Can Spices Relieve Your Arthritis Pain?

    Ginger is a spice that comes from the root of the ginger plant. It can be ground up to a powder, used fresh, boiled as a tea, or crystallized. Ginger has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (ancient medical practices native to India) for hundreds of years to fight inflammation. Data from scientific studies is scarce and inconclusive, but at least one study has shown ginger to help relieve some of the pain and swelling experienced by people with RA. Ginger can be bought at grocery stores as a spice, tea, crystallized candy, or a fresh root. It is available in capsule form as well. It can be used daily, but you should not use more than four grams each day.

    Turmeric is a spice that, like ginger, has played a role in ancient Ayurvedic practices as an inflammation fighter. Research into its effectiveness is ongoing. At least one study has shown that taking turmeric daily can help relieve morning stiffness and joint pain. Turmeric is available as a ground spice, in capsules, and as a cream. Curcumin is the active ingredient that addresses inflammation. Taking too much turmeric can cause stomach problems such as ulcers. About 1,200 milligrams a day is what is typically recommended. It can be bought at health food stores and grocery stores.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis & A Healthy Diet

    Although many supplements are available in pill form, it may be a healthier (and less expensive) to turn to your diet for pain relief.

    A diet rich in fruit and vegetables is also a diet rich in antioxidants, which also play a role in fighting inflammation. “All RA patients should eat a healthy, balanced diet,” says John M. Stuart, MD, professor of medicine and rheumatology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “There is good evidence that diets rich in antioxidants may have at least modest long-term benefits.”

    Before trying any supplements…

    If you decide you’re interested in taking supplements, talk to your doctor first about what’s right for you, and be sure to keep them informed after you begin taking the supplements. Remember that unless your doctor says differently, those with rheumatoid arthritis should not stop traditional — and more proven — treatments.

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