Can Herbal Extracts Help with Arthritis?

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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