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Arthritis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Inflammation and/or erosion of a joint with swelling, redness, pain and restricted movement. There are many different forms such as osteo- arthritis, rheumatoid etc. but herbal treatment is similar in all cases. It can be caused by many different chronic disease processes but ultimately symptoms arise when there is a build up of excess waste products (such as uric acid) around the joint and poor blood flow to and from the area. Improving the eliminative systems of the body (bowel, skin, kidneys) will lay the foundation for healing to occur.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Avoid acid forming foods such as starches and refined carbohydrates, sugar, red meat, vinegars (except cider vinegar), salt, tea and coffee. Stay off processed foods and anything containing additives, flavourings etc.

Drink filtered water if the water in your area is hard.

Whilst in the process of healing, limit you intake of tomatoes, spinach, oranges, red and blackcurrants, rhubarb and gooseberries as these contain oxalic acid, cut right down on alcohol also.

Eat instead fish, organic poultry, vegetables, grains, fruits and salad leaves/herbs especially parsley and celery, nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

Have a small glass of potato and carrot juice every day, add kale leaves for their pain killing properties.

Take a teaspoon of cider vinegar in water, sweetened with honey if need be, and increase to twice daily over time.

Drink the fresh juice of 1 lemon each day in some water and gradually increase this over time.

Eat 1 1/2 ounces daily of organic sesame seeds as this recent study have shown that sesame seeds have significant pain reducing and anti-inflammatory activities.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Herbs which encourage elimination of waste via the kidneys and therefore greatly help in cleansing the joints include celery seed, parsley, birch leaves, nettle, cornsilk, hydrangea root, yarrow, dandelion root and leaves, burdock root, buchu, plantain, cleavers, ground ivy, meadowsweet.

Herbs which have an anti-inflammatory action include wild yam, black cohosh, devils claw, alfalfa, Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha, St. Johns wort, liquorice, turmeric, guaiacum, bogbean, chamomile.

Herbs which increase blood circulation, bringing fresh blood and nutrients, speed up waste removal and alleviate pain include angelica root, celery seeds, juniper berries, rosemary, prickly ash, black cohosh, coriander seeds, aniseeds, ginger, cayenne, mustard, horseradish and frankincense.

Herbs which stimulate digestion and bowel elimination include gentian, barberry root, oregan grape, peppermint, bogbean, feverfew.

Herbs which have a painkilling action include white willow, meadowsweet, St. Johns wort, black cohosh and solomons seal.

Herbs which are generally healing and nutritive to the whole musculo-skeletal system include solomons seal, boneset, comfrey leaf, butterbur, knotgrass.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Take more regular gentle exercise such as swimming, walking or stretching classes. Consult a professional sports physiotherapist or masseuse if you are unsure what exercises are for you.

Use castor oil packs every few days over the painful joints to disperse waste and bring pain relief.

Take a few grains of bee pollen each day.

Shower the joints with hot then cold water as often as possible.

Make poultices from mustard powder and place over painful joints to bring warmth, healing and pain relief.

Make an external rubbing oil from a base of 50ml St.Johns wort oil and add a few drops each of lavender, rosemary, peppermint, chilli, ginger, wintergreen or frankincense essential oils. Gently massage in daily.

A weekly bath with Epsom salts will draw out waste acids through the skin. Start with a small handful and increase over time to up to 450g per bath. Rinse off and rest. Make sure you move the joints gently as you relax to discourage stiffness.

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