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There are many types of arthritis, all involving painful inflammation of the joints, leading to swelling, stiffness and restricted mobility. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The result of atrophy of the joint cartilage, osteoarthritis affects older people whose bone tissue loses its capacity to regenerate. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the membranes that secrete fluid allowing for smooth joint operation. Gout, another form of arthritis, is a metabolic disease marked by swelling of foot and hand joints due to excess uric acid; the majority of people affected are male. Aside from these types, inflammation of joints can be caused by infections that travel from a primary infection site to the joints: for instance, joints often absorb toxins from the bowels. Overuse of joints, as in tennis elbow, and mechanical irritations, such as overloading the joints with too much body weight, can also lead to arthritis. For most types of joint distress, there are uncomplicated, natural routes to relief.

Eating fish fights inflammation
For joint inflammation, eat certain fish varieties, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and herring, regularly. The flesh of these fish contains omega 3 essential fatty acids. These highly unsaturated substances are vital to the body's cells; they can hinder the development of arthritis because they are used to make prostaglandins, hormone like chemicals that contribute to the regulation of inflammatory responses.

What you can do?
When the pain first attacks and is at its most severe, rest your joints so that the inflammation dose not progress. Secure your joints in a relaxed position with pillows or rolled up blankets. If need be, stay in bed for a few days. Cold applications and anti-inflammatory teas can bring relief, a change in diet and/or weight reduction may be called for. After the acute inflammation subsides, be sure to get regular exercise in order to prevent ailing joints from losing their mobility. If joint pain and swelling persist, consult a physician.

Cols applications to relieve pain
When pain is most severe, apply cold rather than heat to the affected joints for the strongest anti-inflammatory effects. Use ice cubes in a towel, a compress soaked in ice-cold water or a commercial refreezable gel pack.

Weight reduction to decrease strain
If you are overweight, you are putting undue strain on your joints, and the greater strain, the greater th possibility that inflammations will develop. Obesity is a risk factor for gout in particular, which is usually linked with a very rich diet. Eliminating rich and fatty foods and sugars is a good start to losing weight for anyone both arthritic and overweight. A program of exercise aids weight reduction as well as joint and muscle flexibility; and is even more important for gout sufferers because exercise reduces the formation of uric acid. Yoga may be particularly beneficial.

Copper bracelets reputed to aid pain relief
Wearing copper bracelets is a remedy that has had limited clinical study. However, many believe that the copper, released by sweat, is absorbed by the skin with other compounds and fights inflammations.

Extra tip : Spending time in water relieves strain on joints. Swimming, water aerobics and aqua jogging (running in water) are very effective if you have arthritis. They can restore joint mobility and help you lose weight if you are overweight.

Medicinal Teas

Stinging-nettle tea
Stinging nettle, with vitamin A and C and the minerals potassium, calcium, sulfur and magnesium, has many anti-inflammatory effects. Nettles also help the kidneys excrete uric acid, which builds up in cases of gout. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tbsp. of nettles. Steep for 10 min. drink 3 cups daily. You can drink the tea over the long term.

Horsetail tea
Horsetail provides minerals that rebuild bones and tissue. Simmer 2 tsp. of the herb in 1 cup of water for 15 min.

Intestinal health
Toxins absorbed from the intestines promote joint inflammation. In cases of food allergies or intolerances, intestinal irritations and malnutrition, foods are not fully digested, and the intestinal lining begins to "leak" toxins, allergen and partially digested proteins into the blood stream. Here are some guidelines to prevent this from occurring:

  • Avoid constipation
  • Support the growth of beneficial bacteria with acidophilus supplements
  • Eat a high fiber diet low in animal products, chemical additives and pesticide treated foods
  • Avoid any foods that cause reactions
  • Consider taking herbs that support liver function, including licorice, burdock, milk thistle and red clover, and herbs that aid the intestines, including peppermint, aloe vera, alfalfa, ginger and marsh mallow.
  • An enema can reduce pain by releasing toxins and buffering intestinal acids. Hyperacidity, in addition to intestinal toxins, has been linked to acute inflammations. Try an enema using 2 cups of water. Or, combine 1 qt. of water or warm chamomile tea with 1 tbsp. of sodium bicarbonate.