Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints resulting in swelling, stiffness, and pain. There are several types of arthritis, but they all reduce mobility in the affected joint or joints. Often with associated pain and frequently reducing overall quality of life too. Since arthritis of all types is an inflammatory disease—although cause of inflammation varies—an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis can significantly help with the swelling and mobility limitations of arthritis and reduce pain. Whether it be by flushing acids out of the bloodstream, reducing tissue inflammation, or improving blood chemistry, there is ample evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet helps with arthritis.

The excerpt below comes from Joan and Lydia Wilen’s Secret Food Cures which discusses both modern and traditional arthritis cures including recipes for an anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis.


One authority in the field feels that arthritis is a catchall term that includes rheumatism (inflammation or pain in muscles, joints, or fibrous tissue), bursitis (inflammation of shoulder, elbow, or knee joint) and gout (joint inflammation caused by an excess of uric acid in the blood). Another specialist believes that arthritis is a form of rheumatism. Still another claims there is no such ailment as rheumatism, that it’s a term for several diseases, including arthritis.

No matter what it’s called, everyone agrees on two things—the pain…and that all these conditions involve inflammation of connective tissue of one or more joints.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Approximately 66 million Americans are affected by arthritis—which has over 100 different forms.

Knowledge Is Power!

Check your local library and the Internet for books on arthritis (and there are lots of them). Also contact the Arthritis Foundation in Atlanta for more information. Learn about nonchemical treatments and low-acid diets.

These Veggies Are a Pain

There are foods that have been classified as nightshade foods—white potatoes, eggplants, green peppers, and tomatoes are the most common ones—that may contribute to the pain of some arthritis sufferers.

Editor’s note: The Arthritis Foundation has recently refuted this claim, based on recent research, but they do adhere to theories that food allergies can exacerbate arthritis pain and disability.

Consider being professionally tested by a nutritionist or allergist for sensitivity to the nightshade foods (or other problematic foods). Work with a health professional to evaluate your condition and to help you find safe, sensible methods of treatment for relief.

Natural Remedies

Here are remedies that have been said to be successful for many arthritis sufferers—that is, former arthritis sufferers.

NOTE: These remedies are not substitutes for professional medical treatment. Talk to your doctor before trying any natural remedies.

Cherries are said to be effective because they seem to help prevent crystallization of uric acid and to reduce levels of uric acid in the blood. It is also said that cherries help the arthritic bumps on knuckles disappear.

Eat any kind—sweet or sour, fresh, canned, or frozen, black, Royal Anne or Bing. And drink cherry juice! It is available without preservatives or sugar added, and in a concentrated form, at health food stores.

One source says to eat cherries and drink the juice throughout the day for four days, then stop for four days and then start all over again. Another source says to eat up to a dozen cherries a day in addition to drinking a glass of cherry juice. Find a happy medium by using your own good judgment. Listen to your body. You’ll know soon enough if the cherries seem to be making you feel better.

WARNING: Eating an excess of cherries may cause diarrhea in some individuals.

Go Green

• Eat a portion of fresh string beans every day or juice the string beans and drink a glassful daily. String beans contain vitamins A, B1, B2 and C and supposedly help relieve the excess-acid conditions that contribute to arthritis. (See recipe below.)

■ Recipe ■

 Papaya Salad with String Beans

1 cup green cabbage, cubed.

2 cups green papaya, grated.

1 ⁄2 lb. string beans, julienned.

3 garlic cloves, minced.

3 dried red chilies, chopped.

1 Tbsp granulated sugar 3 Tbsp soy sauce 3 Tbsp lime juice

3 small tomatoes, cut into wedges.

5 Tbsp peanuts, roasted and crushed 4 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped.

Place green cabbage pieces on a large serving platter and arrange the papaya and beans in layers. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, chilies, sugar, soy sauce and lime juice. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and garnish with the tomatoes, peanuts, and cilantro. Makes four


• Steep one cup of fully packed, washed parsley in one quart of boiling water. After 15 minutes, strain the juice and refrigerate.

Dose: Drink 1 ⁄2 cup of parsley juice before breakfast, 1 ⁄2 cup before dinner and ½ cup anytime pain is particularly severe.

• Celery contains many nourishing salts and organic sulfur. Some modern herbalists believe that celery has the power to help neutralize uric acid and other excess acids in the body. Eat fresh celery daily (be sure to wash it thoroughly). The leaves on top of celery stalks are also good to eat.

If so, much roughage is rough on your digestive system, place the tops and tough parts of the stalk in a nonaluminum pan. Cover with water and slowly bring to a boil. Then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and pour into a jar.

Dose: Take eight ounces three times a day, a half-hour before each meal. You can vary your celery intake by drinking celery seed tea and/or juiced celery stalks or do as the Romanians do and cook celery in milk. Remember, celery is a diuretic, so plan your day accordingly.

Fishy Solution

• According to results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, based on experiments by a study team at the Brusch Medical Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, cod-liver oil in milk helped to reduce cholesterol levels, improve blood chemistry and complexion, increase energy and correct stomach problems, blood sugar balance, blood pressure and tissue inflammation.

Mix one tablespoon of cod-liver oil (emulsified Norwegian cod-liver oil is non fishy) in six ounces of milk. Dose: Drink it on an empty stomach, a half-hour before breakfast and a half-hour before dinner.

NOTE: Cod-liver oil is a source of vitamins A and D. If you are taking A and D supplements, check the dosages carefully. The daily recommended dosage of vitamin A is 10,000 international units (IU), for vitamin D, 400 IU. Do not exceed these amounts.

Applying cod-liver oil externally is said to help relieve the popping noises of the joints.

• Edgar Cayce, renowned psychic, said in one of his readings, “Those who would take a peanut oil rub each week need never fear arthritis.

Topical Treatments for Relief

• Garlic has been used to quiet arthritis pain quickly. Rub a freshly cut clove of garlic on painful areas. Also, take a garlic supplement— after breakfast and after dinner.

• Grate three tablespoons of horseradish and stir it into 1 ⁄2 cup of boiled milk. Pour the mixture onto a piece of cheesecloth, then apply it to the painful area. By the time the poultice cools, you may have some relief.

Temporary Relief—for Women Only

Arthritic pains often disappear when a woman is pregnant. This is probably due to hormonal changes, but as soon as researchers find the exact reason, they may also find a permanent cure for arthritis.

Dig a Potato

• Even if you have a sensitivity to nightshade foods, external potato remedies can be used, as they have been for centuries. Carry a raw potato in your pocket. Don’t leave home without it! When it shrivels up after a day or two, replace it with a fresh potato. It supposedly relieves the inflammation that may be causing problems and pain.

• For dealing with the affected areas more directly, dice two cups of unpeeled potatoes and put them in a nonaluminum saucepan with five cups of water. Boil gently until about half the water is left. While the water is hot, but not scalding, dunk a clean cloth in the potato water, wring it out and apply it to the painful parts of the body. Repeat the procedure for as long as your patience holds out, or until the pain subsides—whichever happens first.

Rosy Relief

• When you’re feeling twinges in the hinges all over your body, take a bath in rose petals. Take petals from three or four roses that are about to wither and throw them in your bathwater. It should give you a rosy outlook.

Bitter Makes It Better

Apple cider vinegar has been used in various ways to help arthritis sufferers. See which of the following remedies is most palatable and convenient for you. Have patience—and give it at least three weeks to work.

• Every morning and every evening, take one teaspoon of honey mixed with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

Or, before each meal (three times a day), drink a glass of water containing two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.

Or, between lunch and dinner, drink a mixture of two ounces of apple cider vinegar added to six ounces of water.

Drink it down slowly.

Rub Salt on the Wound

• Prepare a poultice using coarse (kosher) salt that has been heated in a frying pan. Then apply it to the painful area. To keep the salt comfortably warm, put a hot water bottle on top of it. (Chances are, this old home remedy draws out the pain effectively with non-kosher salt, too.)

You can try more than one remedy at a time. While you’re trying these remedies, pay attention to your body and you’ll soon learn what makes you feel better.

Amazing Raisins

Joe Graedon, MS, pharmacologist, adjunct assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is known as “The People’s Pharmacist.” He is affiliated with the Research Triangle Institute, and they tested “The Amazing Gin Soaked Raisin Remedy” (see recipe below) for alcohol content.

■ Recipe ■

The Amazing Gin-Soaked Raisin Remedy

1 lbs. golden raisins

Gin (approximately 1 pint)

Glass bowl (Pyrex is good—crystal is bad)

Glass jar with lid

Spread the golden raisins evenly on the bottom of the glass bowl and pour enough gin over the raisins to completely cover them. Let them stay that way until all the gin is absorbed by the raisins. It takes about five to seven days, depending on the humidity in your area. (You may want to lightly cover the bowl with a paper towel so that dust or insects don’t drop in.) To make sure that all of the raisins get their fair share of the gin, occasionally take a spoon and stir the mixture, bringing the bottom layer of raisins to the top of the bowl.

As soon as all the gin has been absorbed, transfer the raisins to the jar, put the lid on and keep it closed. Do not refrigerate. Each day, eat nine raisins—exactly and only nine raisins a day. Most people eat them in the morning with breakfast.

The result: Less than one drop of alcohol was left in nine raisins. So, when people who take the raisins are feeling no pain, it’s not because they’re drunk, it’s because the remedy works.

Even so, be sure to check with your health professional to make sure that gin-soaked raisins will not conflict with medication you may be taking or present a problem for any health challenge you may have, particularly an iron-overload condition.

WARNING: Do not give the gin-soaked raisins to children or women who are pregnant or nursing.

We’ve demonstrated this remedy on national television and the feedback has been incredible. One woman wrote to tell us that she had constant pain and no mobility in her neck.

Her doctor finally told her, “You’ll just have to learn to live with the pain.” Although that was unacceptable, she didn’t know what else to do. And then she saw us on television, talking about a remarkable raisin remedy. We got her letter two weeks after she started “The Amazing Gin-Soaked Raisin Remedy.” The woman had no pain and total mobility. She also had all her friends waiting for their gin to be absorbed by their raisins.

This is one of dozens and dozens of success stories we’ve received. Some people have dramatic results after eating the raisins for less than a week, while it takes others a month or two to get results. There are some people for whom this remedy does nothing. But it’s inexpensive, easy to do, delicious to eat and worth a try. Be consistent—eat the raisins every day. Expect a miracle…but have patience!

Grapes Are Good, Too

• White grape juice is said to absorb the system’s acid. Drink one glass in the morning and one glass before dinner.

Camp Inside

• If you have morning stiffness caused by arthritis, try sleeping in a sleeping bag. You can sleep on your bed, but in the zipped-up bag. It’s much more effective than an electric blanket because your body heat is evenly distributed and retained. Come morning, there’s less pain, making it easier to get going.

• Corn-silk tea has been known to reduce acid in the system and lessen pain. Steep a handful of the silky strings that grow beneath the husk of corn in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes.

If it’s not fresh-corn season, buy cornsilk extract in a health food store. Add 10 to 15 drops in one cup of water and drink. Dried corn silk can also be used. Prepare it as you would prepare an herbal tea. You can get dried corn silk at most places that sell dried herbs and spices.

Herbal Relief

• Each of these herbs is known as a pain reducer—sage, rosemary, nettles, and basil. Use anyone, two, three or four of them in the form of herbal tea. Have two cups each day, rotating them until you find the one that makes you feel best.

Coffee Cure

• Our friend’s grandfather cleared up an arthritic condition (and lived to be 90) after he used a remedy given to him by a woman who brought it here from Puerto Rico. Squeeze the juice of a large lime into a cup of black coffee and drink it hot first thing each morning.

We’re not in favor of drinking coffee, but who are we to argue with success?

• An old Native American arthritis remedy is a mixture of mashed yucca root and water. Yucca saponin, a steroid derivative of the yucca plant, is a forerunner of cortisone. The adverse effects of cortisone are too numerous and unpleasant to mention. The positive effects of yucca, according to a double-blind study done at a Southern California arthritis clinic, were relief from headaches as well as from gastrointestinal complaints.

In that study, 60% of the patients taking yucca tablets showed dramatic improvements in their arthritic condition. While it doesn’t work for everyone, it works for enough people to make it worth a try.

Oceanside Resort

• For most people, this remedy is not practical—for many, it’s not even possible. Then why take up all this space? The results reported to us were so spectacular that we feel if only one person reads this, follows through, and is relieved of his/her painful, debilitating condition, it will have been well worth the space on the page.

Starting with the first set of directions, you will see why this is usually considered a “last resort” remedy.

Bring a couple of truckloads of ocean sand to your yard. (What did we tell you?) Select a sheltered spot away from the wind. Dig a hole about 12 feet by 12 feet and about three feet deep, then dump the sand in it.

You will, obviously, need help in setting up this arrangement. You will also need help in carrying out the treatment. Incidentally, treatment should take place on hot summer days.

Wear a brief bathing suit, lie on your stomach with your face to the side (so you can breathe, of course), and have your body completely covered with sand, except for your head. Have your assistant put sunscreen on your face. Stay in that position for 15 minutes. Next, turn over on your back and have your body completely covered with sand, except for your head and face. Stay that way for 15 minutes.

Then get out of the sandbath, quickly cover yourself with a warm flannel or woolen robe and head for the shower. Take a hot shower, dry off thoroughly and go to bed for several hours (three to four) and relax. During all of this, make sure there’s no exposure to the wind or to any drafts.

According to an Asian saying— “Rheumatism goes out from the body only through sweating.”

During the next couple of hours in bed, you may have to change underwear several times because of the profuse sweating. This is good. Be sure to keep rehydrating yourself by drinking lots of water.

One sandbath a day is sufficient. For some people, one week of treatment has been enough to help heal the condition completely.

NOTE: The sandbath must have dry sand and be in your yard, in an area that’s sheltered from the wind. The beach is too wet, too breezy, and usually too far from home.

•If you do not have ulcers, drink 1 ⁄8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a glass of water or fruit juice (cherry juice without sugar or preservatives is best). If the pepper is just too strong for you, buy capsules and fill them with cayenne, or you can buy already-prepared cayenne capsules at the health food store. Take two a day.

There’s the Rub

• Combine 1 ⁄2 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil, available at health food stores, with one tablespoon of pure olive oil, and massage the mixture onto your painful areas.

• You may want to alternate the massage mixture (above) with this one—grate fresh ginger, then squeeze the juice through a piece of cheesecloth. Mix the ginger juice with an equal amount of sesame oil. Massage it on the painful areas. Ginger can be quite strong. If the burning sensation makes you uncomfortable, then tone down the ginger by adding more sesame oil to the mixture.

• Aloe vera gel is now being used for many ailments, including arthritis. You can apply the gel externally to the aching joint and you can take it internally—one tablespoon in the morning before breakfast and one tablespoon before dinner.

• Vegetable juices are wonderful for everyone. They can be particularly helpful for arthritis sufferers. Use fresh carrot juice as a sweetener with either celery juice or kale juice. (Invest in a juicer or connect with a nearby juice bar.)

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