It is often described as an auto-immune disease as it relates to the system within the body which produces antibodies.
In the modem medical approach to arthritis, anti-inflammatory drugs are used which are either steroidal or non-steroidal.
Unfortunately joint disease is poorly understood and the treatments have not advanced for a long time.
Hopefully more research into the causes and the cure of joint diseases will be done over the next few years.
Naturopathic approaches are certainly worth trying.
They may not cure the disease but they can certainly relieve much of the discomfort and slow down the debilitating symptoms.
Diet plays a huge role in controlling the symptoms and some plant medicine and nutritional supplements can be very beneficial.
My father, who had severe arthritis in his knees, was always joking about the fact that there was no cure for joint problems, and he was very disturbed that the anti-inflammatories he was prescribed were upsetting his stomach, which is a very common side effect.
Just by increasing his intake of water each day (elderly people tend to be dehydrated because they don't consume enough water daily) and including some vitamins helped him.
In all treatment of joint problems, solutions must be looked upon as long-term: a lifestyle change and a commitment to taking the supplements regularly to stop degeneration and further damage to the immune system are essential.
Treatment & prevention program Follow the diet for health and vitality.
This is imperative.
All junk food, white sugar and white flour products must be eliminated.
Foods that nourish joints are those containing omega 3 and 6 oils, such as deep-sea fish, flaxseed oil, and vitamin E in avocados and wheatgerm oils.
Eat high-quality proteins such as legumes, eggs and white meat, which are more suitable than red meat, as one of the waste products from digestion of red meat is uric acid which can aggravate joints.
Drink celery juice daily as it assists the balance of potassium and sodium being carried to the joints.
It can be mixed with carrot juice.
Avoid acidic foods such as rich sauces, white wine, white vinegar, and some fruits such as oranges, strawberries and other berries which can aggravate joint problems.
It is best to stay off these foods for six weeks and introduce them back into your diet slowly and see if they affect your level of joint pain in certain quantities.
Drink lots of pure, filtered water.
Encourage mobility of the joints through exercise such as water exercises and walking.
Running is very aggravating to any joint, especially on a hard surface.
Supplements Two omega 3 and 6 oil capsules twice daily.
It lubricates joints.
Double the dose if in severe pain.
One glass of celery juice daily or two celery tablets daily.
For taste and health, mix with carrot juice.
Two tablets of the standardized extract of boswellia twice daily or one tablet daily as a preventative.
Boswellia, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, is excellent for arthritis (and also for inflammation of the bowel).
There is often a link between inflammation of the bowel and arthritis.
You may find this herb mixed with ginger and turmeric (both natural anti-inflammatories).
One or two ginger capsules three times a day.
Ginger tablets have relieved many joint problems because they stimulate the circulation.
They are especially useful for those in cold countries, to assist mobility.
In fact they are very useful when skiing or participating in water sports in cold water.
Glucosamine sulfate one tablet two to three times a day.
I have made many wonderful tonics for arthritis using traditional herbs, and if the client stays on these daily over the winter period, when joints seem to be at their worst, the aches and pains are kept under control without the long-term effects of anti-inflammatories.
The following tonic is recommended.
Equal parts of celery, dandelion, prickly ash, boswellia (you can also take this herb separately as a tablet for better results), willow bark, devil's claw, liquorice, ginger and astragalus (which helps the immune system in chronic conditions).
Take one teaspoon in water twice daily.
A liniment containing the Chinese herbs kadsura, pothos and curcuma, and menthol, camphor and some wintergreen oil.
These are available at your health store.
Rub on the affected area.