Many of us suffer from aches and pains or “inflammation” in our body, due to sport or work injuries, age-related changes, and chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Joints in your body work mechanically similar to a hinge on a door. It requires some form of lubrication to function optimally and prevent excessive friction, and normally this is provided by cartilage tissue.
Complementary medicines can be used to help manage aches and pains helping improve joint mobility, and are a healthier option than anti-inflammatory medication from the chemist or supermarket. These pharmaceuticals will overtime, cause digestive disturbances, such as nausea, indigestion and stomach pain.
There are a few key anti-inflammatory herbs that can be used very effectively, and that now have scientific research behind them.
Tumeric (Curcuma longa)
Curcumin is the main active ingredient that is derived from the Ancient spice turmeric. Health benefits of turmeric include pain relief, accelerated wound healing and manage symptoms of osteoarthritis.
But before you start sprinkling turmeric on everything you eat, you need to know what most people don’t: turmeric is poorly absorbed in the body and has minimal impact on blood levels when taken alone. The good news is that there are ways you can enhance its absorption. Here are four things you can do:
- Sprinkle Black Pepper: piperine, a compound found in black pepper that’s responsible for its pungency, can greatly improve absorption of turmeric in the body.
- Add Some Fat: turmeric is fat-soluble and thus much better absorbed when taken with fat, such as coconut or almond milk.
- Heat It Up: heat is said to increase the solubility of curcumin (the primary active constituent in turmeric) by 12 times, which may also increase its bioavailability in the body
- Eat Quercetin-Rich Foods: quercetin is a flavonoid found in many plant foods such as onions, capers, and Serrano peppers, and is known to inhibit an enzyme that inactivates curcumin. Adding turmeric to quercetin-rich foods can increase the absorbability of turmeric in the body.
Check out my link to a turmeric tea recipe to enjoy this Winter! Click Here!
Devil’s claw (Harpergophytum procumbens)
Several Active ingredients in this herb are anti-inflammatory and additionally inhibit cartilage degeneration. This will improve your mobility, reduce pain, stiffness and swelling and increase quality of life.
Frankincense (Boswellia serrata)
Active constituents of this herb have been shown to prevent signalling of key inflammatory pathways, involved in the manifestation of chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Celery Seed & ginger root
Properties of these herbs can reduce symptoms of joint swelling and inflammation, reducing pain and improving mobility.
Note: Always check with a naturopath before using any of the above herbs, as they may interact with medications. Dosing and quality of the supplement will also determine the effectiveness of treatment.
Diet can also play a pivotal role in inflammation. Reducing processed foods and drinks will not only reduce symptoms, but improve your mood and energy levels. A combination of 3-4 cups of cooked and raw vegetables, along with 8 cups of water per day is a good start.
Simone Davis – Naturopath