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Herbs for Joint pains

Herbs forJoint pain that are useful

By Veena Deo

 

This article discusses about herbs for joint pain and how they also help with Arthritis and how this is compared to western medicine.

A Joint is a point of contact between elements of a skeleton which may, either be a movable or rigidly fixed point, together with the surrounding and supporting parts (like membranes, tendons or ligaments). The feeling of pain related to joints is called Joint pain. In conditions like Arthritis, Rheumatism, Osteoarthritis, Gout etc, the main symptom is joint pain.

Pain is a bodily sensation that is induced by a noxious stimulus, is received by naked nerve ending and is characterized by physical discomfort (as pricking throbbing or aching) and it typically leads to evasive actions.

Every Pathy (Allopathy, Ayurveda, and Homoeopathy) has its own recognition of joint pains. One should choose the Pathy as per the requirement of the patient’s condition. Most important is to give relief to the patients. Allopathic system of Medicine or traditional medicine is mostly helpful as operations and surgical interventions. But at the same time in chronic cases like Arthritis, Rheumatism, Ayurvedic treatment scores better. In such cases traditional medicine has a limited role. The chronic Vata conditions, in which Joint Pain is the main symptom, are described in detail in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Practitioners take the  help of Modern  or pathological investigations like X- Ray, MRI etc only to understand the etiology  of the joint pains.


In case of western medicine, NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti inflammatory Drugs) are used on a large scale to treat Arthritis. NSAIDs work by blocking the activity of the enzyme, Cyclooxygenase, also known as Cox. Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of arachidonic acid into prostaglandins, of which some are associated with arthritic inflammation and it could be inactivated by Aspirin, giving temporary or partial relief of arthritic symptoms.

The OTC drugs like Ibuprofen, Naproxin, and Diclofenac Celebrex belong to the group of NSAID products. These drugs inhibit the activity of COX2 enzyme, a major factor in pain. This natural enzyme is responsible for the production of Prostaglandins, which trigger pain and inflammation. Although NSAID drugs are effective in relieving pain, there are some side effects of these drugs and they could cause Liver and kidney damage and increase the risk of Heart Disease. Danish Researchers found that the use of NSAID among heart attack survivors greatly increased the risk of future heart attacks.

The percentage of calcium deficiency is more in case of women hence the percentage of joint pains is more in women as compared to men. Glucosamine Sulphate is a naturally occurring chemical found in human body. Glucosamine Sulphate is used in the body to produce chemicals which are useful in building tendons, ligaments and cartilage. It is commonly used as an external supplement for Arthritis, especially Osteoarthritis.

It was observed that NSAID products like Advil, Fielding relieve the symptoms and pain within 2 weeks. But Glucosamine Sulphate takes 4 to 8 weeks to relieve the pain. It may produce side effects like nausea, diarrhea, constipation, skin rashes, headache etc., when used as a supplement. I have observed that in some patients Glucosamine Sulphate is very effective, but in some patients it does not give any help at all. I think this is an area for Research by scientists from traditional medicine and Ayurveda, should work together to establish a relation between body constitution and Glucosamine Sulphate.

Herbs for Joint pains that are helpful-

In many countries, Zingiber Officinale has a history of use in treating Arthritis and Rheumatism. Ref: Sivarajan VV and Indian Balachandran Ayurvedic Drugs and their plant sources,1994,50. Zingiber Officinale exhibited marked anti inflammatory activity in rats as compared to Predinsolone.Ref: Sharma AK,SinghH, 1980, Bull Med Ethnobot Res,1 (2) ,262-271

Vitex Negundo seeds exhibited anti inflammatory effects compared to betamethasone and phenylbutazone, produced marked reduction in exudates and in control studies with betamethasone and phenylbutazone to an extend of 70% and 50% respectively, markedly suppressed early and delayed inflammatory changes, decreased formation of  granulation tissues in 50%of  developing chicks; inhibited primary and secondary stages of swelling; produced significant anti- inflammatory properties in tuberculine test. Ref: Rathor RS,1973, Nagarjun 16(6),35.

Boswellia serratahas a higher efficacy in relieving  joint pains. It simulates the action of NSAID drugs but does not produce any side effects.

Allium sativum produces anti- inflammatory activity against formalin induced Arthritis in albino rats.

Herbal supplements that have Turmeric Curcumin along with Boswellia Serrata and Ashwagandha should help many Arthritis, Joint pains conditions mentioned above.

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Dr. Veena Deo is an Ayurvedic Doctor in India. All the information provided above and opinions expressed above are her own and should not be construed as medical advice. This information and on supplements is provided for educational purposes only. For questions or to consult Dr. Veena Deo, please send an email to veenadeo@herbsbenefits.com

 

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