Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people globally. It is easily identified because it causes pain and inflammation in the joint areas. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis also affects kids. There are two common types of arthritis and these include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis among others. Osteoarthritis is fairly common, and usually develops in adults past 40 years. This form of arthritis causes the cartilage between the joints to wear out, making mobility very difficult. It usually affects the hands, the knees and the spine.
Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand, occurs when the one’s own immune system starts to attack specific joints. This causes the affected joints to swell, and causes intense pain and swelling. Since the immune system’s first point of contact is the synovium, the attack spreads t the rest of the joint with ease thus distorting its shape. For both types of arthritis, the symptoms may overlap, making it important for you to get an accurate diagnosis from a professional doctor. Some of the common symptoms between the two include tenderness at the joint area, inflammation, restricted mobility as well as wasting of muscles.
It is important to realize that there is no cure for arthritis, but medical intervention seeks to slow down the progress of the disease. In addition to the medication provided, there are a number of natural remedies that you can use to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. The use of natural remedies alongside physical activity has proven to be a reliable combination in dealing with arthritis.
1. Massage Using Mustard Oil:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Mustard oil, a hot bath, a plastic wrap, warm towels and onion juice (optional).
Massaging as a technique, is one of the best ways to deal with the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. This is key because it improves the flow of blood to the affected joints. The addition of mustard oil not only reduces the pain, it also works as a natural ointment. The use of warm towels is meant to ‘seal’ in the effects while sustaining the flow of blood to the specific joints. Onion juice is used because of its anti-inflammatory properties,thus reducing inflammation in arthritis patients.
- Prepare the hot bath as this is where you will heat the mustard oil. Avoid heating it directly as too much heat has the capacity to destroy the structural integrity of the oil, thus reducing its potency and efficiency.
- Once the oil is warm enough, remove it from the hot bath. If you wish to use onion juice, this is the point at which you will mix it with the mustard oil.
- Place some of the mixture on the palms of your hands and massage as gently as you can on the affected joint.
- Do this for 15 minutes.
- Once the time has elapsed, wrap the affected joint using the plastic wraps. This seals in the effects.
- You will then cover the plastic wrap with the warm towels until they cool.
- Repeat this procedure as often as is required, but preferably before bedtime.
2. Epsom Salts:
Time Required: 10 Min for the ingestion remedy. 30 Min to an hour for the bath session.
What You Need: Epsom salt, 1 lemon, a juicer and a cup of warm water. You may opt to use two cups of Epsom salt in your bath water.
Epsom salts are an incredibly efficient home remedy for an array of diseases, and arthritis is no exception. The salts constitute Magnesium sulfate that is easily absorbed by the body, thus increasing the concentration of Magnesium in the body. this is important because Magnesium plays a key role in ensuring that the normal pH levels in the body are maintained. For patients suffering from arthritis, one of the greatest challenges is managing the increased acidity, and the Epsom salts go a long way in reducing acidity.
In addition to this, Magnesium in the Epsom salt has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation in the joint area. When added to bath water, the Magnesium present in the Epsom salts helps relax the muscles near the affected joint. This improves mobility and helps eliminate stiffness and soreness. Lemon juice is added to the ingested salts to improve its taste since Magnesium sulfate has a characteristic bitterness. This remedy may pose varied side effects for different people, including but not limited to the swelling of lips, loose stool and an allergic response.
NOTE: If you opt for the oral use of Epsom salts, you need to consult with your doctor. Avoid using this remedy if you suffer from constipation, stomach pain or are pregnant as this could have adverse effects on your health.
Oral use of Epsom Salts:
- Take a teaspoon of Epsom salts and place in a bowl.
- Clean the lemon well and cut into half before juicing it.
- Add an equivalent amount of the lemon juice to the salts and mix well.
- Pour in the cup of warm water and stir well to ensure proper mixing.
- Take a teaspoon of this mixture twice daily: in the morning and at bedtime.
External use of Epsom Salts
- Add two cups of Epsom salt to the bath tub before running warm water.
- Soak in the bath for half an hour or more to ensure maximum absorption of the salts’ components.
- Use this remedy at least once daily.
3. Turmeric + Ginger Tea:
Time Required: 25 Min
What You Need: A piece of fresh ginger root, a piece of turmeric herb, pestle and mortar, 2 cups of hot water, strainer, honey to taste as well as gloves (optional).
Turmeric and ginger are two herbs best known for their excellent anti-inflammatory properties. When combined, the two make for a potent mixture that helps reduce the inflammation in the affected joints. In recent years, the spotlight has shone on the use of turmeric to manage pain and inflammation in arthritis and a host of diseases.
The spice’s main ingredient is known as curcumin. This is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to inhibit the action of 2 key enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway that mediates pain and inflammation. It is therefore clear that the use of turmeric and ginger makes for an effective remedy in the management of arthritis. In the absence of the fresh herbs, you may use the powdered spices or purchase capsules of the same.
NOTE: The gloves are included in the list of what you need because turmeric has a deep orange color that easily stains, so this is taken as a preventive measure.
- Wear your gloves before starting off your preparations to prevent staining.
- Peel both the ginger and the turmeric and mix in a bowl.
- Transfer the two to a mortar and pound using the pestle.
- Once you have the paste-like mixture, boil the 2 cups of water.
- Add the herb mixture to the boiling water and then lower the heat and allow the two to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture before stirring in the honey.
- Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes before drinking it.
- Repeat this procedure twice daily.
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
The external use of extra virgin olive oil is one of the ways in which you can deal with the pain and immobility of arthritis. This is because the oil contains a compound known as oleocanthal. This compound has been shown to inhibit the action of two key enzymes that promote the inflammatory response pathway. In fact, this mode of action is quite similar to that of aspirin with no side effects.
Note however, that for this remedy to be effective, you must use cold-pressed olive oil. The reason for cold-pressed oil is that heat destroys the structural integrity of oleocanthal. Extra virgin olive oil may be used either internally or externally, although some people prefer the latter owing to the number of calories present in the oil.
- Take the olive oil and rub it on the affected joints gently, making sure you massage well.
- If you would like, you may also consume the oil in its raw state or cook with it.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 25 Min
What You Need: Apple Cider Vinegar, a cup of warm water and honey (optional).
Apple cider vinegar ( abbreviated ACV) is a home remedy that is loved for its excellent healing properties. This makes it an excellent treatment for patients suffering from arthritis. ACV has a high concentration of minerals that are important in providing relief from pain and inflammation. Regular intake of ACV helps detoxify accumulated toxins within he affected joints, in effect improving the state of the joint and surrounding connective tissue. Water is included in this remedy for the purposes of dilution.
- Add a teaspoon of ACV to the cup of warm water and stir.
- You may add a tablespoon of honey to the mixture for the purposes of sweetening it.
- Take this solution at least twice daily: in the morning and at bedtime.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of cinnamon powder, a tablespoon of honey, a cup of warm water and a piece of cloth (optional).
Cinnamon is not only used in the culinary field, it is also an effective home remedy in the natural treatment of arthritis. This spice is loved for its antiinflammatory properties which help reduce the joint pain and inflammation. Cinnamon is also rich in antioxidants, making it an ideal addition to your home remedies.
- Place the cinnamon in the cup and add the warm water.
- Stir in the honey before drinking the mixture. It is advisable to take this mixture on an empty stomach as this is when maximum absorption takes place.
- Alternatively, mix the cinnamon and honey to create a paste-like substance which you will then massage on the affected joints. Wrap the joint using a piece of cloth and let it remain on for half an hour before rinsing off the mixture.
7. Alfalfa Tea:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: One teaspoon of Alfalfa seeds, a cup of boiling water and a strainer.
Alfalfa is a popular herb used in the treatment of arthritis, thanks to its high concentration of minerals. This is important for patients as it assists in the regulation of body pH levels, thus reducing acidity in the affected joints. This provides relief from joint pain and inflammation.
- Prepare Alfalfa tea by adding a teaspoon of the seeds to the boiling water.
- Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure you cover the pan.
- Strain the mixture and make sure you drink this thrice daily to reduce the inflammation.
Other home remedies that you can use to reduce pain and inflammation linked to arthritis include fish oil whose high concentration of anti-inflammatory compounds helps reduce the pain, an oil blend containing peppermint and eucalyptus oil as they are both anti-inflammatory in nature and cayenne ointment.
Cayenne contains capsaicin which inhibits molecules involved in the transmission of pain signals in the body. When applied topically, the ointment helps provide relief from the pain. It is also advisable to indulge in gentle exercises as these strengthen the muscles around the affected joints and prevent weight gain (which compounds the pain in arthritis patients). In addition, exercise also helps the synovial fluid (found between the joints) to be more viscous and therefore better able to prevent friction and improve mobility.