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Women's Health

Using herbs for arthritis 


With all the concern about both prescription pain killers for arthritis and even the safety of the over-the-counter choices, herbal remedies are becoming more population. 

Indeed, it appears that the herbal option is about the only choice for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis that doesn't have fatal or severely hazardous side effects.

How you take these herbs is entirely up to you. Of course, the form depends in large part of what's available in your area. Many of these are found as extracts and can be bought in convenient capsules or tablets. Some of these herbs you may want to consider to use while they are fresh. 

It's always best, before you start to take any herbal-based supplement to seek the advice of a professional herbalist. And of course, you'll want to check with your health care professional to ensure that none of these will interfere with your prescription medictions.

The best herb to lead off any discussion of is white willow bark. This is the herb that forms the basis for the original ingredients found in aspirin (all aspirin now is synthetically based). It carries anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities. White willow is slower to act than its synthetic cousin, the aspirin, but its effects also last longer. Professional herbalists recommend a serving that would provide about 100 mg of salicin daily. 

Cayenne is an herb you associate more with cooking than healing, but it's extremely effective in fighting the pain of arthritis. The active ingredient in cayenne is capsaicin, which is what gives you that burning sensation in the topical cayenne creams.

The herb, boswellia, like white willow bark and the over-the-counter pain killers, possesses anti-inflammatory qualities. However, unlike the pain medications, boswellia poses no risk of stomach irritation or ulceration.

Two more herbs that have anti-inflammatory qualities are devils claw and ginger. Additionally devil's claw also acts as a pain killer. 

The next herb is believed to strengthen connective tissue while it exerts an anti-arthritic action on the body. It's horsetail. Medical experts think that its high silicon content is responsible for its beneficial effects on arthritis.

If you and your professional herbalist decide that you should try licorice root for its anti-inflammatory actions against arthritis, you should know about its possible side effects. Long-term use of this herb may elevate your blood pressure and may hasten potassium loss in your system.

Turmeric has also been used to reduce inflammation and the yucca plant is legendary for its ability to reduce the pain associated with arthritis.

Don't rule out the extracts of hawthorn berries, blueberries as well as cherries. All of these are well known for their ability to strengthen your body's collagen which is an essential part of healthy and flexible joints.

Recently, there's been a minor revolution in arthritis treatment. It involves the use o glucosamine. While it's not an herb, it is a compound, naturally found in healthy cartilage. It's rapidly gaining popularity as a dietary supplement for those affected by arthritic pain.

Not only does it appear to alleviate the pain, but medical science believes it actually helps to replenish cartilage that has been worn down. The wear and tear of the joint is what causes arthritis. Up until this, medical experts believed that joints could not be renewed.

In addition to glucosamine, you may find dietary supplements that also contain chondroitin, another natural substance that helps to rebuild joints. These two ingredients can be found in many products these days, very often combined with a blend of natural herbs.

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