To overcome inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other joint and muscle conditions demands that we eventually adapt healthy dietary changes and the addition of anti-inflammatory supplements (as needed) to help reduce uncomfortable symptoms. And, while millions of people tend to merely take drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – they are often linked to unwanted side effects. Fortunately, there are many natural anti-inflammatory supplements that are just as effective as NSAIDs, but without the risk of side effects often reported with pharmaceutical products. Keep in mind, the side effects of NSAIDs can include intestinal tract ulcers, damage to the stomach lining, joint cartilage erosion, and kidney or liver toxicity. (now it’s time for some good news – below)
The most effective natural anti-inflammatory supplements
- Curcumin (Turmeric) The active ingredient in turmeric called curcumin is a potent natural anti-inflammatory. Numerous double-blind studies have found curcumin to be just as effective as the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone in rheumatoid arthritis patients against the symptoms of swelling, pain and stiffness. It lowers histamine levels, has antioxidant properties and is also effective for post-surgical inflammation.
- Ginger Root Extract Ginger has been found effective against the symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and general muscle inflammation. It is also a natural reliever of digestive upset and heartburn. However, it should not be taken by persons with gallstones. It’s also not ideal for those taking blood thinners, as it has mild anticoagulant properties.
- Quercetin This bioflavonoid compound blocks histamine release as well as enzymes responsible for inflammation. It has no known risks or side effects.
- White Willow Bark Extract This extract has anti-inflammatory properties effective in treating arthritis, joint inflammation and back pain with a mild analgesic effect. Its effects seem to be slower to activate than other solutions, but they last longer once they begin. While there are no major side effects, some persons may experience a mild headache or digestive issues. It should not be taken by those with diabetes, gout, kidney disease, ulcer or haemophilia.
- Bromelain This natural anti-inflammatory can help persons with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other joint inflammatory conditions. Bromelain inhibits inflammation and swelling but should not be taken by those on blood thinners.
- Boswellia The gum resin of the boswellia tree has been found effective in treating the symptoms of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The boswellic acids seem to work by supporting the white blood cells of the immune system, and there are zero side effects. Boswellia can in some cases be used side by side with some NSAIDs.
- Devil’s Claw This natural anti-inflammatory contains harpogoside and has been used in traditional African medicine for centuries. It has been found effective against lower back pain. However, it can cause mild digestive upset in some persons and should not be taken in conjunction with blood thinners.
Managing osteoarthritis with NSAIDs isn’t your only option. Natural anti-inflammatory supplements can be just as effective, and with far fewer risks and side effects. Ideally, treatment for inflammatory conditions should also include exercise therapy, joint mobilization and muscle manipulation for best results. Natural anti-inflammatory supplements should not be taken while using NSAIDs; consult your doctor before making the switch from NSAIDs to natural anti-inflammatory supplements.
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