Thinking Natural During National Arthritis Month

Arthritis is a condition of inflammation involving the joints and their associated structures. Arthr-itis literally means ‘joint inflammation’. The inflammatory process of the body is designed to protect itself against infection and to repair damage from injury. It can create redness, heat, swelling, pain and reduced range of motion in the affected area. In a healthy person, inflammation is a temporary phenomenon that should resolve once the infection is cleared or the damage repaired. With arthritis, the inflammation is usually chronic, meaning that it can last months, years, and even decades. All types of arthritis can benefit from a natural anti-inflammatory approach.

Certain herbal preparations, such as Turmeric, Devil’s Claw, Ginger, and Licorice, act by altering the inflammatory pathways to reduce pain and swelling. Oils that are high in omega-3 fats, found in fish oil, krill oil, and flax seed oil can also positively interact with the inflammatory pathways. Diet changes that exclude allergenic foods for instance tomatoes and potatoes can also be helpful to limit inflammation.

As the inflammation is being addressed, damage to the joints can be repaired by supplementing with collagen, glucosamine and/or chondroitin. Many types of arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, can improve with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids (like beta-carotene), selenium and zinc.

Remember, arthritis is a sign of imbalance in the body. Only by dealing with the cause of the inflammation can the body return to a better state of health!

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