Aloe and the joints

Aloe has only recently been taken by people to help their joint problems or arthritis, surprising when you know how much it can help these problems.

Most people have now heard of glucosamine and chondroitin to help arthritis, and many people take them, but what is not so commonly known is that, if taken in tablet form, not a lot of the product actually gets to the joints, because they mostly get broken down in the stomach.

Another issue is that the quality of these supplements varies widely, and it is not easy to know how good a particular make is without independent analysis, which most do not have access to.

Aloe vera contains substances called lignins, which allow both the aloe and any substances mixed with it to penetrate further if used topically, and to be carried through the gut if swallowed.

Aloe also contains vitamins, minerals, so acts as a tonic, but also anti-inflammatory substances, so can relieve pain to a certain degree on its own. A product containing aloe, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and vitamin C , called Forever freedom is available, and I have seen a big difference in people's pain and mobility levels just by taking this.

I myself have taken it, as I recently broke a bone in my foot, and as it was healing, I was limping, causing knee pain. Not psychologically ready for arthritis, I took the Freedom for a few weeks. Result: knee pain gone, and now I just drink the aloe gel.

This Freedom is of more use in the case of osteo-arthritis and sports injuries than for rheumatoid arthritis, as the latter is more a disease of the immune system, but the arthritis management tips suggested here are relevant to all.

Arthritis management tips:

Diet is, we believe, a factor in all illnesses, conditions. Makes sense, really as what we eat and drink are the building blocks of the body. Any food that doesn't look anything like how it grew, or how your grandmother would have recognised it, is processed, not for the benefit of the consumer, but for the producers, to give a longer shelf-life and/or to make artificial food-stuffs look, smell, taste like food.

Wheat is no longer grown as it used to be, bread is not made how it used to be, there is absolutely no goodness whatever in sugar, particularly white sugar, and artificial sweeteners are as bad if not worse, with many side-effects linked to them.,and the flood of ready meals and fast food available, all these are things that our bodies have not had time to evolve to cope with. Although the body is adaptable and forgiving, sooner or later it reaches the point where it can no longer compensate, and some form of illness occurs.

Food sensitivities should be checked : cut out all pasteurised dairy products, sugars, sweeteners, wheat and gluten products for up to 5 days, then re-introduce them one at a time, and if sensitive, you should notice a lessening/worsening of the symptoms. Those foods producing symptoms should then be avoided completely, or as much as possible.

A common food which often makes arthritis worse is the deadly nightshade group: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, staple foods for many people, but arthritis being of epidemic proportions, these days, diet has to be among the causative factors.Keep moving! Arthritis is painful, and it is tempting to not move a painful joint, but the less one moves, the stiffer and more unable to move one gets. Gentle exercise such as Tai chi or yoga can be very beneficial, and walking as much as possible is helpful, especially if it is out in nature, soothing in itself.

Spices such as ginger and turmeric are warming and anti-inflammatory, can be taken as capsules, or just added to dishes when cooking – I often add turmeric to rice or other grains, it can be put into stocks, casseroles, or soups, ginger can be grated and infused as a tea, with or without honey and lemon, and added to stir fries to give an oriental flavour .The important thing is to do it regularly, so you keep getting the benefit.

Many people take cod liver oil, which has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, and safer than NSAIDs, and to oil the joints. This is fine up to a point, but the problem with our polluted world is that cod feeds at the bottom of the sea, and the liver is where stuff is processed, so its liver tends to have concentrated poisons. Our company uses oil from the skin and muscle of the mackerel in the Arctic which is far less polluted.

It is a good idea to take a GLA oil: evening primrose, borage, starflower or blackcurrant oils, which also help with arthritic pain. A good way to tell if you need these too is if your skin looks and feels dry.A lotion with aloe and MSM can very often be soothing to particularly painful areas, or an aloe based heat lotion works and smells like deep heat, but should not be used if the joint already feels hot

What doctors can offer

Doctors can offer a limited array of treatments, most of which have varying amounts of side-effects, such as NSAIDs, or methotrexate, which in my nursing days was just used as an anti-cancer drug.

Several people I know have collapsed and needed emergency surgery after taking anti-inflammatories which caused severe bleeding in the stomach, two of whom died a painful death soon after. I understand there has been research that showed these drugs actually break down the joint linings, so they don't ease pain much, cause internal bleeding, and worsen the original condition. Not much fun!

Joint replacements are touted as a miracle treatment, and in some cases they seem to be, but apart from not addressing the cause issue, surgery lays one open to the possibility of post-operative infection, a relatively long recovery period, and another possibility that the surgery may not be effective. I have myself seen a few cases where the person was left in more pain, and less mobility after surgery than before, and with no chance of improvement.So the more people take charge of their own lives and health, the happier and healthier they will be, we believe.