All Natural

In the last couple of months, my RA has become more symptomatic, especially in the hands. I was able to lower the Prednisone 1mg after many failed attempts the last 12 months. I am not keen on upping the dose again so I started a few natural remedies.

My connection to Ayurveda

I am an American. I was born in India but brought stateside at eight months. I went to school on the East Coast then moved to the Midwest for college. While my accent, mannerisms, and ideals are very American I am also South Asian. Well, half South Asian and half Peruvian but I’ll focus on the former today. I learned about my history and my culture and one of the most important parts of it is nature and our connection with it. South Asians believe in Ayurveda, and use natural remedies to cure any number of ills.

A state of mind

It’s not just about the natural remedies but a state of mind. In order for the body to heal and remain healthy, we must be one with ourselves and align our energies.

Yoga, for example, calms the mind and in turn, reduces inflammation and pain. Acupuncture/acupressure uses needles to realign the body’s energy.

Don’t get me wrong, Indians definitely believe in modern/Western medicine but they have a strong connection with the Earth, as well.

Natural remedies: not a cure for my RA, but important in my disease management

I’m not saying that meditating and eating healthy will cure me of my RA because it won’t. I do, however, acknowledge that mental wellbeing, diet, and exercise play an important role in my disease management.

So when my South Asian family floods my inboxes with recipes and natural remedies I take a look. After all, these therapies have been passed down through generations of Indians for a reason, right? In my case (always double check with a doctor, please!) it doesn’t hurt to try them so below are the three main additions I’ve made to my diet.

My natural remedy additions

Tumeric “Latte”

I heat 1 cup milk (any type will do), 3/4 teaspoons of turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper until boiling. I let it rest for a minute and add honey to taste.

Tumeric has long been used in Indian cooking for it’s rich, yellow color but, it has more benefits than just color! The main ingredient (curcumin) is a powerful anti-inflammatory and they say it can be used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions. One thing to note is the body does not absorb turmeric without the aid of black pepper. Another thing to note is please, please do not take turmeric raw. I never realized there was a reason why turmeric is cooked…because it tastes AWFUL raw. The more you know, I guess!

Raw Honey

I recently switched to raw, organic honey instead of its pasteurized counterpart. I have pretty bad pollen allergies and I heard that eating local raw honey could help combat them by introducing the same pollen into the body; sort of like a vaccine! Upon a bit more research, I learned that pasteurized honey does not have as many of the good vitamins as raw honey possesses. During the filtration process honey is heated and many of those good for you minerals get lost. Honey is a good anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which when consumed helps with inflammation!

Black/Green Tea,/b>

I will be the first to admit I am a coffee drinker. If given the choice, I will side with coffee every time. However, I am also a tea lover. I especially love green tea but often opt for black. They are both high in polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that not only protect against cell damage but also have other health benefits like lowering blood pressure.

I always brew loose leaf tea. This is more because I’m an elitest Indian and think tea bags generally don’t taste good. Turns out, we have a point! The tea leaves found in bags are generally broken up and stale. They cannot reach their full potential like loose leaves do!

Do you take alternative diet therapies? Let me know in the comments!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (11)
  • BS2018
    2 months ago

    There is a group of carbohydrates referred to as FODMAPS that can cause a great deal of distress to IBS patients. This distress is in the form of gut irritation/inflammation. I have found that, in addition to the obvious GI issues they cause me, the sensitivity makes my fatigue worse and my joint stiffness worse. Since all autoimmune diseases share a link through the immune system, it might be worthwhile to investigate FODMAPs from an individual perspective. Again, this isn’t a cure for RA or IBS but it’s another way we might be fanning the fires of autoimmunity without realizing it.

  • starscream
    2 months ago

    I follow the no nightshade diet. This is not a cure but I have flares when I eat tomatoes or potatoes etc. Other friends with RA find it helps to avoid other foods. I also have flares with other causes like physical or emotional stress. So it does not stop all flares.

    I eat salmon or take fish oil every day (recommended by my doctor). I also take vitamins every day in part because I miss key vitamins on the no nightshade diet and also to help think straight. I eat lots of nuts as a snack while travelling especially as it is hard to know when potato starch or paprika might be in a food. I also eat raisins and bananas.

    For swelling, I use icepacks and cold showers and walks outside in freezing weather. I also rest and rest.

    On top of this I take hydroxochloroquine daily and claritin, and tons of ibuprofin, and for flares 5 day packs of prednisolone or a cortisone shot in a specific joint.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    2 months ago

    Hey @starscream! Thanks so much for sharing on my article!! I’m glad you’ve found alternatives that help you! I really believe a “balanced” regime of medications and healthy eating habits makes a big difference. Of course, that is my opinion and doesn’t necessarily benefit everyone!

    Potatoes also flare me, as does excess butter. Thankfully, tomatoes do not (which is good since I love them so much).

    I swear by fish oil but I know many people cannot take it.

    You have got your RA management down to a science!! I am sure there are still some surprises in there but it sounds like you have got a good hold on it. Best, Monica

  • CF2017RA
    2 months ago

    Monica thank you for this post. I totally agree with all of your natural findings, and constantly look for additions to add to my arsenal of healing. Mostly I believe that what we think is what will become our reality, so I certainly make extreme efforts to be on the positive side of life. Will this cure my RA/RD….certainly not but WILL make it easier to share my life with this villain.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    2 months ago

    Hey @cf2017ra!! Thanks so much for commenting on my article.

    I’m glad you’ve found ways to make RA more bearable. I still find it difficult to think positive just because it’s never been my personality. I’m not a negative person but optimism isn’t my strong suit.

    That being said, taking the time to be grateful, calm and positive has helped me. It is just taking some time.

    Thanks again for commenting! ~Monica

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    2 months ago

    I use cinnamon, dark chocolate and sugar free foam additives. They do not do anything for RA or diabetes or AS, I just like them and happy is a wonderful outcome for anything.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    2 months ago

    Heh, I don’t like dark chocolate so I substitute it with milk. It definitely doesn’t do anything for my RA but it does help my sinus headaches!!

    By the way, what is a sugar-free foam additive?

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips
    2 months ago
  • PamelaP
    2 months ago

    Just a caution: My liver enzymes ran high for six months or so. My RA doctor did all sort of blood tests every few months but they would not go down. My pain doctor (I call him Evil Doctor so you can tell what I think of him) lowered my Norco by 1/3 because it had Acetamin in it. Needless to say, I was in so much pain that my activity level pretty much bottomed out. Finally the culprit was proven to be GREEN TEA! I was drinking a lot, having given up soft drinks trying to do a good thing. No more green tea and liver enzymes are fine! So please don’t drink or limit your green tea.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi PamelaP. Sorry you had these elevated liver enzyme issues. For anyone out there interested in more information, this article from the National Institute of Health (NIH) looks at green tea and liver toxicity issues: https://livertox.nih.gov/GreenTea.htm. Liver issues associated with green tea are quite rare (although, as you experienced, not unheard of). Most often issues occur with green tea extract (GTE), most commonly used in supplements and weight loss products. Glad you recovered quickly. The article notes that “In typical cases, recovery is expected in one to two months.” Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator author
    2 months ago

    Hey Pamela @96elue! Thank you so much for commenting on my article.

    You bring up a good point that I also mentioned in the article. Whenever deciding to make changes to a medical regime it’s important to discuss them with your doctor! You never know what may or may not work well or poorly with your body.

    I’m sorry you had a bad reaction with the green tea. Glad you are doing better and your blood work got all sorted.

    Best, Monica

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