Better living through nature
More than 27 million Americans suffer from arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common type. This degenerative joint disease is characterized by stiffness, loss of movement and pain caused by inflammation and a break-down of cartilage around joints that results in bones scraping against each other. Although arthritis can’t be cured, a handful of herbal and home remedies can reduce the inflammation, stiffness and pain associated with this degenerative joint disease.
Osteoarthritis occurs most often in the hands, knees and hips. Photo By hapal/Courtesy Flickr.
Fish oil: The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements help reduce joint inflammation. Although flaxseed oil is commonly used as an alternative to fish oil, flaxseed oil doesn’t provide the same benefits for arthritics as fish oil supplements.
Bromelain: Derived from pinepapple, this enzyme fights the compounds in the body that cause pain and inflammation. Bromelain also breaks down proteins that hinder blood circulation and cause blood clots, which can help to relieve pain.
Glucosamine sulfate, which can be found naturally in the fluid around joints, can prevent the breakdown and loss of cartilage and fluid around joints and help rebuild lost cartilage. Research has shown glucosamine sulfate to be effective at treating osteoarthritis, especially of the knee.
Capsaicin cream won’t prevent or restore lost cartilage, but they can help reduce pain. Found in cayenne peppers, this compound interferes with transmission of pain signals between brain and body, helping to relieve pain in suffers of arthritis.
Devil’s claw: This creeping herb from southern Africa is prized for it anti-inflammatory properties. Devil’s claw can also alleviate stiffness associated with arthritis.
Turmeric: The curcumin in turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce joint pain swelling.
Ginger is useful for treating both inflammation and pain caused by arthritis.
White willow is a natural source of salicin, the main ingredient in aspirin. This natural pain reliever can also help reduce inflammation.