Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two most common types of arthritis. Arthritis is a general term for conditions that cause pain and inflammation in a joint. What distinguishes rheumatoid arthritis from its common counterpart is the mechanisms behind it.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it’s caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue.
Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is usually the result of external lifestyle factors, such as injury and obesity.
Although, as the NHS points out, osteoarthritis can be associated with the joints severely damaged by rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for both forms of arthritis but making healthy lifestyle changes has been shown to provide some symptom relief.
Evidence has found taking boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, to be effective.
The herbal extract, taken from the boswellia serrata tree, has been shown to reduce inflammation.
Take rheumatoid arthritis first. A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found that boswellia helps to reduce rheumatoid arthritis joint swelling.
Some research suggests that boswellia may interfere with the autoimmune process, which would make it an effective therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.
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Further research supports the effective anti-inflammatory and immune-balancing properties.
Boswellia’s ability to alleviate osteoarthritis pain and inflammation appears to be even more promising.
One study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that all 30 people with osteoarthritis knee pain who received boswellia reported a decrease in knee pain.
They also reported an increase in knee flexion and how far they could walk.
Knee Flexion describes the range of motion when your leg (and knee joint) is bent.
Another study – funded by a boswellia production company – found that increasing the dosage of enriched boswellia extract led to an increase in physical ability.
Osteoarthritis knee pain decreased after 90 days with the boswellia product, compared to a lesser dosage and placebo.
It also helped reduce the levels of a cartilage-degrading enzyme.
General tips to alleviate arthritis
If you have arthritis, it is vital that you take steps to lose weight if you are overweight.
Why? “Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems,” explains the NHS.
As the health body points out, exercise may seem counterintuitive if you are in pain but it can aid weight loss while bringing direct benefits for managing arthritis.
Regular exercise can also:
- Improve your range of movement and joint mobility
- Increase muscle strength
- Reduce stiffness
- Boost your energy.
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