More and more people are looking to supplement their current chronic illness treatment plans with natural remedies. Many natural medicine options can provide relief from a variety of different ailments and the debilitating symptoms that often go along with them.
For conditions such as arthritis, people face pain, swelling, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion that often gets worse over time and interrupts their ability to complete day-to-day tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and running errands. With arthritis affecting roughly 23% of all American adults, it’s clear that natural remedies may a viable option when it comes to helping those affected deal with their chronic health condition. So can herbal remedies really treat arthritis? And is marijuana for arthritis an effective option? Let’s find out.
Herbs to fight arthritis pain
Pain and inflammation are common symptoms in those who have arthritis. There are eight different types of arthritis, all of which are caused by different things. For example, osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of cartilage in the joint, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is a result of the body’s immune system attacking healthy joints. Regardless of the type of arthritis, there are many herbs that can provide relief from the resultant pain and inflammation.
Natural medicines have gained more attention in recent years because they are less likely to cause adverse side effects. They are naturally derived, which may also be a healthier alternative for some people who are sensitive to the chemically created medications most often used today.
The best herbs for pain relief and inflammation caused by arthritis include:
Willow bark can be taken as a tea or in a tablet, and has been used since ancient times as a way to stave off pain and inflammation. Research has suggested that willow bark may be useful in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties because of its main component, curcumin. Although some research suggests that it can help with arthritis pain and inflammation, more studies are needed to confirm its efficacy.
Aloe vera is popular for treating sunburn, but it also provides anti-inflammatory properties without the harsh side effects that some people suffer from while taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. The most useful dosing method for aloe vera and arthritis is oral.
Recent research has found that Boswellia, also known as frankincense, has anti-inflammatory effects that can benefit those with arthritic conditions. Human trials found that those taking frankincense capsules saw an improvement in pain, stiffness, and joint function.
Cat’s claw may help to reduce swelling caused by arthritis and it could help boost the immune system. It is thought to help those with arthritic conditions because of its ability to suppress the tumor necrosis factor. It does come with some side effects and limitations, though.
Eucalyptus may be effective at treating arthritis pain through topical application. The leaves of the eucalyptus plant contain tannins, which some studies have suggested relieves swelling and pain caused by arthritis. Treatment with eucalyptus for arthritis is often followed with heating pads to increase its efficacy.
Ginger is more often used in cooking, but its anti-inflammatory properties can help ease pain and inflammation. Some researchers are hopeful that ginger may become an alternative natural therapy to the use of over-the-counter and prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Thunder God vine
This long-used medicinal herb helps to suppress excessive immune activity and lower inflammation throughout the body. Because of its ability to lower immune activity, it may be helpful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases that are caused by an overactive immune response. It may come with serious negative effects, though, and should be taken only with caution and after speaking to a doctor.
Marijuana for arthritis
Research has found that those with arthritis can find some relief from their symptoms by using medical marijuana. The best types of medical marijuana to be used for an arthritic condition are strains with a high CBD potency, because CBD is the active ingredient that can lead to pain relief. It’s also thought that strains with a high CBD can also lead to lowered inflammation in the body, thus helping to lessen the impact of inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis.
It’s worth noting that it may take time to find a specific strain and type that works for you and your arthritic condition. You should also continue with treatments prior to and then in conjunction with the use of medical marijuana, after speaking with your doctor about your options. Medical marijuana may not replace your arthritis medication, but it could help relieve some of your symptoms as a supplemental form of disease management.