Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful and debilitating chronic condition. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes that line the joints. The inflammation that results causes serious pain, nausea, anemia, swelling, and can lead to bone loss and even liver damage.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure, however, there are alternative remedies that can work alongside traditional medications to help patients manage the symptoms.
Here are the ten most effective natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis relief…
I bet you had no idea that your colon affects your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, did you? The colon (located within the large intestine) houses your body’s beneficial bacteria, which aids digestion, but also to harmful bacteria, which can trigger inflammation when there’s a change in the intestinal environment (i.e., extreme stress or taking antibiotics). However, taking probiotics (or helpful such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) can reduce inflammation.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
As far as natural anti-inflammatories go, omega-3 fatty acids are the most effective when it comes to reducing joint pain and stiffness. To ease your RA pain, make sure to incorporate seafood, especially fatty salmon, sardines and tuna, into your weekly diet.
3.Cold & Hot Compresses
Applying cold will alleviate inflammation in the joints, while applying hot will relax stiff muscles and encourage blood flow. You can make your own cold compress at home by moistening a cloth and putting it in the freezer. For a hot compress, moisten a cloth and microwave it for a minute.
4. Gamma Linolenic Acid
Gamma linolenic acid (or GLA) is similar to omega 3s in that this fatty acid also eases inflammation. You can find GLAs in supplement capsule or botanical oils form—such as evening primrose, black currant seed, and borage oil—to reduce joint pain and morning stiffness.
5. Magnetic Therapy
Static magnet therapy has been getting a lot of attention in the medical community as an effective arthritis treatment. Magnets are linked to increasing circulation, which eases the pain associated with not only arthritis, but also carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis as well. And you can wear magnets on your person in jewelry form or as magnetic foil insoles that you slip inside your shoes.
Many spices contain natural anti-inflammatory properties—such as turmeric and ginger, which mimic the effects of low doses of aspirin and ibuprofen. In fact, studies show that cooking will reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals released by the immune system.
7. The Anti-inflammatory Diet
You really are what you eat when it comes to your health, and rheumatoid arthritis patients are no different. In addition to recommending omega 3s from fatty fish, the inflammatory diet, popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil, advocates meals rich in whole grains, fruits, fresh veggies, olive oil, beans, herbs, and green tea—while cutting down on red meat, sugar, saturated fats, and white flour.
8. Herbal Supplements
The good news is that many natural anti-inflammatories can be popped in capsule form—try bromelain (pineapple enzymes), EGCG (green tea extract), and herbs such as boswellia (Indian frankincense), devil’s claw, and ginkgo—to reduce inflammatory pain and stiffness.
9. Mind-Body Exercises
It’s no surprise that stress can worsen RA symptoms, which is why so many RA patients do some form of meditation, tai chi, yoga, biofeedback, or massage to soothe the body and mind while increasing physical flexibility, strength, and balance. Check out these exercises to help manage rheumatoid arthritis!
10. Bee Venom
Who knew that bee venom could ease harmful RA inflammation in joints? Scientists have found that the venom of the busy bee encourages the production of natural, inflammation-fighting hormones in arthritis patients and have been examining it as an alternative treatment.