Basal Joint Arthritis
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: March 23, 2004

My sister has basal arthritis in her thumbs and is taking pain medication. She is still in severe pain, especially when moved or accidentally hitting her thumbs. What kind of herbs can help her pain and maybe help her arthritis?

In basal joint arthritis, occurring at the base of the thumb, pain usually occurs with gripping activities. The pain is caused by cartilage destruction, which reduces joint lubrication, and by inflammatory toxins that accumulate in the joint.

Adding fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines) to the diet twice a week provides oils to nourish the joints. Cod liver oil nourishes cartilage: two teaspoons daily.

A compress of comfrey root or leaves helps to reduce pain and nourish cartilage. Soften the herb in a bit of boiling water for 15 minutes. Soak a cotton cloth in the resulting solution, wring out excess fluid just so that it is not dripping, apply to the area and hold in place by wrapping with bandage or a bit of cloth. This should be changed or resoaked every 2-3 hours.

Anti-inflammatory herbs help to reduce pain: white willow bark, devil’s claw and meadowsweet.

Glucosamine sulphate stimulates production of cartilage, improving joint function and reducing pain, while protecting the joints from further damage, Ask at your health food store for the best quality product. Glucosamine should not be taken with shellfish allergies because it is made from crab shells. Glucosamine is a glucose-containing food and can raise glucose levels, so should be avoided in diabetes. It should also be avoided in heart diseasekidney disease or high blood pressure because of the salt content. It should be taken with meals to avoid digestive problems.

Always ask for the best brand of herbs and supplements. Inferior products may not only be ineffective, but may be harmful.

Please see other arthritis entries on our web site for more information, including information on improving the diet to reduce inflammatory toxins (mainly by minimizing meat and dairy products) and improving bowel function to eliminate toxins ( see "constipation" entries). Choose "Q&A" from the main menu, and enter "arthritis" for the search.

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