Tag Archives: herbs

Ginger and Joint Pain

Can you tell I’m trying to be clever with my titles? Anyway…

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

I got over the funk that my last doctor’s visit put me in. I’m not happy about my current situation, but I had my pity party and now I’m sucking it up and moving on. However, a recent surgery has made me reevaluate pain and pain medication. It wasn’t anything too serious. I had a piercing when I was younger that turned into a hypertrophic scar, and I had to have it removed. I opted for an in-office surgery with local anesthetic rather than going to a surgical center and being put under anesthesia. It was a great time for me to find out that I have a slight tolerance to local anesthetic. My doctor had to stop the procedure every so often to give me multiple injections of Lidocaine.  But I’m getting off track again…

2 hours later, I was sent on my way with 30 stitches in my ear and a prescription for Codeine. I have to admit, I was a little concerned at the idea of taking it. I hate popping pain meds, even Tylenol. I’m already taking 2 prescriptions twice a day, why take anything else? Thankfully, I only needed to take one Codeine tablet a little after I got home. Otherwise I was up and doing fine the next day. But the Codeine got me thinking…can I find an alternative to dangerous and highly addictive pain medications? I’ve read a few blogs written by people with RA who have to take the strongest pain killers out there. They write about how awful the withdrawal symptoms are and how they wish they weren’t taking narcotics.

I started doing some research. I found a few great natural remedies (and I promise I will write about each and every one of them at a later time) but the one that stuck out the most was ginger. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, and I thought that if I combined using it with my anti-inflammatory prescription, I would see better results than taking just the prescription alone.

Here’s what I do: I buy only fresh ginger (usually three or four roots at a time) from the local

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

supermarket to use in tea. I put a root in the fridge for use that week. I chop up the other roots into smaller 1 inch pieces and throw them into the freezer (that way I don’t have to put stress on my hands by trying to cut frozen ginger and I don’t have to worry about it rotting). When I’m ready to make my tea, I peel a piece, throw it in a mug with a green tea bag, a pour the hot water in. I put a small plate over the cup while it steeps so that the oils from the ginger don’t evaporate. Steep it as long as you normally would steep your tea. I love ginger, so I just leave it in the bottom of the cup and eat it when I’m done drinking the tea. I do this every morning, and I’ve noticed that I feel less stiff in the morning than usual. Before it used to take 10 minutes to get out of bed each morning; now I can get up as soon as my alarm goes off.

Ginger is supposed to help with more than just achy joints. I’m not a doctor so don’t take my word for any of this, but I’ve read online that ginger is good for colds and the flu, as well as morning sickness, migraines, and heartburn. Of course, check with your doctor to make sure that ginger won’t interact with any of the medication you’re on, but ginger tea is certainly worth a shot.

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Toothaches and Turmeric

So while this may not necessarily be a post about RA, I feel that it might be beneficial to everyone. I have had the absolute worst toothache for the past month. When I went to the dentist I was told to prepare for root canal, cavity filling, and wisdom tooth extraction (he was also trying to subtly hint that a tooth whitening procedure would be beneficial as well). That’s all fine and dandy, but this work is going to happen over the span of two or three months! I’m in pain now! I’m also in shock, because I’ve always taken great care of my teeth. I guess this is what happens when you don’t go to the dentist as much as you should.

Anyway, when I eat anything hot or cold, my teeth hurt. When I eat anything chewy, my teeth hurt, which absolutely sucks because I need to chew gum to stay awake in some of my classes. When I wake up in the morning, my teeth hurt. Tylenol wasn’t really helping, and I couldn’t take Aleve for fear of overdosing (I take prescription Celebrex, which is an NSAID/sister drug to Aleve). However, I noticed that the pain was not as bad when I took my Celebrex regularly. I only have to take is as needed, but this cold weather has been making my joints stiff.

And that’s when it hit me: turmeric! No, I haven’t completely lost my mind. My logic was this- if  an anti-inflammatory like Celebrex is helping with the pain, then my tooth pain must be mainly from inflammation. I don’t know if this inflammation was due to my messed up teeth or a flare, or if one was influencing the other. All I know is that I prefer natural remedies whenever possible. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory/antibiotic, so why not give it a try? So, I got a bottle of the stuff out of the spice cabinet (we have quite a few bottles, since that was my go to herb when I was sick for an entire month) and poured some in a dish. I slowly added drops of water to make it into a thick paste. Then I took a q-tip and used it as a brush to put the paste on my teeth. You can use your fingers too, but turmeric tends to turn your skin yellow.

I’ll admit that for someone who does not particularly like the taste of turmeric or is new to it, it takes some getting used to. I know that some people like to use clove oil on their teeth instead, but turmeric is just more accessible for me and can be found in pretty much any grocery store. Anyway, I had instant Orajel! You have to keep applying depending on how much you salivate, but it beats the throbbing pain of a toothache.

This won’t be my last post on this miracle spice. I’m thinking in my next post, I will talk about the natural, non-prescription things that help me deal with the pain. Until then, enjoy the rest of your week!


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