• Liyan Lu


Updated: 3 days ago

According to Mayo Clinic, arthritis is inflammation of one or more of the joints. The symptoms are pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common. Osteoarthritis breaks down the joint’s cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the joints synovium. Uric acid crystals, infections, or underlying diseases, such as psoriasis or lupus, can cause other types of arthritis. Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis. The goals of treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

From my acupuncture practice, the most promising alternative remedies include:

Eat food as medicine.

Ginger is a powerful natural painkiller it contains anti-inflammatory fighting substances. The same compounds that give ginger its strong flavor are also the same ones that have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce joint swelling and pain resulting from arthritis. Ginger also helps digestion illnesses.

Papaya contains several unique protein-digesting enzymes, including papain, chymopapain, vitamin C, and beta-carotene to lower inflammation and improve healing. People with asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have fewer symptoms when they get more nutrients.

Pineapple has a group of enzymes that break down protein to help digestion and inflammation. Those enzymes like bromelain have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory effects comparable to NSAIDs, activates immune cells that fight infection. Therefore, pineapple decreases pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis and increases mobility.

Tart cherry Boston University Medical Center researchers found that eating at least ten cherries a day protected people with existing gout from recurrent attacks. Cherry intake was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of gout flares over 48 hours—the positive effects of anthocyanins – plant pigments that have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanins are in red and purple fruits, including raspberries and blueberries, but cherries, especially tart cherries, contain higher levels.


Papaya and Pineapple enzymes help digestion, reduce inflammations and stop joint pain.

Boswellia that alternative medicine practitioners praise for its anti-inflammatory capabilities. This herb may block leukotrienes, which can attack healthy joints in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Boswellia is available in tablet form, as well as topical creams.

Turmeric is a yellow powder used in cooking to make curry. It also works best in fighting joint pain when taking orally. Lab studies on rats have found that this herb may slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Glucosamine slows deterioration of cartilage, relieves osteoarthritis (OA) pain, and improves joint mobility. Glucosamine produced in the body provides natural building blocks for the growth, repair, and maintenance of cartilage. Like chondroitin, glucosamine may lubricate joints, help cartilage retain water, prevent its breakdown and ease osteoarthritis symptoms.

Calcium Try to get as much calcium through your diet as you can (http://nof.org/articles/886 has a guide to calcium-rich foods) and ask your doctor before taking a calcium supplement. Suggestion: Calcium citrate 250 mg with Vitamin D3 400 IU once to twice a day, if you need.

Note: In 2012, researchers found that taking calcium supplements increases the risk of a heart attack because it spikes the calcium levels in the blood versus the gradual rise when obtaining calcium from food. However, millions of people depend on calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis, especially people with rheumatoid arthritis and corticosteroid users at increased risk of developing osteoporosis. The benefit of calcium supplementation might outweigh the potential heart risk.

Vitamin C The reasons you need vitamin C supplement: 1) Vitamin C is essential for synthesizing collagen to keep healthy cartilage, tendons, joints, blood vessels, gums, teeth, and immune system. 2) Vitamin C is consumed while it is assembling collagen in the tissues. Suggestion: take vitamin C 500mg a day, 5-6 days a week.

Limit some food

Gluten-free diet: A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten, which is in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. A gluten-free diet is primarily for treating celiac disease because it causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. The gluten-free diet helps control their symptoms and prevent complications. However, some patients with arthritis, lupus, autoimmune diseases have more minor signs, and ANA tests became normal on a gluten-free diet.

Beans: Some people without arthritis and gout complained that their toes and fingers inflamed when they ate black beans, soy, and peanuts as daily protein; after they stopped eating or reduced their intake, their inflammation disappeared. Black beans, soybean, and peanuts contain a high amount of purine, resulting in joint inflammation, while eating rich purine food spikes its blood level.

External treatment

50% Epsom salt solution to reduce skin/joint inflammation and pain: use the same amount of Epsom salt and water, mix well; it is 50% Epsom salt solution. Paste 50% Epson on a paper towel, put on the swelling area, and then cover with a food wrap for 30 minutes 2-3 times a day.

Herbal Alcohol relieves the pain and swelling in joints, which is our formulation and works very effectively.

The heating bag reduces chronic local inflammation. Ice bag only is used within the first 72 hours after acute injury and inflammation.

Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine for treating minor skin abrasions and joint pain. You can apply Aloe vera gel topically to relieve sunburn pain and soothe achy joints. Oral aloe vera can cause decreased blood sugar and gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea. Some people’s skin may be sensitive to the fresh aloe vera plant, but topical aloe vera gel does not cause any side effects.


Squats bring more blood to flow into the knees and help to strengthen muscle and build up the cartilage in the knees. Squat halfway down and hold still for 1-2 minutes, twice a day.

Yoga or Tai chi: are slow stretching movements. They help improve joint flexibility and range of motion in some people with arthritis.

Ping’s acupuncture treatment: Treatment takes about 1 hour. To achieve the results for our patients, we not only give a standard acupuncture treatment just with needles and TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), but we also give Ping’s Meridian Massage (Dr. Lu’s unique techniques) before acupuncture. While acupuncture focuses on deep, specific acupuncture points, the Meridian Massage helps reach a much wider surface area, allowing blood and energy to flow more effectively. When both techniques work together, the results are more practical to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

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