Whether it’s aching knees, elbows, fingers or toes chronic arthritis pain and stiffness really puts a damper on things. It can keep you from doing the things you love and from loving the things you do.
Stop letting arthritis pain rule your life. Give one of these unusual, research-proven, natural pain fighters a try and start loving life again!
Boswellia, which you may know better as frankincense, is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic. And yes the gum resin, which is extracted from the bark of the Indian Boswellia tree, is the same precious herb that one of the Three Wise Men is said to have presented to the baby Jesus as a gift.
Research has revealed that Boswellia effectively relieves the inflammation and pain of arthritis. But that’s not all it does. The active compound in the herb may also help prevent future cartilage loss.
According to a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, 333 mg of Boswellia a day for eight weeks significantly slashed knee pain and swelling, while increasing mobility in a group of osteoarthritis sufferers.1,2 In another trial, a Boswellia extract slashed arthritis pain and helped folks move easier within just a week of starting treatment.3
Researchers were able to halt the breakdown of cartilage in the lab using a Boswellia extract, according to study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research.4 And when Boswellia and the common NSAID pain relieving drug valecoxib were compared in a head-to-head test, the extract held its own against the powerful drug.
The Boswellia not only significantly reduced pain, the benefits lasted. One month after stopping the supplement both pain and function were still improved.5
You can find Boswellia supplements online as well as in many natural food stores.
2. Fish oil:
Oil extracted from cold water fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel is brimming with inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s target inflammation receptors in your body, which makes them perfect for tackling rheumatoid arthritis (RA) inflammation and pain.
A meta-analysis published in the journal The Nutrition Society confirmed that fish oil has been proven in randomized controlled studies to reduce joint tenderness and slash the use of NSAID drugs by folks suffering with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.6
To increase your omega-3 levels you can eat more foods rich in the fatty acids including cold water fish, chia seed, flax seed, walnuts, and fresh basil. But many people find they need a higher dose of omega-3s than they get through their diet so you might want to also consider a supplement. Fish oil is widely available in most drug stores, grocery stores and online.
3. Lactobacillus casei 01:
We’re learning a bit more every day about how gut health plays a role in many different diseases. And it turns out our gut bug balance is affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
But recent research suggests that a specific probiotic strain, Lactobacillus casei 01 (L. casei 01), could help rebalance your gut flora and relieve RA symptoms. A group of volunteers with rheumatoid arthritis was divided into two groups with one group getting a daily dose of L. casei 01 with a minimum of 108 colony-forming units and the other group getting a placebo.7
After eight weeks the folks who got the probiotic had significant improvements. Inflammation plunged and levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 shot up.
You’ll find L. casei in a number of probiotic supplements so simply check the label to see if the one you take has this specific strain.
Pycnogenol is an extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree that’s been shown in studies to effectively reduce osteoarthritis pain and improve mobility.
In a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research a group of volunteers with OA was divided into a supplement group and a placebo group. The supplement group received 150 mg of Pycnogenol daily with meals.
The lucky volunteers who got the supplement reported a significant improvement in their pain. They also found they were able to move around easier and they even began to take less pain relievers.8
In another double-blind placebo controlled trial arthritis patients who took 100 mg of Pycnogenol daily for three months saw stunning improvements. The supplement taker’s WOMAC scores, which average together a person’s pain and stiffness levels along with their functional limitations, dropped an average of 56 percent. In other words, they felt a whole lot better and were able to move around a whole lot easier.
Incredibly, the distance the Pycnogenol takers were able to walk on a treadmill increased by over 191 percent. Their use of NSAID drugs dropped 58 percent and swelling decreased in 79 percent of the supplement takers.9
Pycnogenol is available online and in some natural food and vitamin stores.
1. “Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee–a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial,” Phytomedicine. 2003 Jan;10(1):3-7
2. “Evidence for the efficacy of complementary and alternative medicines in the management of osteoarthritis: a systematic review,” Rheumatology (2010) 50 (5): 911-920
3. “A double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study of the efficacy and safety of 5-Loxin for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee” Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(4):R85. doi: 10.1186/ar2461. Epub 2008 Jul 30
4. “Boswellia frereana (frankincense) suppresses cytokine-induced matrix metalloproteinase expression and production of pro-inflammatory molecules in articular cartilage,” Phytother Res. 2010 Jun;24(6):905-12
5. “Open, randomized, controlled clinical trial of Boswellia serrata extract as compared to valdecoxib in osteoarthritis of knee,” Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 2007, Volume 39, Issue 1, Page : 27-29
6. “Fish oil and rheumatoid arthritis: past, present and future,” Volume 69, Issue 3 August 2010, pp. 316-323
7. “Probiotic supplementation improves inflammatory status in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,” April 2014Volume 30, Issue 4, Pages 430–435
8. “Effect of pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) on symptoms of knee osteoarthritis,”Phytother Res. 2008 Aug;22(8):1087-92
9. “Treatment of osteoarthritis with Pycnogenol. The SVOS (San Valentino Osteo-arthrosis Study). Evaluation of signs, symptoms, physical performance and vascular aspects,” Phytother Res. 2008 Apr;22(4):518-23
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.