Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a serious autoimmune illness affecting the joints and bones and other organ systems of the body. Damage to tissues results when the immune system mistakes the body's own tissue as foreign and attacks them. Free radicals are part of the cascade of effects that cause inflammation and eventually can destroy joints.
While there are excellent prescription medications used to successfully treat RA, many people prefer to use an all natural approach or to supplement the standard therapies. Many herbs have been identified as having usefulness in treating the symptoms of RA and many are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory in nature. We will look at some of these herbs and discuss their use in RA holistic care. Even though herbs and supplements may be all natural, they still can be potent and may also interact with prescription medications.
An RA patient should always discuss the matter with their health care provider before adding or subtracting anything in their treatment plan, natural or otherwise. It is a mistake to assume that herbs are automatically safe and free of side effects. Among the herbs identified as helpful in RA are: Angelica, Bogbean, Borage oil, Boswellia, Bromelain (from pineapple), Cat's claw (Also called Devil's claw), Chaparral, Evening primrose oil, Feverfew, Galangal, Ginger, Cayenne creams and lotions, Curcurmin (from turmeric), Pokeweed roots, Alfalfa, Gotu kola, Honeysuckle, Hops, Licorice, Lingum vitae, White poplar, Linseed, Morinda, Mustard, Oregano, Sarsaparilla, Sesame seed oil, Stinging nettles, Wild Yam, Black cohosh, Celery, Willow, Wintergreen, Yucca. And this list, long as it is, is just part of the herbal formulary often used to control the problems associated with RA! In fact, one old remedy for "rheumatism" which was the catch-all term for all joint pain and aches was willow bark tea. Willow bark contains salicylates, compounds related to aspirin and to several current pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs. There is no question that this could have been helpful for RA sufferers.
Cat's claw or Devil's claw is another old and often used remedy. It is normally used in a dose of 250 mg of a standard extract taken twice a day. One small study has been done showing relief of RA symptoms when compared to a placebo. Cat's claw must be taken with food and cannot be taken by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant.
Upset stomach is the most commonly reported side effect, but is lessened when taken with food. Cat's claw has anti-inflammatory properties. A widely used compound for topical pain relief is a cream compounded from cayenne pepper extracts. This reduces pain and inflammation by stimulating circulation in the area of a painful joint and is also useful for osteoarthritis. A user must be careful to wash hands carefully since the cream can burn the eyes and mucous membranes. It's also important to note that hot packs and heating pads should not be used over areas covered with cayenne products.
Many people also use this product to treat the pain from a previous case of shingles effectively. It is available without prescription. Curcurmin is a product extracted from the yellow spice turmeric that is being studied for several medical purposes including RA pain and stiffness.
Widely used in curries, turmeric is also used as it is for RA and other uses. Curcurmin has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help to fight the free radicals that play a part in joint destruction in advanced rheumatoid arthritis. An Indian herb called Boswellia has also been shown to decrease inflammation in the body. It is taken in a dose of 150 mg three times a day.
While it would take a book to list every dose and herb used for RA symptoms, it is easy to see how big a choice there is for natural products. The resources given below are a great introduction to the use of herbs in RA, and the Arthritis Foundation has published a book that is a guide to herbal therapies.
For more information visit the websites: http://www.arthritiscures.us/common-symptoms-for-rheumatoid-arthritis/common-symptoms-for-rheumatoid-arthritis.htm Common Symptoms for Rheumatoid Arthritis http://www.arthritiscures.us/templar-arthritis/templar-arthritis.htm Templar Arthritis http://arthritiscures.us/arthritis-Rheumatoid/arthritis-Rheumatoid.htm Arthritis Rheumatoid