There’s a good chance that you have used a home remedy at some point in your life whether it be ginger for nausea, lavender for a migraine, or cod liver oil to keep your eyes healthy there are a number of old wives tales making the rounds that claim to have the latest quick fix for common ailments.
However, the use of home remedies isn’t only relegated to the domain of the common cold or travel sickness, with a number of people claiming such remedies have helped them with their chronic conditions.
One such chronic condition where a number of interesting home remedies have arisen is arthritis which affects 3.9 million Australians, or 1 in 6 people. With an ageing population, that number set to skyrocket to 5.4 million by 2030, according to Arthritis Australia. Arthritis can cause damage to the joints, usually resulting in pain and stiffness.
With so many affected it’s no surprise a number of alternative treatments have come to light. Although medication prescribed by a General Practitioner (GP) plays an important part in managing the condition, according to our Starts at 60 readers, there are a number of unique home remedies that can help alleviate arthritis flare-ups.
Medical expert Dr Vivek Eranki stresses that when patients are considering home remedies “the most important thing is they need medical input.”
“Funnily enough, GPs are actually very well versed with the home remedies out there and they would be able to guide the patient,” he said.
“Home remedies come in many different shapes and sizes,” shared Dr Eranki, although he warned to not take a home remedy without first running it past your GP.
After reading a number of claims from our Start at 60 community regarding their remedies for arthritis we sat down with Dr Eranki to further examine the home remedies you swear by in an effort to separate fact from fiction.
One member swears by “eating cherries” when it comes to alleviating the painful symptoms of arthritis.
“Every Christmas I can go without pain medication for 3 weeks because I eat cherries. I also try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet with very few carbs or sugar and no milk,” they said.
Eranki concedes that “fruits and vitamins do have anti-inflammatory properties.”
“But cherries, I’m not too sure about that,” he said.
“I think, especially during the holiday season, that’s probably got to do with other diets that they are consuming at the same time.”
Apple Cider Vinegar is often considered the holy grail of home remedies with claims it can help lower blood sugar, kill weeds in the garden, and can even serve as an all-purpose cleaner around the house. But can it help with inflammation associated with arthritis?
A Starts at 60 reader claims “one to two tablespoons of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with one to two tablespoons of Honey (Manuka is best) in a little warm water; taken every morning” is the key to managing arthritis.
“My parents lived well into their 90’s and never had arthritis thanks to this mixture,” the reader said.
However, Eranki refutes some of the fantastic claims made around Apple Cider Vinegar, claiming it’s “probably not grounded in fact.”
“I haven’t come across anything nor have I read about it favourably in any medical journals,” he said.
Omega-3 is a type of fat that not only plays an important role in maintaining overall good health but can also reduce inflammation caused by arthritis.
According to Arthritis Australia, “current research suggests omega-3 fats are helpful for people with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. There is also some evidence that fish oils may help control symptoms of osteoarthritis.”
Given our bodies can’t produce Omega-3 on their own it’s essential we obtain them from our food, which one commenter with osteoarthritis did in order to alleviate their symptoms.
“I have osteoarthritis in my spine and both knees, but I find eating salmon and taking fish oil tablets helps with inflammation and lubricant for joints, but I need to keep moving also,” the commenter said.
Consuming salmon and fish oil tablets receive the tick of approval from Eranki who considers them “very important because of their anti-inflammatory properties.”
“There’s been some anecdotal evidence that apparently some of the proteins have a similar characteristic to the synovial layer of your joint which produces the shock-absorbing fluid, when they looked at the research they found it was because of the anti-inflammatory properties of the fish,” he said.
Exercise can benefit arthritis sufferers by improving their mobility and helping to decrease pain and stiffness. One Starts at 60 reader considers exercise as the “best medicine.”
“Move it or lose it, so the saying goes,” they said.
“But in actual fact, it really does work together with a daily dose of magnesium and glucosamine. I have chronic arthritis in my shoulder, back, and feet so I take myself off to the gym 4 x weekly.”
Eranki said exercise plays a “huge part” in the management of arthritis.
“Exercise and movement themselves have been found to be useful, proper movement is actually very protective for the joints,” he said.
“Good exercise and movement actually alleviate joint pain.
“Exercise and movement are probably one of the best things that people can do for their health.”
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.