Herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years. Native American Indians, natives of South and Central America as well as cultures in the Far East have developed many remedies for just about every symptom experienced. One might assume that these remedies are safe; however, keep in mind that because these ingredients are plant extracts, some grow more potent than others so be sure to follow the labeled directions carefully. Herbal medicines are not scrutinized like prescription and other manufactured medicine, therefore the efficacy is based on the herbal manufacturer’s statement. Studies have started to be conducted on these medicines and some have been proven to be effective; and some have been proven to not be effective. There are several different herbal remedies that have been tested and shown to be effective for the treatment of pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis.
Avocado soybean unsaponifiables or ASU is produced from the extracts of avocado and soybean oil. The research suggests that this combination actually slows the chemical reaction that produces inflammation; which in turn helps to prevent cartilage destruction in the joints. This remedy significantly reduces the incident of osteoarthritis. Another root that has shown anti-inflammatory properties is cat’s claw. It is extracted from the bark of a wood vine that grows deep in the Amazon. Select with caution there is another herb with the same name that comes from a plant grown in the United States called Acacia greggi that is extremely toxic. Make sure you purchase the correct product; check the label and be sure it comes from vines called Uncaria guianensis and Uncaria tomentosa which is grown in countries located in South America.
Other anti-inflammatory herbal medicines are Devil’s Claw and Ginger. Devil’s claw is traditionally used is South Africa. The healing ingredient in this herb is harpagoside; which may also hold properties that reduce uric acid levels. Uric acid is the precipitating cause of gout. Ginger is widely used for pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory remedy; but be cautious with the root it has shown interference with blood thinning medicines such as coumadin and lovenox.
Herbal remedies such as Boswellia or Indian Frankincense, Feverfew and Willow bark are advertised as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory; but studies have indicated that they have little or no effect on the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.
The benefits of using herbal remedies for pain is that there are little or no side effects from these medicines. There are no properties of these medicines that are addictive. As long as you follow the directions and research the herbs before you take them to be sure they do not interfere, or alter the effects of any prescription medicine that you take; they are relatively safe. Most people who take herbal supplements and use herbal remedies as a whole feel better about what they’ve ingested; just use with caution and talk to your physician before taking that plunge into herbal remedies.