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Author: Al Sears, M.D.

Celebrex and Vioxx both work by inactivating an inflammatory enzyme called Cox-2. Recent studies are showing that this is not an entirely new capability. Quite to the contrary, some of the oldest natural remedies on record work by inhibiting the same enzyme. Natural Cox-2 inhibitors have been shown to:

  • Reduce joint pain
  • Suppress inflammation
  • Relieve muscle pains and spasms
  • Relieve neck, back and hip pain
  • Improve mobility and range of motion

I know of about a dozen natural Cox-2 inhibitors. You may find some no further than your spice rack…

Ginger: This Japanese remedy contains 12 different anti-inflammatory compounds. Some block Cox-2. Some lower pain receptor and nerve-ending sensitivity. In one trial, over 75% had relief from pain and swelling after taking ginger.3  Most pharmacies and health food stores sell ginger powder in pills or capsules. Look for an extract with 5% gingerols.

Turmeric: This Indian yellow spice reduces the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.4 It even soothes swelling in the gastrointestinal tract.5 You can also find Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, as a supplement.

Rosemary: Herbalists have known about rosemary’s ability to relieve muscle pain and spasm for many years. This ancient remedy contains four anti-inflammatories. One works like steroids but without the side effects. Another relieves arthritis symptoms in clinical trials.

If you suffer from severe chronic arthritis pain, adding some or all of the natural remedies above may enable you to be less dependent on prescription medication and lower your risk of harmful side effects.

References
1. Singh G. Recent considerations in nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug gastropathy. Am J Med 1998; 105(1b):31S-8S.
2. Feldman M, McMahon AT. Do cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors provide benefits similar to those of traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, with less gastrointestinal toxicity? Ann Intern Med 2000; 132(2):134-43.
3. Srivastava KC, Mustafa T. Ginger (Zingiber offincinale) in rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders. Med Hypotheses 1992 Dec;39(4):342-8. Srivastava KC, Mustafa T. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and rheumatic disorders. Med Hypotheses 1989 May;29(1):25-8. Cyong JA. A pharmacological study of the antiinflammatory activity of Chinese herbs – A review. Int J Acupuncture Electro-Ther Res,1982;(7):173-202.
4. Deodhar SD, Sethi R, Srimal RC. Preliminary studies on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferuloyl methane). Ind J Med Res 1980;71:6324.
5. Zhang F, et al. Curcumin inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 transcription in bile acid-and phorbol ester-treated human gastrointestinal epithelial cells, Carcinogenesis 1990, 20(3):445-51.