Rheumatism: A general term for acute and chronic conditions
characterized by inflammation, soreness and stiffness of muscles,
and pain in joints and associated structures. It includes arthritis
(infectious, rheumatoid, gouty); arthritis due to rheumatic fever
or trauma/ degenerative joint disease: neurogenic arthropathy; hydroarthrosis;
myositis; bursitis; fibromyositis; and many other conditions.
Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by
pain, swelling and frequently, changes in structure. Other forms of
arthritis include ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and the systemic lupus
May result from or be associated with a number of conditions including:
infection (gonococcal, tuberculous, pneumonococcal;
rheumatic fever; ulcerative colitis; trauma; neurogenic disturbances;
degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis; metabolic disturbances
such as gout; neoplasms such as synovioma;
hydrarthrosis; para- or periarticular conditions such as fibromyositis,
myositis, or acromegaly, psoriasis, Raynaud's disease.
Arthritis is characterized by inflammation and/or pain in a joint(s).
It may appear suddenly or start gradually. Chronic arthritis symptoms
are: pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity of one or more joints.
Some people feel sharp burning or grinding pain. Others compare the
pain to the toothache. Movement of the joint usually hurts, although
there may only be stiffness. There are many different forms of arthritis.
The most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis,
a degenerative joint disease, is related to the wear and tear of aging
and involves deterioration of the cartilage at the ends of the bones.
The once smooth surface of cartilage becomes rough, resulting in friction.
The tendons, ligaments, and muscles holding the joint together become
weaker, and the joint itself becomes deformed, painful, and stiff.
There is usually some pain, but little or no swelling. Any disablement
is usually minor. Osteoarthritis rarely develops before the age of
40 and inflicts 15.8 million Americans. It typically runs in families,
but afflicts almost 3 times as many women as men. Rheumatoid and juvenile
rheumatoid arthritis are types of inflammatory arthritis that attack
the synovial membranes (supply the joint fluids) surrounding the lubricating
fluid in the joints. The cartilage tissues in and around the joints
and often the bone surfaces are destroyed. The body replaces this
damaged tissue with scar tissue, causing the spaces between the joints
to become narrow, to develop folds, and to fuse together. The entire
body is affected instead of just one joint as in osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid
arthritis creates stiffness, swelling, fatigue, anemia, weight loss,
fever, and often crippling pain. It often occurs in people under 40
years of age, including young children. Currently, 2.1 million Americans
are afflicted; twice as many women as men. Juvenile arthritis affects
71,000 young Americans (18 and younger); six times as many girls as
boys. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) affects certain joints of the spine,
which become inflamed, stiffen, become rigid, and then fuse together.
Systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE) is a malfunction of the body's immune
system. For reasons unknown, the body produces antibodies that act
against itself. Although it mimics rheumatoid arthritis and results
in painful and inflamed joints, SLE is not a crippling disease.
There is no specific therapy. There are poultices and teas used to
relieve tenderness, swelling, and pain.
Mix equal parts of the following herbs: black cohosh, gentian root,
angelica, columbo, skullcap, valerian, rue, and buckthorn bark. Use
a heaping tsp. to a cup of boiling water; steep and drink 3 or more
cups per day, as the case may require. Drink a half-cupful at a time.
An excellent poultice for swollen joints is made as follows: 2 tbsp.
mullein, 3 tbsp. granulated slippery elm bark, 1 tbsp. lobelia, and
one small tsp. of cayenne; mix thoroughly together, then mix with
enough boiling water to make a stiff paste. Spread a layer of paste
about 1/4 inch thick on a cloth. Cover the swollen joints with this
poultice and it will bring great relief.
Alternating hot and cold treatments are many times very helpful in
relieving pain of arthritis. This treatment is mainly for arthritis
in the hands, wrists, or feet. Have two containers large enough for
hands or feet. One of the containers should be filled with hot water
at 105 degrees to 110 degrees F. and the other should contain bold
water at 60 degrees to 70 degrees F. This is about the temperature
of water that comes from the cold water faucet.
Arthritis Liniment: Mix in equal parts, wintergreen and yerba
santa. Put any amount of mixture in enough olive oil to cover. Simmer
for 30 to 60 minutes. Strain, and apply to affected parts when cool.
- There should be enough water in each container to reach nearly
to the elbows or knees.
- Us a bath thermometer to determine the water temperature.
- The extremity should be placed first in the hot water for 3 minutes
and then in the cold water for 30 seconds.
- Seven complete changes should be made, ending with the hot water.
- This can be done 2 or 3 times a day.
- If the hot water causes increased swelling, the temperature can
be reduced to 105 degrees F. or the time in the hot water can be
reduced to 2 minutes and the time in the cold water increased to
- If there is poor circulation, the hot water should never be more
than 105 degrees F.
- For extremely painful joints, an ice pack can be used until the
swelling subsides and then the alternate hot and cold treatments
may be used.
Folk Medicine Formulas
Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
Primrose or salmon oil, 2 capsules twice daily, helps control arthritis
pain and inflammation. Superoxide dismutase, taken as directed on
the label (injections have excellent results, or sublingual (under
the tongue) form is also good. Calcium, 2,000 mg. per day, is needed
to prevent bone loss (chelate form is the most effective). Magnesium,
1,000 mg. per day, to help with calcium absorption. Coenzyme Q10,
60 mg. per day, increases tissue oxygenation, with is needed to aid
in repairing connective tissues. Garlic tablets, 2 capsules 3 times
per day, inhibits the formation of free radicals, which can damage
the joints. Kelp, 8 tablets per day, is a rich source of minerals.
Multienzymes, taken with meals as directed (avoid brands containing
hydrochloric acid (HCL) if ulcers are present. Niacin (B3, niacinamide
plus vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)), 100 mg. 3 times per day, increases
blood flow by dilating small arteries. Vitamin B complex with PABA,
100 mg. per day, PABA is good for swelling. Vitamin B12 and folic
acid, take lozenges daily, is needed for proper digestion, the formation
of cells, and the production of myelin, the protective coating surrounding
the nerves. Also prevents nerve damage. Vitamin C plus bioflavonoids,
3,000-10,000 mg. daily in divided doses for the vitamin C, bioflavonoids
500 mg. daily, these are powerful free radical destroyers. Germanium,
200 mg. per day, is a powerful antioxidant that also relieves pain.
Multienzymes, taken as directed with meals. Proteolytic enzymes, taken
as directed between meals. Multivitamin complex plus vitamin A and
beta-carotene, 10,000 IU daily, helps repair tissues and cartilage.
- Alfalfa leaves
- Ash, prickly
- Balm of Gilead
- Brigham tea
- Broom, butcher's
- Buck bean
- Buckthorn bark
- Celery seed
- Chaparral leaves
- Club moss
- Cohosh, black
- Colic root
- Devil's claw tea
- Dock, yellow
- Indigo, wild
- Ivy, ground
- Juniper berries
- Oregon grape, wild
- Parsley tea
- Pine, white
- Pleurisy root
- Queen of the meadow
- St. John's wort
- Shepherd's purse
- Snakeroot, black
- Solomon's seal
- Twin leaf
- Uva ursi (bearberry)
- Valerian root
- Willow, white, bark
- Yam, wild
- Yucca (soapweed)
Check for possible allergies. Avoid milk; vitamin D causes sore joints.
Avoid red meat, sugar products, citrus fruits (tropical fruits, cold
weather fruits may be eaten), green peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, paprika,
cayenne pepper, tobacco, and salt. Chocolate, cocoa, coffee, tea,
soft drinks (carbonated), white flour products and alcohol should
Exercise is essential for reducing pain and retarding joint deterioration.
Hot tubs and baths provide relief. Raw lemon rubs and hot castor oil
packs are also extremely beneficial. If there is inflammation in the
joints, do not massage those parts.
A free form of amino acid complex should be a part of the program
to help repair tissue. Some form of fiber, such as oat bran or rice
bran, should be eaten daily, and the diet should be low in fats. Foods
that should be consumed include: eggs; onions; garlic or asparagus
(sulfur content of these two helps to remove metals); green leafy
vegetables, fresh vegetables; nonacidic fresh fruits (cold weather
fruits, not tropical fruits); whole grains; oatmeal; brown rice; and
fish. It is important to drink steam-distilled water.
The nightshade vegetables (green pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, white
potatoes) contain a toxin called sotanine that some people, particularly
those suffering from arthritis, are highly sensitive to. Sotanine
interferes with enzymes in the muscles, and may cause pain and discomfort.
Do not take iron. It is suspected to be involved with pain, swelling,
and joint destruction. Do not take a multivitamin containing iron.
Consume iron naturally in blackstrap molasses, broccoli, Brussels
sprouts, cauliflower, fish, lima beans, and peas.
A joint afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis sounds more like crinkling
cellophane, while an osteoarthritic joint makes popping, clicking,
and banging noises.
Over 250,000 people have used supplements in arthritis treatment;
they correct 80-90% of all arthritis cases according to Robert Bingham,
M.D., in the journal of the Academy of Rheumatoid Diseases.
Latest research has linked rheumatoid arthritis to diet. Victims
had lower blood levels of folic acid, protein, and zinc. Researchers
concluded that drugs brought about new biochemical changes, creating
a need for certain nutrients.
Researchers report that the ulcer drug, Carafate, can give the same
relief as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs without damaging
the stomach lining. The drug Suprol (also known as suprofen) can harm
the kidneys. There have been 100 reported cases of kidney damage from
this drug. If side effects occur, stop the use of the drug and notify