Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has the same arthritis symptoms as other forms of the degenerative condition, but in this case the pain and joint degradation are the result of an autoimmune disorder.
Natural remedies for RA are typically anti-inflammatory, like turmeric and fish oil. However, diet changes, such as eliminating dairy and gluten are equally important.
What is RA?
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system begins to attack the linings between bones at your joints, particularly the smaller joints in your feet and hands. So this is not a cumulative-use type of arthritis where bone is grinding against bone after wearing through protective layers of joint tissue. The unique thing about rheumatoid arthritis is that the pain comes from swollen sinovial membranes and can be accompanied by fever and fatigue that affects the entire body.
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, though as an autoimmune condition it probably has a genetic component. This would seem especially true in the case of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, though there certainly could be environmental exposures or even viral or bacterial pathogens that trigger the initial inflammation and pain. RA is most likely to develop between the ages of 40-60, and women are at a greater risk for this health condition (70% of cases). The swelling can eventually deform joints and the bones on either side of them.
Our famous contributor, Ted from Bangkok, had a lot to say about healing RA. Here’s one reply to a reader that Ted sent us in 2007.
11/05/2007: Ted replies, “Dear Eileen:
Yes, the castor oil packs are incredible. That’s because even a tiny trace, even if it is undetectable, the portion of ricin, which are quite toxic to microorganisms even at undetectable levels. The castor oil packs kills the mycoplasma that causes the condition.
However, my approach to an autoimmune Rheumatism Arthritism, deals more directly with the cause. Autoimmunity in my opinion happens whenever the fungal, mycoplasma attaches itself to the joints, and certain staph bacteria eats through the ligaments, causing joint deformities. If both the myco bacterium and the staph are removed, then the condition goes back to normal.
However, to normalize such problem I always require that the body must first normalize its pH, otherwise the body simply can’t repair itself. The body repairs itself in an alkaline or an optimum pH state, where with a small electronic pH meter, I can monitor my health a lot better than if I used the doctor’s thermometer. The urinary pH needs to be 7.0 or at least near that such as 6.8 for example. Electronic pocket pH meter need not be expensive. Mine costs about $50 and it lasts for years with proper use. I alkalized myself with either 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water twice a day, but I sometimes find I need more than that based on the pH meter readings. A reading is taking after about an hour or two after taking the lemon and baking soda.
It should be noted the body repairs itself in an alkaline state, but at the same time the body repairs itself, the body is also in a relaxed, relatively reduced stress whenever the baking soda and lemon remedy is taken. But this may lead to sleepiness in some cases, and hence the schedule of taking this can be moved to early evening and late evening, assuming it’s two dose a day, so this won’t interfere with the work, but the body will require more sleep to repair itself.
Generally the pH issue is foundation to many of my remedies, as I have found to my surprise, that the body needs to get to an alkaline state before any other remedies to work effectively. If not, it is not going to work.
One of the most misunderstood issue of alkalizing involves the issue of vitamin C and ACV being “alkaline”. With people having greater access of pH, the truth now comes out without all the disinformation out there in the internet and you can prove to yourself also. Ascorbic acid tends to cause the body to be more acid. A vitamin C in an acid state is an oxidant state, not antioxidant and causes your urine pH to be acid. A vitamin C in an alkaline form, usually sodium ASCORBATE, is an antioxidant. So the reason why 50,000 mg was taken did not result in improvement was that the ascorbic acid CAUSES the body to be in acid state, preventing the healing process. This is why the issue of pH is so important. I am NOT against mega doses of vitamin, I am against taking the wrong kinds of vitamin. Taking too much can sometimes burn your pocket much easier than if you just take the proper amounts and get same therapeutic effect. The issue therefore deals more with effective dose.
The second most important, more like the second part of the remedy that has helped greatly is the magnesium. The more the better, generally speaking. But generally the dose is anywhere between 250 – 1000 mg/day, usually 5 days out of a week. The form of magnesium is important one, I prefer the magnesium citrate, because of its alkalizing influence. Perhaps, 250 mg is taken 3 to 4 times a day. Or a 500 mg dose is taken twice a day. The magnesium kills of the bacterium which causes the ligament damage bought out by the staph bacteria, that can cause the joint to fuse. I have notice personally of one person with severely disfigured hand, upon taken magnesium, in fairly high dose of 1000 mg for about 3-6 months period that the disfigured hands returned or improved significantly such conditions. You should noticed the pain to reduce quite noticeably the very next day or two.
The third remedy, which can be added to the magnesium supplement or put into a drinking water, at least for me that has helped stopped any joint pain I may have, is the borax remedy. The remedy I used is 1/4 teaspoon of borax per one liter of drinking water. But if it was a woman the dose may be reduced to 1/8 teaspoon of borax per one liter of drinking water. I would probably take as much as I need, usually 1-3 days out of a week, but for more severe conditions it may require up to 5 days out of a week. At least that’s what I would do. Just remember, I never tell people what to do, they simply have to decide for themselves. In many people who do take this remedy, there is a some weight loss effect, which is generally good in reducing weight pressure on the legs, if the Rheumatism does have problems in that area too. Borax is a powerful antifungal medicine, that I found because it has helped me a lot.
The other remedies that I consider quite helpful and has helped increase bone density, obviously, any antifungal supplements will do that, such as borax, magnesium, alkalization (from reduced bone leeching effect caused by acid blood), for example. One other remedy I tend to forget, is the xylitol. If taken with SUFFICIENT alkalization, the xylitol has an antifungal, anti yeast (obviously antifungal), and hence reduced rheumatoid conditions.
I suspect there is good potentials in the used of polyols, especially the xylitol in many other autoimmunity disorders, besides just the borax and baking soda. Castor oil packs, applied is helpful too as it discourages microorganism from growth by killing them. One interesting story was the use of ammonium chloride, that is mixed in certain, conventional medicine to reduce joint pain.
What most people don’t know is ammonium compounds, especially if it is in a very alkaline state (such as ammonium chloride, in sodium carbonate solution) the ammonium compounds kill fungus almost instantly, but does not kill the staph bacteria as effective as the magnesium citrate. If you want the joint pain to be worse, doing the exact opposite is the calcium, where mycoplasma tends to grow on that will make the conditions worse, so avoiding some calcium rich foods seems to help.
Especially acid forming foods, such as simple grains, as in white bread, or pizza, or even oily foods as in french fries and fried chicken. What is most important is fungus tends to grow best in free metal iron rich, and this is why some woman who can no longer menstruate, experiences greater rhematoid, as free iron metals accumulate in the body. Hence, green tea, no sugar, no milk will reduce as the tannins strongly attaching themselves to the free metal iron, depriving of food source of fungus necessary to do further damage. There are other tannin rich foods that can help, such as my favorite, is a pomegranate fruit, rather than juices, are more effective, as well as a powerful diuretic too.
The other helpful supportive remedies, is the chrondrotin and glucosamine sulfate, especially the glucosamine, since it tends to lubricate the joints with less squeaking, thus may cause less pain. But over the long run, it is the killing of the bacterium that will help the most. Maybe the medicines of today may not admit all those microorganisms causing the condition, but in the future, it is going to go in this direction.
To permit joint healing, hyaluronic supplements, aloe vera supplement can help. Certain vitamins that are deemed important and have anti fungal properties in killing off the cause that I found very helpful is vitamin D3 and vitamin K2. The usual doses is about 20,000 I.U. of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 or K3 using as per prescribed dose, often taken for 2-3 months is quite helpful. The pain also reduces the next couple days.
The other things that I think is helpful, especially the bacteria that attacks the ligament, is the zinc supplements, but usually magnesium is most important and zinc are important especially if there is a deficiency. A reasonable dose is 50 mg once a week.
More of Ted’s Remedies can be found at ted.earthclinic.com.
Natural Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Studies show that the curcumin in turmeric can reduce the swelling at the root of rheumatoid arthritis pain.
Likewise, the supplemental herb Feverfew is regarded as beneficial for RA patients due to anti-inflammatory properties.
Apple Cider Vinegar for RA
Here are several old posts on Earth Clinic about ACV for RA.
7/29/2007: Barbara from El Paso, USA writes: “I was diagnosed with RA at the age of 29. I am now 65 and have not had many flare ups until the last few months. Then, it started acting up in my right knee and hip. For almost 2 weeks I could hardly walk without help, and, could not even lie, much left sleep, on my right side. Then, I made a long trip driving my husband’s pickup truck. When I returned from the trip, after about 2 days both my wrists hurt so bad I could barely function. I used wrist bands, Arthritis Bengay, I was desperate.
Then I found this site while I was searching for natural cures. I started using ACV, mixed with water and honey, about 2 weeks ago. I have been using the store brand from where I shop, it is 5%. I am totally amazed with the results. Almost NO pain, in my knee, hip or wrists!! I can even sleep on my right side!!
I will take Ted’s advice about using the baking soda as I have had a little burning in the tummy, but, it’s worth it to be able to sit here and type, lift, move, without pain in my wrists. I have also lost about 5 pounds. My goal there is 15 more. I will continue my ACV regimen, am trying to get my husband to try it and haven’t succeeded as of this date. Thank you for this web site!!!”
7/12/2007: Deborah from Denison, TX writes: “I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis 14 years ago. My grandmother told me about ACV and the many ways it could help arthritis, sleeping problems and stomach problems. I take 1 tbsp. once daily with just water and all of my physicals for the SLE & RA have come back great. I have no deformity in my joints and have not had a flare up in over 7 years. I also had several bleeding ulcers & was having to take daily stool samples to my doctor, but my physical showed scarring but no ulcers. I also use ACV as a toner for my face and my pores are smaller and my age spots are nearly invisible. I have printed out several pages of literature on ACV and have over 20 friends on this daily regimen and all of them can tell the difference and have been taken off their medications for their illnesses from arthritis to high blood pressure & cholesterol. I am a 48 year old grandmother that works with a younger market and I work circles around all of them. ACV helped me with my SLE, RA, Ulcers, Chronic Fatigue, Crohn’s Disease and IBS. I had a sister die from SLE and normal life expectancy is 10 years and I am going on 15 years after my diagnosis.”
4/26/2007: Elle from Concord, New Hampshire writes: “I was diagnosed with Rhumathoid Arthritis at 11. At 18 (and it a lot of pain) I was given a book on curing arthritis naturally and set about doing it. One of the main proponents of the book was Apple Cider Vinegar. I took a cocktail of 2 teaspoons ACV, 1 teaspoon honey and 8 oz hot water twice a day. Within 2 or 3 weeks the flareups had ceased. It should be noted I also cut back on red meat and citric acids (they are everywhere!)which I discovered were a major trigger for me. And I took epsom salt baths twice a week. When I went back to my dr and had blood tests done my RA factor was down to a 2. (I have no idea what it was before but I am pretty sure 2 is almost nothing!) That was 25 years ago. I still have RA technically but I rarely have a problem with it. The first inkling I get that its sneaking back up on me I go back to the ACV. I still avoid my trigger food which have come to include, believe it or not, green beans. I believe trigger foods are different for everyone – only you can figure out what they are. I have not been on meds or seen a rhumatologist (sp?) in all that time. Thank god for ACV. Only for it I would be a cripple now instead of living the very full life that I do. I have to say that it makes me so mad that there is a very simple cure for RA and the medical world is not out there shouting about it. So many people suffer needlessly with this disease. If you have RA you owe it to yourself to go out there and find out what works for you. Find your triggers, try ACV, read all you can on natural cures. There is no magic pill – but there is a way and its all in your own hands. Goodluck and Good Health. Elle”
Nettle Tea for Rheumatoid Arthritis
11/30/2007: Teri from Orrville, OH writes: “I was diagnosed with RA 1 year ago. The pain continued to worsen, darvocet didn’t touch the pain. The pain was constant. Someone suggested that I try drinking 3 cups of nettle tea a day….in 2 days I went from extreme pain to no pain! It has been 7 months and I still continue to do great. (i take no meds!) The usual things sometimes trigger a flare up, but it is mild and short lived. I do everything I want to do. Before drinking the tea, I was unable to do the basic everyday things. Research it, and then give it a try!! Never hurts to check with Dr. before trying something new. I have had no negative side affects from the tea. My rheumatologist is amazed. I have the ccp antibody, so I was expected to be real bad at this point!”
Our EC Community has contributed even more natural RA treatments below.