WRITTEN BY Dr. Joyce Johnson- 04 April 2012
Pain is a fact of life that afflicts approximately 4 million Canadians afflicted with arthritis.
From strenuous physical activity to injuries, we face pain. Sufferers often find themselves cutting down on exercise to reduce pain. As we age, we are less able to deal with the stressors in our lives that cause pain.
There are many herbs that possess pain-relieving properties and help to reduce inflammation in the joints. Two in particular are turmeric and boswellia.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric has many medicinal uses, with its most popular one being its ability to reduce inflammationdue to osteoarthritis. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice used in Indian curries. The primary active ingredient in Turmeric is curcumin. Like ginger, curcumin exerts its anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting the enzymes and prostaglandins that play a role in inflammation.
Researchers at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas divided 45 patients with rheumatoid arthritis into three groups. One group received curcumin, the second group was given a standard rheumatoid arthritis drug and the third group was given both. After eight weeks, both the group who took curcumin alone and the group that got both the drug and the spice had a greater reduction in symptoms such as joint swelling and pain compared with those who took the drug. Also notable is that the curcumin groups had no side effects, while 14 percent of those in the drug therapy group had side effects that led to discontinuation of the drug.
Also know as Indian Frankincense, boswellia has demonstrated clinical evidence for its usefulness in various conditions involving inflammation and degeneration of the muscles. Modern research has shown that a group of triterpenoids called boswellic acids are responsible for these effects. Researchers have concluded that the boswellic acids are more beneficial, less toxic and more potent than standard anti-inflammatory drugs.
A double-blind study with 30 people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee was conducted by researchers who compared boswellia against placebo. Participants received either boswellia or placebo for 8 weeks and were then switched over to the opposite treatment for an additional 8 weeks. Their results demonstrated significantly greater improvement in knee pain, knee mobility, and walking distance with boswellia compared to placebo.
Are these the right supplements for you?
Only you and your health care provider can decide that.
Image sources: sciencedaily.com , anjapparcanada.com and Wikipedia