Aloe Vera and Arthritis
Aloe vera has been used as a natural healer for thousands of years. Many doctors have referred to the tropical succulent as the “first aid plant”. Most commonly known as a wound and burn ointment, aloe vera is also a natural treatment for arthritis.
There are over 100 kinds of arthritis, but the National Institute of Health simply defines it as an inflammation of one or more joints, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and limited range of motion. When applied to this definition, it is clear to see how aloe vera, a recognized anti-inflammatory that contains aspirin-like compounds, is an effective treatment for patients suffering with arthritis.
Inflammation from arthritis occurs because there is a breakdown of the cartilage that protects the joints. With the absence of the cartilage, the bones are left to rub together, causing painful swelling. Arthritis may occur with a broken bone, an infection or everyday “wear and tear”. It may be a limited problem or develop into a chronic condition. In either case, it is painful and restricts mobility. In response, treatments aim to reduce swelling and stiffness to alleviate the pain.
For the 37 million people in America living with some form of arthritis, aloe vera offers a natural alternative to prescription medications. Doctors may prescribe aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen—all which share anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties found in natural aloe vera. In the 1970’s, scientist Robert H. Davis studied the natural benefits of aloe vera as compared to steroid drugs. He discovered that the sterols in aloe vera, like beta-sitosterol, produced a significant anti-inflammatory response.
A subsequent study in 1994, published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, specifically showed that aloe vera might help prevent arthritis and reduce the inflammation in the joints. Their research revealed a decrease in swelling by nearly 70%.
Aloe vera may be used to treat all types of arthritis, though they vary in intensity. Rheumatoid arthritis is a more serious, long-term condition that is considered an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease prohibits the body’s immune system to act as a natural defense to combat viruses. “The immune system confuses healthy tissue for foreign substances,” said the National Institutes of Health website. “As a result, the body attacks itself.”
Though this type of arthritis requires medical supervision and in many cases, physical therapy and surgery, aloe vera may be applied as a supplement if authorized by a doctor.
“Aloe vera contains acemannan, a natural immune booster,” said Mike Adams on Naturalnews.com.
For rheumatoid arthritis patients, aloe vera may help build up the body’s natural defenses and contribute to a strengthened immune system. Scientific research shows that the polysaccharides in aloe vera help stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
“People who drink aloe vera for two weeks typically begin to experience a signification reduction of inflammation symptoms,” said Adams.