50 million adults and approximately 300,000 children have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis in the United States, a disease characterized by inflamed joints. It's especially common in women or obese people, as opposed to men of a healthy weight. But the elderly or those genetically predisposed to arthritis are at a greater risk of developing the disease. One other risk factor to bear in mind is whether you have had a joint injury in the past.
What are the symptoms?
People with arthritis often experience the following symptoms:
Arthritis may also cause you to feel fatigued and weak and can negatively impact your range of motion and your ability to perform everyday tasks.
What treatments are available?
While no treatment is available to cure arthritis, treatments are usually aimed at mitigating damage and reducing pain. Herbs and the food that you eat, can greatly affect arthritis. The 10 following herbs can be added to your tea, they can be used to season your food, or used in topical preparations.
This is the number one spice to go to when dealing with arthritis. Also known as curcumin, turmeric has been at the forefront of a number of clinical studies, all of which have proven that this spice has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To reap the benefits of turmeric use it as a mild and flavorful kitchen spice, which you can add to a wide variety of dishes. Turmeric may also be purchased in capsule format and used as a supplement. It's generally advisable to take 400 to 600mg of turmeric three times a day.
Licorice extract has been shown to be quite effective in both the prevention and treatment of chronic, acute inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. It has been shown to reduce the inflammation and damage caused by free radicals in the body. You can take it in your tea by steeping a teaspoon of dried licorice root powder for 10 minutes in a mug of boiled water. You can also take it in capsule form. However, it is advised that you speak to a healthcare professional before taking it in a concentrated form, as it's not suitable for those who have low potassium levels, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and/or hypertension.
3. Stinging Nettle
This surprisingly beneficial herb is good for your overall health and is especially effective in treating arthritis. It's packed with anti-inflammatory properties and delivers a remarkable dose of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium all of which help make your bones stronger and ease your pain. Purchase nettle in its dried herb form, in teabags, or take it as a supplement.
This flavorful and popular spice contains valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to studies, cinnamon extract is very useful in reducing redness, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Cinnamon can be added to your everyday diet in its natural form - you can sprinkle some on toast, in oatmeal or in baked goods. You may also add a teaspoon to a cup of warm tea first thing in the morning alongside a tablespoon of honey. Drink the mix daily on an empty stomach to reap the benefits.
5. White Willow Bark
This old fashioned remedy contains a chemical known as salicin - a natural analgesic. Originally, aspirin was sourced from white willow bark. Ingesting this herb in the form of tea, or taking it as a supplement can help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. It has been found to be especially beneficial for pain in the back, neck, hips and knees.
Here's a herb you likely use in your everyday cooking. Garlic contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to be helpful in combating the pain and swelling of arthritis. To get its beneficial effects, garlic is best eaten raw - aim to eat two to three raw cloves of garlic a day, on an empty stomach. Chew then up a bit first, breaking each clove open in order to release their beneficial properties and enabling you to swallow them whole. Alternatively, you can purchase garlic capsules or garlic oil which can be applied topically to painful areas.
While this herb may not be as well known as others on the list, it has been clinically proven to be very effective in treating inflammatory disease. Aside from reducing inflammation, boswellia acts as a mild natural pain reliever. It does so by increasing the circulation to your joints. Studies have also indicated that it may prevent cartilage loss. Take this herb in the form of a supplement though be sure to speak to a healthcare professional before you do.
8. Green Tea
This incredible health tonic has long shown success in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea's health benefits can be found in the polyphenols that it contains - it has very powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, suppressing the immune response and preventing the immune system from attacking the lining of your joints. This popular beverage is widely available in the form of teabags.
9. Cat's Claw
Available in supplement form, cat's claw has been found to be very effective in relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. It also has positive effects on swelling and inflammation. Aim to take between 250 to 350mg of Cat's Claw per day.
This well known aromatic and flavorful herb is very good for easing arthritis pain. It also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation. Ginger can easily be added into your diet and can be used as a fresh ingredient. It can also be purchased dry and used in tea. Ginger oil may also be applied topically to painful areas for relief of swelling and inflammation. To reap its benefits further, after applying the oil, warm the area with a heated compress.