Natural Herbal Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis
HEALTH HERBS & NUTRITION - REMEDIES - RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

· General Description

· Symptoms

· Causes

· Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

· Helpful Dietary Habits

· Dos and Don'ts

Herbal & homeopathic products for Rheumatoid Arthritis

General description & overview of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It has several special features that make it different from other kinds of arthritis. For example, rheumatoid arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern, meaning that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one also is. The disease often affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints. In addition, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have fatigue, occasional fevers, and a general sense of not feeling well.

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Enfūz - Joint Support

Enfūz Joint not only provides for a person's basic nutritional needs, but this program contains powerful ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, msm and Celadrin to support healthy joints and bones. It is especially for anyone who is interested in improving the overall health of their joints and bones.

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Rheumatoid arthritis affects people differently. For some people, it lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people have mild or moderate forms of the disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Still, others have a severe form of the disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years or a lifetime, and leads to serious joint damage and disability.

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Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Symmetrical pattern of affected joints, meaning that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one also is
  • Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
  • Joint inflammation sometimes affecting other joints, including the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet
  • Fatigue, occasional fevers, a general sense of not feeling well
  • Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest
  • Symptoms that last for many years
  • Variability of symptoms among people with the disease

Other Parts of the Body affected

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis also have symptoms in places other than their joints.

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis develop anemia, or a decrease in the production of red blood cells.
• Other effects that occur less often include neck pain and dry eyes and mouth.
• Very rarely, people may have inflammation of the blood vessels, the lining of the lungs, or the sac enclosing the heart.

Natural remedies, medicines & cures for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in all races and ethnic groups. Although the disease often begins in middle age and occurs with increased frequency in older people, children and young adults also develop it. Like some other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis occurs much more frequently in women than in men. About two to three times as many women as men have the disease.

Although rheumatoid arthritis can have serious effects on a person's life and well-being, current treatment strategies - including pain-relieving drugs and medications that slow joint damage, a balance between rest and exercise, and patient education and support programs - allow most people with the disease to lead active and productive lives. In recent years, research has led to a new understanding of rheumatoid arthritis and has increased the likelihood that, in time, researchers will find even better ways to treat the disease.

Occurrence and Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Scientists estimate that about 2.1 million people, or between 0.5 and 1 percent of the U.S. adult population, have rheumatoid arthritis. Interestingly, some recent studies have suggested that the overall number of new cases of rheumatoid arthritis actually may be going down. Scientists are investigating why this may be happening.

By all measures, the financial and social impact of all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, is substantial, both for the Nation and for individuals. From an economic standpoint, the medical and surgical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and the wages lost because of disability caused by the disease add up to billions of dollars annually. Daily joint pain is an inevitable consequence of the disease, and most patients also experience some degree of depression, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness. For some people, rheumatoid arthritis can interfere with normal daily activities, limit job opportunities, or disrupt the joys and responsibilities of family life. However, there exist arthritis self-management programs that help people cope with the pain and other effects of the disease and help them lead independent and productive lives.

How Rheumatoid Arthritis Develops and Progresses

The Joints

A joint is a place where two bones meet. The ends of the bones are covered by cartilage, which allows for easy movement of the two bones. The joint is surrounded by a capsule that protects and supports it. (See illustration.) The joint capsule is lined with a type of tissue called synovium, which produces synovial fluid, a clear substance that lubricates and nourishes the cartilage and bones inside the joint capsule.

Like many other rheumatic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease (auto means self), so-called because a person's immune system, which normally helps protect the body from infection and disease, attacks joint tissues for unknown reasons. White blood cells, the agents of the immune system, travel to the synovium and cause inflammation (synovitis), characterized by warmth, redness, swelling, and pain - typical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. During the inflammation process, the normally thin synovium becomes thick and makes the joint swollen and puffy to the touch.

As the disease progresses, the inflamed synovium invades and damages the cartilage and bone of the joint. Surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support and stabilize the joint become weak and unable to work normally. Rheumatoid arthritis also can cause more generalized bone loss that may lead to osteoporosis (fragile bones that are prone to fracture). Researchers studying rheumatoid arthritis now believe that it begins to damage bones during the first year or two that a person has the disease, one reason why early diagnosis and treatment are so important.

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Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Scientists still do not know exactly what causes the immune system to turn against itself in rheumatoid arthritis, but research over the last few years has begun to piece together the factors involved.

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Genetic (inherited) factors: Scientists have discovered that certain genes known to play a role in the immune system are associated with a tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis do not have these particular genes; still others have these genes but never develop the disease. These somewhat contradictory data suggest that a person's genetic makeup plays an important role in determining if he or she will develop rheumatoid arthritis, but it is not the only factor. What is clear, however, is that more than one gene is involved in determining whether a person develops rheumatoid arthritis and how severe the disease will become.

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Environmental factors: Many scientists think that something must occur to trigger the disease process in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis. A viral or bacterial infection appears likely, but the exact agent is not yet known. This does not mean that rheumatoid arthritis is contagious: a person cannot catch it from someone else.

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Cigarette smoking: It appears that heavy smoking over a long period of time increases your risk of getting RA.

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Medication: Interferon-alpha, a drug used to treat hepatitis, autoimmune diseases, and other diseases has triggered RA in rare cases.

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Other factors: Some scientists also think that a variety of hormonal factors may be involved. Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, pregnancy may aggravate the disease, and the disease may flare after a pregnancy. Breastfeeding may also aggravate the disease. Contraceptive use may alter a person's likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists think that levels of the immune system molecules interleukin 12 (IL-12) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) may change along with the changing hormone levels seen in pregnant women. This change may contribute to the swelling and tissue destruction seen in rheumatoid arthritis. These hormones, or possibly deficiencies or changes in certain hormones, may promote the development of rheumatoid arthritis in a genetically susceptible person who has been exposed to a triggering agent from the environment. History of blood transfusion and obesity are also considered as possible causes.

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Even though all the answers are not known, one thing is certain: rheumatoid arthritis develops as a result of an interaction of many factors. Researchers are trying to understand these factors and how they work together.

Alternative medicines, remedies & cures for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Coffee intake: This is controversial. One Finnish study reported a direct association between coffee consumption and an increased risk for RA, but the study did not account for other factors such as the way coffee is prepared in Finland (typically without filters). A study in the U.S. of 121,701 women found little evidence of an association between coffee or decaf coffee and the risk of RA. Further investigation is needed.

Diagnosis

Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages for several reasons. First, there is no single test for the disease. In addition, symptoms differ from person to person and can be more severe in some people than in others. Also, symptoms can be similar to those of other types of arthritis and joint conditions, and it may take some time for other conditions to be ruled out. Finally, the full range of symptoms develops over time, and only a few symptoms may be present in the early stages. As a result, doctors use a variety of the following tools to diagnose the disease and to rule out other conditions:

  • Medical history: This is the patient's description of symptoms and when and how they began. Good communication between patient and doctor is especially important here. For example, the patient's description of pain, stiffness, and joint function and how these change over time is critical to the doctor's initial assessment of the disease and how it changes over time.
  • Physical examination: This includes the doctor's examination of the joints, skin, reflexes, and muscle strength.
  • Laboratory tests: One common test is for rheumatoid factor, an antibody that is present eventually in the blood of most people with rheumatoid arthritis. (An antibody is a special protein made by the immune system that normally helps fight foreign substances in the body.) Not all people with rheumatoid arthritis test positive for rheumatoid factor, however, especially early in the disease. Also, some people test positive for rheumatoid factor, yet never develop the disease. Other common laboratory tests include a white blood cell count, a blood test for anemia, and a test of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (often called the sed rate), which measures inflammation in the body. C-reactive protein is another common test that measures disease activity.

X rays: X rays are used to determine the degree of joint destruction. They are not useful in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis before bone damage is evident, but they can be used later to monitor the progression of the disease.

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Herbal & homeopathic remedies useful in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Doctors use a variety of approaches to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These are used in different combinations and at different times during the course of the disease and are chosen according to the patient's individual situation. No matter what treatment the doctor and patient choose, however, the goals are the same: to
  • Relieve pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Slow down or stop joint damage
  • Improve a person's sense of well-being and ability to function

Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment is specifically aimed at providing pain relief. Conventional medications include analgesics (aspirin or acetaminophen), NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressive agents may be used.

It is important to discuss these medications with your physician as many of these agents have damaging side effects, especially when used long term as is the case in chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

More and more arthritis sufferers, particularly those with chronic conditions, are turning to natural and holistic treatments because conventional medicine has failed to produce the desired results. Natural arthritis pain relief can be obtained with treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies that are gentle and mild, yet effective and offer symptomatic relief. Ingredients such as Glucosamine can be used to provide natural arthritis pain relief and to repair cartilage and maintain joint mobility while Boswellia acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.


Herbal supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis. •	Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) has been used since ancient times. In medieval times it was used to prevent 'growling stomachs' during church services! Apart from its naturally supportive properties for digestion, Fennel also helps to maintain liver, kidney and spleen health. Recent research has demonstrated fennel’s supportive effects on digestion. Animal and test-tube studies hint at a number of potentially useful benefits for the liver and gall bladder – as well as the healthy production of bile.

Clinical studies have proven the effectiveness of Devil's Claw in treating joint conditions like osteo-arthritis, fibrositis, rheumatism and small joint disease. Other useful herbs for natural arthritis pain relief like Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) can help to soothe the affected area, in a gentle manner without harsh side effects – helping with the recovery process. Cayenne can also be used in an infused oil to rub into arthritic joints for added relief.

Remember to obtain all herbal and homeopathic remedies from a reputable source.

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Harpagophytum procumbens ('Sengaparile,' 'Devil's Claw' or 'Duiwelsklou') is known for the claw-like shape of its fruit. For thousands of years, the Khoisan people of the Kalahari Desert (in Southern Africa) have used Devil's Claw to support healthy joints as well as for a digestive tonic. Clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Devil's Claw in supporting joint, cartilage and back (especially lower back) health. In a study by Brady et al, (1981), serum cholesterol and uric acid levels were shown to be reduced after treatment with Devil's Claw. Scientific studies have also indicated that it is also an effective immune system tonic.

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Glucosamine is naturally manufactured in the body and scientists know that this simple substance is found in relatively high concentrations in the joints and connective tissues, where its function is to repair cartilage and maintain joint mobility. Although we know that the body can manufacture small amounts of glucosamine, this is not generally sufficient to sustain joint health, which makes supplementation very important. As a supplement, Glucosamine sulphate is derived from the shells of shellfish, crabs and oysters where it is found in high concentrations. Glucosamine is approved for the support of joint health in more than 70 countries around the world and has been the subject of many clinical studies which attest to its benefits. Because glucosamine is naturally occurring in the body it is generally very safe and well tolerated without side effects.

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Boswellia serrata is an extract of resin from a tall tree found in India. Boswellia has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. Modern science has verified its excellent benefits for joint health. With regular use, blood supply to the joints is also maintained, keeping soft tissue nourished and viable. Recent research into Boswellia is at the forefront of developments in the field of natural joint health and studies suggest that this natural substance can help to support the health and integrity of cartilage in the joints.

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Taraxacum officinalis (Dandelion) was commonly used in Native American medicine and is found in many parts of the world today. It contains bitter principles that have a tonic effect on the liver and digestive system. It is also a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, D, C, and B and iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese. In recent studies, Taraxacum officinalis was shown to have an effect on the body weight of laboratory animals. It is also known to support liver and gall bladder functioning and may help to maintain healthy blood pressure within the normal range as well as natural fluid balance in the body.

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Pelargonium reniforme is a medicinal plant known to generations of Khoi/San descendants and Xhosa traditional healers for its health-supporting properties. Also known as 'Umckaloabo', it is traditionally used for a range of therapeutic functions and is well known for its supportive capacity on liver functioning and as a digestive tonic. This species of pelargonium is indigenous to the Eastern Cape of South Africa and grows wild, sending out long bulbous roots deep into the ground. The active ingredients are found in the bitter tasting root of the plant. Recent studies have shown indicated this herb can be beneficial in supporting the body’s ability to maintain balance between various body systems.

   

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Enfūz - Joint Support

Enfūz Joint not only provides for a person's basic nutritional needs, but this program contains powerful ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, msm and Celadrin to support healthy joints and bones. It is especially for anyone who is interested in improving the overall health of their joints and bones.

Product Details

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Dietary recommendations in Rheumatoid Arthritis

With the exception of several specific types of oils, there is no scientific evidence that any specific food or nutrient helps or harms people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, an overall nutritious diet with enough-but not an excess-of calories, protein, and calcium is important.

Some important points to remember are:

  1. It is important to eat a nutritious diet full of whole foods including protein, which is needed to heal.

  2. There are reports of people with RA who experienced an improvement in their symptoms when they switched from a typical Western diet (high in animal protein and simple sugars) to a vegan diet with lots of uncooked berries, fruits, vegetables, nuts, roots, seeds, and sprouts. Vegan diets contain no animal products and obtain protein from vegetable sources.

  3. Foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium may be particularly important. Although several types of diets may be effective for RA, no one diet has been found to work for everyone.

 Foods rich in the above vitamins & minerals are-

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Vitamin E: Cold-pressed vegetable oils, including olive, corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, and canola and products made from these oils, wheat germ, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts), dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, egg yolks, seeds (Sunflower seeds), whole grains liver, corn-oil margarine, mayonnaise, greens (beet, collard, mustard, turnip), sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, yams

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B vitamins - Good dietary sources of vitamin B-Complex include Brewer's yeast, rice bran, liver and grain.

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Zinc: The best sources of zinc are oysters (richest source), red meats, poultry, cheese (ricotta, Swiss, gouda), shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. Other good, though less easily absorbed sources of zinc include legumes (especially lima beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, soybeans, peanuts), whole grains, miso, tofu, brewer's yeast, cooked greens, mushrooms, green beans, tahini, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Pumpkin seeds provide one of the most concentrated vegetarian food sources of zinc.

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Selenium: Selenium is found mainly in plants, and is most common in foods grown or raised in a selenium rich environment. Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium. Brewer's yeast and wheat germ, liver, butter, fish (mackeral, tuna, halibut, flounder, herring, smelts) and shellfish (oysters, scallops and lobster), garlic, whole grains and sunflower seeds are all good sources of selenium.

 
Dietary recommendation for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Some people may need to be careful about drinking alcoholic beverages because of the medications they take for rheumatoid arthritis.

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Those taking methotrexate may need to avoid alcohol altogether because one of the most serious long-term side effects of methotrexate is liver damage.



Homeopathic medicines for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Elimination/provocation diets (also called elimination/re-challenging diets), are designed to detect allergens by systematically taking certain foods out of the diet and reintroducing them one at a time. Such diets should be strictly supervised by a qualified physician and/or dietitian. If this process is followed, you should keep careful track of your symptoms in a food diary to see if the dietary changes impact your symptoms.

Dos and don'ts (precautions) in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rest and exercise: People with rheumatoid arthritis need a good balance between rest and exercise, with more rest when the disease is active and more exercise when it is not. Rest helps to reduce active joint inflammation and pain and to fight fatigue. The length of time for rest will vary from person to person, but in general, shorter rest breaks every now and then are more helpful than long times spent in bed.

Exercise is important for maintaining healthy and strong muscles, preserving joint mobility, and maintaining flexibility. Exercise can also help people sleep well, reduce pain, maintain a positive attitude, and lose weight. Exercise programs should take into account the person's physical abilities, limitations, and changing needs.

Joint care: Some people find using a splint for a short time around a painful joint reduces pain and swelling by supporting the joint and letting it rest. Splints are used mostly on wrists and hands, but also on ankles and feet. A doctor or a physical or occupational therapist can help a person choose a splint and make sure it fits properly. Other ways to reduce stress on joints include self-help devices (for example, zipper pullers, long-handled shoe horns); devices to help with getting on and off chairs, toilet seats, and beds; and changes in the ways that a person carries out daily activities.

Stress reduction: People with rheumatoid arthritis face emotional challenges as well as physical ones. The emotions they feel because of the disease-fear, anger, and frustration-combined with any pain and physical limitations can increase their stress level. Although there is no evidence that stress plays a role in causing rheumatoid arthritis, it can make living with the disease difficult at times. Stress also may affect the amount of pain a person feels. There are a number of successful techniques for coping with stress. Regular rest periods can help, as can relaxation, distraction, or visualization exercises. Exercise programs, participation in support groups, and good communication with the health care team are other ways to reduce stress.

Climate: Some people notice that their arthritis gets worse when there is a sudden change in the weather. However, there is no evidence that a specific climate can prevent or reduce the effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Moving to a new place with a different climate usually does not make a long-term difference in a person's rheumatoid arthritis.

Herbal & homeopathic cures for Rheumatoid Arthritis. This ancient Indian practice is well known for its physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual benefits and is often recommended to relieve musculoskeletal symptoms. In one small study, men and women with RA had improved grip strength in their hands after practicing yoga for only 15 days. Women in this study showed greater improvements than men. Certain yoga "asanas" (postures) strengthen the quadriceps and emphasize stretching. People with arthritis should begin asanas slowly and they should be performed only after a warm up. Yoga is best performed under the careful guidance of a reputable instructor.

Acupuncture: There is little to no scientific evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for RA. However, some practitioners will consider acupuncture to treat this joint condition. Acupuncturists treat people with RA based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi, or energy, located in various meridians. A qi deficiency is usually detected in the spleen and/or kidney meridians.

Acupuncturists may use moxibustion (a technique in which the herb mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is burned over specific acupuncture points) to strengthen the entire energy system. Qualified acupuncturists may also provide lifestyle, dietary, and herbal advice to people with RA. Practitioners may apply local treatment to the painful areas and related sore points, either with a needle or moxibustion. However, given the current lack of evidence, acupuncture should be used as a supportive treatment only.

Balneotherapy (Hydrotherapy or spa therapy): Balneotherapy is one of the oldest forms of therapy for pain relief for people with arthritis. The term "balneo" comes from the Latin word for bath (balneum) and refers to bathing in thermal or mineral waters. For example, sulfur-containing mud baths have been shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis. The goals of balneotherapy for arthritis include:

  • Improving range of joint motion
  • Increasing muscle strength
  • Eliminating muscle spasm
  • Enhancing functional mobility
  • Easing pain
  • Exercising and swimming in a heated pool may also be beneficial.

Tai Chi: This gentle exercise program practiced in China for centuries has been shown to produce a number of benefits, including the following:

  • Improved fitness
  • Increased muscular strength
  • Enhanced flexibility
  • Reduced percentage of body fat
  • Diminished risk of falls in the elderly

      Tai Chi shows significant improvement in the following areas:

  • Overall sense of quality of life
  • Diminished feelings of stress/tension
  • Increased satisfaction with general health
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Easier self management of arthritis symptoms

These benefits are likely to apply to individuals with RA as well. A review of the literature found that Tai Chi benefits lower extremity range of motion for people with RA.

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Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Enfūz - Joint Support

Enfūz Joint not only provides for a person's basic nutritional needs, but this program contains powerful ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, msm and Celadrin to support healthy joints and bones. It is especially for anyone who is interested in improving the overall health of their joints and bones.

Product Details