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Bursitis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa which are little sac-like pads of fluid that rest between connecting bones, tendons and muscles in the major joints. They act as a protective cushion for the tissues of the joint against friction and other damage. There are about 150 bursae in the body and some may even form naturally in response to the unique pressures placed on an individuals use of their body.
Bursitis is more common in the shoulder (frozen shoulder), hip, elbow (tennis elbow), heel, toe, thumb and knee (housemaids knee) joints. It occurs in response to overuse or excessive pressure on a joint whereby the repeated pressure on the bursa causes an inflammatory response. It can also result from a build up of crystals within the joint as in gout, rheumatism or arthritis or from an infection. The swollen bursa then causes pain and pressure as it pushes against the tissues of the joints and restricts its movement.
Herbal and natural treatments require resting of the affected joint, finding the underlying cause, cleansing the joint tissues, reducing the inflammation and pain and increasing circulation to the joint.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Follow the general dietary guidelines for 'arthritis' in the 'common ailments' section of this site.

Eat a bowl of fresh pineapple or papaya every day if you can. They both contain enzymes that are both anti-inflammatory and cleansing.

Include plenty of foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B12. See also 'vitamins' and 'minerals' in the 'natural healing' section of this site for more foods including these nutrients.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Cayenne powder is excellent when added to any poultice mix, tea or tincture for its ability to dramatically increase the circulation to and from the joints. You will feel heat in the area within minutes. If it feels too hot then remove the poultice and clean the skin with cool water. Re-apply using less cayenne next time.
The herb pleurisy root (Asclepious tuberosa) is almost a specific remedy for bursitis, capable of restoring lubricated joint movement to even old and stubborn cases. One cup of tea daily using a teaspoon of the root per cup or 2-5 ml of tincture daily should be used until the problem is resolved.
Drink up to 3 cups daily of nettle tea to cleanse the joints and provide valuable nutrients.
Make a formula from the following tinctures, white willow, black cohosh, celery seed, meadowsweet, devils claw, wild yam and prickly ash. Use 25ml of each and 5ml of prickly ash, mix together and take a teaspoonful in a little water 3 times a day.
Fresh or dried comfrey leaf can be applied to the joints daily as a poultice.
Turmeric powder has a good reputation as an anti-inflammatory so add a teaspoon to poultices or a good pinch to each tea or tincture dose.
Make a strong tea of st johns wort and soak a cloth in the hot liquid. Apply to the joint area and keep warm with a hot water bottle.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and honey in a little warm water twice daily before meals.
Ice packs will help reduce both pain and inflammation, especially in acute bursitis.
Make a healing and soothing poultice by grating some fresh ginger into a bowl and pour on some castor oil. Mix to a usable consistency and apply to the joint. Cover with a cloth and place a hot water bottle over to encourage the penetration of the poultice herbs.
In a tablespoon of light nut or vegetable oil add 2 drops each of frankincense, peppermint and wintergreen essential oils and rub into the skin around the joint. Cover lightly to protect clothing. Wash your hands thoroughly after application and do not touch your eyes and sensitive areas.
Take evening primrose, starflower, hempseed, flaxseed or cod liver oil capsules daily to increase joint health and suppleness.
Use hot and cold packs applied to the joint, alternating between the two for 15 mins or so. Apply heat first for 15 seconds then cold for another 15 seconds then heat etc.

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