The Best Natural Remedies for Arthritis

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The Best Natural Remedies for Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation within a joint. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), is a result of trauma to the joint, infection or age. Most people complain about joint pain which can be very uncomfortable, especially for active people. To ease the pain, many people take prescription drugs or pain relievers which help for the short term but they have their own side effects. This article will cover natural remedies for arthritis for people who prefer the natural alternative. In any case, you need to consult with your doctor before taking any supplement to make sure it doesn’t interfere with current medications you take.

Below you can find natural remedies for arthritis that might be a helpful in relieving its symptoms:


Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine reduces the symptoms of pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. It is naturally synthesized in our body and present in our connective tissues such as the cartilage in our knees. As we age, we lose the amount of this substance in our body, which leads to thinning of cartilage, and that might progress to osteoarthritis.

Glucosamine cannot regenerate cartilage, but can prevent further loss and stop the progression of arthritis. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t have serious side effects.

Chondroitin is another building block of the connective tissue in our body. Its role is to stimulate the cartilage cells, and therefore works well with glucosamine to improve regeneration and recovery of the tissues.

It is recommended to take chondroitin together with glucosamine, as taking these two substances alone doesn’t seem to do very much. The effect of taking glucosamine and chondroitin takes about 8-12 weeks until you see results. The recommended dose is 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate a day in divided doses, and 800-1,500 mg of chondroitin sulfate. If you are allergic to sulfate, use hydrochloride version.

Omega 3

Taking omega 3 is one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health. Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) has anti inflammatory properties. As inflammation always accompanies joint pain, omega 3 helps to reduce the discomfort of arthritis and relieve pain.

Omega 3 is found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. There are also plant sources of omega 3 (ALA), but it is less powerful than seafood (read more about the different sources of omega 3 in my previous article). Fish oil supplements are a good way to get the health benefits of omega 3. Recommended dose is 2-3 grams a day. There is also a liquid form in which recommended dose is one tablespoon a day, or even less than that.

Shea nut oil

Shea nut oil has natural plant components that are anti inflammatory. A recent study found that taking shea nut oil decreases significantly the inflammation and cartilage degeneration. Take as directed in the label.

Turmeric

One of the active ingredients in turmeric is called curcumin, and is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis. It is claimed that turmeric reduces arthritis joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness related to arthritis.

The recommended dose is 250 to 500 mg, three times a day. It is recommended to take turmeric in capsule form rather than as tablets. Tablets are heated, and a stabilizer is added to help them hold their shape.

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Heating reduces the potency of the herb, whereas capsules are freeze-dried, thus remaining fresher. While turmeric is probably the most known herb to treat joint pain, there are other effective herbs that can relieve joint pain. See a list of them in my previous article the best herbs to relieve joint pain and how to use them.

Safflower capsules

The benefits of safflower are relatively new to the West, but this plant has a centuries-old tradition of medicinal use in Asia. Extract from the flower of the plant provides natural alternatives for joint discomfort of arthritis, and it has properties that reduce pain and inflammation. You can purchase it as a supplement.

MSM

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, fish, and grains. It is marketed as a dietary supplement for pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. Recommended dose is 1,000 to 4,000 mg daily.

MSM benefits are based on testimonials but little valid scientific data. Although there is great interest in using MSM to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, more research is needed to determine its benefits and risks.

Virgin Coconut Oil

It is known that virgin coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and the Arthritis Foundation has acknowledged it in their website. In a study published in International Immunopharmacology the researchers extracted antioxidants unique to virgin coconut oil and injected them into rats with induced arthritis. They found that the unique coconut oil antioxidants reduced inflammation associated with arthritis more effectively than current pharmaceutical drugs.

You can consume virgin coconut oil in moderation, up to 2 tablespoons a day for an adult. However, don’t start immediately from 2 tablespoons a day, as it may cause you loose stools and nausea that may occur when consuming high amount of coconut oil. Start from 1 teaspoon per day, and gradually increase it to 2 tablespoons per day over 1 or 2 weeks.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for a good overall health and plays an important role in making sure our muscles, heart, lungs and brain function well. Our body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think. In fact, it is so common that The American Journal of Clinical NutritionIt called it a world wide problem which is recognized as a pandemic. I’ve already mentioned the importance of vitamin D and how it can cause 12 common diseases as well as dementia.

People who have higher levels of Vitamin D in their bodies have been found to have lower incidences of heart disease, depression, obesity and certain forms of cancers.

Vitamin D and Rheumatoid Arthritis (The Research)

Study #1

A study published in the journal Rheumatology has found that vitamin D levels are significantly associated with disease activity, levels of inflammatory cytokines (small proteins), and bone loss in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

According to the study, “it appears that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis”.

Scientists, doctors and researchers do not have a definitive answer as to why vitamin D plays an important role in the body (except for helping calcium metabolization). But they do know that the studies that have been done strongly suggest it’s better to not let it get too low in your body, especially if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Study #2

A study conducted by researchers from Boston University and published in in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives took the connection between low levels of vitamin D and increased levels of rheumatoid arthritic activity one step further.

I have mentioned that vitamin D is naturally produced by our bodies when the sun’s UV rays shine upon our skin, so it would make sense that people who lived in warmer climates would get more sun and would have more Vitamin D produced by their bodies naturally.

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The Boston University researchers concluded that the percentage of people that reported having symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in the north-eastern part of the USA, where they get less exposure to sun than other parts of the country, was much higher than those percentages of people that lived in so called ‘sunshine states’.

The lead researcher, Dr. Verónica Vieira, MS, had this to conclude: “Women in states like Vermont, New Hampshire and Southern Maine were more likely to report being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis”.

There’s higher risk in the northern latitudes and this might be related to the fact that there’s less sunlight in these areas, which results in a vitamin D deficiency.

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Level

If you are an arthritis sufferer, then the next logical question is how do you increase the level of vitamin D in your body?

1. Get Some Sun

The first answer to this question would be to get more sun. A caucasian person at midday can get all the vitamin D their body needs in a day in less time than it takes for the skin to turn pink. It is also known that people with darker skin have more trouble absorbing the sun’s rays and subsequently producing vitamin D. Not to mention that too much sun can wrinkle your skin prematurely and cause skin cancer.

The more skin you expose the more vitamin D that your body produces. Just remember you might not want to bare it all because there are some spots on your body that will burn easily because they are not used to exposure.

This is not so difficult if you live in a warmer climate but if you live in a place which does not get much sun, as the second study suggested, then this may not be possible.

2. Consume Foods That are Naturally Rich in Vitamin D

If you don’t live in a warm climate then what do you do?

The next thing to try is adding foods that are rich in vitamin D to your diet. The daily recommended dose of vitamin D is 400 – 600 IU per day, but some nutritionists feel that up to 4000 units a day is needed for patients that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. But make sure to consult with your doctor first.

Here are some suggestions:

3. Supplements

If all else fails then take an over the counter supplement. Most daily vitamin capsules contain a day’s recommended dosage of vitamin D. There are also supplements that contain much higher doses of vitamin D too.

Ask your doctor about these before you take them to see if they are safe for you to use.

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, this low vitamin D level and arthritis connection is certainly worth keeping an eye on. Millions of people around the world suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and there will surely be new studies results coming out in the very near future.

Related articles:

Medical Sources

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26 Responses to The Best Natural Remedies for Arthritis

  1. Atocha Maestas says:

    I have degenerative disc disease with nine levels of herniated discs, bulging, discs, fracture and spurs in my neck. I do any natural pain management I can. I make an arnica salve and arnica massage oil that has been a life saver for me. I also get massage and color therapy once a week. I do take a narcotic pain reliever but have been able to stay on a low dosage because of my salve and therapies. Thank you for this wonderful information, I will surely look into it.

    • RevWildflower says:

      I have the same problems but not as much degenerative discs, do have a few. I have contracted arthritis in my left hip though, have had it for about a year. I have tried Glucosamine and Chondroitin but it bonds me up… good to hear that something not mentioned in the article works for you. I will keep that (arnica) in mind when my discs flare up or my spurs give me trouble. You wouldn’t want to share your recipe with me, would ya? 🙂

  2. Yimberleej says:

    Can these same steps also be used for Rheumatoid Arrhritis?

      • Becky says:

        Well this is about useless seeing how you said Juniper seems to be safe for most adults when taken short-term, but don’t use it for longer than four weeks. Long-term use can cause kidney problems. Arthritis doesn’t go away after four weeks and taking a chance on kidney failure because “IT SEEMS SAFE FOR MOST ADULTS FOR SHORT TERM USE” is not a option. If your kidneys fail you die.I’D steer clear of using it all together.

        • Jenny says:

          Becky, juniper oil can be alternated with other remedies. It doesn’t need to be the sole remedy. Some people have various degree of arthritis with times where the pain is worse and this oil may be useful for them at these times. It may not be suitable in your case, but other people may benefit from it according to their own condition.

  3. ALLISON LANSBERRY says:

    Can’t use first two mentioned because they are sulfur based & I’m severely allergic. Can’t even eat onions & peppers as a result.

  4. Ernestine Rembert says:

    Looking for natural relief and or recommendation
    for neck and shoulder pain.

  5. Lisa Darnall says:

    my doctor is an osteopath and is treating me holistically with food and herbs….I have used herbs for years to treat my kids. Kava and Valerian are great for stress and muscle spasms….I have arthritis throughout my body and degenerative disc disease and damaged sciatic nerve and the nerve at L4-L5. My knee is bone on bone and I have been getting injections of a “lubricant” and physical therapy. I have become sick of taking handsful of pills and being in pain….I believe that if we just get back to whole foods, (nothing processed at all. Finally I found an osteopath willing to treat me with foods…. if you are interested in his way of doctoring look him up. Kyle Homertgen DO. He is wonderful. I will now know how to treat myself properly and effectively….I wish all people would go back to eating how our ancient ancestors did. Thank you to you all for sharing all your wonderful healing technics and hearing that it really works

  6. Judith mccormack says:

    I have bursitis in hips, any sulations.

    • Jenny says:

      I’ve read in Mayo Clinic and Webmd websites that there are cases when you need medications or injections if the inflammation in your bursa is caused by an infection. This is something you need to work together with your doctor. If the situation is not so severe, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or exercises to strengthen the muscles in the affected area to ease pain and prevent recurrence. Other things you can try are resting the affected area and applying ice to reduce swelling and pain. Also try not to sit in one position for too long, especially on hard surfaces, because that puts pressure on the bursae in your hips, and maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting excess stress on your joints.

    • Az says:

      Several years ago, maybe 8 I had pain in one hip so bad I could not sleep at night. I went to an orthopedic surgeon who gave me steroid injects twice. It was completely resolved. I have not had any issues with that hip. I walk about five miles a day 7 days a week, no problems.

  7. Mark Nicol says:

    Great page,i have recently found out i have arthritis in both thumbs and kness and being an addict in recovery i now use nearly all of the above mentioned and have found it soo beneficial.I only take the odd panadol and told my Doctor no more pills i want to go down this natural path after all Arthritis has been around for centuries “Keep up the good work”

  8. Anne says:

    I was taking glucosamine wirh msm& chondroitin but I thought that it was upsetting my stomach. Is that possible?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Anne, WebMD website says that glucosamine and Chondroitin can cause as side effects some mild stomach pain and nausea, as well as diarrhea and constipation. It might be that the supplements affected your stomach, as every person reacts differently.

      • ANNA says:

        Take organic Applecider vinegar + I teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water daily, & see the results , keep your body balanced PH level on the alkaline & not acidic. Give it a try- daily empty stomach . A eat raw, carrots , almonds soaked & washed , with celery for bones, to start with . Dr Anna – Naturopathic Physician (retired .)

        • MaryAnn says:

          Will the ACV + honey in warm water help to get rid of the spurs on my big toe joint, or just help pain? Most of the time I don’t have pain, just constricted feeling and enlarged joint. (Can’t wear normal shoes)

        • Dawn says:

          Hi Anna just wondering if any of these treatments can be applied to children My 11 year old was recently diagnoses with enthesitis related arthritis. Its basically pain where the tendons and ligaments meet the bone. She has pain everywhere. (back, knees, ankles, toes, fingers, wrists, elbows) She is currently taking NSAIDS and going to physical therapy but she is not really getting much relief from the pain. Ive spoken to her rheumatologist about natural remedies but she didn’t have any recommendations. Thanks

  9. Lane Hornberger says:

    I have a friend that has or had COPD, congestive heart failure,diebetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems 9 heart attacks, 2 strokes,.arthritis all over my body and nerve damage in her legs. I told her to get on cardio for life which is L-Arginine from mycardioforlife.com she’s take way to many prescription drugs I believe she’s very toxic. I told her she should to a master cleanse but do continue taking her drugs. I told her I would look into finding any info on some natural remedies to help her im afraid it might be to late to help her heck she could have a heart attack or stroke again. Please u have any suggestions and/or natural remedies. Thanks Lane

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Lane, I don’t feel I have the knowledge or the expertise to give advice in such complex cases when having several serious medical conditions like your friend has, and when taking many medications. Such a condition really requires a more in depth knowledge of a medical specialist who can perform the required tests, knows the medical history of your friend and can review the medications and dosages.

  10. Rajat says:

    I have been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilytis post being tested HLA B27 positive back in 2009. I am 30 years old right now, the first symptoms appeared in 2003 as a pain in right hip (SI joints), did not pay attention as I was an active basketball player & disregarded it being just a muscle pull.

    Since 2009, I was advised physiotherapy, which when done under supervision only relieves the pain by a small amount. Moreover, I have tried NSAIDS/ Ayurvedic medicines, but none have given me any relief. I started off with regular pain relieving ointments which were available off the shelf in India, soon they were of no help. Someone suggested to try Bengay (available offshore), I did give the right fomentation initially, but now its effect has drastically reduced.

    I feel I am carrying someone on my back all the time. I am in pain, sleeping/standing/walking & I don’t know when I can live a pain free day or hour. Guess, this keeps increasing with the fusion & will restrict my body one fine day.

    What can I do. With all these doctors suggesting these medicines without effect, I have lost the trust. I know this thing can’t be cured, but can be controlled, but there has to be something which gives me relief so that I can do some physically active.

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