Your joints connect your bones and allow you to move. They play an essential role in your wellbeing and livelihood. Think about it: Without your joints, you would be unable to move. This is why it is so debilitating when things go wrong with your joints.
Understanding the causes of joint pain, and natural ways to treat it, is a great way to protect your wellbeing. There are scores of herbal remedies to turn to when looking to improve the health of your joints. Whether you want to ease joint pain, prevent joint pain, or control inflammation in joints, there is a herbal remedy for you. If you are looking for a natural and safe way to manage joint pain, then read on.
Joint Pain and Inflammation
When you injure a joint it can be a really painful and frustrating experience. If you have ever strained or sprained a joint you may know how much it can limit your movement. This takes its toll on your daily life and greatly restricts your ability to do everyday things. But sometimes joint pain can occur without a specific injury.
The wear and tear of daily life can build up, and sometimes overwhelm your joints. When you think about it, your joints are in constant use. This means that they endure a lot of physical stress on a regular basis. Unexplained joint pain affects about one third of adults in the UK at some point in their lives. Asides from these joint injuries or aches, you can also develop degenerative joint diseases.
It is estimated that over 10 million people in the UK alone are living with a form of degenerative joint disease. Most common of these joint diseases is Osteoarthritis, which affects around 8 million UK citizens. Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints as well as the bones. It causes degeneration of both of these crucial structural components. This leads to muscle pain, limited mobility, chronic joint pain and swelling of the joint. Another form of Arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis. These conditions become a greater risk as you get older. People over the age of 60 are particularly at risk of Arthritis.
If you want to understand joint pain and how to tackle it, you need to understand inflammation. This is the main cause of joint pain and joint diseases. Inflammation is a natural part of your body’s defence system. When things go wrong inflammation can occur to protect traumatised areas. It is a way for the body to ensure that a traumatised or damaged area of the body, like a sprained joint, is protected whilst it repairs itself. Ideally, the traumatised area, such as the sprained joint, will recover and the inflammation will go down.
So what is the problem? Well, sometimes the inflammation doesn’t stop. If the damaged joint is beyond repair, then the inflammation will not go down. This leads to chronic inflammation, which can cause a range of health problems.
In joints, chronic inflammation can occur when injury, damage, and wear and tear cannot be repaired. Your joints go through a constant process of degeneration and repair when they are healthy. It is how any damage is dealt with. Once renewed, the joint cells are healthy once more. However, sometimes joints are beyond repair. In elderly people, this regeneration process is greatly slowed down, which means that the joint cannot be healed and the inflammation becomes chronic. This is how many conditions such as Arthritis occur.
In order to prevent or control chronic inflammation, anti-inflammatory medication is often prescribed. As part of a healthy lifestyle, you can eat foods rich in anti-inflammatory substances to help prevent chronic inflammation in the first place. By preventing, controlling, and reversing the inflammation itself, symptoms of joint inflammation can also be controlled. Pain, stiffness, and muscle loss can all be combatted with the right treatment options.
One of the best ways to control and improve joint health is to rely on the power of herbs. Used throughout history all over the globe, herbs and spices are known to have great beneficial effects on painful joints. A variety of herbal aids, such as Ginger, Devil’s Claw, and Eucalyptus oil, can all help to ease joint pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility. All this, and they are natural and healthy as well. So if you are looking for a good way to combat joint pain, then you need to be thinking about herbal aids.
Treatment Options: Why Herbs?
Most of the time the prescribed treatment for joint pain involves medicines. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines are often given to those suffering from chronic joint pain or degenerative joint diseases. In most cases these will do the trick and support recovery or control of joint health. But sometimes these medicines can do more harm than good.
Most medicines prescribed for the treatment of inflammatory conditions are anti-inflammatory in nature. They tend to be composed of a mixture of different chemical compounds, and rarely contain any natural or organic ingredients. Of course, they are designed to improve health conditions and restore wellness. But unfortunately the body does not always respond well to this chemical cocktail that medicines contain. And this is when side effects and symptoms occur simply from taking medication.
Many commonly prescribed medicines for joint pain can lead to undesirable and inconvenient side effects. NSAIDs are a prominent example of this. NSAID stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. These are perhaps the most common form of prescribed medicine designed to treat joint pain caused by inflammation. They are notorious for their extensive list of frequently experienced side effects.
Digestive problems, nausea, headaches, vomiting and drowsiness are some potential side effects. Stomach Ulcers and liver damage have been reported in people who take NSAIDs for prolonged periods of time. Majority of the new generation of NSAIDs had to be removed from the market as they increased the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Many other medicines asides from NSAIDs cause similar side effects.
Clearly some people would prefer to take a natural and safe alternative. Herbal remedies are popular because they are nature’s medicine. Throughout history and all over the world natural materials like herbs and spices have been used to successfully treat a range of conditions. Whilst scientifically backed medicines are proven to be effective, herbal remedies are withstanding the test of science.
As the continual subject of different medical trials and scientific studies, herbal aids have proven just how effective they are at treating health conditions. In many cases they are just as if not more effective then prescribed medicines.
Not only are herbal remedies safe and natural, but they are usually highly nutritious. Many herbs are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.
This is the reason why they are so often beneficial to health. Their therapeutic benefits come from their nutritional content, and from the substances they contain that combat health conditions. Not only can they target certain health problems, but they can also boost your general sense of wellbeing. Even more reason to turn to herbal aids to boost your wellness!
Herbs for Joints:
Boswellia is a popular herb that is commonly grown in the tropical regions of Asia and Africa. For centuries Boswellia has been used in Ayurvedic medicine. This is a traditional Indian form of medicine that is respected the world. In West Africa this herb has long been used to natural treat fevers and gastrointestinal problems, as well as Rheumatism. In recent years, scientific research into the properties of Boswellia have revealed that it could potentially help to treat Asthma.
This powerful herb is actually sourced from the resin which is found in the bark of the Frankincense trees. The main use of this notable herb is to tackle inflammation. Most notably it is known to be able to prevent the initiation of chemical reactions involved in inflammation. Inflammatory conditions, such as Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Asthma can all be eased and controlled with the help of this herb.
When used to treat joint pain, it can directly manage and relieve inflammation in affected joints. This reduces swelling and promoted movement, whilst also reducing experience of pain or tenderness. Many people who follow the practice of Ayurvedic medicine choose to turn to Boswellia as a natural treatment option for joint pain.
Despite its sinister name, Devil’s Claw is one divine herb. Used throughout history to treat a range of ailments, nowadays it is an extremely popular remedy for joint and muscular pain. For people with pain in their neck and back it offers natural relief. It gets its wicked name from the shape of the fruit it is derived from, which has claw like hooks all over.
Native to Southern Africa, Devil’s Claw also goes by the names Wood Spider and Grapple Plant. Whatever you call it, it is hard to deny the benefits of this herb. Used medicinally to control pain and manage fevers, Devil’s Claw is also known to promote healthy digestion. Since it was brought to Europe in the 1900s, it has boomed in popularity and is the continual subject of scientific and medicinal research.
In a recent study it was found that Devil’s Claw had significant pain relieving benefits for joint pain sufferers. The study involved over 250 people suffering from Rheumatic conditions, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. After taking Devil’s Claw every day for 8 weeks, over 60 per cent of participants were able to report a reduced experience of pain because of inflamed joints. This meant that most of them could lower the dosage of pain killers and similar medication that they usually took. In general, participants reported that this herb helped to boost their quality of life.
Widely considered to be one of the most powerful medicinal spices in the world, Ginger certainly has a good reputation. This sweet and warm spice is a popular ingredient in many different types of cuisine. But not only can it add a unique and powerful flavour to a variety of dishes. It can also help to control and relieve a range of health conditions, including joint pain.
According to some significant research, Ginger is able to calm and relieve the symptoms of joint diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Tendonitis. In fact, it may even be superior to the vast majority or prescribed medicines at reducing joint pain and inflammation. People who use Ginger regularly to combat joint pain and inflammation often experience a reduced need for pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication.
According to one study, taking a small dose of Ginger every day over 3 months could lead to significant improvements in joint mobility. This herbal remedy regime can help to prevent morning stiffness and reduce swelling of the joint. At the same time it can lower pain. For a lot of patients, Ginger is a safe, affordable, and natural treatment option that can promote overall wellbeing.
Whilst anti-inflammatory medicines such as NSAIDs are able to block pain and inflammation, they have their limits. NSAIDs and other medicines tend to prevent the formation of inflammatory compounds. This helps to prevent inflammation from occurring or building up.
On the other hand, Ginger not only manages to do this but also reduces any existing inflammation. This super herb can block the formation of inflammatory compounds and break down existing compounds to reduce overall joint inflammation. Alongside this it also manages the acidity levels of fluids found within the joints, and is an anti-oxidant. All these benefits make Ginger far superior to NSAIDs for joint health.
Ginger can be taken in many different forms. Raw, crystallised, and powdered Ginger can all be added to your cooking. In salads, baking, stir fries, drinks, soups, and many more dishes, Ginger can be a valuable ingredient. Ginger tea is also a good way to include this beneficial spice into your diet on a regular basis. Adding Ginger to your diet is easy to do. But if you want to experience significant benefits from Ginger for your joint health, then you should consider taking a supplement. The recommended beneficial intake for Ginger supplements is 500 mg taken 2 to 4 times a day.
As part of the Ginger family, Turmeric offers some very similar benefits to its more popular cousin. This spicy powder is derived from the Curcuma longa herb. Whilst a true favourite of cooks for its spicy warmth, it is also favoured amongst alternative health practitioners. The curcumin substance that Turmeric contains not only gives it its characteristic warmth, but also lends it some potent anti-inflammatory properties.
According to a recent study conducted in 2007, the curcumin found in Turmeric can actually dominate and prevent pro-inflammatory proteins from having any effect on the body. These proteins, known as cytokines, cause inflammation when they build up. The compounds in curcumin can also reduce the pain experienced from a range of autoimmune disorders, including Tendonitis.
The best way to benefit from Turmeric is to add it to your cooking on a regular basis. With a bright orange hue and a unique, tangy flavour, Turmeric is an excellent addition to a variety of dishes. Otherwise, taking 500 mg a day of Turmeric supplements every day for a month can reduce inflammation and promote joint mobility notably. Some people choose to add Turmeric to Ginger tea to double the benefits of this herbal drink.
Like the curcumin that gives Turmeric its spice, Capsaicin is a substance that gives chili peppers their heat. But Capsaicin is not just useful for its spicy characteristics. Like curcumin, it can help to relieve joint pain. However, this herbal aid differs by being useful when applied topically. This means that Capsaicin lotions and ointments can relieve joint pain when massaged directly onto the skin of the joint.
According to several studies Capsaicin can lessen the pain experienced because of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not only this, but the spice can also help people to overcome the painful symptoms of Shingles, Psoriasis, and Diabetic Neuropathy. In terms of joint pain, it is known to be highly effective when applied to the skin.
It is worth being aware that Capsaicin ointments, lotions and creams can all cause a temporary increase in pain before improvements come into effect. This is only temporary, and most people report that the overall reduction in pain is worth it. Wash your hands before and after applying the cream since it can act as an irritant. Avoid getting it near your eyes or any other sensitive area. When used correctly, Capsaicin creams should be simple to apply and effective at relieving any kind of joint pain.
White Willow Bark
Although not a well-known or popularly used herb, White Willow Bark certainly has some significant therapeutic uses. It is thought that this herbal aid could rival conventional medicines in its ability to relieve joint pain. It is known to be effective for managing Osteoarthritis symptoms, as well as acute back pain.
Native to Europe, as well as central and Western Asia, this species of Willow is also referred to as Golden Willow on occasion. Because it has tough and strong yet lightweight wood, this tree has mostly been used to build things with. However, since ancient times it has been used in Greece, China, and central Europe to ease fevers and reduce a variety of aches and pains.
White Willow Bark is known to contain compounds which are similar to those found in aspirin. This lends the herb its pain relieving benefits. It is often prescribed for the treatment of knee and hip joint pain. In fact, in one 2008 study it was found that White Willow Bark could significantly lessen mild to severe knee and hip pain. Research into the benefits of this herbal health aid is ongoing, and so far the use of this plant for therapeutic uses is not too popular in the modern world.
With its wonderful floral fragrance and delicate appearance, Rosemary is a very romantic herb. It is reminiscent of pine in fragrance, and is part of the evergreen family of trees. Available all year, this shrub plant is actually related to Mint. For many people, Rosemary is known for its scent which has made it a favourite for chefs and perfume lovers.
Used in a lot of popular dishes in the UK, Rosemary is well known amongst foodies and chef. But it is not just famed for its flavour. It is also used extensively in the cosmetics and beauty industry for its scent and benefits to skin health. It is not hard to find Rosemary in the UK, since it is widely grown in Europe and is relatively affordable.
Throughout history Rosemary has been used to help boost cognitive and cardiovascular health. It is known that this herb can help to boost the memory and encourage proper blood circulation. For those worried about hair loss, it can improve hair growth. Alongside this, for women it can also normalise menstrual flow and help to regulate urinary health. These are just a few of the supposed benefits that Rosemary is often prescribed for. However, few of these potential benefits have been properly researched. What is known is that Rosemary can definitely help to improve joint health.
When applied topically, or directly to the skin, Rosemary oil is known to help improve joint health. Not only can Rosemary oil help to relieve muscle pain, but it can also boost circulation. What is of real interest to those suffering from joint pain is that Rosemary oil can help to relieve joint pain in Arthritis sufferers. In Germany Rosemary oil is actually officially approved for use in treating joint pain.
It is so easy to include Rosemary in your cooking that you have almost no excuse to leave it out of your kitchen. Adding some of this herb to your daily cooking can help to boost your health and wellbeing at any stage of life. It can also give your meals a pleasant flavour and scent that it sure to make them even more delicious. You can also invest in Rosemary oil that is safe to apply directly onto your skin. If you have a joint that is affected by inflammation and pain, try rubbing a small dab of Rosemary oil onto it twice daily. Over a period of a couple of weeks, you should notice a significant reduction in the pain and stiffness of the affected joint.
Eucalyptus is perhaps Australia’s most well-known plant. Native to this warm climate, Eucalyptus is famed for being a popular food for Australian Koala Bears. However, this plant is actually cultivated in several different countries, and is used extensively all over the globe. Because Eucalyptus is fast growing it can provide a huge amount of wood and oil. Considering how many different uses there are for Eucalyptus oil, this is good news. The oil of this flowering tree can be used as an antiseptic, an insect repellent, for flavour or fragrance, and for therapeutic and medicinal purposes as well. One of these therapeutic uses involves its anti-inflammatory properties.
Eucalyptus is used for the treatment of a range of ailments, but the oil is known to aid joint health. For those suffering from joint pain a stiffness, a natural remedy is desirable. However sometimes there are so many beneficial things to include in your diet or take as a supplement that you may want another option. This is where Eucalyptus oil becomes useful.
This plant’s oil is not safe to consume, but is meant to be applied to the skin. By using this herbal aid externally you can avoid taking too many supplements or herbs inn your diet. Like Rosemary oil, Eucalyptus oil can be applied topically for pain and inflammation relief. This means that the oil can be rubbed directly onto the skin of the joint that is affected, providing almost instant relief.
It is worth bearing in mind that Eucalyptus oil can be quite potent. This means that you have to be careful with the amount you use to apply to your skin. It should be diluted with a carrier oil that is weak, such as olive or sesame oil. Between 15 to 30 drops of Eucalyptus oil to around half a cup of the carrier oil is recommended. Then take a suitable amount of this oil onto your fingers and gently massage the oil onto the affected joint. Use a circular motion and apply gentle pressure to promote circulation and skin health. Avoid any broken skin or wounds. Try this whenever your joint becomes particularly painful or stiff due to inflammation.
You may not think that Stinging Nettles can be good for you, but you would be wrong! Despite their prickly exterior, inside Stinging Nettles are full of goodness. Too many people avoid this herbal health aid because they associate its extract with the unpleasant stings and itchiness that this plant can cause when touched by bare skin. It is true to its name in this sense. However, when cooked or dried Stinging Nettle becomes essentially harmless. Not only this, but it also becomes beneficial to health and wellbeing.
With a reputation as a tonic, Stinging Nettle can help to rid the body of harmful toxins. Specifically, it can help to cleanse the kidneys and promote natural detoxification. This helps to boost wellbeing in the long run, making you feel healthier.
Asides from this, it is thought that Stinging Nettles can lower the level of inflammatory chemicals found in the body. It also interferes with the way in which pain signals are communicated to the brain. This means that Stinging Nettle can not only reduce inflammation, but it can also relieve pain experienced because of inflammation in the first place. This makes this prickly nettle really rather helpful to your wellbeing!
The most popular way to benefit from Stinging Nettle is to drink the tea on a regular basis. Some people like to make a very strong nettle tea and then apply some of the liquid to inflamed joints. Research on the benefits of this topical application in limited though, so you may want to stick to drinking the tea.
When cooked, Stinging Nettle has a flavour similar to spinach, and is excellent in stews. If you want to take a supplement, oral tablets should be taken in no more than 600 mg doses. Divide this into two 300 mg doses, or three 200 mg doses, to take throughout the day. With regular supplementation you should experience some benefits to wellbeing.
Safety and Advice
Although herbal remedies should never be used to replace prescribed medicines, they can still be helpful. Make sure that you can tolerate the specific herbal aids you take. Some herbs may interact with certain types of medication or health conditions. Make sure you are able to take the herbal aid of your choice safely. It is always best to speak to a healthcare professional like your doctor first. They can give you the best advice about taking your herbal medication properly.
When investing your money into an herbal remedy, you need to look for quality rather than affordability. Cheap herbal aids may be tempting, but very often they compromise on quality. This means that they are likely to offer you little benefit to your health. If you really want to boost your wellbeing with an herbal aid, then you need to choose the best herbs you can afford. These will often be more potent and beneficial to your body. Compare reviews and talk to professionals to get a good recommendation of a pure and effective herbal aid.
Herbal aids are most effective when taken regularly and in prescribed doses. Never go above the recommended limit. Herbs can be bad for your health in high doses just like medicine, so be sensible. When taken as recommended improvements in health can be noted in as little as a week or two. You can protect and improve your joints at any stage in life with the right herbs. Using herbal aids to improve your joint health is a great way to support your wellbeing at every stage in life.