( a form of Arthritis) is a pathological disease that mostly affects older people. It is caused by chronic degeneration of the cartilage and synovial membrane of the joints, leading to pain and stiffness.

 

 

Diet for Arthritis Treatment

 

Despite the severity of Arthritis, there are several diets that can help prevent its prevalence. These diets are simply good foods that we are familiar with but might not know their awesome benefits to arthritis patients. Below are seven best diets to eat regularly if you have Arthritis:

 

  1. Fatty Fish:

Mackerel, salmon, and sardines are some of the best fatty fishes that are known for their high supply omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients have been rated as very good anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, regular consumption of any of these fish will significantly reduce pains and inflammations in arthritis.

 

In one small study, 33 patients were fed some of these fishes for eight weeks. The fish was given to the patient four times per week. The result reveals that the enzymes that trigger inflammation in the body reduced significantly.

 

Another study involving 17 patients revealed that regular consumption of  omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduces the occurrence of joint pain, morning stiffness, and arthritis generally.

 

Aside from being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish is also a good source of vitamin D. Multiple studies show that a low level of vitamin D can aggravate arthritis pain.

 

For the treatment of arthritis, the American Heart Association recommends that fatty fish should be included in the diet of the patient at least two servings per week.

 

  1. Garlic:

Garlic is jam-packed with lots and lots of health benefits.

In some test-tube studies, it was revealed that garlic has cancer-fighting properties. and also contain compounds that can help to reduce the occurrence of dementia and heart disease.

 

More importantly, garlic contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce pains and inflammations in arthritis.

Therefore including garlic in your diet is an effective way to treat arthritis. Aside from using it as a spice for cooking, including it in your diet can also help to strengthen the immune.

 

  1. Ginger:

Besides adding a burst of flavor to soups, teas, and sweets, ginger is another great substance that can be added to the diet of arthritis patients.

In 2001, a study on the effect of ginger on arthritis was carried out on 261 patients with knee osteoarthritis. Ginger was added to the diet of the patient and administered on them as a supplement. After six weeks, all patients experienced significant improvement in their knee pain.

This shows that adding ginger to your diet and consuming it both in the fresh and powdered form helps to reduce pains and inflammation in arthritis.

 

  1. Broccoli:

Broccoli has been rated as one of the healthiest foods for the good development of the human body. It is loaded with amazing nutrients that not only boost the body’s immune system but also help to reduce arthritis.

 

In a study on the effect of broccoli on arthritis pain, 1,005 women with knee-related arthritis were given cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. After six weeks, each participant experienced a significant reduction in knee-joint pain and inflammation.

Also, broccoli contains important components that help to fight against arthritis pain. Some of these compounds include sulforaphane. Test-tube studies on this compound show that sulforaphane blocks the formation of a type of cell involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis development.

Another animal study shows that sulforaphane helps to reduce the production of the enzymes that trigger inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis.

These tests and studies show that including broccoli in the diet of an arthritis patient is an effective way to reduce the symptoms of the sickness.

 

  1. Walnuts:

Walnuts are another great food that should be included in the diet of arthritis patients. Like fatty fishes, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be an effective cure for arthritis.

In one study involving 90 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the result backed up the claim that walnut is very effective. In the study, the 90 patients were split into two, one group was given omega-3fatty acids and the other group was given olive oil. The result shows that the group that was treated with omega-3 fatty acid supplements experienced a significant reduction in their pain than the group treated with olive oil.

Since walnut is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, consuming it regularly is an effective way to reduce arthritis symptoms.

 

  1. Berries:

Berries are loaded with tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis pain and inflammation.

 

In a study involving 38,176 women suffering from arthritis, the result shows that berry is very effective. The women were given at least two servings of strawberries per week for four weeks. The result shows a significant reduction in the elevated level of inflammatory markers in the blood of the patients.

 

These juicy fruits are packed up with great nutrients such as quercetin and rutin. These two compounds provide a huge number of benefits to human health.

 

Some of the berries that can be consumed for the treatment of arthritis include blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

 

  1. Spinach:

Leafy greens like spinach are packed up with nutrients that help to reduce the incessant pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

 

There are lots of studies that have shown that spinach and other vegetables like cabbage can help to block the enzymes that trigger inflammation and pain in arthritis patients.

 

Spinach contains an antioxidant referred to as kaempferol. This compound helps to reduce and block the enzymes that trigger inflammation and pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

 

Adding this vegetable to the diet of arthritis patients is a sure way to help alleviate the symptoms of the sickness.

 

In conclusion, Arthritis is a monster that must not be allowed to ravage human bones and joints. However, The diets explained above are handy diets that can ameliorate it.

N.B: Other diets that can also improve the devastating effects of Arthritis are Olive oil, Grapes, and Start cherry juice.