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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Taking care of your joints

Arthritis is a condition that can affect people of any age, although it is more common in people over 55 years of age. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that seems to become more prevalent as people age. It is a chronic, degenerative joint disease, which can range in severity from mild to very severe. It is the most common form of arthritis, and is more prevalent in people over 55 years of age.

OA is characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage in the joints. It generally affects larger weight bearing joints, and is a result of wear and tear. Over time, with continual use, the cartilage eventually wears down, decreasing its protective role on the bones. As the cartilage wears down the bones can begin to rub together causing pain and swelling, and can also cause loss of movement in the joint. In some instances bits of the bone or cartilage can break away and float in the joint space, leading to more pain and damage.

Risk Factors

There are many factors that can contribute to the onset of OA, however there are some things that can increase a person's susceptibility to OA. These risk factors can include:

  • Age, although OA is not an inevitable part of aging
  • Obesity
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Sports
  • Excessive use
  • Previous trauma
  • Hormonal and sex factors
  • Hypermobility and joint instability
  • Inflammation


There is a range of symptoms that are experienced by people with OA. The onset is generally quite slow, and may initially be experienced only as aching muscles and joints after physical work or exercise. Over time the joints may become stiff and swollen, and small bony knobs may appear on the middle or end of the finger joints. There may be limited range of movement of the joint/s affected, with steady or intermittent pain. This pain may increase with prolonged activity and relieved with rest.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disease in which the white blood cells of the body attack healthy tissue, especially the lining of the joints. However this condition is not contained only in the joints, but can be systemic, affecting the whole body.

Risk Factors

The risk factors associated with this condition are different to those that influence the onset of OA. RA typically affects two to three times more women than men. There is some speculation that a person has a genetic susceptibility to this condition, and that the onset is triggered by some kind of infection. However there is no firm scientific proof of this.

Other Forms of Arthritis

In addition to OA and RA there are a number of other types of arthritis that have been identified, although they do not occur with the same frequency as either OA or RA. These include:

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis – a chronic inflammation of the joints, especially between the vertebrae of the spine
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) – a chronic inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks various tissues and structures in the body, including joint inflammation
  • Gout – an excess of uric acid that accumulates in the joints, causing sudden attacks of pain and tenderness


Some herbs and nutrients which can assist in the relief of joint pain, largely due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Celery Seed (Apium graveolens) has a long history of use. It has been found to exhibit a number of properties, including its action as diuretic and urinary antiseptic. Ayurvedic Practitioners have used celery seed since ancient times as a diuretic to assist in the relief of water retention. It has also traditionally been used for the relief of the pain of arthritic and rheumatic conditions, as well as gout.

Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. It has a long history of use, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been found to display good results in relieving the inflammation associated with arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is so named as the fruit has a claw-like appearance, hence the name Devil's Claw. It has been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and has often been used in cases of arthritic and rheumatic conditions due to its ability to relieve inflammation of the joints.

Curcumin is derived from the herb Turmeric and has been used in Indian cooking for thousands of years, giving curries their yellow colour. In India it was used for poor digestion, skin conditions, and liver disorders. More recently the anti-inflammatory properties of the herb have been identified. It has been found to be effective, when combined with other herbs, to assist in relieving the inflammation that contributes to the pain of arthritis and rheumatism. It has also been shown to exhibit anti-oxidant properties.

Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme derived from the pineapple plant, while Hesperidin is one of a family of compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids are water-soluble, brightly coloured substances that appear in fruit and vegetables, and usually accompany vitamin C. One of the many actions of both bromelain and hesperidin is their action as anti-inflammatories, assisting to relieve the inflammation associated with arthritis and rheumatism.

The combination of these herbs, enzyme and flavonoid are useful in conditions in which inflammation is present, such as arthritis and rheumatism.

The above information was taken from our NSP Australian website naturessunshine.com.au/health-tips/taking-care-of-your-joints.shtml


Joint Health, Ayurvedic (100 caps)

Joint Support (100 caps)

Devil's Claw (100 caps)

EverFlex® w/Hyaluronic Acid (60 tabs)

Nerve Eight® (100 caps)

MSM (90 tabs)

Collatrim Plus® Powder (326.5 g)

....read below for more ideas.....

The topic of arthritis can not be complete without some insight from Steven Horne. The following was taken from The Comprehensive Guide to NSP, by Treelite.com

Arthritis, which involves inflammation of the joints (accompanied by pain, swelling and deterioration of the joints) is a common problem in modern society. It is now the number one cause of disability in America with one in every seven people suffering from this ailment. It was once a problem largely confined to the elderly, but is now affecting people at younger and younger ages.

There are two basic types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a non-inflammatory degenerative joint disease that affects the tissue and fluid between the bones. This results in pain, stiffness or restricted movement and weakness. It can develop over time from everyday wear and tear on the joints or even a lack of enzymes in the diet.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. Theoretically, the body gets confused and attacks its own joints. Viral infection or toxins in the tissue may be the real cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

Most arthritis sufferers are using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Initially, these drugs may knock out the pain and seem like a solution, but they are not removing the cause and because they are toxins themselves will eventually contribute to further breakdown of the body. Other arthritis sufferers opt to use corticosteroids or undergo surgical repair or replacement. Killing pain does not get rid of the causes of arthritis. In natural therapy we are seeking to eliminate root causes.

Arthritis is caused by irritation to the joints. The irritation must come from somewhere. Remove the irritants causing the problem and irritation to the joints ceases. Joint irritation comes from three major sources. The first is structural stress (mechanical wear or damage). The second is chemical stress, environmental toxins and nutritional deficiencies that weaken the joints. Emotional stress (being "frozen" in our lives) can be a third source of arthritis.

In working with arthritis naturally, start by drawing better circulation into the affected areas to help them to heal. Massage and gentle stretching exercises combined with topical application of Tei Fu Essential oils or Deep Relief oils will also help ease pain.

Alkalizing the diet is very helpful for reducing irritation to the joints. This means balancing highly acid forming foods like meat, dairy, grain, nuts and beans with more alkaline-forming foods like fruits and vegetables.

There are a number increasingly popular supplements to help with arthritis and joint pain. They are:

MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane), a sulfur compound. Sulfur, the eighth most abundant element in the human body, has a long history as a healing agent. For centuries mankind has soaked in sulfur-rich mineral hot springs to help heal a variety of ailments. MSM supplies biologically active sulfur. It helps with liver detoxification and studies show it helps ease arthritis pain in many individuals.

Glucosamine is an amino sugar normally found in the human body and is the base material for making up mucous membranes, ligaments, tendons and synovial fluid in the joints. It helps joints to heal.

Chondroitin is a long chain of repeating sugars found naturally in the joints and connective tissues. It helps to produce new cartilage and protects existing cartilage. Chondroitin interferes with enzymes that destroy cartilage molecules and enzymes that prevent nutrients from reaching the cartilage. Collagen is another major supportive tissue in the human body. Cartilage, ligaments and tendons are primarily made of collagen.

All of the above compounds are found in Everflex.

Where cartilage is damaged, Collatrim capsules or Collatrim Plus powder helps to prevent hardening of this tissue and helps cartilage to heal. A few grams a day can help restore mobility to the joints.

There are a number of excellent herbal products that also help arthritis. Herbs can supply nutrients to help damaged joints to rebuild. Silica adds resiliency to joints so they care less susceptible to damage. It is found in horsetail, Dulse Liquid and HSN-W.

Calcium is important for joints, by taking calcium supplements doesn't help unless other elements are present for assimilation and utilization, including Vitamin D, silica, boron and magnesium. Skeletal Strength contains all of these nutrients and is the best calcium supplement for helping with joint repair. Still, many people actually do better with the herbal calcium found in Herbal CA, which also promotes bone and joint healing.

Anti-inflammatory herbs can reduce joint inflammation, aid in detoxification and ease arthritis symptoms. Joint Support and Joint Health are two excellent formulas that help with this problem. Combination Eight or APS II will also help reduce inflammation and pain. As an alternative to NSAIDs, Triple Relief can be used to ease pain. However underlying causes still need to be addressed.

If the kidneys are weak and not filtering acids properly from the blood, KB-C will help.

For a complete list of Nature's Sunshine products that have been used successfully for arthritis and joint discomfort, please email or call me, or find the information in the Comprehensive Guide to NSP, available at www.treelite.com.

Share the Health,
Karen Herrmann-Doolan, NSP District Manager
Nature's Sunshine Herb Specialist
Natural Health Educator
O: 704-966-6645
H: 704-588-7638
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