Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and swelling of the joints and gradual loss of mobility over time. There are many different types of arthritis that can be caused by a variety of triggers including auto-immune diseases, heredity and obesity. Each type of arthritis has its own unique set of symptoms.
Many people rely on conventional treatments consisting of either surgery or strong medications to cope with the pain caused by arthritis, but there are many natural and alternative remedies that are effective and less harmful to the body. One of the best ways to manage arthritis is to modify the diet by eliminating certain foods such as gluten and nightshade vegetables, and consuming larger quantities of water, and alkaline fresh fruits and vegetables. Some sufferers have been able to eliminate certain forms of arthritis altogether through a combination of natural remedies and a specialized diet. If you’re taking medications for your condition, it’s best to consult your health practitioner before introducing alternative remedies, herbs or a change in diet.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. Fish oil is available as a supplement, or you can increase your intake of certain oily fish such as tuna, herring, salmon, mackerel and sardines. A health practitioner may advise you to consume a large amount of fish oil daily in order to combat severe arthritis pain. Fish oil can cause thinning of the blood, so use caution if you are taking blood-thinning medication.
Avocado and Soybean Unsaponifiables
The natural fatty extract from avocados and soy beans are known as unsaponifiables, or ASUs, and can slow the progression of arthritis while reducing pain and inflammation according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The recommended daily dose of unsaponifiables is 300mg to 600mg. ASUs are available online and from health food stores.
Celery seed is an ancient herbal remedy for joint diseases such as gout and arthritis. It can also act as a diuretic to reduce edema and fluid retention. Prepare a tea of 1 tsp crushed celery seeds boiled in one cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink three times daily. Consuming celery seeds can occasionally make people hypersensitive to direct sunlight. Those with kidney disease should avoid using celery seeds.
MSG is a neurotoxin and also has a detrimental effect on the musculoskeletal system causing muscle aches, joint pain, headaches and cognitive dysfunction. MSG is an increasingly common ingredient in pre-prepared and packaged foods and is often used in Asian cuisine. Always read the labels of food products to ensure that they do not contain MSG and take care when eating in restaurants.
Increasing your intake of alkaline-forming foods may help to reverse the effects of arthritis and a number of other diseases. According to Felicia Drury Kliment in her book “The Acid Alkaline Balance” many diseases are caused by an acid-alkaline imbalance within the body. By monitoring intake of acidic foods and increasing your consumption of alkaline foods or those that form an alkaline state within the body, you can prevent a condition known as acidosis and reduce pain and inflammation. Increase your intake of raw fruits and vegetables, millet, quinoa, amaranth and dairy foods that contain enzymes and live cultures. Avoid genetically modified foods and those that contain pesticides by choosing organic produce.
Foods High in Potassium
Another way to lower your body’s pH to reduce inflammation and pain is to consume foods that are high in potassium on a regular basis. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps the kidneys to expel waste and toxins from the body. Keeping the body in a slightly alkaline state with a pH of 7.2 prevents certain waste materials such as uric acid from solidifying in the blood, urine and kidneys. Uric acid crystals are sometimes deposited in the joints instead of being eliminated from the body and can lead to painful conditions such as gout. Lemon water is rich in potassium and creates an alkaline-forming state within the body. Prepare lemon water by squeezing the juice of half a lemon into a glass of warm water and consume as soon as you wake up to expel waste and toxins from the body.
Gluten is found in all flour-based products such as bread, pasta, pizza dough, cakes, cookies and pies. It lends the elasticity and chewiness to breads and other wheat products. As well as causing a whole host of unpleasant symptoms in those who are sensitive to gluten such as abdominal pain, flatulence, leaky gut, diarrhea, constipation, and other digestive tract disorders, it can also aggravate certain types of arthritis such as sprue. According to the University of Washington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, eating products that contain gluten can make joint pain worse in those that suffer from sprue. Completely eliminating gluten from your diet may help to reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Tart Cherry Juice
Cherry juice and Tart cherries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and anthocyanins that may be helpful in reducing inflammation. According to the University of Michigan Health System, drinking 2 glasses of cherry juice or eating 1/2lb of cherries everyday may be able to offer relief to those experiencing joint pain caused by arthritis and gout. They add that doing so has been proven to reduce arthritis symptoms in those who consume cherries for at least one month. Always choose unsweetened cherry juice that contains no artificial colors or preservatives. Concentrated tart cherry juice should always be diluted in an equal amount of water. Mix 4oz of tart cherry juice concentrate and 4oz of water in a glass and drink twice a day to relieve swelling, pain and inflammation. Consuming cherries over a long period of time may help you manage conditions such as gout and prevent painful flare ups in the future.
Turmeric and Ginger
Ginger and turmeric are common ingredients in Indian cuisine. Both spices have been used medicinally for thousands of years for their anti-inflammatory properties and can provide relief from gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and autoimmune-based joint disease. Turmeric in particular has been shown to be more effective in reducing pain and inflammation than taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). Taken together turmeric and ginger can rapidly reduce pain and swelling of the joints in all forms of arthritis. Both spices can be used to add flavor to a wide range of dishes such as soups, pastas and rice dishes or even taken as a herbal tea. For those that do not enjoy spicy foods, supplements are available that can be taken daily to reduce pain and swelling. As ginger and turmeric can cause thinning of the blood, consult your regular health practitioner before starting treatment if you are on blood-thinning medication.
Pectin and Grape Juice
According to the “The People’s Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies,” a pectin and grape juice mixture removes the toxins from the blood that can be deposited in the joints causing painful arthritis and gout. Pectin is a natural substance that is found in the cell walls and fibrous sections of many fruits such as apples and lemons. Grape juice is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and Quercetin, all of which have been found to reduce inflammation. Purple grape juice also contains anthocyanins which are also known to possess anti-inflammatory properties. You can relieve arthritis pain by mixing 3oz of grape juice with 2 tsp of pectin and drinking 3 times daily or drinking 8oz of grape juice with 1 tbsp. of pectin once per day according to The People’s Pharmacy. Always look for pectin that is organic free from MSG such as the variety sold in health food stores.
Homeopathic Bryonia Alba
Bryonia Alba is a common homeopathic remedy that is often recommended for the treatment of arthritis. It is most helpful for those experiencing pain that is aggravated by the slightest movement and gets worse with continued motion. The person needing Bryonia may suffer a burning, tearing pain in the joints, be extremely thirsty, feel grumpy and prefer to be left alone.
Homeopathic Rhus Toxicodendron
Rhus Toxicodendron, commonly known as Rhus tox, is often used to treat degenerative joint diseases such as basal joint arthritis. Those needing Rhus Tox will display the opposite symptoms to those who require Bryonia. The patient will experience initial pain when the painful joint is moved, but this will gradually decrease over time and improve with continued movement.