Osteoarthritis – The Herbs Place


Excerpts of an article by Dr. James Scala in Sunshine Horizons

By age 65, about 40% of us have evidence of osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease where the cartilage that covers the movable bones in the joints deteriorates.

This is not a recent phenomenon. Osteoarthritis can be seen in a dinosaur skeleton at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum. This platycarpus developed the same symptoms you would see in human osteoarthritis today. Archaeologists observed and mistakenly described osteoarthritis as "cave gout" in ancient human skeletons. Better examples are found in Egyptian and Peruvian mummies, and in ancient Native American and Roman skeletons.

While this disease is nothing new, it need not be an inevitable outcome of living on planet Earth. In fact, osteoarthritis is probably preventable and even reversible.


Let’s say that the average person who suffers from osteoarthritis pays a modest $100 per year for treatment. Since 40% of those over 65 have it, that comes to a whopping $3.8 billion annually, and that figure is growing! It’s no wonder that prevention research is well-funded.

A recent scientific paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirmed that the lower your serum vitamin D is during life, the more likely you are to develop poor joint health. This finding and others on osteomalacia confirm that we’ve become a sedentary, indoor society, and suggest there’s a growing need for sensible supplements. Without enough sunlight, you won’t make enough vitamin D; consequently, the alternative is a balanced multiple vitamin and/or calcium supplement with vitamin D.

Along with vitamin D, these findings also indicate other important nutritional factors: vitamin C, the B vitamins, minerals such as copper and zinc, and, of course, protein, since cartilage contains collagen, which is a protein.. These findings confirm that good, basic nutrition is essential.

Cartilage is a complex tissue like a very slippery, soft, synthetic rubber. Visualize a rubbery Teflon. About six rather complex components, including collagen, are essential for both its structure and function.


Supplements & Herbs for Osteoarthritis


Rebuilding cartilage has been the matter of many research projects and Glucosamine is something that keeps coming up as a promising supplement for osteoarthritis due to its ability to spur regrowth of cartilage, ease symptoms, and even reverse osteoarthritis. Glucosamine stimulates connective tissue production and the repair of the arthritic joint.

Dr. Julian Whitaker has written articles on this supplement and states, "Numerous double-blind placebo-controlled trials conducted in Europe have shown that Glucosamine is not only better than a placebo but also superior to the commonly prescribed arthritis drugs."

He refers to a study by Italian Drs. I. Setnikar, M. Pacini, and L. Revel which compared Glucosamine to Indocin for inflammation. The researchers found that treatment of inflammatory disorders with Glucosamine is 10-30 times better than treatment with Indocin.

Calcium and Magnesium with Vitamin D

Calcium that comes from bone meal is easily absorbed. Magnesium, phosphorus and Vitamin D must all be present for calcium to be properly used since they all work together to build bone.

Nature’s Noni

This is also known as Noni Juice. It has been used by many people for various health problems and many report that it helps to clear arthritis. It is a fruit and one of its actions is that it stimulates tissue growth and repair.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has the ability to inhibit the enzymes which commonly break down cartilage. It also stimulates the body to rebuild damaged cartilage, as well as being useful for good health in general.

Osteoarthritis often requires long-term therapy, so it’s not a quick fix. However, natural treatment is certainly proven to be of more long-range benefit.

Quoting from Health & Healing (June 1993) by Dr. Julian Whitaker:

"Physicians in Oslo, Norway, followed the course of 186 patients with x-rays of 294 hips. 58 of the patients were taking Indocin (a commonly prescribed arthritis drug) and 128 weren’t. Those taking Indocin were found to have far more rapid destruction of the hip than the group that was not taking Indocin or any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent.

"NSAIDs [non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] can be extremely dangerous. When used on a chronic basis – not occasionally for pain relief – they cause bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract in close to 25,000 people a year."

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