Osteoarthritis comes on gradually, often after an injury to the bone, with worsening pain and enlargement of one or more joints. It does not migrate from one part of the body to another.
Rheumatoid arthritis comes on suddenly or gradually, with many joints involved. It is most common in the hands, feet, and arms, where it can deform joints and cause redness, extreme pain, swelling, and tenderness of joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can and often does migrate to other joints.
What is Arthritis?
From Modern Western Medicine
Osteoarthritis afflicts the weight-bearing joints: the knees, hips, and spine. It causes the cartilage in the joints to degenerate. It often manifests after an injury or from repetitive physical tasks that place excess stress upon joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most severe type of inflammatory joint disease. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks and damages joints and surrounding soft tissue.
From Traditional Medicine
Arthritis is marked by mineral imbalances in the affected tissue, with calcium status being a good indicator of mineralization in general. Wind and dampness, the result of a stagnant live, prevent qi from being smoothly distributed to joints and connective tissue. Dampness is often generated by toxic, mucus-like residues from incomplete digestion of daily foods, meat, refined sugars, alcohol, and excessive or poor quality oil and fat. Dampness and wind obstruct the nerves and other channels of energy transport, including the acupuncture meridians. Such chronic obstruction leads to nerve, bone, and sinew pain and inflammation.
Who Gets Arthritis?
Arthritis affects about 34 million Americans of all ages.
Foods to Eat
- Green vegetables, such as watercress, parsley, celery, kale, and okra
- Barley and wheat grass products (anti-inflammatory and detoxifying)
- Potassium broth
- Soy products
- Whole grains, such as brown rice, millet, oats, wheat, and barley
- Cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines, or herring
Foods to Avoid
Studies have shown that all arthritis symptoms are reduced even for those with rheumatoid arthritis, after a person adopts a vegetarian diet, free of all animal foods, including—and especially—dairy products.
- Reduce or eliminate red meat, dairy, eggs, and chicken
- Refined sugar and too many sweets
- Excess salt
FOODS HIGH IN OXALIC ACID
FOODS THAT WILL CREATE WIND AND DAMPNESS
- Dairy foods
- All animal fat
- Nuts, oil-rich seeds, and nut butters
Herbs to Treat Arthritis
Herbal remedies will reduce inflammation and pain and stimulate circulation. Try any of the following:
- Feverfew: 2 capsules of freeze-dried herb, three times a day
- Devil’s claw or wild yam: 1 tsp. of tincture or 3 capsules, three times a day
- Hawthorn (contains flavonoids, potent antioxidants that help heal collagen): ½ tsp. tincture, 2 capsules, or 1 cup of tea, three to four times a day
- White willow bark or meadowsweet (contains salicin, the same active ingredient found in aspirin): ½ tsp of tincture, 2 capsules, or 1 cup of tea as needed to relieve pain
- Turmeric (curcumin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory): 2 capsules, three times a day
Remedies are best prescribed by a homeopathic practitioner. However, the following remedies are helpful for providing relief from joint pain:
- Rhus toxicodendron: for aching joints that are worse in the morning and better from heat and continued movement
- Colocynthis: for pain that is worse from movement, but better from warmth and pressure
- Bryonia: for swollen joints and pain that is aggravated by the slightest movement
- Arnica: for a sore, bruised feeling in the joints, made worse by touch
- Hot and cold showers to stimulate general circulation and act as a general tonic
- Hot and cold compresses, alternated (locally)
- Hot Epsom salt baths or local bath or compress
- Paraffin bath (local): 4 parts paraffin, 1 part mineral oil. Heat to 125 – 130°F, or let cool until thin film forms. Dip part repeated until ¼-inch thick, or paint on large areas.
Most remedies can be found in the food section, and they involve wind/dampness. This formula can be used by those with a robust constitution (strong, loud voice, and thick tongue coating):
4 parts chaparral leaf
2 parts devil’s claw root
2 parts sassafras root bark
2 parts dried ginger root
1 part black cohosh root
1 part burdock root
1 part prickly ash bark
For individuals who are weaker and more deficient (frail, pale, little, or no tongue coating, introverted personality):
4 parts suma root
4 parts motherwort
4 parts prickly ash bark
4 parts osha/ligusticum root
2 parts angelic root
1½ parts Siberian ginseng
1½ parts cinnamon bark
- Beta-carotene: 16 mg per day
- Vitamin B complex: 50 mg daily
- Niacinamide: 200 – 1000 mg, two to four times a day. Can significantly increase joint mobility when taken daily for three to four weeks. If nausea occurs, cut dose in half or discontinue.
- Vitamin C: 500 mg, three to four times daily
- Vitamin E: 60 – 300 IU, one to two times per day
- Calcium: 800 – 1000 mg per day
Try any of the following singly or in a combination: