For some sufferers, arthritis is a minor irritation, a stiff finger or a mild ache in a hip. For over four million Canadians, arthritis is a disabling fact of life
Studies around the globe support the contention that a vegetarian diet will reduce all arthritic symptoms. Mineral imbalances are commonplace in arthritic disorders. Coffee, alcohol and refined sugar each contribute to creating mineral imbalances. Avoid these and allow your body to maintain proper usable mineral (especially calcium and iron) quantities. Ensure you are getting enough iodine, selenium, calcium and magnesium in your diet. Food sources of these minerals include kelp; dark green leafy vegetables; seafood; nuts; legumes; and whole-grain breads and cereals.
Drink one half ounce of pure water for each pound of body weight you carry. Eat sparingly of rhubarb, cranberries, plums, spinach and chard. These foods are high in oxalic acid and tend to disturb mineral balance in the body. Nightshades tend to aggravate the inflammatory response, so avoid the whole family. These include tomatoes, tobacco, potatoes, peppers and eggplant.
Eat whole grains, lots of vegetables, fruits and tofu and add herbs instead of salt and sugar to your meals. Avoid all refined flour, sugar and fats. Sea salt or Celtic salt may be consumed in moderation; avoid saline salt. Add good fat to your diet, like cold-pressed (extra virgin) olive oil, flax seed oil, walnut or almond oil, hempseed oil or evening primrose. Adding omega-3 oils, such as salmon and halibut, can enhance proper immune response and lessen pain.
Cleanse and Tone
Toxic debris like uric acid accumulated in your body can be the second major culprit in aggravating an inflammatory response. A liver and bowel cleanse can help. Many herbs cleanse both the liver and the bowel, such as dandelion, milk thistle, barberry, cascara sagrada, licorice, chickweed, ginger and cayenne. The aromatic herbs, such as fennel, anise, dill and cinnamon, reduce gas and gastric pain.
Bowel cleanses work best with dry herbs, especially with the addition of organic flax seeds, which provide bulk to move material from the digestive tract. Dry herbs, in addition to stimulating the liver, stomach and bowel, also add bulk and fibre to assist in scrubbing and pushing debris out of the bowel. Consume these either as teas or capsules. Remember to drink extra glasses of water to move the herbs and flax seeds through your digestive system.
Having a series of colonics can expedite the clearing of debris from your bowel. Find a reputable therapist and begin this therapy while undertaking a bowel cleanse or fast. The first session may be quite uncomfortable for a few of us (I remember), but the huge increase in physical energy and well-being is worth it. The subsequent sessions are generally much less dramatic but do their bit for a more thorough clearing of your bowel.
Toning the kidneys and liver will increase excretion of excess acids in the body. Uva ursi, dandelion, stinging nettles, cleavers, gravelroot (joe pye weed), horseradish and horsetail all work well. Adding chickweed, marshmallow or plantain will increase the safe diuretic effect, while adding a demulcent one. (Demulcents are soothing agents that protect mucus membranes and relieve irritation.) Urinary demulcents will ensure that passing those acids will not irritate the kidneys or bladder.
Mix three or four of the herbs together, making sure that one of them is a demulcent. Use one teaspoon of the blend per cup of boiled water. Drink at least three cups each day for best effect. These herbs work very well to reduce the painful swelling of arthritis, especially gout. Clover tea with uva ursi, horsetail or stinging nettle will cleanse your blood and help eliminate excess acids in your system.
Juice Your Joints
Juice fasts have a solid reputation for quick alleviation of arthritic symptoms. A juice fast can be done safely for one to three days. A blend of fresh carrot, beet and parsley juice will promote excretion of excess acids and increased bowel movements. These vegetable juices are packed with minerals and vitamins to speed both cleansing and healing. Drink four to six glasses of these fresh juices each day. (Keep drinking the water as well!)
Another effective juice fast is the Master Cleanse: organic fresh lemon juice, organic 100-percent maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Juice fresh lemons and add to boiled water–to your taste. Add maple syrup to taste, and a dash of cayenne. This fast is generally done for three days. Each evening, take one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. (Don’t take the oil if you have gallstones–it might eliminate them too quickly, which may be painful and perhaps harmful.)
Alfalfa seed tea has a strong anecdotal reputation among sufferers. Simmer two tablespoons of these seeds per one and a quarter pint of water, stirring constantly for 20 to 30 minutes. Use a glass or enamel pot. Cool, strain and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Drink six to seven cups per day for two weeks. Inflammation and pain seem to melt away with this tea. No wonder! The Arabs call this herb the “Father of all Foods,” with its great abundance of vitamins and minerals.
For reducing inflammation and pain, consider devil’s claw, and for pain relief, try white willow bark, turmeric or wood betony. If taken as tinctures, try 15 to 30 drops in water, three times daily. If a tea, then take three to four cups daily. Hawthorn berry and flower are not only good for your heart; they also promote collagen repair.
Vitamin E with selenium has demonstrated tangible benefits in reducing pain and inflammation. Start with 400 IU per day and slowly work up to between 600 to 800 IU over a period of a few weeks.
Try massaging pure peanut oil into your joints. This oil offers temporary lubrication and relief. For something that lasts longer, massage cold-pressed castor oil into affected joints. The addition of heat from a hot-water bottle, will drive the oil into your joints for a welcome relief from pain and swelling. This oil is a phenomenal pain reliever.
Also try one teaspoon of valerian root steeped in a cup of boiled water before bed. Valerian gives most people a good night’s sleep. You need it!