The word ‘arthritis‘ means ‘inflammation of the joints’. It is derived from two Greek words: athron, meaning joints; and itis, meaning inflammation. It is, generally, a chronic disease process.
Arthritis occurs in various forms, the most frequent being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which usually occurs in the older age-group. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious disease which affects not only the joints of the fingers, wrists, hips, knees, and feet, but also the muscles, tendons and other tissues of the body.
Causes and Symptoms of Arthritis
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in the joints. The pain usually increases after exercise. Rheumatoid arthritis is often called the ‘cooked food disease’. It usually develops gradually over several months, with persistent pain and stiffness in one or more joints. Ultimately the whole body is affected. Symptoms include anaemia, colitis, constipation, deformed hands and feet.
Osteoarthritis results from structural changes in the articular cartilage in the joints, usually those which are weight-bearing, such as the spine and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis is due to an inflammation of the synovium or lining of the joints. This is accompanied by swelling and eventually leads to deformity. The condition may be caused by hormonal imbalance, physical and emotional stress, infection, severe fright, shock, and injury. Hereditary factors may also be responsible for the onset of this disease.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis
Potato Juice: The raw potato juice therapy is considered one of the most successful biological treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries. The traditional method of preparing potato juice is to cut a medium-sized potato into thin slices, without peeling the skin, and place the slices overnight in a large glass filled with cold water. The water should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. Fresh juice can also be extracted from potatoes. A medium-sized potato should be diluted with a cup of water and drunk first thing in the morning.
Other Raw Juices: One cup of green juice, extracted from any green leafy vegetable, mixed in equal proportions with carrot, celery, and red beet juices is good for arthritis. The alkaline action of raw juices dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and in other tissues. A cup of fresh pineapple juice is also valuable, as the enzyme bromelain in fresh pineapple juice reduces swelling and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Sesame Seeds: A teaspoon of black sesame seeds, soaked in a quarter cup of water and kept overnight, has been found to be effective in preventing frequent joint pains. The water in which the seeds are soaked should also be taken along with the seeds first thing in the morning.
Copper: Drinking water kept overnight in a copper container accumulates traces of copper, which is said to strengthen the muscular system. A copper ring or bracelet is worn for the same reason.
Calcium: Studies have shown that calcium can help arthritis. Several patients have discovered that joint pains have either been relieved or have disappeared entirely after taking calcium. This mineral should be taken in the form of calcium lactate. Two teaspoons of calcium lactate, each teaspoon providing 400 mg of absorbable calcium, may be taken three times daily in water, before meals for at least four months.
Garlic: Garlic is another effective remedy for arthritis. It contains an anti-inflammatory property which accounts for its effectiveness in the treatment of this disease. Garlic may be taken raw or cooked according to individual preference.
Bananas: Bananas, being a rich source of vitamin B6, have proved useful in the treatment of arthritis. A diet of only bananas for three or four days is advised in treating this condition. The patient may eat eight or nine bananas daily during this period and nothing else.
Lime: Lime has also been found beneficial as a home remedy for arthritis. The citric acid found in lime is a solvent of uric acid which is the primary cause of some types of arthritis. The juice of one lime, diluted with water, may be taken once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.
Alfalfa: A tea made from the herb alfalfa, especially from its seeds, has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis. One teaspoon of alfalfa seeds may be added to one cup of water. Three to four cups of this tea should be taken daily by arthritics for at least two weeks.
Green Gram Soup: Another home remedy found useful in relieving pains in the joints is the use of green gram soup. This soup should be prepared by mixing a tablespoon of green gram in a cup of water, with two crushed garlic cloves. It should be taken twice a day.
Castor Oil: Treatment with castor oil has been found beneficial in arthritis. The procedure, as prescribed by a Spanish doctor, is to boil two tablespoons of castor oil over a stove burner. The oil should then be poured into a glass of fresh orange juice and taken before breakfast daily till the disease is cured. This treatment is believed to have been adopted by an American doctor, called Dr Taylor, in 1900. He advised his patients to take it for three weeks, wait for another three weeks and then repeat it again for another three weeks. It is, however, essential that the patient must take an alkaline diet while adopting this mode of treatment; otherwise the value of the treatment will be lost.
Coconut or Mustard Oil: Warm coconut oil or mustard oil, mixed with two or three pieces of camphor should be massaged on stiff and aching joints. It will increase blood supply, and reduce inflammation and stiffness with the gentle warmth produced while massaging. Camphorated oil is an ancient rubefacient used for the purpose.
The diet of an arthritis patient should be planned so as to produce alkalinity in the blood. It should include fruits and vegetables in the form of salads, and, at least, two cooked vegetables. In severe cases, it would be advisable to put the patient on raw vegetable juice therapy three times a day, for about a week. Repeated juice fasts are recommended at intervals of every two months.
The body should be kept warm at all times. Joints should not be bandaged tightly as this limits movement and interferes with the free circulation of blood. There should be plenty of indirect ventilation in the bedroom. Rest is advised when there is acute inflammation in the joints.
Sea bathing has been found valuable in arthritis. The natural iodine in sea water is said to relieve arthritis pain. As is well known, iodine regulates the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues, helps to repair and regenerate worn out tissues and nourishes the skeletal structure. It enters into the thyroid gland’s secretion. The hormone uses the iodine to cleanse the internal toxins.
If sea bathing is not possible, the patient should relax for thirty minutes every night in a tub of warm water, in which a cup of common salt has been mixed. The minerals in the salt, especially iodine, will be absorbed through the pores of the skin. This will help correct an internal imbalance.