Autoimmunity, Inflammation, and You
With an astounding 1.3 million to 1.5 million Americans suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), many have considered natural treatments for this devastating and painful autoimmune disorder. As with other autoimmune conditions, those with RA experience flares where their symptoms become worse before experiencing periods of remission. Most often these flares are directly tied to inflammation. If the condition isn’t managed well, it can lead to significant complications such as hormonal changes, nerve damage, and severe joint damage. There is no cure for the disease. Managing the symptoms is the only option available. Thankfully, natural remedies and a shift in lifestyle practices can offer much-needed relief for this distressing disorder.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips
What you eat plays a significant role in how well rheumatoid arthritis is managed. An anti-inflammatory diet that is high in antioxidants can greatly affect your quality of life with the disease. Focus on healthy fats like coconut and olive oil, an abundance of brightly colored fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens), bone broth, high sulfur foods like onions and garlic, nuts and seeds, and wild-caught salmon. Because of their high level of omega-3s, fish should be enjoyed several times per week to reduce the symptoms of RA. Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, preservatives, hydrogenated fats, processed and fast food, as well as pasteurized dairy and gluten.
A leaky gut is strongly indicated in all autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. It is crucial to heal your gut if you would like to reduce the symptoms of RA.
“The [leaky gut] syndrome is distinguished by gaps in the intestinal walls that allow harmful agents like toxins and microbes, which would otherwise be discarded as waste, to pass into the bloodstream. If this overt permeability isn’t addressed it can lead to significant inflammation, which aggravates autoimmune disorders and other health issues.” –Why Healing a Leaky Gut Should be a Top Priority for Health; Plus: 6 Herbs for Leaky Gut
Beyond eating an anti-inflammatory diet, several medicinal herbs are exceedingly helpful in treating and soothing an inflamed leaky gut. These include: reishi mushroom, plantain, slippery elm, marshmallow, turkey tail and lion’s mane mushrooms. A convenient Balanced/Leaky Gut Tincture is available in my apothecary which contains each of these powerful and healing herbs.
Another important aspect in reducing pain and the frequency of flares is to stay active. When a person with RA is sedentary, it makes the swelling and range of motion much worse. Good options include walking, water aerobics, pilates, and bicycling.
Moreover, stress and lack of sleep are not your friends when you are dealing with an autoimmune condition. Since fatigue and stressful situations aggravate inflammation, lower immunity, and promote weight gain, it’s important to make sure you are getting enough quality sleep and minimize emotional turmoil in your life. Deep breathing, stretching, taking warm Epsom salt baths, and other relaxing activities should be a part of your daily routine. And don’t forget about the power of gratitude and connecting with loved ones for reducing stress and promoting overall health.
Anti-inflammatory Herbal Support
Interested in giving the following herbs a try?
Find them in my apothecary!
Addressing inflammation should be a top priority with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Conventional treatments use steroids to fight inflammation but these have significant side-effects, especially when used long-term. Medicinal herbs offer a gentle yet effective alternative. Here are four of my top picks:
Joint & Movement Salve — Reportedly a miracle worker to many, this salve provides outstanding relief for painful and inflamed joints, muscles, and tendons. It contains a blend of soothing and healing botanicals for rheumatoid arthritis, including: Calendula, Arnica, St. John’s Wort, Balm of Gilead, Cayenne, and Helichrysum.
Reishi — An outstanding anti-inflammatory that can be used both internally and externally, this dual-extracted mushroom tincture relieves swelling and pain better than many steroid treatments when applied topically. Taken internally, it can slow the inflammatory and disease process of rheumatoid arthritis. Importantly, it also treats leaky gut and modulates the immune system, both of which are crucial for managing autoimmune disorders.
Stinging Nettle — Used in Germany as a traditional treatment for RA, stinging nettle helps to reduce pain, halt the cascade of inflammation, and flush toxins from the system. It can be used internally and externally. Applying a compress of nettle tincture over a painful joint not only brings relief, but also helps to restore and repair joint injuries and reestablish nerve communication.
Turkey Tail — Highly anti-inflammatory, this is another medicinal mushroom that is beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. When the dual-extracted tincture is taken internally, it reduces systemic inflammation. When applied externally, it calms rashes, swelling, and other skin inflammations. Turkey tail also modulates the immune system, which is particularly important with autoimmunity.
Are you ready to calm the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis? Each of these medicinal herbs is included in my Joint & Movement Bundle. Visit the apothecary today to learn more!