Arthritis is a word for a group of over 100 diseases that all have one thing in common: pain caused by joint inflammation. Inflammation is actually a part of the body’s defenses, or immune system. When the body is wounded, or there is bacteria or a virus present, the area may become inflamed as cells of the immune system collect in the area to fight any disease and facilitate healing. The normal reaction is for the inflammation to subside when the infection is defeated and/or the wound is healed. With arthritis, inflammation stays in the joints and ends up damaging the healthy cells, which starts a vicious cycle. When the healthy cells are damaged, this gives the inflamed area more reason to stay inflamed. Arthritis can be hard to treat and manage because it is difficult for modern medicine to find a way to interrupt this cyclical process.
Many people turn to natural remedies in an attempt to find a more stable and safe way to manage arthritis pain and reduce the inflammation that causes it. There is growing concern about the dangers of some of the drugs prescribed for arthritis treatment, such as Celebrex and Vioxx. Some of the natural alternative remedies work, and some do not. Some may even be dangerous to try. It is essential that you educate yourself about the natural remedies you are considering. Seeing a nutritionist is a great way to make sure you are treating your arthritis in a safe way with your natural remedies. With that in mind, you’ll find below 5 natural arthritis remedies that are relatively safe to try and have some evidence supporting their effectiveness in lessening the symptoms of arthritis.
- Avocado – Soybean – Unsaponifiables (ASU). This is a combination of one part avocado unsaponifiable oil, and two part soybean unsaponifiable oil. Unsaponifiable oil is leftover oil from making soap with oil and lye. It may seem strange, but this concoction has been proven in French studies to relieve pain in osteoarthritis patients, and stimulate cartilage repair. Patients using this oil were also able to reduce their reliance on anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Ginger and Turmeric. These two spices are generally known for their good health, and studies have shown that ginger alone or a combination of ginger and turmeric can reduce pain and inflammation. Ginger can also relieve stomach discomfort caused by anti-inflammatory drugs. Also, these two roots are known for their antioxidant powers, and they aren’t harmful, so if you have arthritis, or even if you don’t, it won’t hurt to add these two spices to your diet.
- Weight Loss. This is a simple remedy that relieves discomfort because it reduces the amount of pressure put on the joints during everyday activities.
- Boron. There is a low occurrence of arthritis in populations whose diet is rich in boron. There is also some evidence that people already suffering from arthritis can find relief with a diet rich in this mineral. The best place to get boron is in fruits and vegetables, which contain a number of other nutrients that may be beneficial in naturally managing arthritis
- Shark Cartilage. There have been studies in animals and that suggest shark cartilage might help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, and might even help cartilage grow. There is still not enough evidence to support that this may work in humans, but so far the information gathered from lab experiments is promising.
Most of the remedies listed above are safe alternatives to some of the harsher medications used to treat arthritis. Some inflammatory medicines, when used over time, can damage enzymes that maintain a layer of mucus in the stomach, making it vulnerable to natural, yet corrosive, digestive acids. Celebrex and Vioxx have a vast array of side effects that sometimes includes death. With the risk of long term use of some of these medications, turning to gentler way to manage inflammation, like ginger, may be better for your overall health. Once again, do not make any large changes in your diet without consulting a professional, who can help you understand your precise nutritional needs, and help you find the safest natural remedies to treat your arthritis pain.