Herbfacts

Herb Health: Arthritis

Arthritis effects around 8.5 million people in the UK, especially the over 45’s.

Editor Jane Garton shares some herbs that may help to lessen the pain of arthritis.

Creaking knees and twinging joints could be a sign of arthritis. The secret is not to ignore symptoms, as research now shows that the sooner you take protective action the less severe your symptoms are likely to be.  Keeping active, eating healthily and watching your weight may help alleviate any discomfort. There are also some herbs worth looking at.

DEVIL’S CLAW

In a study people with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip reported less pain after eight weeks of taking devils claw, a South African plant. Devils claw extracts contain compounds that have natural anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. Like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs they appear to regulate the activity of enzymes involved in the inflammatory process to reduce joint stiffness and pain.

BROMELAIN

This extract from the stem of the pineapple plant has been shown to contain anti-inflammatory chemicals and is thought to help reduce the inflammatory response. This in turn alleviates pressure in the joint and makes moving around easier.

ROSE HIP

Long valued for its vitamin C content, rose hip is now being used with some success to help reduce the pain of arthritis. In a study, eight out of ten people with osteoarthritis reported feeling less pain and stiffness after taking a wild rose hip preparation.

GINGER

Has a warming effect on the body, helping to boost circulation and ease inflamed joints and rheumatic pains.  Include it in your cooking or make yourself a ginger tea. Simply add half a teaspoon of grated ginger root to a cup of very hot water. For extra zing add a pinch of cinnamon or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Alternatively mix a couple of drops of ginger oil with a tablespoon of almond oil and rub into the affected area or have a ginger herbal bath. Just peel and slice a three- inch chunk of fresh ginger root into a pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer until it is a strong dark yellow. Strain, add to the bath and have a good soak.

For more information visit Arthritis Care.