The most common kind of arthritis is osteoarthritis. If we live long enough, most of us will eventually develop it simply due to daily wear and tear on our joints. Osteoarthritis generally develops after the age of 40. Each decade of life leads to an increased likelihood of a diagnosis of osteoarthritis and an increase in severity of symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by deterioration of the cartilage which lines and surrounds joints. Instead of cartilage, bone builds up in the joints. As a result, joints are inflamed and the tissues are destroyed within the affected joints. Mobility of the join is impaired and painful.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis you may experience achy joint pains, stiffness upon arising, and increased joint pain which is affected by changes in weather conditions. You may have poor posture if your spine, knees or hips are affected.
Convention treatments are aimed at relieving pain and stiffness. Some people benefit from using equipment, such as a wrist support. A walker or wheelchair may be needed if the illness is advanced. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are commonly recommended. Steroids are sometimes used to decrease inflammation and pain. Joint replacement surgery is becoming increasingly common.
Home Remedies for Osteoarthritis
Use home remedies in addition to or instead of conventional treatments for osteoarthritis. A multifaceted approach is the most effective. If you have questions or have moderate to severe osteoarthritis, then check with your health care provider.
Adaptogenic Mushrooms for Osteoarthritis
Some of the most valuable herbs for the treatment of chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis, are called adaptogens. Adaptogens work slowly, but powerfully. They enhance strength and improve the body’s capacities to heal itself. Adaptogens improve stamina and help you to handle the physical and mental stress associated with the chronic pain and debility of osteoarthritis.
My favorite adaptogens are shiitake and maitake mushrooms. Shiitakes are available at large grocery stores. Another option is to purchase a kit and grow your own. Dried shiitake mushrooms are available and effective, too. I recommend purchasing dried mushrooms in bulk from herb suppliers to save money. Simply reconstitute the dried mushrooms and add to soups, stews and other dishes several times weekly.
Maitake mushrooms are wild mushrooms which grow in temperate climates. Gather your own if possible. Otherwise, you may purchase dried mushrooms to include in your diet. Concentrated extracts are available as well.
Herbal adaptogens promote wellness of your entire body. You may need to take them for several months before you notice their benefits; however, the wait is well worth it.
The Most Important Remedy for Osteoarthritis
Unless your health care provider has said that exercise is contraindicated for you, the most important treatment for osteoarthritis is gentle movement balanced with rest. Exercise prevents stagnation of fluids and stretches the connective tissues of joints. It relieves pain and improves circulation. The type of exercise which you do is very important. Listen to your body. Smooth slow stretches are best. Try Tai Chi, gentle yoga, or walking. It is important that you warm up your muscles by starting slowly. Avoid exercises which put pressure on joints or which require jerky movements.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
Drink plenty of water to reduce pain and inflammation. Herb teas are excellent, too. Herb teas which contain willow or meadowsweet are superb. Willow and meadowsweet contain salicin, the original source of aspirin. Other beneficial herbs and spices which add flavor and healing qualities to teas include lemon balm, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger. Drink them several times daily.
Herbal Poultice for Osteoarthritis
You can make a highly effective herbal poultice at home with dried, powdered mustard from your spice rack. If mustard is unavailable, use powdered, dried ginger. Herbal poultices provide rapid relief to painful stiff joints.
Dried, powdered mustard
Apple cider vinegar
Soft cloth, such as gauze, cheesecloth or flannel (flannel is best)
Cut a piece of cloth the size needed to cover the affected joint. Stir the mustard into the vinegar. Make enough so that the cloth can be covered thickly with the blend. The consistency of the vinegar-mustard blend should be similar to a thick salad dressing. Apply the vinegar-mustard blend to the cloth to make the poultice. Place the poultice over the affected joint. Cover it with a warm towel. Leave the poultice on for 20 minutes. Cheek every five minutes to ensure that excessive redness does not occur. Remove the poultice immediately if excessive redness blisters or pain occurs. Rinse the area carefully after removing the poultice. Use the poultice twice daily, as needed. Do not use this poultice on people who have diminished sensation or cannot communicate if they have pain. Do not use it on children.
If the hands or feet are affected, you may opt to make a hand or foot bath using this recipe. Simply soak the affected part directly in the mustard-vinegar blend for 20 minutes, checking every five minutes as above. Rinse the part after using the vinegar- mustard soak.
Home remedies are valuable sources of long-lasting and rapid relief for pain and limitations due to osteoarthritis.