Herbs for Rheumatoid Arthritis

I have a few people around me suffering from this condition. It is painful, compromises the immune system and it is generally unpleasant. It is caused by swelling and inflammation of synovial tissue in the joints. The two major symptoms of RA are inflammation and pain. There are a number of herbs that can help with these.
Diet
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a Mediterranean diet or a semi raw vegan diet can help with the reduction of pain and stiffness. These diets are low in red meat and high in vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts seeds and healthy oils.

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Ginger
UMMC states that 2 grams of ginger in divided doses may reduce pain and inflammation. It is thought that ginger blocks the Cox-2 chemical that causes pain.
In a study in 2012 it was found that ginger supplements worked as well as steroids for reducing inflammation of synovial cells. Arthritis Today even suggests ginger capsules or up to 4 cups of ginger tea per day as a treatment for inflammation.
The caution with ginger is that it increases the effectiveness of blood thinners so should not be taken if you are on any medications such as Warfarin.

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Green Tea
Green tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful in RA. The UMMC states that test tube studies show that green tea extract may block the inflammatory chemicals involved in RA.
A study by the University of Michigan Health System says that green tea can actually help with inflammation and joint damage.

Turmeric
Turmeric
An NIH study showed evidence that curcumin is a viable treatment for Arthritis and recommended further study.  Information on this study may be found at Science Daily. Just go to the homepage and type turmeric arthritis in the search box. There are a number of studies there.
In addition to relieving inflammation, turmeric also relieves pain and helps rebuild worn cartilage.
Turmeric is basically thought to be safe. However given the things curcumin is good for there are indeed drug interactions.
Heart Medications – blood thinners like Warfarin, Clopidogrel, aspirin
Drugs for stomach acid Tagamet, Zantac, Nexium, Pepcid
Diabetic drugs
Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) Advil, Motrin, Aleve.
Vitamin D
I just read a site that says that vitamin D can help. It also states that low doses of vitamin D can also bring it on.
I am not a scientist so I can only speak from experience. I had a client come to me looking to find a way to reduce her medications. To be clear it wasn’t the medication her doctors had prescribed, it was the supplements.
What struck me first was the sheer volume of vitamin D she was taking. It was working directly against the medication her Rheumatologist had prescribed because she was taking a huge number of times the recommended dose of vitamin D. She was doing it via the many supplements and “shakes” she was taking. None of the supplements she was taking were actually anything that could help her deal with her RA.
I persuaded her to go off her supplements and work with her doctors.
The caution here is to do some research prior to using supplements. Don’t depend on the clerk in the health food store.

THIS BLOG IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF YOUR DOCTOR.