Natural Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Capsaicin Capsaicin is derived from chili peppers, and it’s the component responsible for producing that characteristic heat we associate with them. When it is applied to the skin as a cream, gel, or as a patch, it works by activating the nerve receptors in the area. It also produces a mild burning or stinging sensation when it is applied. Since capsaicin activates the nerve receptors, they stop functioning correctly when it is applied regularly. This helps by interfering with their ability to send pain signals, providing relief to people who have rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that capsaicin is effective in reducing pain from arthritis, and one study in Germany found that people enjoyed a 50 percent reduction in their pain symptoms when they used a 0.05 percent capsaicin cream three times per day for three weeks.
Rosehip Rosehips come from the seed pods of roses. When ground into a powder, rosehips can be a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. When taken regularly, this powder helps to decrease inflammation by acting as an inhibitor to the production of certain enzymes and proteins that cause inflammation. A meta-analysis that was conducted in 2008 found that rosehip powder reduced the participants’ wrist, knee, and hip pain by almost 33 percent. People take up to 5 grams of rosehip powder in capsule form each day for the best relief.
Green-lipped mussel extract Green-lipped mussel extract is an extract taken from a specific type of mussel found in New Zealand. The extract is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to inhibit the production of inflammatory enzymes and proteins called leukotrienes. Green-lipped mussel extract has been shown to be just as effective as fish oil in reducing inflammation. Studies have demonstrated that the anti-inflammatory benefits of green-lipped mussel extract are effective at relieving the inflammation and pain that is caused by rheumatoid arthritis. One study found that this extract can also help to heal stomach ulcers. By contrast, NSAIDs may cause harm to the stomach. Patients are recommended take between 300 and 350 milligrams of green-lipped mussel extract in capsule form three times per day for the greatest possible benefit.
Gamma Linoleic Acid Gamma Linoleic Acid is an omega-6 fatty acid found mostly in specific vegetable oils. When consumed, this omega-6 fatty acid is converted into anti-inflammatory compounds by the body. Preliminary trials have demonstrated that a marked improvement in joint pain, stiffness, and strength in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. When combined with an additional supplement containing fish oil, these benefits may be even more powerful. Although more research is needed into the effects of GLA, these results appear promising.
Ginger Ginger is a flowering part that grows in various parts of the world. The root of this plant is used in cooking to provide a unique flavor to many dishes. As an added benefit, ginger root extracts and powders can have a strong anti-inflammatory effect similar to drugs such as ibuprofen. Some preliminary studies indicate these anti-inflammatory effects can be as strong as some of the steroids used in the treatment of RA. Ginger can be helpful for relieving joint pain, improving stiffness, and maintaining a healthy range of motion.
Cat’s Claw Many traditional medications used to treat RA are effective due to the fact that they inhibit the body’s tumor necrosis factor. Controlling TNF levels provides many benefits for the body overall, including improved immunity and less widespread inflammation. As a result, Cat’s Claw can be effective in reducing inflammation that those with RA experience. Preliminary trials showed that RA patients consuming Cat’s Claw experienced as much as a 50% reduction in both joint pain and swelling. Continued research needs to be completed to determine if other benefits exist for these natural compounds.