World Autoimmune Arthritis Day: 6 Natural Remedies for Autoimmune Arthritis Found in Mountain Ice
There are over 100 different types of arthritis, many of which are caused by the body's immune system attacking healthy cells. Autoimmune arthritis is the name given to this group of chronic, inflammatory diseases, of which Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is the most famous. These forms cause painful stiffness and inflammation that can damage connective tissue, leading to flareups of chronic pain and mobility issues. The Mountain Ice ingredients below have shown promise in treating the effects of autoimmune arthritis, particularly in preventing or reducing its flareups of inflammation.
1. Arnica Flower
Arnica, a genus of perennial herb belonging to the sunflower family Asteraceae, is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is largely due to a compound called helenalin, which reduces inflammation by inhibiting the production of Nuclear Factor Kappa Beta (NF-kB), a protein complex important in regulating immune response. Inflammation occurs when the body produces an excess of proteins like NF-kB, causing painful swelling, tissue damage, and other potentially harmful symptoms. By stopping the excess production of NF-kB, helenalin relieves swelling and helps to heal tissue damage.
Arnica flower isn't the only ingredient in Mountain Ice that regulates inflammatory proteins. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organosulfur compound with similar anti-inflammatory properties that, much like arnica, suppress the production of NF-kBs. MSM has also shown potential towards inhibiting the production of multiple cytokines (small proteins) that signal the inflammatory response.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, derived from the leaves of Australia's native Melaleuca alternifolia plant, is an antioxidant that also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. You may have noticed this essential oil in many products for inflammatory skin conditions, and relevant here is that many people use it to help relieve symptoms associated with psoriasis. This suggests potential effectiveness in treating the psoriatic arthritis that sometimes accompanies it.
Its primary constituent, terpinen-4-ol, shows evidence of promoting anti-inflammatory cytokines while inhibiting cytokines that cause inflammation. Terpinen-4-ol is also credited for much of tea tree oil's antimicrobial potential. It has been indicated for its antibacterial function, including effectiveness against campylobacter, one of the bacterial infections responsible for reactive arthritis.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera, a plant best known for its cooling effect and ability to soothe burns, has also been indicated in studies for its potential in treating psoriasis flareups. This means that aloe vera may also prove effective in relieving the joint pain and stiffness resulting from psoriatic arthritis. More broadly, aloe vera has been shown in studies to have preventative effects on pro-inflammatory enzymes like COX-2.
Also valued for its ability to suppress inflammatory enzymes is camphor. This essential oil is a terpenoid, much like tea tree oil, and has similar effects on inhibiting enzymes that cause inflammation. And relevant to people with autoimmune arthritis, camphor has antispasmodic qualities that can help reduce the muscle spasms and cramps associated with forms of arthritis as distinct as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a chemical compound responsible for the distinctive color of the plant as well as its anti-inflammatory properties. By blocking cytokines (proteins that signal cell response) and enzymes (proteins that serve as catalysts for chemical reactions) involved in inflammation response, curcumin can attack inflammation at its source. These chemicals include 5-LOX and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), the latter of which is targeted by many drugs that range from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to selective inhibitors that target COX-2 specifically. It's one of the most common causes of inflammation and studies suggest that curcumin is effective in suppressing it.