If you’re one of the more than 50 million Americans who suffers from Arthritis, you understand how painful and debilitating the condition can be. To add insult to injury, the cost of Arthritis drugs has skyrocketed over the past few years. According to an article in Modern Healthcare,
“The wholesale cost of Enbrel, a drug used to treat a number of chronic conditions, has increased 80.3% since 2013, and now exceeds $4,000 for a 30-day supply. The price of Humira went up 68.7% to roughly $3,700 in the same time frame, and the price of Xeljanz rose 44.3% to over $3,100.”1
It’s no secret that Arthritis is a thriving business for pharmaceutical companies, but what if the best remedies for Arthritis were gifts from Nature, and already available to us for a fraction of the cost of expensive drugs on the market?
In this article, we’ll take a look at some natural remedies for arthritis; and, while we can’t vouch for the effectiveness of one over another (everyone’s body is different and every body responds differently), we hope you’ll consider using some of these natural therapies to treat your arthritis pain. Natural remedies allow you to avoid the harsh side effects of pharmaceuticals. We recommend trying one or more of these natural approaches first and then exploring pharmaceutical options for more stubborn or more acute issues.
The natural arthritis remedies we will explore are:
- Heat and Cold
- Epsom Salt Soak
- White Willow Tea
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Bee Venom
Alternative Therapy for Arthritis #1: Heat and Cold
When used together, heat and cold can reduce the pain and inflammation that are hallmarks of arthritis. Heat therapy stimulates blood flow, increases the amount of pain that can be handled, and provides more joint flexibility.2 Cold therapy reduces muscle spasms and inflammation while desensitizing the nerves around the painful joints area, thus reducing pain.2
Alternating hot towel compresses with ice or cold water soaks can go a long way to treat arthritis symptoms,2 just don’t overdo it. As with most things in life, moderation is key. Too much heat can burn your skin, and too much cold can also be harmful. Use common sense and listen to your body to see how heat and cold therapy works for you.
Alternative Therapy for Arthritis #2: Epsom Salt Soak
Epsom salt is a miracle gift from Mother Earth, and has many wonderful healing qualities, including the ability to reduce stress and inflammation in the joints. Epsom salt is comprised of magnesium and sulfate, and the magnesium that is released in hot water helps muscles and other tissues relax.3 Draw a bath with “water as hot as you can handle it” (as Mom used to say) and soak for at least 12 minutes. The heat of the water, combined with the minerals in the salt, will feel good on painful arthritic joints. Try it and see if it works for you!
Alternative Therapy for Arthritis #3: Yoga
Yoga has been recognized for centuries as hugely beneficial for many types of ailments and conditions. Its gentle exercises help build muscle, increase flexibility and blood flow, and reduce stress while encouraging deep breathing. In modern times, yoga is also gaining popularity in the scientific community as a practice that promotes good health. According to a study done by Sharon Kolasinski, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, one 90-minute session per week has been clinically shown to help improve symptoms and provide relief for people who have osteoarthritis. Dr. Kolasinski recommends a daily yoga practice to increase flexibility and relax the joint pain for those who suffer from arthritis.4
Perhaps the best part about yoga is that you don’t have to spend any money to practice it. Many free apps and websites provide guided yoga classes that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Our favorite is an app named “Down Dog”, which is available for free in the Apple Store or Google Play store. “Namaste” at home with your yoga practice, and discover if it helps relieve your arthritis symptoms.
Alternative Therapy for Arthritis #4: Willow Tea
Willow bark has been used since the time of the ancient Greeks as a way to reduce fever, pain, and inflammation. The active ingredient in Willow bark – salicin – is similar to aspirin,5 and studies have demonstrated that it works to treat patients with osteoarthritis. In the studies, all the patients who used the Willow bark reported a significant decrease in their pain from arthritis.5 An interesting fact about this tea is that it is made from the bark of the Willow tree, and is easy to consume, because bark is edible for humans.4 You can find Willow Tea at your favorite health food store or online.
Alternative Therapy for Arthritis #5: Eucalyptus Oil
Although Eucalyptus Oil does not directly treat the causes of the inflammation due to arthritis, Eucalyptus Oil may be applied topically to the skin or inhaled to reduce painful arthritis symptoms.7
Researchers from the School of Nursing at Korea University conducted a study in which people who had total knee replacement surgery inhaled Eucalyptus Oil scent, and enjoyed immediate relief from the pain they were feeling.6 Some also observed that massaging eucalyptus oil into the skin around an arthritic joint eased the pain.6 Because of its purity and availability, Eucalyptus Oil is one of our favorite alternative remedies for arthritis.
Alternative Therapy for Arthritis #6: Bee Venom
We saved our favorite alternative therapy for arthritis for last. Bee venom therapy has been used to treat arthritis for a long time, and the treatment sounds just like its name. Historically, a bee was prompted to sting a person on or near a painful, arthritic joint. These days, bee venom is administered through bee venom acupuncture. With both methods, the benefits are felt immediately. But how does it work?
Bee venom works in conjunction with hormones called glucocorticoids, which help regulate inflammation. A study found that the use of bee venom, with the help of glucocorticoids, might slow the progression of inflammatory arthritis.8
So there you have it: 6 Natural Remedies for Arthritis. In addition to these remedies, check out the ingredients we love to help maintain healthy joints: Chicken Collagen, Chondroitin, Glucosamine, MSM and Turmeric.
Have we taught you something new, or have we missed an alternative therapy that you enjoy? We want to hear about it! Find us on our Facebook page and continue the conversation there.
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1. Rubenfire, A. (2016, April 1). Rheumatoid arthritis drug prices on the rise. Retrieved from http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20160401/NEWS/160409993.
2. Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/arthritis/arthritis_rheumatic.asp.
3. Why Take an Epsom Salt Bath? Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/epsom-salt-bath#1-2.
4. Bernstein, S. Yoga Benefits for Arthritis. Retrieved from http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/yoga/yoga-benefits.php.
5. Willow Bark. Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/willow-bark.
6. Yang Suk Jun, Purum Kang, Sun Seek Min, Jeong-Min Lee, Hyo-Keun Kim, and Geun Hee Seol, “Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 502727, 7 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/502727.
7. 15 Wonderful Benefits Of Eucalyptus Oil. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-eucalyptus-essential-oil.html.
8. Lee, J. A., Son, M. J., Choi, J., Jun, J. H., Kim, J. I., & Lee, M. S. (2014). Bee venom acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. BMJ Open, 4(11). Retrieved from http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/4/11/e006140.