Chinese Herbs Relieve Arthritis

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The ancient wisdom of Chinese herbal medicine provides answers to the insidious effects of arthritis, which slowly cripple and deform, through a relentless attack on joints and surrounding tissue.

Approximately one in five Australians experience symptoms of arthritis due to various causes. The main forms of arthritis that afflict us as we age are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Joint degeneration in OA usually begins after the age of 30 and mainly affects weight bearing joints including the lower back and hips but also attacks joints like shoulders, fingers and toes. The disease is characterised by the loss of protective cartilage covering the ends of bone and consequent damage to underlying bone. OA predominantly affects men under the age of 45 and women over this age. 80% of people over the age of 50 are afflicted to some degree with OA.

RA is a chronic disease affecting 1 - 3% of the population with women outnumbering men 3:1. Onset is usually gradual and commonly occurs between the ages of 20 - 40, involving mainly the hands, feet, wrists, ankles and knees. Acute forms of RA can occur at any age and damage to affected joints and surrounding tissue can be swift.

To successfully treat the complex symptomatology associated with chronic degenerative arthritis a unique and holistic approach is required. Certain Chinese herbs like Acanthopanax and Eucommia have the unique ability to not only relieve inflammation and pain but also to help restore healthy connective tissue and cartilage. Supporting these benefits is the ability of both herbs to promote the elimination of waste material from joints and to tonify the Liver and the Kidneys.

From a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective 'tonifying the Liver and Kidney organ-meridian systems' strengthen their associated tissues - the bones, muscles and connective tissue. Adding Boswellia to this combination invigorates the Blood and promotes the free flow of Qi (energy) through the meridian channels, preventing 'wind' or migrating pain from 'lodging in the joints'. Boswellia is clinically proven to inhibit inflammation, relieve pain and improve blood supply in OA and RA.

Swelling, which also causes pain, is defined as 'dampness' in TCM. Herbs to eliminate 'damp' include Clematis, Gentiana, Angelica and Ledebouriella. These four herbs reinforce and sustain many of the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, circulatory stimulant, muscle relaxant, detoxifying and connective tissue restorative effects when used in combination with the above mentioned herbs.

Paul Keogh ND, DMH is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist and Technical Director for Fusion Health™. Paul regularly reviews the benefits of vitamins and supplements [] and discusses health conditions and goals. Fusion Health™ products, discount vitamins [] and supplements can be found online.

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