ayurvedic

Ginger for Arthritis

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There’s a reason some call arthritis the nation’s number one crippler.

More than 100 different diseases are collected into the category of arthritis, and the symptom that links all of them is inflammation.

That’s why a new study from Tel Aviv University is so exciting. The study’s authors identified an all-natural arthritis treatment that is just as effective as mainstream medicine’s beloved non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s)—but without the dangerous side effects.

Sharpen your mincing knives, and prepare to embrace the health benefits of ginger.

The latest statistics indicate that approximately 80% of individuals over the age of 50 suffer from osteoarthritis. Nearly 7 million people in the United States alone suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic condition that inflames the entire body.

Aspirin and other NSAID’s are among the most common treatments for inflammation and pain, yet these drugs, especially NSAID’s, are notorious for their diminishing effectiveness and nasty side effects.

Health Benefits of Ginger

Conventional arthritis treatments cause 3,300 NSAID’s-related ulcer deaths annually.

In contrast, ginger is not only a remarkably safe and natural arthritis treatment, but studies also show it to be equally effective as aspirin and NSAIDs.

On his site Herbal Legacy, Dr. John R. Christopher writes: “Modern science is beginning to demonstrate that the range of diseases that the health benefits of ginger can positively affect as an anti-inflammatory is staggering.” Two clinical trials in Denmark went further and strongly suggested that ginger be included in all arthritis treatment programs.

Health Benefits of Ginger – A Healing Gift

While modern science has only just begun to embrace the health benefits of ginger, it has appeared in the annals of nearly every medical system throughout history. In ancient Ayurvedic texts, ginger is called “vishwabhesaj,” the universal medicine.

Dr. Christopher notes that traditional Chinese and Indian practitioners considered ginger “a healing gift from God.” Now, thanks to advances in technology, scientists can connect inpidual chemical constituents to specific effects.

Somewhat surprisingly, ginger contains a high amount of protein. The root is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids—notably, vitamin A and niacin. Ginger also contains special components called volatile oils.

Volatile Oils in Ginger Pack A Disease Fighting Punch

These oils are the secret behind its characteristically pungent flavor and many of its health benefits. Two of the most potent of these volatile oils are shagaols and gingerol.

Studies confirm gingerol’s ability to reduce inflammation and block pain pathways. Gingerol and shagaol are proven to neutralize stomach acid… improve circulation… regularize blood pressure… and tone the muscles of the digestive tract. Existing research demonstrates ginger’s efficacy as a treatment for a variety of health issues, such as…

  • Elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Cataracts
  • Some blood clotting disorders
  • Radiation exposure
  • Nausea (specifically, resulting from pregnancy or from chemotherapy)
  • Colon cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Ovarian cancer

Ginger also combats a particular aggravating kind of pain: post-workout muscle soreness. An investigation carried out at the University of Georgia showed both raw and heat-treated ginger alleviates moderate muscular pain.

 

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Natural Blood Thinner 1: Salicylates

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There are a number of foods and supplements that are known to thin the blood. These include foods with high amounts of aspirin-like substances called salicylates, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E supplements, and foods with natural antibiotic properties.
People taking prescription anti-coagulant drugs also need to be careful not to consume too many foods with natural blood thinning compounds in addition to their regular medication. 

Blood coagulation should fall within a desirable range. If it coagulates too easily, clots can form which in turn can lead to adverse health conditions such as heart attacks. If blood doesn’t clot enough, conditions such as bleeding from the nose aka (nosebleeds or epistaxis), hemorrhages, hematuria (blood in the urine), heavy periods in women, and bleeding strokes may occur. If a person’s blood isn’t clotting enough and he has surgery or a traumatic event like a car accident, he could have a serious problem by losing too much blood from wounds or surgical incisions failing to clot properly.

Some of the foods that are generally thought to have natural blood thinning compounds will posted in this and future posts. Please note that this is a hodge-podge list based on information collected from various sources, so it’s possible it may contain some errors. See your doctor before you implement any diet, supplement or exercise changes, especially if you are taking any prescription medications or have any health concerns related to coagulation.

Salicylates

One type of natural blood thinners are substances that block vitamin K known as salicylates. The most well known of these is aspirin, but many foods, such as preservatives and flavorings, also contain salicylates or aspirin-like substances. Some individuals are known to be aspirin or salicylate sensitive. I’m one of those salicylate sensitive types, but I have found that I can eat more salicylates as long as I eat a balanced amount of vitamin K foods. (Vitamin K plays an important role in the body’s in blood clotting processes. The “K” in vitamin K gets its name from the Danish word for coagulation.)

Foods that are higher in salicylates include many spices, most fruits, especially dried fruits, nuts, and also some flavorings and preservatives.

Ginger is known as a warming spice in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Herbs and spices high in salicylates include:

  • Curry powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ginger
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Turmeric
  • Licorice
  • Peppermint

In Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) many of the above spices are known as “warming spices”. This may be because thinning the blood they increase a person’s blood circulation, which in turn speeds up the metabolism and makes a person feel warmer.

 

Fruits high in salicylates include

  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Oranges

Other substances high in salicylates:

  • Chewing gum
  • Honey
  • Peppermints
  • Vinegar
  • Wine
  • Cider

Though there are some exceptions, in general most meat, fish, dairy, grains and vegetable foods are not high in salicylates. Many types of fish do however have blood thinning properties due to their omega-3 fatty acid content, as noted below.

A 2001 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found the salicylate content of organic foods to be higher than conventional foods. So if you are salicylate sensitive or have unexplained easy bleeding issues, you may want to experiment and see if you feel better by not eating organic foods.

Hopes this helps someone.