Can Herbal Extracts Help with Arthritis?

BY SANDRA GUY

Anyone who suffers from arthritis knows a desperate desire to stop the crippling pain. In fact, May — designated Arthritis Awareness Month — shows that one in every five adults and 300,000 children in America suffer from it.

More importantly, arthritis taxes people’s finances and our country’s economic health.

  • One-third of working-age people with arthritis are limited in their ability to work and in the type and time of work they can do, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
  • People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis –two major kinds of arthritis – miss a combined 172 million workdays every year.
  • Arthritis and related conditions account for more than $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses.

These conditions may make it worthwhile to research using natural alternatives – though unproven — rather than NSAIDs (over-the-counter pain relievers).

One such natural remedy, Boswellic acid, is found in the herbal resin of the boswellia tree. Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is available as a pill, resin or cream. It is thought — and some studies have shown — that Boswellia may support cartilage, mobility, joint health and connective tissue integrity.

But Boswellia may interact with and decrease the effects of anti-inflammatory medications. Talk to your doctor before using boswellia products, especially if you’re taking other medications to treat inflammation.

Meanwhile, be sure to indulge in low-impact aerobic activities that put no stress on the joints, such as dancing, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, brisk walking, light gardening and group exercise classes.

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