There are actually three common types of arthritis. The treatments which you will need will depend on the type, so please read carefully. The main type is Osteoarthritis which is the most common, affecting around 16 million Americans with an average age of 45. It usually will attack weight bearing joints like knees, hips, and ankles but has been found in the fingers, neck and spine. Each of our joints is cushioned by cartilage, a very dense, sponge-like substance. Osteoarthritis attacks that cartilage and gradually wears it down.
Another type of arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis. Extremely painful and inflammatory, it strikes the lining of the joints and actually attacks two million Americans in their twenties.
Psoriatic Arthritis is not as well known as the previous two, but actually eats away at the joints and can also manifest as psoriasis on the skin.
The term Arthritis literally translates to “joint inflammation.” If you suffer from any of the different types of Arthritis listed above, chances are you have taken drugs to combat the effects or tried other “home remedies.” If you haven’t yet tried “Urtication,” it might be helpful. The term “Urtication” comes from the botanical name, Urtica dioica and dates back some 2,000 years to biblical times. Urtica dioica is “Stinging Nettle. The treatment is to grasp the nettles in a gloved hand and swat the sore joints with the nettles. This may seem bizarre, but the practice has proven to be so effective for some sufferers of arthritis that they now maintain a nettle plant on their window sill.
Many arthritis sufferers have tried unusual and rather nasty ‘cures’ for their disease like enduring bee-stings or covering themselves in cow-manure. The benefits must have been rather less spectacular than the cures or else everyone else would have done the same.
One arthritis cure suggests that half a glass of raw potato juice followed by chewing two or three juniper berries will do the trick! While this may be so, many doctors and scientists researching arthritis have studied the benefits of taking nutritional substances like vitamins. In fact, studies have shown that people with arthritis are mostly deficient in the B group of vitamins, though whether this is due to the disease or to the fact that taking aspirin depletes the body’s stores of this vitamin is not clear.
Vitamin C, E and beta-carotenes are powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals. These oxygen-reactive free radical molecules are thought to contribute significantly to disease and tissue damage. It has been found that cells from damaged knee cartilage can release great amounts of free radicals. In fact, studies have shown that those who have a high Vitamin C intake have a two-thirds reduction in the risk of further damage to their knees. Well-known scientist Dr. Linus Pauling recommends 18 grams of V-C per day as an arthritis preventative measure.
Osteoarthritis can cause thinning of the bones, and so can prednisone, often given to treat it. It makes sense then to increase the amount of Vitamin D and calcium, both of which are bone-builders. As far back as 1974, British scientists found that lack of vitamin D contributed to bone fractures in the elderly with arthritis. Lack of sunlight and an unhealthy diet both contributed to the lack. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is 400 IU or 600 IU if for those over the age of 60. A daily dose of 1200 IU is the limit as this vitamin is toxic if too much is taken.
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant; working in a similar way to vitamin C. Studies in Germany have proven that it can help to reduce pain. Good sources of this vitamin can be found in wheat germ, sunflower seed, corn oil, legumes and whole grains.
While some people swear by the arthritis cure that their copper bracelet brought, there is no scientific link to copper as being an aid to arthritis. In fact the opposite is true. Those with RA often have higher levels of copper in their blood. Too much copper can make you sick.
Selenium deficiency can cause a particular type of arthritis called Kashin-Bek disease, but it is more common where the soil is deficient in selenium, though sufferers of RA have less in their blood than others. Fish, organ meats, whole grains, nuts and beans will provide selenium.
Zinc may help reduce pain, stiffness and swelling. Some trials showed this was true, though others gave conflicting results. Oysters, cheese and tofu are all good sources of zinc.
The pain of arthritis can also be relieved by hot-packs, deliberately focusing on something else like pleasant music, humor, gentle exercise and losing weight.
Here are a few more herbs that are used effectively for the treatment of arthritis:
Also known as Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Squawroot. The dried root is the part used. This is a powerful relaxant as well as being extremely effective with easing painful menstrual cramps. Ovarian cramps will be relieved as well as bringing on a delayed menstrual cycle. It is also effective in the treatment of arthritis, osteo-arthritis, rheumatic pain and neurological pan. In small doses, appetite and digestion are greatly improved and is very beneficial for the nervous system in general.
Useful for treatment of rheumatism, osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also has a stimulating effect on the walls of the colon and digestive juices.
Use dried ripe fruits to use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, diuretic or anti-spasmodic. Great for treating rheumatism, arthritis and gout.
Very useful in cases of acne, arthritis, chronic backache, skin conditions of warts and blotches. Also one of the best cancer herbs.
Use the leaves to treat migraine headaches, arthritis, dizziness and tinnitus.
The is the herb we referred to earlier and is another one of those “universal” plants. They are found all over the world and they strengthen the entire body. Rheumatism, arthritis, eczema, nosebleeds, arteries, lessen blood pressure are just a few applications. Nettles contain calcium, chlorine, iron, potassium, silicon, sodium and sulphur.
A natural hydrochloric acid (utilizes sugar of fruits and oils), thus helping arthritics get rid of the uric acid which holds the calcium deposited in the joints. Also reduces lactic acid build up. Good for measles, skin, scarlet fever and perspiration.
Hope for arthritics. The extract from the plant has been used with surprising success on arthritis and rheumatism sufferers.
All of the herbs mentioned here should be available at your local health food store along with suggestions on how to prepare them for use. Some applications will be to ingest in teas while others may facilitate creating a topical treatment.
No matter what natural remedies you choose please consult your physician to make certain that your course of treatment does not interfere with medications that your doctor subscribes for your treatment.
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