Modern medicine has accomplished some amazing things. A century ago, people wouldn’t have dreamed that life-extending procedures like organ transplants would ever be possible. Other procedures, like hip replacements, eliminate pain and improve the quality of life. Increased mobility results in greater independence and an increased sense of self-sufficiency.
Despite many positive contributions, such as penicillin, home remedies for common ailments associated with aging, such as joint pain, are still often superior to modern pharmaceuticals. One reason for this is that many of them have potentially harmful side effects, and another is the potential for negative drug interactions with other medications.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine sulfate is one of the most recommended treatments for joint pain. The cartilage of the human body produces this compound that acts as nature’s shock absorbers naturally from sugars and proteins. It helps form the synovial fluid that lubricates joints. While it can be purchased in tablets, experts recommend liquid form for greater effectiveness. A great home remedy that meets this criteria is bone broth which contains both glucosamine and chondroitin, another effective anti-inflammatory.
Frankincense is a home remedy that has been used for centuries. Indian frankincense, known as boswellia, has been tested by modern methods for treating joint inflammation. In 2004, a research study was conducted using 30 people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Half were given boswellia, and the other half a placebo. Those who received the boswellia reported greater mobility and less knee pain. They were also able to walk longer distances than those taking the placebo. Another study in 2008 found that a supplement containing boswellia improved function within seven days and after three months, slowed cartilage damage.
Another contribution from India is turmeric. Related to the ginger family, turmeric is produced from the root of the turmeric plant. Turmeric is one of the ingredients in tasty curry dishes. Curcumin is a chemical found in turmeric. Traditionally, it has been used in Chinese and Indian medicine to treat arthritis. Curcumin blocks the cytokines and enzymes that cause inflammation, such as cyclooxygenase-2. Western medicine has now discovered the value of this natural remedy. In a 2010 clinical trial, 100 patients received a supplement composed of 75 percent curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. Those patients reported long-term improvement in function and a reduction of pain. A 2012 study revealed that it produced better results than diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug.
Food as a Home Remedy
Diet is an important factor in reducing the inflammation that results in joint pain, and foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to be effective. Fish and soy are both rich in Omega-3. Walnut oil has ten times the omega-3 as olive oil. Cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries contain anthocyanins, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Broccoli contains the compound sulforaphane in addition to vitamins K and C.
While modern medicine has improved our lives, traditional home remedies can be deliciously effective in reducing joint pain, without the side effects of prescription drugs.