Relieve Arthritis Pain Naturally
By: Celeste M. Smucker, MPH, PhD
Arthritis is a broad term used to describe joint pain or inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (which is actually an auto-immune disease) and gout.
As the leading cause of disability in the United States, arthritis comes with economic and social costs that are large and growing. Today nearly 50 million adults suffer from some form of arthritis and the numbers are increasing by about 1 million individuals a year. In addition, twenty million Americans report being physically limited by arthritis. Costs to our health system and economy are huge and estimated to be in excess of $128 billion annually including $47 billion in lost productivity. Conventional remedies for arthritis pain may have costly side effects. Fortunately, safe, natural herbal remedies are available which help alleviate both the physical and economic pain of this condition.
Arthritis treatment depends on the actual diagnosis. However some of the most commonly used pain relief medicines are the NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which can be had over the counter or by prescription. Side effects from these drugs add substantially to the cost of treatment. A study of Medicaid recipients who received NSAIDs as part of their arthritis treatment found that nearly a third of the total medical care cost went to treat drug side effects such as harm to the patient’s gastrointestinal tract. In some cases NSAIDs have also been found to accelerate the deterioration of cartilage essential for healthy joints thereby promoting the condition for which they are prescribed.
Fortunately there are effective alternative treatments for arthritis pain that have minimal side effects. For example, consider herbs from India’s ancient Ayurvedic tradition such as curcumin, boswellia and holy basil. All of these have powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well as other health supporting benefits, which make them particularly appealing to arthritis sufferers.
Curcumin is derived from the herb turmeric, which is common in traditional Indian cooking. Research has validated its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory that is helpful for arthritis pain. It may also help reduce LDL cholesterol and suppress the growth of tumors. Curcumin may promote blood thinning so consult a knowledgeable professional if you take medication for this purpose.
Boswellia contains an active anti-inflammatory compound called boswellic acid. It has few if any side effects and has been used as a treatment for many different inflammatory conditions including asthma, digestive ailments such as colitis or Crohn’s disease and of course arthritis.
Holy Basil also known as tulsi is one of the most sacred herbs in Ayurveda. It is considered an adaptogen that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as confirmed by traditional use and scientific research. This plant is found in many Indian homes where it is used as a folk remedy for ailments such as headaches, colds, flu or digestive upsets. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective treatment for arthritis pain as well.