While sticking with plant-based food does reduce and eliminate pretty much all of my previous pain, living in a damp and cool climate also may exacerbate my own condition at times. I’ve been looking at natural ways of dealing with any pain that comes my way, though I’m fortunate that any pain I do encounter now doesn’t have me running for the Ibuprofen and is easily controlled. Here are some things I’ve found:
Ginger — I use Traditional Medicinals brand of Ginger Aid tea (milder than straight-up ginger tea) along with frozen ginger shavings (buy a ginger root and shred it; you can do this with a spoon, as seen here). Ginger Aid/peppermint tea blend or Ginger Aid/chamomile can really help ease aches at night and is a great tonic to help you go to sleep. I use one teabag of each tea when I blend.
Exercise — Also works incredibly well for me in reducing any RA pain. I started walking for an hour every evening, and happily discovered that any RA achiness in my hands from using a keyboard all day eases completely after a walk. My sedimentation rate and platelet levels also dropped dramatically after starting the walking routine in addition to my diet.
Borage oil: No, borage oil is not something you use to polish your wood furniture. It’s actually oil from the seeds of the borage plant, an annual herb also called starflower. You can find it at health food stores or on Amazon. (I use Barlean’s organic brand.) Let me be the first to tell you this is not witchcraft or an old wive’s tale. Borage oil capsules absolutely knock out inflammatory pain, be it from an autoimmune disorder or menstrual cycle as the result of its highly concentrated Omega-6 fatty acid content. These capsules are one reason why I no longer need Ibuprofen. For me, I found it as effective as either Ibuprofen or Prednisone for shutting down any aches. (And yes, this is a slight deviation from the no-oil philosophy of McDougall, but it’s not an everyday pill for me). Don’t just take my word for it, there’s science behind this. And here’s another link. If you are already on medication, make sure you check with your doctor because it can interact with different medication or could be a problem for you in other ways. Also stay away from this stuff if you are pregnant or trying to become so. Otherwise, for pain relief, it is definitely worth asking about; finding an organic source for it is just as important.
Go with anti-inflammatory foods — Here is a smoothie I created from adapting this smoothie from MindBodyGreen, which is probably a powerhouse of a painkilling drink if you follow their directions. Mine is not as complete, as I only went with the ingredients in my house that morning, and it STILL worked on a day when my hands were slightly RA achy.
My Deep Blue Smoothie
2 cups of frozen mango, pineapple and strawberries (this was the tropical smoothie blend of frozen fruit available at my grocer)
2 cups of blueberries
1 cup frozen spinach
1/4-1/2 cup Seven Grains non-dairy drink or any other nondairy drink (hemp, soy or rice milk, etc.)
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
1/4 cup or more of walnuts
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cinammon
1/4 cup pre-cooked brown rice or uncooked rolled oats (for thickening)
Put all in the blender and mix until smooth. This makes enough for 2 people, so share it with someone!