Tag: Gout News

Should Gout Sufferers be wary of massages? 

Should Gout Sufferers be wary of massages?

During an attack, do not have a massage near a painful joint.

But otherwise, from all the information available we would recommend caution.

Deep tissue massage around the usually affected joint area isn't a good idea.

A superficial light massage shouldn't be a problem.

Only use a professional, and let them know that you do suffer from gout.

Make sure the oils used, can be used by Gout Sufferers.




Don’t suffer from winter dehydration

Don't suffer from winter dehydration

Water is often called the "forgotten nutrient" as it is taken for granted so very often, particularly during the colder months of the year when due to a dip in the temperature thirst and dry parched mouth, the regular symptoms of dehydration do not usually surface, leading unfortunately to setting of deeper and bigger symptoms of dehydration.(Like Gout).

The fact is that whatever the outside temperature be, and even if you don't feel thirsty and sweaty, the body does need the water.  Its role in the body stays the same (summer or winter): transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells, removing waste, facilitating the body in absorbing nutrients, protecting and cushioning vital organs, moistening and hydrating the skin and eyes, ensuring adequate blood volume and thus helping keep the blood pressure normal too. Water also regulates body temperature; just as it helps protect against heat exhaustion during the hot months, in winters it is needed to ensure insulation against the cold.

Here are some other reasons (besides being a trigger for Gout) that you simply can't do without water, even in the winter months.

Fight fatigue: Lack of water is the number one trigger of fatigue. Even mild dehydration - as little as a one-two percent loss of your body weight - can sap your energy and make you tired; that's because muscles need a proper electrolyte-water balance in the body to function properly.

Avoid constipation: Lack of water clogs up the system and builds up toxins; plus when the body doesn't get enough water, it takes what it needs from internal sources leading thus to constipation.

Avoid joint pains: Lack of water makes the cartilage brittle and hampers their ability to function properly (cartilage is made of about 95 percent water). This increases friction in the joints, resulting in joint deterioration and pain.

Beat back pain: Minimising back pain can be as simple as hydrating our body. The water stored in the spinal disc core supports approximately 75 percent of the upper body's weight. When the disk dehydrates, it loses its efficiency and this may lead to back pain. Yes, our spine is dependent upon the hydraulic properties of water.

Make headaches disappear: Dehydration is a major factor for headaches and migraines. Migraines usually occur because of excessively dilated blood vessels due to stress, heat, and dietary allergies. Dehydration can worsen each of these factors.

Make the skin supple: A dehydrated body robs the skin of water, leaving it dry and papery. Water hydrates us from inside out, creating a fresh, healthy look. So the easiest, most natural way to a radiant skin is - yes, drinking enough water!

Prevent bloating: When we don't drink enough water the body starts retaining extra water to compensate for this shortage. This water is often stored in extracellular spaces and shows up as bloated face, hands, legs, and feet. So, to eliminate water retention we need to drink more fluid rather than less.



You could supplement your treatment of GOUT with essential oils. There are several essential oils that have effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This list can help you choose from a list of different essential oils that can provide relief from a gout attack.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense has a long history of being used in traditional ceremonies for its calming aroma. Unlike other essential oils that are derived from herbs, flowers, or fruit, frankincense is extracted from the resin of the boswellia tree. Apart from using it as perfume and incense, for thousands of years, it has been used in Asia and Africa for its therapeutic properties and even finds mention in ayurveda. When researchers tested the effects of boswellic acids extracted from frankincense on artificially induced edemas (inflammation) in rats, they found that it has an anti-inflammatory effect, especially on gout caused sodium urate crystals. Frankincense has proved to be helpful in providing relief in other forms of arthritis too. This makes it a potent natural remedy for gout.

Rosemary Essential Oil


The common kitchen herb that you use to flavour your stuffed roasts is also a source of relief from gout. Native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia, rosemary has been used by ancient Greeks and Romans to add flavour to dishes and in wedding ceremonies. Europeans have also used rosemary as a cure for arthritis. Modern researchers found that essential oil of rosemary not only has anti-inflammatory properties but is also an antinociceptive. This means it can block the pain signals received by your brain, thus acting as a natural painkiller.

Basil Essential Oil

Basil Essential Oil_10 Essential Oils For Arthritis and Gout Treatment

Basil has been used in India for thousands of years as a medicinal herb. However, you might be more familiar with its use as a culinary herb used in Italian cuisine. Basil belongs to the mint family, comes in many varieties, and has several health benefits. Gout causes joint inflammation which can lead to a severe burning sensation. Research has shown that basil has anti-inflammatory properties which can help relieve inflammation and swelling.

Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme Essential Oil_10 Essential Oils For Arthritis and Gout Treatment

Thyme is an evergreen herb that has been used in cooking for its flavour and as medicine by many ancient cultures including Europe and Egypt. Because of its aroma, the Greeks even used it as incense in their temples. It has several compounds like ursolic and oleanolic acids that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and flavonoids that act as antioxidants. Thyme extracts have also shown to inhibit nitric oxide, a molecule that can cause an increase in inflammation.

Geranium is one of the more popular natural essential oils that are widely used to makes soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Because they are highly aromatic, geraniums are used in several cosmetic products. However, they also possess medicinal properties that can be helpful if you’re suffering from gout. The use of geranium in folk medicine prompted a study which found that this fragrant herb also has an anti-inflammatory effect. If you’re looking for a gout relief remedy that can also soothe you with its aroma, use geranium essential oil.

Ginger Essential Oil

Ginger Essential Oil_10 Essential Oils For Arthritis and Gout Treatment

Ginger has been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine for centuries. In Ayurveda, ginger is used to detox the body as part of the treatment for curing rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger is also commonly used as a culinary ingredient in Indian cuisine for its strong flavour. When researchers prescribed ginger to patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, 75% of the patients said they found varying degrees of relief from pain and swelling. Ginger has also been known to help with heartburn, indigestion, nausea, diarrhoea and motion sickness.

Wintergreen Essential Oil

While you may not realize it, many foods like chewing gums, mints, and candies that have a minty taste use wintergreen as a flavouring agent. It is also used in dental hygiene products like mouthwash and toothpaste. Tea made with wintergreen leaves has been used in Native American folk medicine as a cure for rheumatic symptoms. In 2014, when scientists ran experiments to find what compounds could be responsible for the cure, they found phenolic compounds that had an anti-inflammatory effect.

Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile Essential Oil_10 Essential Oils For Arthritis and Gout Treatment

The word Chamomile refers to a range of different daisy-like plants that belong to the Asteraceae family. It has been used as a herb for thousands of years by the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks to treat a variety of ailments. Research on chamomile extracts has shown that it has many flavonoid compounds like Apigenin, quercetin and luteolin that have anti-inflammatory properties. Other experiments have also found that chamomile can be a good analgesic, which means it can effectively reduce pain. This makes chamomile essential oil a great option if you’re looking to find relief from gout.

Fennel Essential Oil

Fennel Essential Oil_10 Essential Oils For Arthritis and Gout Treatment

Fennel has been used widely to cure digestive, endocrine, reproductive, and respiratory ailments. This is because fennel has several compounds bioactive such as flavonoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, and amino acids. Research has shown that these compounds give it pharmacological properties such as antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antinociceptive properties.13 Targeted research done on the anti-inflammatory properties of fennel has also confirmed its ability to reduce inflammation.

Turmeric Essential Oil

Turmeric Essential Oil_10 Essential Oils For Arthritis and Gout Treatment

There is a reason why everyone is raving about turmeric latte or golden milk. From acne to cancer, turmeric has several medicinal benefits that the world is only now beginning to discover. One of the first mentions of the use of turmeric as medicine is found in the ayurveda. The ancient Indian medical texts recommend the use of turmeric for several conditions such as skin diseases, swelling, anemia, wounds, and ulcers. Experiments conducted to test the curative properties of turmeric have found that it has anti-inflammatory effects which can help in gout relief.  Another reason to use turmeric essential oil is because of its analgesic effects which has been confirmed by researchers.

How To Use Essential Oils For Gout

Essential oils are concentrated compounds that are extracted from plants usually through a process of distillation. These compounds are volatile and have to be used carefully. One basic rule of thumb is to dilute them using a carrier oil before application. Some of the carrier oils that you can use include oilve oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil. If you are looking to use the above essential oils to gain relief from gout, here are the different ways you can do it.

Topical Application

This is the most simple and easiest way of applying an essential oil. You will need the essential oil of your choice and a bottle of carrier oil. Use a ceramic or glass bowl to mix 4-6 drops of essential oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. Blend the oils well and apply it on the affected joint. Gently massage the oils into your skin. Do this 2-3 times a day. All the oils mentioned in this list can be applied using this technique.

Hot Towel Compress

This technique works well if gout has struck your toe joint. Start by soaking your feet in a basin filled with cold water for about 15 minutes. Pat it dry with a clean towel. Mix 3-6 drops of essential oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil and massage it over the affected area. You could choose from basil, fennel, or geranium. Wrap a soaked hot towel over the joint and keep it for 2 minutes. Repeat this 2-3 times daily.

Epsom Salt Bath

You can also turn your bath into a gout treatment routine. This technique may not be as effective as directly treating the affected area but it can have a relaxing effect. Add 6-8 drop of essential oil and a handful of Epsom salt to your bath water. Mix well and soak in the bath water for 30 minutes. This can be done daily for about 2 weeks using geranium or frankincense oils for their pleasant aroma.

Precautions When Using Essential Oils

  • If you’re pregnant or under medication, talk to you doctor before using essential oil remedies for gout.
  • Essential oils have to used after blending them with a carrier oil so that they do not harm your skin.
  • For blending oils, always use a bowl made with non-reactive material like glass or ceramic. Avoid using plastic or metal bowls.
  • While many articles and books recommend experimenting with different oil blends, it is advisable to consult with a certified aromatherapist to help find a blend that works best for you.
  • If you are trying a new oil, do a patch test first to check for any allergic reactions.
  • Always keep essential oils away from from the reach of infants and children.

A gout attack can last from one to two weeks and can cause severe bouts of pain. Apart from taking medication, it’s also important to eat the right food and make lifestyle changes so that you can avoid a second attack. Regular blood tests to check uric acid levels can also help you avert the risk of gout. While essential oils cannot guarantee a complete cure, they can definitely help you find relief and take you on the road to faster recovery.

Nuts can help with inflammation and Joints

Some tips on nuts from the American Arthritis Foundation

Image result for nuts

Some nuts are rich in magnesium, l-arginine and vitamin E, which may play a role in keeping inflammation under control. Studies have shown that people who eat a diet high in these nutrients tend to have lower levels of some inflammation-causing molecules that circulate in the bloodstream and higher levels of the anti-inflammatory protein adiponectin compared with those who consumed less.

Ideally, you should reach for raw, unsalted nuts, “However, if a little seasoning is going to help you swap nuts for buttery crackers, potato chips or other less healthy treats, it’s fine to grab some lightly salted nuts – unless you’re on a low sodium diet.” They caution that all nuts and seeds are high in calories, so you can’t eat them mindlessly. One serving a day (about an ounce of nuts or 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds) is all you need.


With their high ALA content, walnuts head the nut pack in omega-3 content, and researchers studying their effects have found they lower C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Eating walnuts regularly can lower cholesterol, relax blood vessels to lessen stress on the heart, and reduce blood pressure.

Tips: Walnuts have a hefty texture that makes them a good centrepiece in meatless dishes. They can be pricey so Moore likes to combine them with other healthy foods. Try a simple stir-fry of broccoli, walnuts and chopped garlic with a few squeezes of lemon juice.


Technically a legume, peanuts are the “nut” with the most protein (about 7 grams per 1-ounce serving). “They’re also cheaper than most nuts, so for people with arthritis trying to manage their weight, for example, they make a filling, inexpensive snack,”. Peanuts are also a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and research shows adding them to your diet can help lower “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk. Peanuts deliver about 12% of your daily magnesium requirement and may help keep blood sugar under control.

Tips: Use peanut butter in a creamy sauce for vegetables, pasta or chicken. Blend 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter, 1/3 cup of water or broth, 2 tablespoons each fresh lime juice and soy sauce and a dash of cayenne to taste. Look for peanut butter that lists only one or two ingredients: peanuts or peanuts and salt.


Because almonds contain more fibre than most nuts, they’re a good choice for weight management. “You’ll be more satisfied for longer, and you also get some cholesterol-reducing benefits from the healthy fats. They are also a good source of antioxidant vitamin E,”. Research suggests the monounsaturated fats from an almond-rich diet lower some markers of inflammation, including CRP.
Tips: Mix slivered almonds into rice and vegetable dishes to add crunch and subtle flavour. “Almonds also make a great snack – try pairing with apples and fresh cherries for a great complementary taste,” she says.


Snack on pistachios to help with weight loss. “Dealing with the shell slows down consumption, which is good for people with arthritis trying to lose a few pounds to take pressure off joints. Pistachios can also help lower LDL cholesterol and are high in potassium and antioxidants, including vitamins A and E and lutein – a compound also found in dark, leafy vegetables.

Tips: Sprinkle pistachios over Greek yoghurt drizzled with honey for a high-protein, high-fibre snack or breakfast. Crushed pistachios also make a flavorful, crunchy coating for fish or chicken.


Flaxseed is one of the richest plant-based sources of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Studies show it may help lower overall and LDL cholesterol and reduce the complications of diabetes and heart disease risk. Crushing or milling the flaxseed make it easier for your body to digest and use the ALA, so choose these varieties over whole seeds.

Tips: Stir into yoghurt along with some fruit or sprinkle onto cereal or salads.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are also an excellent source of anti-inflammatory ALA, but their biggest benefit is probably their high fibre content (about 10 grams per serving). “The fibre fills people up, which can help control weight.

Tips: Chia seeds absorb liquid easily and take on a jelly-like consistency. Moore takes advantage of this by blending chia seeds with almond or coconut milk, fruit and vanilla extract then chilling the mixture in the refrigerator to create a chia pudding.

Best Morning Stretchers for Arthritis

For many people with arthritis, morning is the most difficult part of the day. Waking up with stiff joints or joint pain is a common complaint. Although it may seem like the hardest time of day to get moving, doing a few stretches in the morning can give you a more limber to start your day.

It only takes a few minutes to stretch and warm up your muscles and joints. But for the best results, the key is to do arthritis stretches every day. Taking a warm shower before or after stretching can also help you feel more flexible and limber.

Stretches in the Back, Hips, and Knees

These three basic stretches will help loosen your back, hip, and knee joints. You can do all three of these stretches right in bed. Or, if you prefer, you can do them on the floor. These stretches should be gentle enough for everyone -- including people who have had knee or hip surgery. But if you have any questions, ask your doctor.

Hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with your left knee bent and your left foot flat on the bed. Bend your right leg and place your hands behind your right thigh. Lift your right leg into the air and straighten it as much as you can, using your hands to gently pull your leg toward your chest. Hold for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. You should feel the stretch in your lower back and the back of your leg. Repeat this stretch on the left leg and then repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.

Single knee to chest stretch: Lie on your back and bend both knees. Your feet should be flat on the bed. Take hold of your right knee with both hands and gently pull the knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of your leg and lower back. Hold for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. Repeat this same stretch with the left knee and then repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.

Piriformis stretch: Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet flat on the bed. Cross your right ankle on top of your left knee. Wrap your hands behind your left knee and gently pull your knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of your right leg. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. Change sides and repeat this stretch with your left leg crossed on top of your right knee. Repeat 2 or 3 times on both sides.

Stretches in the Arms, Shoulders, and Neck

These three basic stretches are a good way to loosen the joints of your upper body. You can do the first stretch in bed, but you’ll need to do the last two stretches while you’re standing.

Serratus punch: Lie flat on your back with your head on a pillow. Bend your knees if this feels better for your back. Raise both arms in the air, toward the ceiling with your palms facing each other. Keeping your head on the pillow and your arms straight, raise your shoulder blades off of the bed, as if you’re trying to touch the ceiling. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

Corner stretch: This stretch can be done either in a corner or in an open doorway. Stand about 2 feet away from the corner or doorway. Place your hands at shoulder height on either side of the wall or doorway. Bending your elbows, lean your body weight into the corner or open doorway. You should feel this stretch across the front of your shoulders and chest. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

Posterior shoulder and back stretch: Stand straight with both arms at your sides. Gently bring your right arm across your chest, keeping it straight. Take hold of your right elbow with your left hand and gently stretch your right arm across your body. You should feel this stretch in the upper arm and shoulder. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds and then slowly release. Repeat with the left arm and then repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.

Stretches in the Hands

If your hands are affected by arthritis, these simple and easy stretches can help loosen up your joints and help increase mobility.

Towel squeeze: This stretch can be done with a small hand towel that is rolled up or a large sponge. Take the towel or sponge in one hand and squeeze. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times with both hands.

Finger extension: Take a rubber band and wrap it around all five fingers just below your fingertips. Gently spread your fingers apart as far as you can. Hold this stretch for about 5 seconds then release. Repeat 10 times with each hand.

Remember that though you should feel a slight pulling sensation or discomfort while stretching, the stretch should never hurt. If you feel any pain while stretching, talk with your doctor.

Do you know how your sleep is affected by alcohol?

How sleep is affected by alcohol.

Alcohol can sometimes leave you feeling drowsy. But while alcohol, a depressant, can help you fall asleep faster, it also contributes to poor quality sleep later. Here’s what happens—when you go to sleep after drinking.

Sleep rhythms have a battle.

Drinking alcohol before bed is linked with more delta activity -slow-wave sleep patterns. That’s the kind of deep sleep that allows for memory formation and learning. At the same time, another type of brain pattern—alpha activity—is also turned on. Alpha activity doesn’t usually happen during sleep, but rather when you’re resting quietly. Together the alpha and delta activity in the brain after drinking may inhibit restorative sleep.

It can interrupt your circadian rhythm.

It's common to wake up in the middle of the night after falling asleep quickly after drinking. One explanation is that alcohol may affect the normal production of chemicals in the body that trigger sleepiness when you’ve been awake for a long time, and subside once you’ve had enough sleep. After drinking, production of adenosine (a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain) is increased, allowing for a fast onset of sleep. But it subsides as quickly as it came, making you more likely to wake up before you’re truly rested.

It blocks REM sleep.

Another reason people get lower-quality sleep following alcohol is that it blocks REM sleep, which is often considered the most restorative type of sleep. With less REM sleep, you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.

Alcohol can aggravate breathing problems.

Alcohol causes your whole body to relax, including the muscles of your throat. And that makes you more prone to snoring and sleep apnea.

Drinking leads to extra bathroom trips.

Typically, your body knows that nighttime is time for sleep, not the time for trips to the bathroom. That means that your body has learned to put your bladder into hibernation for the night. But alcohol, a diuretic, can make you need to go more, interrupting your normal sleep pattern.

Herbal Teas to help with inflammation

Herbal Teas to Help with Inflammation

As the Food Doctor points out:

“A cup of mint tea could be as effective as an aspirin for pain relief, according to scientists. Research showed that the herb Hyptis crenata, known as Brazilian mint, reduced pain as much as a soluble form of the conventional painkiller. The study was tested on mice, which allowed researchers to rule out the placebo effect as an explanation for its success.”

Matcha green tea is a type of powdered green tea, produced using the whole leaves of the plant. It is of particular interest to us because of its unusually high ORAC value, a measure of a substance’s antioxidant potential.

Antioxidants help to combat the inflammation associated with free radical damage and oxidation in the body, a by-product of ageing and environmental stressors.

The tea is used widely in Japan, and is thought to be one of the reasons why the longevity statistics in the region are so impressive.

Fennel tea, Fennel extracts have been shown to provide a wide range of health benefits, including pain relief and reduced inflammation. Although the exact mechanism is not entirely understood, fennel contains antispasmodic and analgesic compounds that bring down cortisol levels and help the body to relax.

A 2012 study examined at the effects of fennel on menstrual cramps and the associated pain. At the end of the study, researchers deduced that fennel is an effective herbal drug for dealing with pain and inflammation

Cinnamon tea Aside from being a warming winter beverage, cinnamon tea may also play a role in bringing down inflammation levels.

2011 study showed that cinnamon extract was effective in reducing colon inflammation in mice. The researchers concluded that it may have similar anti-inflammatory effects in humans.


Liquorice root tea Liquorice root has long been used to combat inflammation and soothe the pain associated with it. It contains a range of natural anaesthetic and analgesic compounds.

Studies have confirmed that the root also has anti-inflammatory properties, and is sometimes used to ease arthritis and gastrointestinal issues.In tea, liquorice is often combined with other anti-inflammatory herbs such has fennel and peppermint for an added boost.

Eucalyptus is thought that the aboriginal people of Australia have used eucalyptus for thousands of years to treat inflammatory conditions such as joint pain and arthritis.

Studies have confirmed that these age-old traditions do in fact work, showing that eucalyptus does indeed possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Although eucalyptus typically comes in the form of an essential oil, the leaves can also be used to create a refreshing tea.


Ginger Like turmeric, research suggests that ginger may rival non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications when it comes to reducing pain and bringing down levels of chronic inflammation.

Whilst the exact mechanism is unknown, it is thought that the main active compound ginger may be the main contributor towards the anti-inflammatory effects.

Ginger makes for a refreshing tea, especially when combined with a dash of lemon and honey. This is an age-old remedy often used to soothe a sore throat.


How much sleep do we need? Repaying sleep debt?

Image result for How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Repaying your sleep debt

If sleep were a cc company, would you be in debt?

Medical evidence suggests that for optimum health and function, the average adult should get 7 o 9 hours of sleep daily. But more than 60% of women regularly fall short of that goal. Although each hour of lost slumber goes into the health debit column, we don't get any monthly reminders that we've fallen in arrears. In fact, the greater the sleep debt, the less capable we are of recognizing it: Once sleep deprivation — with its fuzzy-headedness, irritability, and fatigue — has us in its sway, we can hardly recall what it's like to be fully rested. And as the sleep debt mounts, the health consequences increase, putting us at growing risk for weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and memory loss.

In some cases, sleep debt results from insomnia or other underlying conditions that may require medical attention. But most sleep debt is due to burning the candle at both ends — consistently failing to get to bed on time and stay there until we've slept enough.  Flight attendants, night duty and shift workers are some examples that need to be disciplined to maintain optimum health.

Fortunately, sleep doesn't charge interest on the unpaid balance or even demand a one-for-one repayment. It may take a while, but even a chronic, longstanding sleep debt can be repaid...

How does sleep help your skin?
A Glowing Complexion. Your body boosts blood flow to the skin while you snooze, which means you wake to a healthy glow. Skimp  and your complexion can look drab, ashen, or lifeless. “Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin surrounding your face,” Breus says.Nov 19, 2015
Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.


Herbs for Arthritis & Joint Pain

Clients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (as well as your garden variety joint pain) often come to me for help. Rheumatoid arthritis, caused by an overactive immune system, is especially scary, since the medical protocol can be quite intense (such as chemotherapy and other therapies which suppress the immune system). Because of this common medical treatment, I do not suggest any immune-enhancing herbs (such as Echinacea or Goldenseal). Instead, I’m going to recommend herbs to treat inflammation (the true root cause of all disease, in my humble opinion) as well as herbs which cleanse the blood and strengthen the body in general.

Alternative herbs help cleanse metabolic waste products and toxins from our body, and are a staple of herbal medicine. Alternatives work by supporting the natural cleansing functions of the kidneys, large intestines, increase blood flow and aid lymph drainage. Allowing these wastes and toxins to circulate throughout the body is a cause of inflammation and, when the body is attempting to stem inflammation, it’s not able to do much else in order to support our health. Here are a few herbs to help stem inflammation and aid the body in its detoxing efforts. (Note: these herbs are helpful for anyone with illness—not just arthritis or other inflammatory conditions).
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa or Arcticum minus):
One of the greatest things you can do for pain, joint or otherwise, is increase your intake of essential fatty acids. Burdock contains fatty oils which (along with its sterols and tannins) contribute to burdock’s reputation as an anti-inflammatory. You can eat burdock root in stir-fries (very popular in Asian cuisine, by the way), make a decoction (To do so: chop 2 tablespoons of fresh burdock root—if you do not have the fresh root available you may use 2 teaspoons of dried root as an alternative. Add the root to the boiling water and allow to simmer for 10 minutes then turn off the heat. Strain and drink while still warm—3-4 cups a day is ideal), or take the herb in capsule form (follow dosage directions, but remember, these are for a 150lb adult—calculate the appropriate dose using your own weight).
2. Flax ( Linum usitatissimum):
Flaxseed is one of the best vegan sources of Omega-3 (ALA), which is so important to a strong immune system and for fighting inflammation (the vegan bit is important because animal fats often lead to inflammation in arthritis sufferers). Try to include two tablespoons of flaxseeds or flaxseed oil in your daily diet. Note: do not heat or cook seeds or oil. Also, if you suffer from a digestive condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), use the oil rather than the seeds—they could irritate your condition.
3. Turmeric (Curcuma longa):
Turmeric is an extremely effective anti-inflammatory herb, and thus an effective pain reliever. It contains at least two chemicals (curcumin and curcuminoids) which decrease inflammation (and are very much like the oft-prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs). Incidentally, this anti-inflammatory effect is also why turmeric is often recommended for treatment of cancer, cataracts and Alzheimer’s.
While you can totally add this spice to your daily diet, you will need to take turmeric in supplement form in order to experience the full medicinal benefits. When cooking, try adding black pepper or dried ginger to help activate turmeric. The herb can also be applied topically to relieve pain.
Nettles (Urtica dioica):
Yup. If you’ve read my other articles, then you know that nettles is an herb with mad-skills incredible for pretty much anything. Nettles are insanely good for you, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A,C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use.
Stinging nettle is a wicked herb for those with all types of arthritis and gout. Its anti-inflammatory amazing-ness combined with its minerals (boron, calcium, magnesium and silicon) ease pain while helping to build strong bones. While NSAIDs are often a necessary evil for most with arthritis, using nettle may help you to decrease the amount you need to take. (Herbalists’ disclaimer: ALWAYS discuss herbal supplementation and prescription decreases with your physician). Nettle leaf tea (a cup or more daily) relieves and prevents water retention and inflammation and nourishes the kidneys and adrenals.
A side note: many arthritis sufferers have found that striking the inflamed joint with a fresh cutting from a nettle plant helps relieve joint pain (the stinging part of the nettles draws blood to the joint, relieving pain and inflammation). I know this sounds like a nutty treatment, but the brave amongst you can give it a try.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra):
Licorice acts much like your body's own natural corticosteroids (which reduce inflammation). Licorice decreases free radicals at the site of inflammation and inhibits the enzyme production that's involved in the inflammatory process. Glycyrrhizin is the component in licorice which blocks and relieves inflammation. It also supports the body's release of cortisol (which suppresses the immune system, easing the pain and occurrence of arthritis), but it also inhibits some of the side effects of cortisol (such as adrenal fatigue and anxiety). Use in supplement form or as a tea.
Please note: Licorice is not a good remedy for those with blood pressure issues. People who regularly take large amounts of licorice (20 grams/day or more) may experience serious side effects such as headache, high blood pressure, and heart problems. If you already have high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease, or low potassium (hypokalemia), please avoid the herb altogether.
All in all, aside from herbal protocols, the best treatment for arthritis is a diet filled with fresh produce, essential fatty acids, and fiber (and reducing or eliminating foods that cause an inflammatory response such as fried foods, animal fats, dairy, and anything else which might cause an allergy sensitivity). Yoga (especially Yin Yoga) and gentle stretching go a long way toward arthritis prevention and pain relief by opening joints, and encouraging the distribution of synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints.

The many medicinal benefits of Garlic

Garlic is not only good for adding extra flavour into meals, it has many medicinal benefits. Here are the top five benefits.


1.  Heart Disease

It is recognized as a preventative agent and treatment of many heart and metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, hyperglycemia, thrombosis, hypertension and diabetes. It had been shown to reverse early heart disease by reversing plaque buildup.

2.   Cancer

Several studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, oesophagus, pancreas, and breast.

3.  High Blood Pressure

It has been shown to help control high blood pressure. One study looked at the effect of aged garlic as a treatment for people already taking antihypertensive medication however still having uncontrolled hypertension. The study showed that taking four capsules of aged garlic extract for three months caused blood pressure to drop.

4.  Colds and Infections

It  is highly effective at killing countless microorganisms responsible for common infections, including the common cold. It actually might help prevent colds as well as other infections. Garlic’s antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties help relieve the common cold as well as other infections.

5.  Diabetes

Eating raw garlic can help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially stop or decrease the effects of some diabetes complications, as well as fight infections and cholesterol and encourage circulation.