We take the freedom of movement for granted, until it becomes limited. The cause of this for many people comes in the form of arthritis, or the inflammation of one or more of your joints. There are two main kinds, osteo and rheumatoid, both of which affect the joint in different ways. Osteo arthritis is when the cartilage between bones wears down, until bone grates on bone. Rheumatoid is little less straightforward, being caused by an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the synovial membrane (a soft tissue that protects joints in the body) and that can lead to bone loss. Whichever you experience, there are natural remedies for arthritis to manage the pain and ease the symptoms.
1. Turmeric & Ginger Tea
Turmeric and ginger are both anti-inflammatorys, and will help with oseto and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric in particular has gotten a lot of attention lately. Its active ingredient is something called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, it lowers the levels of 2 enzymes responsible for causing inflammation (which is what we’re often fighting with arthritis.) You can take these in a capsule form or make a nice spicy tea to enjoy daily.
You will need…
-2 cups of water
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
-Honey to taste
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and had ½ teaspoon each ground ginger and ground turmeric. Reduce to a simmer and let it be for 10-15 minutes. Strain, add honey to taste, and enjoy twice daily. This yields 2 servings.
2. Get more magnesium (seriously.)
Magnesium is something our bodies need, but we can’t make it ourselves. It is used in over 300 different biomechanical responses in our body. It relaxes all our muscles and nerve endings, relieving stiffness and pain. It is even part of what makes our heart beat. Not only does it relax muscles and ease pain (this goes for arthritis pain too, of course) it helps bones to mineralize. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted one of many studies on magnesium that showed people who had a diet high in magnesium/took supplements had higher bone density, and overall stronger bones. There are several ways to get more magnesium and utilize it for arthritis in particular.
Supplements: Magnesium capsules are a good thing to add to your day-to-day life, but they work best when used in conjunction with an improved diet.
Diet: Really this is the clincher-as great as supplements are, they can’t do everything. Eat foods that are high in magnesium, which include dark leafy greens (like spinach), nuts, and legumes (beans.)
Oil: There is magnesium oil that can be applied topically and absorbed through the skin. Try rubbing it on sore joints to relieve pain.
3. Dandelion Leaves
Incredibly high in vitamins A and C, dandelion leaves can help repair damaged tissue and help the liver clear toxins out of the blood. Studies, although limited, have also shown anti-inflammatory properties due to the linoleic and linoleic acid in them. Linoleic is an essential fatty acid required by the body to produce prostaglandin-which basically regulates immune responses and suppresses inflammation. Because of its involvement with immune responses, dandelion shows great potential when it comes to treating rheumatoid arthritis in particular. You can enjoy dandelion leaves in nice salad, or brew tea with them.
You will need…
-3 teaspoons of fresh dandelion leaves, or 1 teaspoon of dried
-1 cup of boiling water
-A handful of fresh leaves (if making a salad)
-A dash of extra virgin olive oil (if making a salad)
For fresh dandelion tea, step 3 teaspoons of fresh leaves or 1 teaspoon dried in 1 cup of boiling water. Strain and drink twice daily. Dandelion tea is very bitter…you have been warned! You can add honey to sweeten it up if you’d like. To make a salad, simply toss the greens in with another recipe, or eat them plain with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Older leaves can be gently sautéed to soften them up a bit.