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What herbal remedies can I use for my arthritis?

With the adverse publicity surrounding the potential problems associated with anti-inflammatory drugs, many people with arthritis are interested in treating themselves with herbal supplements.  This article discusses a few of them.

There are a number of non-medicine treatments to consider for arthritis.  The goals of arthritis treatment, regardless of treatment chosen, are to reduce pain, improve mobility, reduce the likelihood of side-effects, and enhance the quality of life.

Berries including cherries and blueberries are packed with proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins.  These compounds act as potent antioxidants.

Cayenne pepper is often incorporated into arthritis creams and rubs.  It acts on substance P, a chemical neurotransmitter found in nerves.  It is helpful for reducing the pain of osteoarthritis.

Celery seed extract has mild anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin, also known as turmeric, is a spice that is used in South Asian cooking.  It has potent anti-inflammatory effects.

Devilís claw is an herb that can be found in many health food stores.   It has been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids.  These are anti-inflammatory and beneficial for people who have rheumatoid arthritis.

Flaxseed also contains omega-3 fatty acids.  The concentration is lower than it is in fish oil.

Ginger root has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Horsetail has beneficial effects (though not entirely proven) on connective tissue.  It is touted as a substance that may enhance the strength of tendons and cartilage.

Licorice root has anti-inflammatory effects.  It should be used with caution by people who have hypertension because it can elevate blood pressure and cause loss of potassium in the urine.

White willow bark is where aspiring was first discovered.  It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Yucca root has been used by some for its analgesic effects in arthritis.

With all these herbal remediesFind Article, it is important to let your rheumatologist know about them so dosage adjustments in your prescription drugs can be made if necessary.

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Dr. Wei is a rheumatologist and Director of the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and consultant to the National Institutes of Health. For more information:">Arthritis Treatment


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