Herbs For Arthritis
By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt
Note: The following excerpt is taken from The Natural Medicine Chest and Arthritis, Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, authored by Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph.D. R.N. and Eugene Zampieron, N.D., and available at your local bookstore. Arthritis, Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide is also available directly from Nature’s Answer® (800-439-2324).
Arthritis is not one disease, but describes a conglomerate of symptoms that include joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. Psychological and emotional issues often play a role in the development of arthritis, as well as physical factors, including:
1) Build-up of toxic waste products in the tissue
2) Decrease in integrity of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract
3) Overabundance of disease-causing microorganisms
4) Decrease in circulation in areas of pain
The ArthroNutrition™ Program, developed by Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph.D., R.N., and Eugene Zampieron, N.D., and featured in their book Arthritis, Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide, is a group of six unique all-natural, high-quality products that address these issues; (available from Nature’s Answer®).
AlteraTonic™ Liver Formula (vegetarian capsule, kosher) features a proprietary blend of herbal extracts that, when combined, deliver exceptional cleansing and toning support for the liver.
Key Ingredients: Ginseng is the king of tonic herbs, creating optimal health and energy when used daily. It works synergistically with Eleutherococcus senticosus (formally known as Siberian Ginseng in Herbs of Commerce. The ancient Ayurvedic medical system from India has honored Ashwagandha for thousands of years. Modern research has discovered that Ashwagandha contains withanolides, which improves stamina and helps with stress management. Bupleurum and Rehmannia are two of China's most powerful adrenal tonics, known for combatting fatigue and creating well-being.
GastroGuard® Intestinal Formula (vegetarian capsule) contains a proprietary blend of herbs and nutritional ingredients. This formulation helps protect and maintain the overall health of the intestinal tract, and helps to alleviate ‘leaky gut syndrome’.
Key Ingredients:L-glutamine, an amino acid, has been scientifically shown to soothe irritated gut linings. It helps re-grow flattened “villi”, the tiny-finger like protrusions that line the GI tract, and also acts as a surface for the absorption of nutrients. Primrose oil, a fatty acid, supplies essential fatty acids needed to soothe and re-establish well-formed cell membranes. Ginkgo biloba, an herb known for its effects on brain function, acts to increase circulation to the small capillaries within the GI tract. It also acts as an antioxidant, which can help to strengthen the intestinal lining and heal a “leaky-gut”. Marshmallow Root and Okra are “ demulcents”, which coat the gastrointestinal lining and heal irritated tissues.
PlantiBiotic® Cand/Par Formula (vegetarian capsule, kosher) is a unique supplement that features a proprietary blend of herbal extracts well-known for discouraging germs and supporting the immune system.
Key Ingredients: Barberry root contains berberine, the yellow compound that is also found in Goldenseal root. Berberine helps the liver filter out bacteria, and can inhibit the growth of streptococci and other microorganisms. It helps kill parasites and tonify the intestinal tract. Citrus Seed Extract contains proanthocyanadins (OPC’s), biologically active flavonoids that help to heal irritations to the lining of the intestinals. Citrus Seed Extract has a very high level of activity against microorganisms; (Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol 5, Nov 1990). Black Walnut Hulls is a time honored “vermifuge” (worm destroyer) used traditionally in Western Herbal Medicine. It is high in tannic acid, which helps to tonify the digestive tract and rid the body of parasites. Thyme and Oregano Leaf Oil are essential oils with powerful anti-microbial effects. They have been proven to destroy parasites, worms, fungi, bacteria and viruses.
Note: It is also important to “re-inoculate” the gastrointestinal tract with “friendly” bacteria. Acidophilus supplements can be helpful for this purpose; also available from Nature’s Answer® in a vegetarian capsule.
BotanoGesic® Topical Salve features a proprietary blend of soothing herbal extracts in a vanishing cream base. This powerful formula provides the ideal temporary relief from minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with arthritis and related ailments.
Key Ingredients: Menthol has been used for eons of time in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is one of the principle essential oils derived from peppermint, and acts as a powerful analgesic when applied topically. Initially, it produces a cooling sensation, followed by a profound warmth. Capsaicin is a resin found in many species of “hot peppers”, which has historically been used by indigenous healers as a skin rub for pain. More recent scientific studies have proven that Capsaicin depletes “substance P”, a chemical believed to be overabundant in the peripheral nerves of patients with painful syndromes. Camphor is derived from the tropical tree, Cinnamonium camphora. When rubbed into painful, stiff joints, ligaments and muscles, it provides soothing relief. In Chinese Medicine, Camphor is called Zhang Nao. It is believed to “invigorate the blood and relieve stagnation”, helping to alleviate pain. Wintergreen oil has chemical properties similar to salicylic acid, an aspirin-like compound with pain relieving properties. Cloves and Allspice contain the essential oil, eugenol, which acts as an excellent anesthetic (numbs pain). Folk healers in the Caribbean use Clove and Allspice as key ingredients in topical rubs and liniments, to relieve the pain. The Chinese use cloves in salves and balms for treating Kung fu injuries, arthritis (which is worse in damp, cold conditions), and fungal infestations of the skin. Boswellia is a gum resin extracted from the tree Boswellia serrata, native to India. It has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine to treat chronic pain and inflammation, and documented in medical literature to block inflammatory compounds.
BotanoDyne® with Boswellia (vegetarian capsule, kosher) features a proprietary blend of herbal extracts that have been well-documented for offering natural relief from muscle and joint discomfort. An “Anodyne” is a substance that helps achieve pain relief.
Key Ingredients: White Willow Bark contains glycosides, which are converted in the body into active salicylates, similar to the chemicals found in aspirin. It is often referred to as “Nature's Aspirin”. Jamaican Dogwood was used historically as one of the most effective pain relievers by the Eclectic (M.D.) Physicians at the turn of the century. Jamaican Dogwood was popular for treating fibromyalgia, joint pain and the pain associated with bone fractures. In the Amazon and Jamaican rainforests, the curanderos (healers) and “Bush doctors” used the plant to treat migraines, joint pain, sprains, muscular aches and neuralgia. In Chinese herbal traditions, Yan Hu Suo is often called “Chinese Herbal Aspirin”. Although very effective, it is non-addictive and virtually free of side effects.
Joint PhytoNutrition Tangy Bio-Flavonoid Concentrate features a proprietary blend of herbal ingredients and more in a food medicament that you eat with a spoon.
Key Ingredients: Hawthorn possesses a rich array of bioflavonoids including quercetin. Pine Bark is a premier source of oligo-proanthocyanadins (OPC's), which have an antioxidant activity 50 times greater than vitamin C. Rose Hips, the orange-red fruit found on rose bushes in the fall, are brimming with citrus bioflavonoids. Gotu kola contains components that have been shown in clinical trials to promote the healing of damaged connective tissue, including, skin, veins, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and joints. Glucosamine has been shown in scientific studies to help relieve pain and inflammation, by stimulating the repair of cartilage tissue.