Herbal Treatment for Arthritis
My mom is 82, five and a half feet tall and a heavyweight. That has put a lot of pressure on her knees over the years. The cartilage, protecting the ends of the bones, has worn away making walking very painful.
If you are over fifty, you have an 80% chance of having arthritis.
You will see it in X rays when it has changed the bones enough to show up. That is late in the game.
If you wake up stiff and then moving around during the day the stiffness goes away, that is the beginning of arthritis.
What causes arthritis?
When you have an injury, and cartilage wearing away is an injury, blood flows to the damaged part of your body. The blood vessels there dilate, get larger, and start to leak so that the white blood cells can come out of the blood vessels into the hurt tissue. This is what causes the swelling, edema, around the joint.
The leukocytes, white blood cells, make and release prostaglandins which keep the blood vessels leaky and dilated..
They use an enzyme, cyclo-oxengenase (COX), on arachidonic acid to build the prostaglandins.
Aspirin and ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce the amount of COX so that fewer prostaglandins are made so that the blood vessels are less leaky so there is less inflammation.
Prostaglandins do many other things:
• they help protect the lining of the gut;
• they keep platelets, which are important for blood clotting, working properly;
• they help maintain normal kidney function
NSAIDs interfere with these good functions too. That is why aspirin and ibuprofen upset the stomach and act as blood thinners.
COX-1 and COX-2
There are actually two forms of cyclo-oxygenase, the enzyme that makes prostaglandins. Cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) produces the baseline amount of prostaglandins. And cyclooxygenase-2 (COX- 2) produces prostaglandins when needed to fight inflammation.
The NSAIDs interfere with both COX-1 and COX-2 that is why it upsets the stomach and thins the blood.
Vioxx and Celebrex target COX-2 only so that they reduce inflammation without the side effects of aspirin. The problem is there is an increased risk of heart attack with these drugs.
Drugs are powerful stuff, they should be the last resort, not the first.
Lessen the pressure on your joints by losing weight.
This seems counter-intuitive. Shouldn’t you want to minimize movement?
No, your muscles help to stabilize the joints so they should be strong. And increasing the range of motion helps lubricate the joints.
The best exercise is swimming since the water counteracts gravity. You are exercising without adding pressure on the joints.
Yoga increases the range of motion and strength.
Walking is great too, but can be hard if you already have arthritis.
Diet is the third element of arthritis pain relief.
Some people have gotten rid of their arthritis by not eating nightshades – potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. If you want to see if you are sensitive to nightshades, eliminate them from your diet for a month and see if you feel better. Then you can add them back one at a time. If you feel worse after, say, adding back eggplant. That is the culprit.
There are herbal treatments that reduce inflammation but do not upset the stomach or act as an analgesic. That means that they are not COX inhibitors so they do not have the same side effects.
• Boswellia serrata, is Indian frankincense, related to Boswellia sacra, from which frankincense was extracted in the bible. The extract of the resin is the active anti-inflammatory. See the Memorial Sloan Kettering article.
• Devil’s claw, originally from the S African Kalahari desert. It is also effective as a pain reliever due to its anti inflammatory action. The National Institute of Medicine gives it good grades for arthritis and back pain.
• Glucosamine, an amino acid, showed that it is effective in reducing pain and increasing joint mobility in a large German study. It has the potential to reverse cartilage damage. The GAIT study mentioned in “Naturally Protect Your Joints Today to Prevent Pain Tomorrow”, showed that the subset of patients with moderate to severe pain were helped by glucosamine see press release.
These three ingredients are combined in JointEase Plus. Get more info on JointEase Plus for Arthritis and other Joint Problems
If you wait until the Xrays show damage, the damage is done and hard to reverse. Supplement your diet now to avoid pain tomorrow.