5 Herbs to Ease Joint Pain
Most think of joint pain as a problem that only happens to the elderly. You would NEVER think of it as a condition you would have to deal with. Especially, in your 30's!
As we age, our once strong knees, elbows, and hips. Now, have a caution sign around them. The wrong movement could have them locked up and inflamed for days on end.
When did we go from being excited about a WOD (workout of the day) filled with box jumps and squats? To asking the coach for alternative exercises that are gentler on the knees? Step-ups anyone??? Wait…those hurt too!
Is This You?
*Body cramps up during or after a workout
*Constant “burning” feeling in your joints.
* It doesn’t matter how much ice or anti-inflammatories you take. Your joints are constantly swollen.
*When you go to pick something up. It sounds as if someone stepped on a bag of potato chips.
These are signs that you might be suffering from stiff, inflamed joints.
What is a Joint?
Joints are the parts of the body where your bones meet. They allow your bones to your skeleton to move. Joints include:
What is Joint Pain?
We know we have it. But, what actually is joint pain? Joint pain refers to aches, pains, and soreness in any of the body’s joints.
In the United States alone. Over 24 million people are dealing with chronic joint pain. That’s 1 in 4 adults who have to limit their activities due to pain.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, joint pain is most common in adults over 40 and it progresses slowly and could develop into Rheumatoid Arthritis and/or Osteoarthritis.
Why do my joints snap, crackle, and, pop?
The sound you hear is likely gas bubbles in the joint bursting, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Research shows that the sound you hear when cracking a knuckle is caused by “popping” bubbles in the synovial fluid. The fluid that lubricates your joints.
David Reavy, Physical Therapist and founder of REACT Physical Therapy in Chicago. “You’re hearing either joint contact and friction or the snapping and rubbing of a tendon or muscle. That's not good and leads to problems.”
Don’t sign up for that knee or hip replacement yet. There is hope out there!!!
One of the best ways to go to keep your joints healthy is to take a holistic approach.
Why take a “Holistic” approach?
Taking a Holistic approach isn’t what it used to be. When the word “Holistic” is uttered. Most people think of Yogi’s running around, eating grass and kale chips (which are actually really good).
Modern sciences have finally jumped on board with Functional Foods and Therapeutic Herbs as an alternative to OTC medications aka Opioids and NSAIDs.
These medications are supposed to used short term. Like a bandaid to be used in interim of wound healing.
As we see, this is not the case. Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain. But, there are no studies as its effectiveness longterm. Most importantly, the Opioid problem in America is the deadliest addiction problem in US history!
Most high-level athletes and desk-bound warriors are constantly searching for an alternative to keeping their body healthy without possible addiction or side effect(s).
The herbs classified in this article are Therapeutic Herbs. They fall under Evidence-Based Wellness. Which means they are scientifically proven to work but “Holistic” in nature.
Here are my top 5 herbs to ease joint pain
Turmeric is a yellow powder that manly is used to make curry. This health-enhancing powder is predominately known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
The reason Turmeric is such a powerful anti-inflammatory because it contains medical compounds known as curcuminoids, the most important of these curcuminoids are curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric has also been applied to the skin to reduce pain/swelling. Taking Turmeric regularly reportedly can help with the following:
*Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
* Alzheimer's disease
In an 8-week pilot study, 45 people with Rheumatoid arthritis took curcumin, and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or a combination of two. The curcumin-only group reported most improvement in symptoms, without any negative gastrointestinal said effects.
A recent study by The Journal of Medicinal Foods concluded that it takes 8-12 weeks with Turmeric extracts reduced pain due to arthritis and joint pain. There are still so many promising things about Turmeric. Definitely, a must-try if you’re dealing with chronic joint pain.
*If you take Turmeric in pill form (most advised way). Make sure your supplement contains Piperidine. A natural substance derived from black pepper. This enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%.
The Best Herbs: Boswellia
Also called Frankincense. Boswellia has a long history of medicinal uses in natural medicine. It is thought to work by blocking the substances that attack healthy joints (leukotrienes).
Alternative Asthma Treatment
Recent studies from the US National Library of Medicine have shown that boswellic acid suppresses inflammation in the airways and inhibits the secretion of cytokines, which are markers that lead to inflammation.
Thus, boswellic acid appears to block off the allergic response that causes an asthma reaction in the first place!
Boswellia is known to stop inflammation in its tracts. Thus, making it a powerful agent in reducing pain and inflammation in the body.
The Best Herbs: Ginger
You probably didn’t know. This spice (we all have in our cabinets) is a staple in many Holistic Health practices. As their go-to for pain and inflammation relief.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ginger is used to increase blood circulation. By increasing circulation, the body is able to heal and repair tissue that has been damaged from overtraining or injury. Increasing blood circulation also helps to calm inflamed areas of the body.
Ginger has a significant effect on belly fat (waist-to-hip ratio). Because of the anti-inflammatory effects, it has on the gut. It’s able to calm inflamed belly fat. Thus reducing belly size and improving overall gut health
The Best Herbs: Rosemary
We're used to Rosemary being sprinkled on our baked chicken. But, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this evergreen shrub is known to reduce pain and lower cortisol levels to help manage anxiety.
It’s not as powerful in calming inflammation as Turmeric and Ginger. But, with its high-level mix of calcium, iron, and vitamin B6. This trio can lower your levels of homocysteine, which is a protein that’s linked to a greater risk of rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.
Honorable Mention: Glucosamine
Although, it’s not an herb. I have to tell you about Glucosamine. This is a natural compound found in the tough tissues that cushions our joints aka cartilage.
When cartilage begins to breakdown. Inflammation in the joints begins. This constant friction in between your joints and muscles is what keeps your joints swelling up and your body in constant pain. Which makes working out and living life a pain in you know what!
How does Glucosamine work?
Glucosamine Sulfate is used to treat pain in the knee, hip, or spine (osteoarthritis). It is a chemical found in the body and is used to produce other chemicals that are involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other fluids that surrounding joints. Thus, keeping them healthy and tissues buoyant.
Glucosamine is also known to help lubricate joints. This helps to reduce swelling and give smooth sliding surfaces to your tissues reducing noisy, grinding joints.
Looking for a supplement that could improve your joint health? Make sure it has a blend of Glucosamine, ginger, and turmeric. Just like this powerful formulation here.
The Best Herbs: Willow Bark
Willow bark acts much like an aspirin (but gentler on the stomach). Because it contains a chemical called salicin (an anti-inflammatory agent). And is noted as one of the oldest treatments for inflammation. In fact, in the time of Hippocrates, it was chewed on to help treat inflammation.
It is also reported that, Willow Bark. When taken in a pill form, it showed promise in reducing pain in such osteoarthritis conditions like knee, hips, neck, and back pain.
Joint Health Matters
The reason you're reading this is you’re probably dealing with some sort of joint issue. Or looking for information on how not to deal with it in the first place. Keeping your joints healthy and supple will allow you to run, jump and workout pain-free.
Pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil are usually the first choice for joint pain relief. With the number of side effects and short term relief. Our bodies need something natural that gets down to the root of the problem (inflammation) so we can get back to doing what we do best!
Looking for that “magic” supplement/herb to eliminate your joint pain can be tricky. Many supplement blends have multiple ingredients that have nothing to do with your root problem. They are just the “trendy” supplements of the month. Retailers will add these to their blends just to make a sale.
You want a supplement with:
*Manufactured at an FDA registered facility
…..and most importantly, the ingredient you are looking for (ie: Turmeric) needs to be listed in the top 5 ingredients. Meaning that ingredient is most abundant in the formulation.
When it comes to developing a workout recovery routine or looking for alternatives to soothe your chronic pain. Taking the Holistic approach to Pain Management and recovery helps to give your body what it needs to calm inflammation and repair your muscles.
By taking functional foods & herbs, doing corrective exercises, and don’t forget about mobility. You’re giving your body a kickstart to recovering faster so you can make gains in your workouts and most importantly, taking your PR (Personal Record) to the next level.