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Arthritis, A Needless Crippler
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Arthritis, A Needless Crippler

Arthritis (V4-I9B)

Arthritis is a disease which affects the joints. Archaeological evidence indicates that arthritis was known as far back as the earliest dynasties of ancient Egypt and possibly even earlier. In the new world, we found "prehistoric" North American Indian skeletal populations exhibiting arthritic deposits and bone deformities. The disease knows no boundaries as far as age, social status, or geographical distribution.

The word arthritis is a general term used to refer to a several kinds of joint diseases but there are two main categories. These are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disease involving the overall body's over-reaction to what it perceives as foreign tissue, while often the small joints such in the hands, wrists and feet are noticeably affected first. It is characterized by swelling accompanied by pain or burning in the joints. Other symptoms can include:

  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • anemia
  • sweating in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
  • lumpy nodules around joints
  • morning stiffness
  • fever

Symptoms can disappear, often following exercise, but usually reoccur later. It often appears in conjunction with physical or emotional stress. RA can affect a person of any age but is largely found in the 30-40 age range, and in women more often than men.

Like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis destroys the cartilage in and around the joints, but rheumatoid arthritis can also destroy the bone surface. The body may replace the missing tissues with scar tissue which narrows the space between joints and can even fuse them.

Master herbalist, Dr. John Christopher, said this of himself, "I came into this world bearing the unsavory burden of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic form of the disease involving the destruction of the tissues of the joints, the cartilage of the joints, and even the bone surfaces themselves. Usually this disease comes upon a person after the age of thirty or forty, but the condition can be inherited. Some other symptoms include excruciating pain or swelling in the joints, debility, anemia, weight loss and fever. If there is extensive damage, the joints themselves can become fused together as the body deposits scar tissue in and around the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis often occurs and recurs during a person's life as it has done during mine. Physical stress or emotional stress can bring it on." Much of the article below is based on his research and experience.


The other common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is generally found in older people. Osteoarthritis is caused by constant wear on or injury to the joint causing the cartilage, the white elastic substance attached to the bone surfaces in the joint, to thin and wear away. The function of this cartilage is to provide a smooth surface for the movement of the bones over each other at the joints. So eventually, as the surfaces of the bones in the joint become less and less cushioned, the joint bones rub together resulting in pain and stiffness. This can be extremely painful.

Osteoarthritis generally affects the joints of the hips and knees, but can also affect other highly used joints such as the neck, low back, and fingers. The hips and knees are weight-bearing joints so being overweight can be a contributing factor in the condition. Stiffness and pain accompanied by inflammation is especially marked when there is cold and damp or humid weather, or in the morning, and after strenuous activity.

Other Contributing Factors

Various allergies can cause inflammation leading to rheumatoid arthritis. Common related food allergies include: milk, beef, corn and wheat. Nightshade vegetables are a factor for increased inflammation for some people, including: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and pepper. Common environmental allergies include: dust, mold and pollen. Also reactions to various medications.

Nervous and Endocrine System Issues
A poorly functioning nervous and endocrine system can also be a factor in arthritis. The hypothalamus sends a signal to the parathyroid to begin dissolving bone if the body needs calcium elsewhere. The thyroid gland is the regulator of the reverse process. If the thyroid is underactive, bone may continue to dissolve, causing osteoporosis or bone loss. If it is overactive, excess calcium is deposited back into the bones. When the bones have enough calcium, the malfunctioning thyroid can't say "quit!" So, excess calcium may be deposited on the outside of the bones and even the joints. It would do well to check the thyroid, and use kelp or some form of organic iodine, to rebuild it if it is degenerating. Eating foods high in selenium, especially Brazil nuts also provides an essential nutrient for thyroid health. Nutritional support is fundamental to maintain good health.

Dr Christopher says, "There is an advertisement from the media that states "Arthritis STRIKES one person every so-and-so minutes, so give your money to us so we can research and find a cure." Actually arthritis does not Strike an individual. The groundwork for arthritis is laid by generations of man's transgression against the laws of nature."

"Arthritis has been said to be "incurable." This is because most researchers have not looked into the fundamental reasons for the existence of a disease. We see in our society today, that arthritis is not just a disease that a few oldsters occasionally get, but that it has reached epidemic proportions among the population. ... The patient often has to take over/ under/or around-the-counter drugs for a lifetime in order to "manage" their disease while the natural body functions slow up and eventually shut down."

"There is one basic cause for any disease and this is simply malnutrition. Poor food, poor digestion, poor assimilation, poor utilization, poor elimination. Add stress [including from chemical pollution] to this picture and you will see how a wonderful and complex mechanism designed by the Creator of the entire universe, made to function for 1,000 years, can be brutally destroyed by man's inventions..."

"One of the medical discoveries for the relief of arthritis, aspirin, was lauded as being the panacea of the century. But just a few years later, we found out the extensive damage that can be done to the stomach by this insipid poison. Mothers who have faithfully followed their doctor's orders and given their children aspirin for fever are now being told that this is a very dangerous practice and should be discontinued."

"Drugs for arthritic pain have come and gone, each one being replaced by a new, uncertain experiment, possibly giving forth worse side effects than its predecessors. There is one thing about Mother Nature, folks, she is consistent. Nature's laws can be applied yesterday, today, and tomorrow. An apple or a fig was just as good for you in King Solomon's time as it is today-provided it isn't sprayed with DDT ..."

Dietary Considerations

It is important to remember, acids and calcium deposits around the joints can increase pain and swelling.

Foods such a meat, sugar, grains and the chemicals of food processing create strong acid residues in the body after being metabolized which makes the body pull calcium from its proper place in the bones to put it into the bloodstream in order to buffer the acids created.

On the other hand, many foods which are somewhat acidic before metabolism, such as lemons, oranges and apple cider vinegar, actually help dissolve food calcium to make it more available for use in the body. So when a small amount of acid foods that are well-metabolized are included in the diet, calcium can be utilized for building bone, not for buffering excess acids.

Alkaline foods, such as leafy green vegetables, provide calcium and other minerals to calm inflammation, while a small amount of natural acids help utilize these minerals. Did you know that the vinegar in salad dressings helps dissolve calcium and other minerals for digestion, while the oil in salad dressing carries the fat-soluble minerals for better assimilation? Food chemistry for proper utilization of nutrients is not widely known anymore, but used to be part of the folk knowledge of our earlier cultures.

According to Dr Christopher, "One of the best empirical (first-hand observation and experience) studies of the above phenomenon is by Dr. D. C. Jarvis, M.D. He observed farm animals and folk medicine practitioners in the state of Vermont. He noted that Vermont folk medicine, although they did not distinguish between arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, gout, osteoarthritis, etc., they were successful in treating all these diseases with two teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar and two of honey in a glass of water three times a day. They felt that arthritis treatment began in the stomach where the acid balance prevented putrefaction of food. (Bacteria will not grow in an acid medium.)" "... One of the body's chief necessities is calcium. If the calcium balance is off, the results will be seen in many ways. There will be frayed nerves, inferior fingernails and hair, and other disorders including susceptibility to infectious diseases and arthritis resulting from altered body chemistry." [Note: Use only unheated, pure honey from a known trusted source because most of the honey today is mixed with corn syrups to increase profits. Even so-called natural "raw' honey is not always unheated unless it states so specifically on the bottle.]

"Calcium enters into solution in an acid medium. The apple cider vinegar creates an acidic medium which is capable of dissolving excess inorganic calcium--even if it is in the form of arthritic deposits in the joints. Cows, when allowed to graze by their own instincts, will always choose acidic vegetation over alkaline. When they are fed winter feed, they may run the risk of developing milk fever which affects the quality of their milk, often paralyzes their hind legs, and makes for difficult calf delivery. The acidity of the system determines the health of the newborn calf as well. Animals even take to drinking apple cider vinegar voluntarily when it is set before them."

You can read more about alkaline/acids diets here. We have a user-friendly quick reference Alkaline/Acid chart available here.

water with lemon"An absolute necessity in life is water. It is the universal solvent, the lubricator. The human body is composed of over 80% water. Most of the water we drink comes from the ground and carries with it minerals in solution. It is hard water that often has a lot of calcium [an alkaline mineral] in it. I'm sure all of you have seen the calciferous build-up on the inside of a tea kettle or a water vaporizer. When we drink water, this calcification actually goes into our system and cannot be processed by the body. It is accepted but not assimilated. It may be shuttled around the body because it cannot be used. An excess of inorganic calcium can be deposited around the area of the joints, causing great discomfort. We recommend drinking steam distilled water instead of any other for cleansing." [if it is stored in glass, not plastic because chemicals from the plastic can be leached into the water]

Another way to help dissolve excess calcium in water is to put a squeeze of lemon juice into pure spring water - see our free eBook 5 Easy Ways to Get More Energy & Improve Digestion.

"The consumption of meat adds uric acid wastes to the system, producing gouty inflammation. Processed "foods" with excessive carbohydrate intake also contribute to the malfunction of every cell in the body. It's always been a wonder how we, as a nation, spend so much time and monetary energy to find the proper animal feed when we don't even know what to feed ourselves."

Fruits and Vegetables
Focus diet on vegetables and fruits while reducing grains, dairy, meat, salt, sugar and processed foods - all acid-producing foods which cause the body to pull its calcium to buffer.

Healthy Fats and Oils
Increase high EPA essential fatty acid intake this includes foods such as:


  • fish such as tuna & salmon
  • pumpkin seeds
  • a high quality, pure, extra virgin olive oil
  • flaxseed
  • nuts
  • avocados
  • An arthritic person could see some improvement their condition in a few short weeks by making three changes in diet (if nothing else):

    1. Reduce meat consumption in the diet
    2. Eliminate refined sugar from diet
    3. Drink plenty of pure water

    In addition to this, we suggest changing to the mucusless diet described in "Dr. Christopher's Three Day Cleansing Program and Mucusless Diet". Increasing vegetables and using apple cider vinegar can help improve elimination which is also a key for health.

    "Also juicing fresh fruit and vegetable juices for a time. Dr. Norman W. Walker's idea is that arthritis is caused by inorganic calcium deposits in the joints as a result of eating concentrated sugar and starch carbohydrates in excess. He suggests grapefruit juice, celery juice, carrot and spinach juice, and carrot and celery juice; a combination of carrot, beet, and cucumber are also recommended. "Consider blending or juicing carrot, celery, beets, parsley, spinach, cucumber and pineapple."

    Other Foods: Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs

    Dietary sulfur,together with Vitamin C, provides the building blocks for collagen and cartilage. The sulfur in garlic, onions and cruciferous vegetables is small but can help with inflammation. Sulfur also helps to make cell walls more permeable, allowing oxygen and nutrients in, and wastes to pass out of swollen cells.

    Vitamin C Several studies have been done on the connection between Vitamin C and arthritis. Richard Lucas in his book, Nature's Medicines reports that in a hospital treating chronic diseases of the elderly, pain of arthritis was decreased within one month by the addition of 8 ounces of orange juice to the daily diet. Vitamin C can also be found found in cayenne and red peppers.

    Many herbs contain Vitamin C. One of the highest is rose-hips. Rose hip tea is very refreshing and will certainly be an aid in eliminating uric acid build-up. Hibiscus flowers also contain high amounts of C. Any citrus fruits can also be aids. Acerola Cherry is a great source of Vitamin C. Also known as a "Barbados Cherry," this fruit originated in Mexico and the Caribbean, and is among the highest plant sources of vitamin C in the world. Camu camu is another high Vitamin C source fruit from the Peruvian rainforest.

    Because many people eat meat, they have a build-up of uric acid in the system which tends to create these symptoms. In another study it was found that arthritis sufferers were relieved of gouty symptoms by drinking eating a half pound of fresh cherries or drinking canned cherry juice daily.

    Silica and Boron Make sure to get adequate amounts of the trace minerals Silica and Boron because these are essential for proper calcium utilization, helping calcium to deposit into the bones. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth, is an excellent source of silica, containing about 86% silica and other trace minerals in smaller amounts including Boron.

    Another key nutrient to ensure calcium gets into the bones and does not deposit in soft tissues is Vitamin K2. This is found in meats and eggs (in the form MK-4 which stays in the body a few hours), and is produced in the gut by the probiotic Bacillus subtilis (which makes the long-lasting MK-7).

    Vitamin E: has shown mixed results but may be helpful as part of an antioxidant mixture. 400 IU of mixed tocopherols is recommended

    Vitamin D: low vitamin D has been linked with "increased risk for osteoarthritis, increased joint space narrowing and increased osteophyte growth." We recommend getting out in the sunshine for 20 - 40 minutes of midday sun (11 am - 3 pm), three to six times a week, baring the skin over as much of the body as possible, for the best production of natural vitamin D.

    Other Natural Support Methods

    • Castor oil packs have been successful for drawing out inflammation. Massage, acupuncture and cell salts are also all great support for arthritic conditions.
    • Analgesic herbs such as Willow Bark and Wintergreen have been successful in reducing pain due to inflammation.
    • herbs tea

    • Some effective herbal aids for arthritis and rheumatism are hydrangea root (a great calcium solvent for any part of the body), Brigham herb (high in copper), yucca (with saponins that have a detergent-like action within the blood stream to cleanse and purify), chaparral (also high in copper), burdock root, cayenne, black cohosh, and black walnut. These herbs detoxify and dissolve old calcium deposits. Some of the herbs are very high in organic calcium, which can be used by the body.
    • "Also, Dr Christopher recommends the herb Comfrey [on a temporary basis]. This could be used externally either as a fomentation or as an ointment. It is wonderful to dissolve calcium spurs. Use one ounce of the herb (can be combined with other herbs) to a pint of water. Soak the herbs for four to six hours prior to simmering them down to one-half the original volume." [Soak a cloth and apply 3 times daily externally- not for internal use.]


    Choose exercises that strengthen muscles around joints. Do not overdo with strenuous exercise. Be sure to work on increasing flexibility; swimming and yoga are great choices.

    In conclusion, we add that the process of arthritis is a long one, to have the disease reach a chronic state, and relief can only be a slow process of rebuilding the system.

    "Arthritis need not be the crippling scourge of mankind. If dietary discretion is applied early enough, arthritis can be prevented. In the later stages, it may be reversed if care is taken to apply the simple principles of nature, consistently and faithfully."
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