Arthritis is an umbrella term that describes over 100 different conditions. In the United States alone, 46 million adults are affected by this condition with arthritis being most widespread in the 60 years of age and older population. This condition affects the joints and causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
The cartilage in the joints gets damaged and over time, the bones of the joints rub together because the cartilage wears away. The progressive damage of this condition can result in joint instability and weakness and visible joint deformities, all of which can greatly impact the quality of life and affect a person’s ability to complete normal daily activities.
Turmeric for Arthritis
Turmeric is a plant that is native to Indonesia and India. Curcumin is one of the primary ingredients in turmeric and this ingredient is frequently used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of arthritis. This is purported to reduce inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness associated with arthritis.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine took the time to look at turmeric extracts and extracts of a related plant known as Curcuma domestica that contains medicinal chemicals that are the same as regular turmeric. Researchers discovered that these worked at least as well as 800 milligrams of ibuprofen in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis. A 2006 study looked at turmeric and how well it battled inflammation. This study revealed that turmeric is far more effective in preventing inflammation than it is in reducing it.
Turmeric may increase bleeding risk, so those with bleeding disorders and those taking blood-thinning medications should exercise caution.
Ginger for Arthritis
In a recent study Arthritis, ginger extract was compared to ibuprofen and betamethasone in terms of treating arthritis. Ibuprofen did not affect cytokine production, but both ginger extract and betamethasone reduced cytokines to similar levels. Cytokines are a type of immune-regulating substance with inflammatory effects. In the in vitro model of the study, the ginger exact was comparable to betamethasone as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Ginger may be more effective than over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications because it is able to block prostaglandin and leukotriene – two inflammatory compounds – formation. It also has the potential to break down existing inflammation in the joint fluid with its antioxidant effects. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are only able to block inflammatory compounds and they possess no antioxidant effects.
Fenugreek for Arthritis
Fenugreek is commonly used in the culinary world, but research suggests that it has significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it an ideal remedy for inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
The Journal of Clinical Immunology showed research back in 2010 that looked at rheumatoid arthritis and the increased concentrations of estrogen metabolites associated with the disease. Fenugreek has estrogen-like effects that work to suppress inflammation. Estrogen replacement therapy is used to treat the inflammation that occurs with arthritis.
Studies have been done to look at whether or not someone can take fenugreek instead to ward off inflammation. When it comes to arthritis, and similar diseases, fenugreek has been shown to be just as effective so it can be used as an alternative to estrogen replacement therapy for arthritis purposes.
The diosgenin present in fenugreek is believed to be what gives it its anti-inflammatory effects. This compound is used to produce corticosteroids which are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. A paste made from fenugreek seeds and warm water or just eating the seeds has both been shown to be helpful for arthritis.
Fennel for Arthritis
Fennel contains the compound anethole which has been shown to be effective in blocking inflammation. A report on this compound was published in June 2000 in Oncogene that shows that anethole is able to inhibit NF kappa B, a system inside cells. This system causes an inflammatory response so inhibiting it works to prevent inflammation.
Fennel is also able to significantly increase superoxide dismutase – a type of antioxidant – activity. This works to further reduce inflammation. A 2004 study published in Fitoterapia used a dose of 200 milligrams per kilogram of body weight to see how effective fennel is in fighting inflammation. The study showed that fennel does work as an effective anti-inflammatory due to its ability to inhibit NF kappa B.
Black Cumin for Arthritis
Black cumin seed oil can be used to fight the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis. This native Mediterranean spice brings a bold flavor, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is mostly used as an adjunct treatment to calm the inflammation that occurs with arthritis.
Black cumin contains dithymoquinone, thymoquinone and thymol. All of these compounds work to reduce arthritis-related inflammation and they are also potent antioxidants. A study in 2007 published in Phytotherapy Research looked at thymoquinone’s ability to reduce arthritis inflammation. While ongoing research is still needed, the study showed that this compound is very promising in helping to alleviate the pain and stiffness of arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. This can be added to meals to calm inflammation.