Woodland Herbs

Monthly Newsletter: June 2008

In this issue

Welcome to your regular newsletter from Woodland Herbs. We hope you will find it interesting, entertaining and useful. If you do not wish to continue to receive this email please email us at unsubscribe@woodlandherbs.co.uk

Donít let Aches become a Pain

Arthritic Knee Everyone knows somebody who suffers from general aches and pains. However there may be no reason to suffer, as there are a number of natural remedies that may be used to help improve their condition. Remember that the key to treating chronic joint problems is being persistent with the treatment. Arthritis which has taken 20 years to develop wonít clear up over night, however many of our customers have experienced a great deal of relief when a treatment has been taken over a prolonged period, perhaps 2-4 months.

Occasional Joint Pain and Stiffness
General stiffness often comes along with age, but this doesn't mean you are old! Here are a few suggestions to help. Stretching before and after exercise is important, even if you used to manage without stretching it may be worth trying it now to see how much difference it makes. Useful herbs and supplements include devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and white willow (Salix alba). These can offer relief by helping to relax muscles and naturally easing pain. Do remember though that joint pain is a sign that something is wrong and should not be ignored, the root cause should also be sought out and treated.

Arthritis simply means "inflamed joint" and can take many forms, therefore it has to be treated in an appropriate way for the personís individual condition. Many people find devil's claw to be a useful herbal remedy. It is anti-inflammatory, relieving swollen and inflamed joints, and can be helpful in most types of arthritis. Often arthritis sufferers find that simply improving their posture can bring relief from symptoms, so it is worth thinking about how you sit and stand and take corrective action when necessary. Omega 3 essential fatty acids are a great help to inflamed joints, as they are converted in the body to natural anti-inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins. Examples of omega 3 oils are fish oils or flaxseed oil. Glucosamine is another popular food supplement and helps your body to maintain the cushioning on the joints. Glucosamine is something we almost always recommend people try if they have been diagnosed with osteo-arthritis.

Gout is often classed as a form of arthritis, with the inflamed joint caused by a build up of waste products in the body. Gout can be an indication that the body is not coping well with what is being fed into it. Appropriate dietary changes, such as cutting out orange juice and alcohol, will help reduce the number and severity of attacks. There are also a number of herbs that have a tradition of being used to treat the condition. Of particular note is Celery seed (Apium graveolens), which is a cleansing diuretic to help flush out the uric acid build up causing the pain. It is most commonly taken as a tea.

Back Pain
Many of us suffer from back pain from time to time. The majority of people blame their posture and in these cases massage and/or Alexander Technique lessons could help to address this cause. Massage is also a useful way to relax the muscles and break the cycle of "pain, spasm, pain" that often occurs (the natural response to pain is to tighten muscles, which can lead to more pain). Herbs such as cramp bark (Viburnum opulus), Jamaican dogwood (Piscidia erythina), or valerian (Valeriana officinalis) will all help reduce spasm: loosening the muscles, reducing pain and encouraging recovery.

Muscle Aches and Cramps
Cramp is a sustained contraction of the muscle. Possible causes include oxygen starvation, a build up of lactic acid and depletion of salts in the body causing mineral deficiency. Improving blood flow with exercise and/or massage will help with a lack of oxygen and build up of lactic acid. Alternatively supplementation with minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron will help if the problem is one of mineral deficiency.

We hope you found this article useful and thought provoking. Take steps now to avoid suffering unnecessarily and to help improve your own health. Remember if you are on medication or another complication then you may need to take advice from a practitioner or Doctor.

Featured Natural Remedy Ė Arnica Gel

Arnica Herbal companies are limited by law as to what they can write on packaging. Recent changes in European law now allow companies to apply for permission to include the traditional use of herbs on their packaging. To get permission they must supply evidence of a remedy's effectiveness before they can say what the product may be used for. The first UK product to do this was Arnica Gel (Atrogel) from Vogel which showed in a clinical study that the gel is as affective as ibuprufen gel in relieving pain in arthritic knees. Their Atrogel Arnica Gel can now be known as "a traditional herbal medicinal product for relief of muscular aches and pains", although arnica is also known as a classic herb for bruising. There are still many arnica creams and oils available however Atrogel is a nice way to use arnica.

Herb of the Month, Devilís Claw

DevilsDevilís Claw Harpogophytum procumbens is one natureís most useful anti-inflammatory herbs. The plant is native to Southern Africa and got itís name from shape of the plant. In South Africa it is traditionally used for a wide range of conditions, however in Western medicine it is mainly used for conditions such as arthritis. It is a herb that is not recommended to take internally if you have had stomach ulcers or related problems. If you have had stomach problems then Devilís Claw Gel applied topically may be a suitable alternative. As with all supplements, if you are taking prescription medicines please seek professional advice before using Devil's Claw.