Herbal Options for Arthritis
Arthritis comes in various forms, but it’s always painful. The typical medical approach is to take some sort of pain medication (usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NASDs) that might result in various side effects, such as stomach pain. Thankfully, there are some natural, herbal approaches to arthritis pain management. Here are some of them.
1. White Willow
The bark of the willow – especially the white willow – has been used to relieve pain and inflammation for decades, even centuries. It contains a substance called salicin, which is the basis for aspirin. White willow can be taken as a tea or in capsule form, preferably with food.
2. Stinging Nettle
This persistent weed may provide significant relief for arthritis sufferers. You can use it topically or take it internally. If you use it topically, you take advantage of stinging nettles’ sting, slapping the plant onto the area of your body that is experiencing arthritis pain.
Cooking and eating stinging nettles (the stings disappear when it’s cooked) as a vegetable can also help. Stinging nettles contain significant amounts of the mineral boron, which is said to help the bones and joints retain calcium.
3. Red Pepper/Capsicum
Red pepper’s heat comes from a substance called capsaicin, and it’s this same substance that helps relieve arthritis pain. Capsaicin acts as an endorphin trigger – endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers. If you like spicy foods, add some red pepper to your daily diet in the form of hot pepper sauce, or by adding ground red pepper to foods.
Red pepper can also be applied topically. Red pepper/capsaicin creams are available in most drug stores, but make sure you wash your hands after applying it, or wear gloves when applying. You don’t want to get it in your eyes!
4. Foods and Spices
There are various foods and spices that you can incorporate into your foods for arthritis relief. Here are some of them.
Ginger – Drinking a cup or three of ginger tea every day is said to help arthritis pain. It works as an anti-inflammatory, relieving the pain and swelling of arthritis.
Turmeric – This yellowish spice can be added to curries, rice pilafs, and other dishes. Its effects are similar to those of ginger. Turmeric can also be taken in capsules.
Oregano – In addition to containing anti-inflammatory properties, oregano is also reputed to be an antioxidant. Sprinkle it liberally on your pizza, add it to your spaghetti sauce, or mix it into meatloaf. Oregano can be added to a lot of Greek and Italian foods.