Nat­u­ral Arthri­tis Ther­a­pies

Arthri­tis can make ev­ery­day tasks dif­fi­cult. But there is re­lief. In­stead of pound­ing painkillers, try one of these three nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tives

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa

Arthri­tis can make ev­ery­day tasks dif­fi­cult. But there is re­lief. In­stead of pound­ing the painkillers, try one of these three nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tives.

For mil­lions of os­teoarthri­tis suf­fer­ers, the fu­ture looks like fac­ing the rest of life with per­ma­nently in­creas­ing pain, ul­ti­mately with a slow slide into in­ca­pac­ity.

Arthri­tis lit­er­ally means “joint in­flam­ma­tion,” but med­i­cally it also refers to a di­verse as­sort­ment of more than 100 rheumatic dis­eases that cause pain, stiff­ness, and swelling in joints. Worse, it may also af­fect other parts of the body, pri­mar­ily other sites of con­nec­tive tis­sue. One form or an­other of the dis­ease af­flicts 50 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, and it is the most preva­lent cause of dis­abil­ity in peo­ple 65 and older.

Os­teoarthri­tis (OA) is the most com­mon form of joint dis­ease and it in­creases in preva­lence with age. In OA, joint car­ti­lage erodes. As we age, the wa­ter por­tion of car­ti­lage in­creases while the pro­tein com­po­si­tion de­gen­er­ates, caus­ing the car­ti­lage to form tiny crevasses and car­ti­lage sur­faces fray and wear. Ul­ti­mately, dis­abil­ity comes from dis­ease in the spine, knees and hips.

One of the main com­plaints of per­sons with arthri­tis is lost sleep, and sleep dis­rup­tion over­shad­ows makes pain worse, in­creas­ing dis­com­fort. There is some good news, though. We now know arthri­tis can be ar­rested or re­versed.

IN­FLAM­MA­TION FIGHT­ERS

In­flam­ma­tion is a hot topic these days. A nat­u­ral process, it re­mains mys­te­ri­ous. Still, it’s the en­emy of health prac­ti­tion­ers, be­cause, if not damped down, it can do a lot of long-term dam­age. This process, al­lowed to go on too long, gen­er­ates large quan­ti­ties of free rad­i­cals, which con­trib­ute to tis­sue dam­age. In­flamed tis­sue gets swollen, so cir­cu­la­tion gets com­pro­mised, and fresh flu­ids are pre­vented from re­plac­ing toxic ones. That gen-

er­ates more in­flam­ma­tion, and the cy­cle con­tin­ues. And when it goes on for months or years, it cre­ates big prob­lems, such as rheuma­toid arthri­tis (RA).

GINGER ROOT is one of the best in­vest­ments you can make in your health. This root is de­li­cious, in­ex­pen­sive and eas­ily avail­able, and it’s some pretty se­ri­ous medicine. Ginger is a time-tested rem­edy for a range of joint con­di­tions with broad anti-in­flam­ma­tory ac­tions. One re­cent study found that ginger was more ef­fec­tive than a stan­dard NSAID for RA. Ditto for OA. An­other study in the Jour­nal of Holis­tic Nurs­ing found that ginger cre­ated a marked re­lief of os­teoarthri­tis symp­toms that pro­gres­sively im­proved over the 24 weeks, with no neg­a­tive ef­fects re­ported. Since ginger is a warm­ing herb, it tra­di­tion­ally would have been used more for OA than for RA. You can find ginger in cap­sules or tea.

The ben­e­fits of the ALOE plant have been known to many great civ­i­liza­tions. One of its ear­li­est ad­vo­cates was the Greek physi­cian Dioscorides. Aloe vera gel is pop­u­lar in many parts of the world for treat­ing pain. Ap­plied top­i­cally or con­sumed orally, it has a stel­lar rep­u­ta­tion for pro­mot­ing tis­sue heal­ing. Although men­tioned by many au­thor­i­ties for arthri­tis pain, sci­en­tific ev­i­dence is sparse. One study in the Bri­tish Jour­nal of Com­mu­nity Nurs­ing praises it as an anti-in­flam­ma­tory agent, the use for which it is most well-known.

The BOSWELLIA ( Boswellia ser­rata, Salai gug­gul) tree, a close rel­a­tive of frank­in­cense and myrrh, ex­udes sticky gum from the bark of this Boswellia gum, in par­tic­u­lar, has be­come well-known in North Amer­ica over the last decade for its pro­nounced ef­fects on joint dis­or­ders, the tra­di­tional Ayurvedic use.

This gum con­tains con­stituents, boswellic acids, which in­hibit in­flam­ma­tion-pro­duc­ing sub­stances called leukotrienes in the body. In fact, boswellia gum in­hibits in­flam­ma­tion through sev­eral mech­a­nisms. A 2013 study com­pared sev­eral herbal reme­dies, in­clud­ing Boswellia, to the pop­u­lar sup­ple­ment glu­cosamine and the arthri­tis drug, cele­coxib, in knee arthri­tis, and the herbs re­duced knee pain and im­proved knee func­tion as well as the drug and glu­cosamine. Take 500 mg per day of Boswellia ex­tract stan­dard­ized to 30 per­cent boswellic acid.

One study looked at a com­bi­na­tion of ex­cep­tional herbs. Forty-two pa­tients with OA were ran­domly as­signed to re­ceive an herbal prepa­ra­tion, con­tain­ing (per cap­sule) 450 mg of ash­wa­ganda, 100 mg of Boswellia, 50 mg of turmeric, and 50 mg of a zinc com­plex, or a placebo, for three months. The dosage was two cap­sules three times per day, af­ter meals. The

treat­ments were then crossed over. Com­pared with placebo, the herb com­bi­na­tion sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced the sever­ity of pain and the dis­abil­ity score. AV­O­CADO SOY­BEAN UNSA

PONIFIABLES (ASU), a nat­u­ral veg­etable ex­tract made from one-third av­o­cado oil and twothirds soy­bean oil, has been used for years in Europe, but is just start­ing to get trac­tion here. The sci­ence shows that it slows the pro­gres­sion of OA by block­ing pro-in­flam­ma­tory chem­i­cals, pre­vent­ing de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of synovial cells lin­ing the joints and re­gen­er­at­ing nor­mal con­nec­tive tis­sue.

A 2003 study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Rheuma­tol­ogy re­ported ASU in­hib­ited the break­down of car­ti­lage and pro­moted re­pair. A 2008 meta-anal­y­sis found that ASU im­proved symp­toms of hip and knee OA and re­duced or elim­i­nated use of NSAID drugs. A large, three-year study pub­lished in 2013 in the BMJ showed that ASU sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced pro­gres­sion of hip OA com­pared with placebo. ASU has a long his­tory of safety. Take 300 mg daily.

By 2015, it be­came even clearer that ASU was use­ful in OA. A study out of the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia found that, at the clin­i­cal level, ASU re­duces pain and stiff­ness while im­prov­ing joint func­tion, con­firm­ing a de­creased de­pen­dence on anal­gesics.

We now know that arthri­tis can be ar­rested or re­versed. For­tu­nately, tam­ing in­flam­ma­tion can help con­trol it.

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