Natural Home Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the lining of the joints, creating inflammation.
Inflammation, in turn, results in swelling and pain in and around the joints. Damage may occur beyond joints and include other organs and structures of your body.
Some researchers believe diabetes, arthritis and gastric diseases such as Crohn’s disease are all autoimmune diseases; that they are caused by autoimmune reactions to a “leaky gut.”
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Some or all of these may be present and can affect both sides of the body:
- Bone deformity
- Bone erosion
- Joint deformity
- Joint pain
- Joint redness
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint tenderness
- Joint warmth
- Range of motion decreased
- Weight loss
It is suggested that RA affects about one percent of the world’s population.
There is no recognized cure for this condition. Your doctor will try to reduce inflammation and pain. She may recommend ice packs to the affected area for 20 minutes three times a day. Your physician may prescribe medications such as NSAID’s, Steroids or DMARD’s. Surgery may be indicated at some point.
These suggestions are for treatments that others have found helpful in relieving pain, decreasing inflammation, and restoring balance. The entries here are intended for your further research.
A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan and will help in reducing inflammation. The author of the Zone Diet also published a book entitled The Anti-Inflammation Zone.
FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING
- Anti-inflammatory foods
- Bok Choy
- Bone Broth
- Borage oil (for GLA)
- Chia seeds
- Coconut oil
- Fermented soy foods from organic non-GMO sources
- Fish, cold water
- Flax seeds
- Leafy greens
- Oatmeal, cooked steel-cut (for GLA)
- Shitake mushrooms
- Watermelon seeds
FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID
- Alcohol can reduce bone density, increase inflammation, and interact with medications)
- Inflammatory foods
- Nightshade plants (ie. peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, tobacco)
- Processed sugars
- Refined carbohydrates
- Smoking increases risk and severity.
- Wheat (wheat has a protein called gliaden in it, which has been shown to affect gut permeability. It disrupts the junctions between the cells’ lining the intestinal wall. This allows dietary proteins to leak into to the blood stream which causes a response from the immune system.
TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS
- Alfalfa seed tea (several cups a day)
- Blackstrap molasses in warm water
- Green tea
- Matcha tea
- White tea
- White Willow Tea
HERBS AND SPICES
- Alfalfa seeds
- Allspice, Jamaican
- Aloe vera
- Autumn Crocus
- Borage oil
- Cat’s claw
- Capsaicin as a cream, gel or patch
- Cayenne pepper
- Celery seed
- Dandelion leaves
- Eucalyptus (use the leaves for compresses on painful joints)
- Evening primrose
- Green tea extract
- Green-lipped mussel
- Juniper berry
- Kombucha tea (pref. commercially prepared to avoid contaminants)
- Pau d’Arco
- Pectin and grape juice to restore elasticity of synovial tissue and decrease pain
- Pumpkin pie spices
- Turmeric, to reduce pain and swelling
- Willow bark
Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut or added to a hot bath. Commercially, you might find edibles and sprays as well.
- Blue Tansy
- Eucalyptus-Mint ointment for a night-time rub
OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS
A blood test can determine some of your deficiencies and will be less expensive in the long run than taking supplements you do not need.
- Activator X
- Aconite (only in homeopathic form)
- Alfalfa tablets
- Arnica (only in homeopathic form)
- Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) may help regenerate connective tissue. Some patients have been able to reduce NSAID’s.
- Bone meal
- Calcium plus Vitamin D
- Edible Clay
- Detoxification supplement
- Diatomaceous Earth, food grade
- Graviola (see post on Graviola for cautions)
- Halibut liver oil capsules
- King of bitters
- Muira Puama – an Amazon folk medicine used as an aphrodisiac may also relieve joint pain
- Olive oil, extra virgin, internally and topically
- Omega-3’s, which are anti-inflammatory
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C, high dose (3,000 mg/day)
- Vitamin E
Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you keep your joints flexible. That exercise is beneficial is undisputed. Brisk walking helps build muscle surrounding joints, reducing pressure on the joints themselves. It may be less painful to exercise in water. Exercise will trigger endorphins, your natural painkillers. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.
Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to stay mellow. Getting quality sleep is an important ingredient to a serene and balanced mind.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO
- Apply cold for pain relief (i.e. ice packs on the affected area 3x a day for 20 minutes).
- Apply heat for pain relief.
- Apply comfrey poultices
- Check out the possibility of guanidine poisoning, which can produce pain and arthritis when alkalosis causes calcium to accumulate in your joints.
- Copper bracelet–some claim that the copper eases pain as the copper leaches into the skin as a copper supplement.
- Epsom salt soak
- Honey and apple cider vinegar stirred in warm water, before meals.
- Lose weight. Obesity puts you in a higher risk category.
- Paraffin wax baths for arthritic hands
- Research Dr. Bruce West’s recommendations for Cod Liver Oil and Activator X, to treat stiffness, osteoporosis and joint pain.
- Stay warm at night.
- Chinese Medicine
- Meditation for a calm mind
- TENS for pain relief
- Tai Chi
Having RA increases risk of other conditions and diseases:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Heart problems
- Lung disease
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- A healthy immune system
- A wholesome diet
- Regular exercise
- Quality sleep
- Low stress