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Tag Archives: arthritis

Herbs for Arthritis Relief

herbs5509by David Novak

More than 50 million Americans suffer from arthritis, but it remains an often misunderstood disease, according to the Arthritis Foundation of America. Arthritis is not a single disease, but it covers over 100 medical conditions that affects the musculoskeletal system, particularly the joints. One in every five American adults have been diagnosed with arthritis and it is not just a disease of old age.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly two-thirds of adults with arthritis are under the age of 65, and this includes children as well. Because it covers more than 100 conditions, arthritis management and prevention differs depending on the specific condition. Some people choose to rely on conventional medicine and therapy, while others opt for safer alternative medicine, specifically with the use of herbs in their diet, which have been shown to provide various arthritic benefits. Here are several herbs that are found to be effective in relieving arthritis symptoms:

Ginger
Ginger is a widely-known herb used in traditional medicine in alleviating arthritis pain. It is native to southeastern Asia, where it is prized for its culinary and medicinal properties. Ginger contains a very potent anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol, which helps in reducing pain and improve the patient’s mobility. It inhibits arachidonic acid metabolism, which is responsible for inducing anti-inflammatory action. Ginger is one of the safest alternative treatment for arthritis because it has no adverse side effect, and it’s relatively safe. Suggested dosage for ginger is 500 mg, up to four times a day for inflammation.

Turmeric
Turmeric, derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, has a peppery, bitter flavor and a mild fragrance. It is known as one of the main spices used in making curry dishes, and has been widely used for its healing benefits and as a textile dye. Turmeric has potent but safe anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial in relieving arthritis. It contains curcumin, which is comparable to potent drugs and over-the-counter anti inflammatory agents when it comes to effectiveness in reducing inflammation. Suggested dosage for turmeric is 1-3 grams per day in divided doses.

Green tea
Green tea comes from the evergreen tree, and is known to be the least processed among other teas, thus it provides more antioxidants that helps in fighting off free radicals. The antioxidant polyphenol is the active ingredient in green tea, which is effective in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It also has an anti-inflammatory substance called EGCG that halts arthritis development. A cup of green tea contains 20-35 mg of EGCG, which is the highest antioxidant activity of all the green tea catechins.

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera leaves produce a gel-like substance that contains sterols, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. It helps by reducing joint pain and inflammation, making it an effective treatment for arthritis. Regular intake and application of aloe vera juice and gel are needed to maximize the benefits it provided.

Bromelain
Bromelain is a complex mixture of substances found in the stem and fruit of the pineapple plant. It is an effective remedy in relieving arthritis pain and reducing inflammation, especially if combined with rutin and trypsin. It also helps in improving knee function for arthritic patients. Bromelain is considered safe if taken in appropriate amounts; however, moderate side-effects occur if taken with certain medications such as amoxicillin and antibiotics. It is best to consult your doctor before taking bromelain. The suggested dosage is 250-500 mg up to three times a day.

Boswellia
Boswellia is a herb that originates in India, but it can now be found in other parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It has been widely-used in Ayurvedic medicine because of its numerous health benefits. Boswellic acids are the active ingredients found in boswellia, which aid in blocking chemical reactions responsible for inducing inflammation. Though research proving its effectivity is limited, many arthritic patients confirm that it brings significant pain relief and improved functionality. Boswellia can be taken in pill form and should not be taken for more than 8-12 weeks unless prescribed by a qualified health practitioner.

Willow bark
Willow bark comes from several varieties of the willow tree — like black willow, crack pillow and white willow. The medicinal use of willow bark has been recognized throughout history. It helps in relieving fever, common cold, muscle pain, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Willow bark contains salicin, which is converted by the body into a chemical substance called salicylic acid. This substance helps in reducing the production of certain prostaglandins, which helps in easing pain and discomfort brought on by joint inflammation. Willow bark should be used with caution since it can interact with medications that slow blood clotting, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David_NovakDavid Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline.  To view his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/.  

Natural Home Remedies and Beauty Purposes of Castor Oil

By Marshall Warshack

You will find bottles of castor oil in health stores and maybe in your grandmother’s medicine cabinet. However, it behooves us well to own a bottle as well. Why? Castor oil, a very pale yellow liquid extracted from the castor seeds of Ricinus Communis, is one of the most useful plant oils. Castor oil comes in different grades and is used as food additives, in cosmetics, in flavorings, as a mold inhibitor and in pharmaceuticals. Castor oil has a long history of medicinal uses both internally and externally, treating conditions ranging from arthritis to genital warts. But it is not all old wives’ tales and grandma’s “cure-all.”  The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized castor oil as “generally recognized as safe and effective” for over-the-counter use as a laxative and undecylenic acid, a castor oil derivative is also FDA-approved for over-the-counter use on skin disorders or problems.

Just what make castor oil such a health heavyweight? Castor oil is rich in Ricinoleic acid which exerts anti-inflammatory effects and is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal as well. In addition, its high levels of unsaturated fatty acids have antioxidant properties.  Like magic potion, you just need one bottle of castor oil– it yields many health and beauty purposes as listed below:

  • Beautiful skin

Is your skin dragging your appearance down with wrinkles and age spots? Age can get the better of you but you can get the better of the situation with this easy ritual: apply a thin layer of castor oil to face before going to sleep. Castor oil is a natural rich emollient and its molecular weight makes it easier to penetrate into the stratum corneum (a fancy word for the outermost layer of the epiderm). Dermatologists will tell you that a healthy stratum corneum makes healthy youthful looking skin. Do this religiously and earn top marks for beautiful skin. This ritual will also reduce appearance of age spots (brought about by sun damage and the aging process) and produce suppler skin.

  • Skin Infections

Castor oil’s antimicrobial properties are put to good use when you need to fight skin infections. Do you have abrasion, acne, dry skin, boils, warts, chronic itching, inflamed skin, sunburned skin or even stretch marks? Don’t despair—soak a cotton ball with castor oil and apply to skin in the morning and at night. If the area is small (for example a wart), soak a band-aid in castor oil before applying. Just that easy!

  • Beautiful Full Hair

How’s your crown of glory? Is it a source of pride or do you wish bald is the perennial fashion statement? If thinning hair is your problem, here’s help. Castor oil has the uncanny ability to encourage hair growth. Some even claim it can grow longer eye-lashes! While these claims are not based on solid scientific evidence, users of castor oil to promote hair growth have reported favorable returns for their hair diligence. If you’re thinking of using castor oil to bring back the glory, here’s how:

Since castor oil can be thick, dilute it with lighter oil like sweet almond oil or avocado oil. Apply to scalp, rub it in gently and wrap your hair with a plastic cap or towel. Leave it on for half an hour or longer. Shampoo off, making sure the scalp is clean. Repeat it once a week.

Another bonus to this castor oil routine–castor oil’s rich omega-3 fatty acids is a rich moisturizer and your hair will also look nourished and silky. Now, your hair can rival those shampoo girls you see (and may be envious before) in commercials. Move over!

  • Arthritis

Arthritis can get you down—sore joints, aching muscles and inflamed nerves can make you life miserable. Rub the misery away with some castor oil help. Because castor oil is anti-inflammatory, consider massaging sore areas with castor oil. Alternatively, use a castor oil pack. You can easy make this yourself or purchase a kit. To begin, make a castor oil pad—fold a flannel cloth 3 or 4 times over. Soak folded cloth with castor oil and placed it on affected joint or area. Cover the cloth with a plastic wrap and place a hot water bottle or heating pad over it. Leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour, once a day. To reuse castor oil pad, put it in a Ziploc bad and refrigerate.

Castor oil pack is also good for treating colds, cysts, flu and ulcers. Reputedly, it can also simulate liver, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and stimulate the lymphatic system. Yes, the wonders never cease….

  • Constipation

Not a pretty C word—in fact, if you ever had it—it’s convolution of your insides—got to go but can’t. FDA agrees that castor oil is a laxative and so, herein lies the cure—simply take a teaspoon of castor oil in the morning. Doesn’t sound too appetizing? Mix it with some orange juice, cranberry, prune juice to take away the bitter taste without compromising the laxative effects. Do not take it consecutively for 3 days—if it doesn’t help, it’s time to see your naturopathic doctor. Immediately!

  • Ringworm Treatment

Ringworm is characteristically marked with itchy ,red circular rash (hence the name) and it develops on the top layer of the skin. According to Mayo clinic, ringworm is a fungal infection (despite the name) and can be a stubborn condition to treat. Ringworm can also infect scalp and nails. Castor’s oil’s undecylenic acid is antifungal, which makes it an ideal treatment for ringworm. Rub castor oil on affected area and leave it overnight.

  • Eye Styes

When an eyelash follicle or an eyelid oil gland becomes blocked with excess oil, debris or bacteria, eye styes can formed. Eye styes can cause watery eyes, pain, tenderness, itching, redness, and sensitivity to light. It often appears as a reddish bump—not a pretty sight. To get rid of eye styes, apply a tiny drop of castor oil directly on stye 2 or 3 times a day.

This list is by no means complete but suffice to say, wow—castor oil can do all that? Yes, and more—castor oil not only promotes beauty but is a mighty force against certain medical ailments. However, always consult a doctor before self-medicating.

www.healingpowerhour.com

The Health Benefits of Strawberry

The Health Benefits of Strawberries

The health benefits of strawberry include eye care, proper brain function, and relief from high blood pressure, arthritis, gout and heart diseases.

We know that all fruits, particularly berries and those with exotic colors are rich in anti oxidants. Strawberries are no exceptions. In addition to anti oxidants, they have many other nutrients and can be efficiently used to prevent many diseases.

Let us see what they are. The health benefits of strawberry include the following:

  • Eye Care: The primary reasons for almost all the problems of eyes are free radicals and deficiency of certain nutrients. With the growing age and lack of these protective nutrients, the harmful oxidants or free radicals cast heavy damage on our eyes, such as drying up of eyes, degeneration of optical nerves, Macular degeneration, vision defects and make them prone to infections too. The anti oxidants such as vitamin-C, Flavonoids, Phenolic Phytochemicals and Elagic Acid, present in strawberries can help avoid this situation to a great extent. One more factor is ocular pressure, i.e. the pressure of the eyes. Any disturbance in it is also harmful for the eyes. Here too, strawberries are helpful as they contain potassium, which help maintain right pressure.
  • Arthritis and Gout: The degeneration of muscles and tissues, drying up of the fluid which help mobility of the joints and accumulation of toxic substances and acids (such as uric acid) in the body are some of the ill effects of free radicals present in our body, which are primarily responsible for Arthritis and Gout. Strawberries, with their team of anti oxidants and detoxifiers, can effectively help push away such health hazards forever. It is a famous saying in India that a serving of any fruit a day will remove the rust from the joints. It is very true for strawberries.
  • Cancer: Vitamin-C, Folate and Anthocyanin, Quercetin and Kaempferol (few of the many Flavonoids in strawberries which possess excellent anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties) together form an excellent team to fight cancer and tumor. A daily intake of strawberries is seen to have remarkably brought down the growth of cancerous cells.
  • Brain Function: It is a very common observation that old people tend to lose their memory and control over their activities, limbs etc. This is because of aging of their brain and the nervous system. Actually, the free radicals, the agents very much responsible for aging, have a very adverse effect on these systems. Due to them, the brain tissues start degenerating and the nerves get weaker. Strawberries can help you out. The vitamin-C and the phytochemicals in them neutralize the effect of these oxidants and also rejuvenate the system. One more thing, strawberries are rich in iodine too, which is very helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
  • High Blood Pressure: Strawberries are very good in potassium and magnesium content, both of which are very effective in lowering high blood pressure caused by sodium.
  • Heart Diseases: High fiber, Folate, no fats and high anti oxidants such as vitamin-C and those phytochemicals (Flavonoids) together form an ideal cardiac health pack, as they effectively reduce cholesterol. Some of the members of the vitamin-B family present in strawberries also strengthen the cardiac muscles and help better functioning of the heart.
  • Other Benefits: Folate is known to protect from birth-defects. Vitamin-C effectively prevents from infections and cold. The phytonutrients also have anti inflammatory properties. Wait! I forgot to tell you about the best benefit. The strawberry preserve tastes just awesome.

This article was contributed by Aparup Mukherjee.

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Milk

The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

  1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!
  2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
  3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.
  4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.
  5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  6. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

  

Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:

  • Everybody needs calcium — but probably not as much as our government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from diet, including greens and beans is better utilized by the body with less risk than calcium supplements.
  • Calcium probably doesn’t prevent broken bones. Few people in this country are likely to reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.
  • Men may not want to take calcium supplements. Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may be reasonable for women
  • Dairy may be unhealthy. Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.

 

If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth noting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly:

  • Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance.
  • There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!
  • Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.
  • It’s full of saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.
  • Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.
  • Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.

 Simply put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, “Got Proof?” — and the answer was NO!

Plus, dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

• Allergies
• Sinus problems
• Ear infections
• Type 1 diabetes
• Chronic constipation
• Anemia (in children)

Due to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk an alternative. But that isn’t really a healthy form of dairy either …

Yes, raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization — but to me, these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential risks.

From an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!).

If you don’t believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase – the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk — sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.

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6 Tips for Dealing with Dairy

  1. Take your Cow for a Walk. It will do you much more good than drinking it”s milk.
  2. Don’t rely on dairy for healthy bones. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.
  3. Get your calcium from food. These include dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon with the bones.
  4. Try giving up all dairy. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements with your sinuses, post-nasal drip, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life.
  5. If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products. I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally.
  6. If you have to feed your child formula from milk, don’t worry. The milk in infant formula is hydrolyzed or broken down and easier to digest (although it can still cause allergies). Once your child is a year old, switch him or her to real food and almond milk.

Still got milk? I hope not! Remember, dairy is not crucial for good health. I encourage you to go dairy-free and see what it does for you.

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Read More About The HarmFul Effects Of Milk

“The Harmful Effects of Milk” – Don’t Drink Cow’s Milk

You can also read Dr Akilah’s published article about the harmful effects of milk.  http://www.celestialhealing.net/milkpage.htm

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