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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

[AlternativeAnswers] Arthritis Awareness Month: Supplements and Herbal Remedies


Good Morning!

Arthritis Awareness Month: Supplements and Herbal Remedies

May is Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis,: which means "joint inflammation" is a general term for over 100 different joint disorders with symptoms ranging from mild aches and pains to severe swelling and crippling pain. Alternative answers for arthritis include a acupuncture, effective exercise, dietary changes and controlling emotional stress.

Taking additional vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements can help to supplement major deficiencies. Touch therapies and hydrotherapy have also shown to be very beneficial. Learn more about how to improve your arthritis and get it under control, naturally. I will be featuring alternative answers for treating arthritis throughout the month.


Acidophilus: The normal, healthy colon contains "friendly" bacteria (85% lactobacillus and 15% coliform bacteria). It is the friendly bacterial flora found in yogurt and is essential to the digestive system. When these bacteria are not in balance, then the person may experience bloating, flatulence, constipation, and malabsorption of nutrients. Acidophilus taken as a dietary supplement may help to detoxify and to rebuild a balanced intestinal flora. It is used for the prevention of Candida as well as for treatment. Acidophilus aids the digestion and helps to replace the "friendly" intestinal flora.

Baikal Skullcap: Flavonoid compounds of baikal skullcap display significant antioxidant effects and promote a healthy inflammation response. Baikal skullcap modulatates both COX and LOX pathways, encourages healthy cardiovascular function, and promotes normal cell growth.* As an antioxidant, it is superior to vitamins C and E. Moreover, baikal skullcap provides immune support, non-sedating anxiolytic effects, modulates histamine release, and supports the health of cells during oxidative treatments.

Calcium and Magnesium can be effective for pain associated with muscle spasms. Take 500 mgs of each, two-three times per day.

A diet that includes Flaxseed, flaxseed oil and fish oils contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and decrease pain. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of irregular heart rhythms and may also improve certain factors, like high blood pressure.

Probiotic A probiotic will fortify your intestinal flora, which are essential for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. This is key to good health and a strong immune system. Studies have shown that patients who begin a course of probiotics with fiber a few days prior to surgery are less likely to pick up a post-operative infection during their hospital stays. This demonstrates a strong connection between intestinal flora and immune function. The fiber, which provides the friendly bacteria both food and sanctuary, can be as simple as an apple or banana.

Magnesium is essential for forming synovial fluid which is the joint cushion. Magnesium is important for cell replication, energy production, the transmission of nerve impulses and hormonal activity. Magnesium can be found in brown rice, soy beans, nuts, brewer's yeast, whole wheat flour and legumes. Consider supplementing magnesium with a recommended daily dose of 200 - 400 mg daily. Caution: Magnesium is toxic to people with renal (kidney) problems or AV (atrioventricular) blocks.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue. In one trial, 2,500 -5,000 mcg of vitamin B12 given by injection every two to three days, led to improvement in 50-80% of a group of people with arthritis; most improvement appeared after several weeks of B12 shots. While the research in this area remains preliminary, people with arthritis considering a trial of vitamin B12 injections should consult a nutritional doctor. Oral or sublingual B12 supplements are unlikely to obtain the same results as injectable B12 because the body’s ability to absorb large amounts is relatively poor.

Vitamins B6,: Foods rich in the B vitamins, which help regulate metabolism, are also beneficial, as diets high in sugar tend to burn these vitamins at a faster rate. These foods include wheat germ, yogurt, and liver.

Vitamin C acts primarily in cellular fluid. Vitamin C scavenges free radicals and cleans up waste products. In addition to its anti-oxidative activities, vitamin C benefits many other body functions. Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is an important component in the structural make up of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood. Vitamin C, even in small amounts, can protect molecules in the body, such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) from damage by free radicals. Vitamin C helps in the fight against free-radical formation caused by pollution and cigarette smoke and also helps return vitamin E to its active form. Take 2,000 - 8,000 mg in divided dosage per day, depending on bowel tolerance.

Herbal Remedies

The medicinal benefits of herbs have been recorded for centuries. Herbs were extensively used to cure practically every known illness and has been documented by Egyptian, Roman, Native American, Persians and Hebrews alike. Many herbs contain powerful ingredients that, if used correctly, can help heal the body. By using herbs in their complete form, the body's healing process utilizes a balance of the ingredients provided by nature.

Herbs and herbal formulas can be taken in a variety of ways.

*You may steep herbs as teas in order to release their healing properties.

* Herbal supplements in pills and capsules are another form. These are herbs ground into powder. Herbal formulas tend to be created for a single problem or nest of related problems and their specific pattern of disharmony.

* Tinctures. Herbal remedies are also prescribed in tincture form and are the previously fresh herb in well preserved, highly concentrated form. This liquid, as well as, concentrated forms of extracted herbs are preserved in their freshest form.

* Steam distillation or cold pressing results in herbs as essential oils.

* Plasters are ingredients such as oils, herbs and other pain relieving herbs combined into an easy to use stick on strip or patch.

* Poultice are macerated or chopped herbs that are placed directly on the skin and a hot, moist bandage is applied.

* Infusions are used when you are working with the most delicate part of the herb-the leaves flowers, fruits and seeds.

* Decoction is used to extract the tougher part of the herb-bark, berries and roots.

It is also important to note that since herbs contain active ingredients, be aware that some elements may interact negatively with prescribed medications! Therefore, your healthcare professional must be notified if you have any questions about safety. As a general rule: most of the bitter tasting herbs are medicinal herbs and the pleasant tasting herbs are less toxic and can be used more often. Also, some herbs in any form, should not be taken for more than seven days at a time. Others herbs are more beneficial with time. The fresh leaves, bark, and roots of herbs can be used in their natural form or can be found in dried form and used in capsules, tablets, tinctures, essential oils, powders, creams, lotions, and salves.

Herbal medicine is a wonderful solution for pain and pain management. Complications can arise when taking herbal medicine and allopathic drugs internally, which your doctor has prescribed. Great caution should be used especially if you are on blood thinners, diuretics or heart related medication. Consult your doctor with any questions you may have, before taking additional herbs or supplements, internally.

Arnica Suave is a rich blend of quartz silica, amber resin and the pain-relieving power of arnica in a special massage-in suave designed by Andrew for his practice and is a part of his new "Crystal Inspirations" product line.

Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) may decrease the progression of arthritis. This dark brown seaweed is a soothing and nourishing tonic. Caution: avoid in overactive (hyper) thyroid conditions.

Bromelain is a plant-enzyme. Bromelain is not actually a single substance, but a group of protein-digesting enzymes found in pineapple juice and in the stem of pineapple plants. Local swelling is the releasing of histamines in a localized area causes the vasodilation and increased permeability of blood vessels. Bromelain has an anti-inflammatory effect and is a very effective treatment for fibromyalgia. It is recommend taking 200 to 400 milligrams three times a day on an empty stomach at least ninety minutes before or three hours after eating. Discontinue use if you develop any itching or rash.

Cats Claw Bark (Uncaria tomentosa): A great anti-inflammatory herb. Also called Una de Gato, the root and bark of this herb, which has cat-like horns or claws, has been used by since the Inca civilization to treat a variety of health problems, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, stomach ulcers, many inflammatory disorders, dysentery, and fevers.

Cayenne Pepper (Capsaicin): In liquid tincture form is used internally as an ayurvedic remedy for joint pain, especially when affected by cold and dampness. Consider our topical Arthritis Remedy Blend for decreasing pain and inflammation.

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum Officinale): is recommended for degenerative arthritis. This infamous liver tonic is a safe diuretic herb used for all types of liver problems, promotes good digestion and plays a crucial role in detoxification. This is helpful for chronic and wasting diseases.

Devils Claw: An analgesic and anti-inflammatory. This tuber is used to treat all kinds of arthritis. Dosage: one to two grams, three times daily.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium): is very helpful as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and emmenagogue reknowned for the treatment of both migraines and arthritis. The dosage is 1 teaspoon of tincture, 20-30 drops at the onset of a migraine. Repeat after 2 hours as needed. For repeated attacks and as a treatment for arhtritis, take one teaspoon every morning.

Ginger: An anti-inflammatory. Ginger has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory. Taking 6â€"50 grams of fresh, liquid tincture or powdered ginger per day indicated that ginger might be helpful. Suggested Dosage: 0.5 to 1 mg of powdered ginger daily

Ginger Tonic: Ginger supports healthy digestion, promotes a healthy inflammation response, promotes platelet health and cardiovascular function, and increases the absorption and utilization of other herbs and nutrients.

Ginseng, Siberian: (Eleuthero senticosus) is beneficial especially for rheumatoid arthritis. This famous wonder of the world root is widely used and increase vital energy, works as an adaptogen herb, strengthens the immune system, helps the body cope with side effects from chemotherapy and is a great jet lag tonic. Caution: use for short durations only. May aggravate anxiety, irritability and high blood pressure.

Glucosamine sulfate (GS), a nutrient derived from sea shells, contains a building block needed for the repair of joint cartilage. GS has significantly reduced symptoms of osteoarthritis. All published clinical investigations on the effects of GS in people with osteoarthritis report statistically significant improvement. Most research trials use 500 mg GS taken three times per day. Benefits from GS generally become evident after three to eight weeks of treatment. Avoid if you have any allergic reactions to shell fish.

Glucosamine stimulates the production of the specific elements of cartilage and protects them. It helps your body repair worn cartilage, reduce pain and improve function. Chondroitin attracts fluids into proteoglycans, the molecules dispersed through out the cartilage that give the tissue its shock-absorber quality, and protects the cartilage against breakdown. These are substances the body already produces for itself in small amounts.

Glucosamine is found in almost all tissue; it has a role in the repair and maintenance of joint cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate is a major component of cartilage and is thought to inhibit the enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of cartilage.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense): attributes its healing power to its high content of silica and zinc. This common weed works well for arthritis, particularly in synergy with dandelion root.

S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) possesses anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and tissue-healing properties that may help protect the health of joints.SAM-e is derived from methionine, an essential amino acid; it may promote cartilage formation and repair. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are usually sold together. In clinical studies, the supplements had to be taken for several weeks before providing any pain relief. Don't forget the truly natural and proven methods for battling osteoarthritis, lose excess weight and exercise.

Turmeric: Turmeric is a traditional ayurvedic remedyand medicine that has been researched for its ability to promote a healthy inflammation response, support cardiovascular health, and support normal cell growth. An effective anti-inflammatory. Dosage: 400 mg three times daily; take on an empty stomach and combine with 1,000 mg of bromelain

Wild Yam Root (Dioscorea villosa): is very beneficial in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. This dried root is known for its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. This root works in wonderful synergy with White Willow Bark.

White Willow Bark: Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. White Willow bark has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Extracts providing 60â€"120 mg salicin per day are approved for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Although the analgesic actions of willow are typically slow-acting, they last longer than aspirin.

Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit

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