Imagine life without arthritis! How would it feel to be free of stiffness, swelling, and pain? Arthritis can be the result of the normal aging process or indicative of an immune system malfunction. There are over 100 different types of arthritis. However, the body does have inherent healing power. Effective treatment of arthritis is possible with therapies that trigger and augment the body’s healing processes. Below are six home remedies backed by scientific proof.
1. CURCUMIN – This is a substance in the spice known as turmeric. It is a common ingredient in curry. It is processed by grinding turmeric root into fine powder.
How It Works: – Curcumin blocks the work of inflammatory enzymes. Scientific studies indicate its effectiveness in decreasing pain and swelling. This has been particularly proven in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the two most common forms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the result of cartilage breakdown between bones with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own tissues, most notably joint linings.
2. BLACK PEPPER – Black pepper reduces inflammation and the perception of pain.
How It Works – Piperine, the active component in pepper, inhibits a gene involved in the development of arthritis. It also reduces the production of prostaglandin, an inflammatory substance made by the body. Black pepper contains antioxidants. When added to curcumin, black pepper makes it 20 times more effective! Black pepper is also a source of Vitamin C, which promotes healthy cartilage.
Dosage/Amount – Buying whole peppercorns and grinding them in a mill prior to eating yields the highest level of piperine. Black pepper should not be added while food is cooking, as heat destroys its Vitamin C. One-half teaspoon of black pepper is a therapeutic dose. Do not exceed more than 1 teaspoon a day.
3. GINGER – Ginger is another effective spice. It can be used in the form of the fresh root, dried powder, oil, and juice. Candied ginger is also available.
How it Works – Ginger diminishes the pain, inflammation, and stiffness of arthritis. It also has antioxidant effects that prevent cellular damage. Ginger has benefits for arthritis as well as fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by body-wide muscle pain. Ginger lowers the level of pain-causing prostaglandins.
Dosage/Amount – In powdered form, the effective dose is 100 mg, 3 times daily of a standardized extract. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger as a seasoning. Alternatively, you can drink 4 cups of ginger tea daily. A few drops of ginger oil diluted in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil can be massaged into sore muscles. Cut a 1-inch slice from fresh ginger root to use in cooking or to make tea. The root should be firm and have pale golden skin. Scrape the skin off with a spoon, grate 1/4 cup, and squeeze the root, to obtain approximately 1 tablespoon of juice. (You can use a ceramic, box, metal, or hand-held grater.) Add the juice to a marinade or sauce. Two pieces of candied ginger are also effective.
4. TART CHERRIES – Tart cherries decrease pain and swelling. They can be consumed in juice, fruit, extract, or pill form. They are valuable remedies for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in joints. Uric acid is a component of certain foods. When the body doesn’t properly dispose of uric acid, it crystallizes and accumulates in joints. Symptoms of gout include joint tenderness, warmth, redness, and swelling. Gout primarily occurs at the base of the big toe, but can also affect the knees, ankles, fingers, wrists, and elbows.
How They Work – Tart cherries contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins which reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Of note is that sweet cherries do not provide this benefit.
Dosage/Amount – Benefits are obtained by consuming 1.5 cups of fresh tart cherries, 21 dried cherries, or two 8-ounce cups of cherry juice per day. One tablespoon of tart cherry extract twice a day is also effective. The capsule dosage is 100 mg of anthocyanins once a day.
5. EXERCISE – Low-impact exercise is a wonderful home remedy for arthritis. Choose an activity that is enjoyable, and engage in it regularly. Examples are swimming, walking, and cycling. Experts also recommend weight-lifting with low weights of up to 5 pounds, or strengthening exercises with elastic bands. Stretching exercises promote easier movement.
How It Works – Exercise relieves stiffness, strengthens muscles that support joints, and produces natural pain-relieving chemicals called “endorphins.” It also increases the flow of blood and nutrients to joints, which promotes healthy cartilage.
Amount/Frequency – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends low-impact exercise for 30 minutes a day. Cycling can be done using a two-wheeler or stationary bike. Yoga and Tai Chi are forms of gentle, controlled exercise. If 30 minutes is too difficult, divide the time into 10-minute segments. Marching in place during television commercials can be a good way to start. A walk around the block is another means.
6. ARNICA CREAM – Arnica is a plant in the daisy family, used for topical application. The Arthritis Foundation recommends arnica to reduce muscle pain and inflammation and strengthen the immune system. It is highly effective for swelling. It quickly heals sprains and bruises.
How It Works – Arnica has compounds that disperse trapped blood and fluid. It increases circulation by stimulating white blood cell activity. The root contains thymol, which reduces inflammation.
Frequency – Topical arnica is available as a cream, gel, or ointment. It is massaged into painful joints and muscles. Recommended usage is 3 times a day or as needed, up to 5 times a day. Arnica can be purchased at drug and health food stores.
Although living with arthritis is challenging, there are many effective treatments without the side effects of medication. Home remedies have the benefit of relieving symptoms without posing other health risks. Six of the most therapeutic home remedies for arthritis include turmeric, black pepper, ginger, tart cherries, exercise, and topical arnica. You can safely add these to your arthritis arsenal for significantly improved comfort and health.