1. Turmeric & Ginger Tea
Turmeric and ginger are both anti-inflammatorys, and will help with oseto and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric in particular has gotten a lot of attention lately. Its active ingredient is something called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, it lowers the levels of 2 enzymes responsible for causing inflammation (which is what we’re often fighting with arthritis.) You can take these in a capsule form or make a nice spicy tea to enjoy daily.
You will need…
-2 cups of water
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
-Honey to taste
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and had ½ teaspoon each ground ginger and ground turmeric. Reduce to a simmer and let it be for 10-15 minutes. Strain, add honey to taste, and enjoy twice daily. This yields 2 servings.
2. Epsom salt soak
Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate which sounds kind of scary, but it’s really quite a wonderful substance. A naturally occurring mineral, magnesium sulfate has been used to get relief from pain for years, namely because of its high levels of magnesium (more on magnesium below.)
You will need…
-1/2 cup of Epsom salt
-A large bowl
Fill a large bowl with warm water and add ½ cup of Epsom salt. Stir it around, and then submerge your sore joints in the liquid. If you are experiencing pain in a less convenient place to soak, such as your knees, try taking a bath with Epsom salts. Run a tub full of warm water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt. Soak for 15 minutes (at least.)
3. Get more magnesium (seriously.)
Magnesium is something our bodies need, but we can’t make it ourselves. It is used in over 300 different biomechanical responses in our body. It relaxes all our muscles and nerve endings, relieving stiffness and pain. It is even part of what makes our heart beat. Not only does it relax muscles and ease pain (this goes for arthritis pain too, of course) it helps bones to mineralize. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted one of many studies on magnesium that showed people who had a diet high in magnesium/took supplements had higher bone density, and overall stronger bones. There are several ways to get more magnesium and utilize it for arthritis in particular.
Supplements: Magnesium capsules are a good thing to add to your day-to-day life, but they work best when used in conjunction with an improved diet.
Diet: Really this is the clincher-as great as supplements are, they can’t do everything. Eat foods that are high in magnesium, which include dark leafy greens (like spinach), nuts, and legumes (beans.)
Oil: There is magnesium oil that can be applied topically and absorbed through the skin. Try rubbing it on sore joints to relieve pain.
4.White Willow Tea (the original aspirin)
Before there was aspirin, and I mean way before aspirin, there was white willow bark. The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about it all the way back in 5th century BC. It wasn’t until 18-something or other (1829, I believe) that it was found that white willow was so effective because it contained an active ingredient called salicin. Salicin is converted in the body into salicylic acid-similar to acetyl salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. But because the naturally occurring salicin is converted after it passed through the stomach, it resulted in less irritation/side effects. While it can be taken in a capsule form, I usually opt for the tea version of just about everything.
You will need…
-2 teaspoons of powdered or chipped white willow bark
-1 cup of water
-Honey or lemon to taste
Bring 1 cup (8 oz.) of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add 2 teaspoons of powdered or chipped white willow bark and let it infuse for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it steep for 30 more minutes. Drink twice daily-it’s bitter, so honey and lemon are usually welcome here.
When it’s painful and difficult just to move, the last thing you feel like doing is getting up and exercising. As unpleasant as it may sound though, exercise is vital for those who suffer from any form of stiffness, joint pain, or arthritis.Exercise will help control weight (an excess of which puts more strain on your joints) strengthens the muscles that support the joint, even when the cartilage is thinning, and lubricates the joints, allowing them to move more freely. When we are inactive the synovial fluid in the joints is the consistency of a thick gel, but once we get moving and warming up, the liquid becomes more viscous and can do a better job of lubricating our joints and keeping them going smoothly. Just imagine if you were to be sedentary every day, pretty soon you’d be so stiff it’d be just about impossible to move. But if you get up and move around every day, you’ll get stronger and will loosen up as well.
-Going for a brisk walk-start with 15 minutes and work your way up into a solid daily routine.
-Doing joint-targeted exercises-certain stretches and exercises specifically target joints to help rid them of stiffness and pain.
-Getting a dog-doing so backs up the first point, because you’ll have no choice but to walk!