Cabbage poultice, capsaicin creams, and ibuprofen are good first aids for arthritis, but it’s a chronic condition that requires chronic treatment. The problem is chronic inflammation in the body, affecting particular joints. Other diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, are also caused or exacerbated by inflammation, so if one can get inflammation well controlled, one can be much healthier.
The first arthritis-stopping food that I became acquainted with was cayenne pepper. An old man in Arizona told me that he used to have arthritis so bad that he could hardly move his fingers; at the time I met him, his hands worked fine, panning gold in cold water. He said that he stopped it with a teaspoon of cayenne a day, chugged quickly in a small glass of tomato juice. He said that it took a month to take effect, and a month to wear off when he discontinued it.
Some years later, I got hit with arthritis pain in my hip-an incredible stabbing, grinding pain I’d never felt before. I used cabbage poultice on it for a few days, but immediately started taking cayenne, ½ teaspoon in a small tomato juice. It gave me heartburn. Cayenne pills came apart on the way down and burned in my esophagus. I eventually found that ¼ teaspoon in a tall glass of orange juice (with a shot of Knudsen’s Just Cranberry juice for my bladder; I call it Crazy Juice) did not give me heartburn, though it’s a spicy drink. It only took a week for the pain to completely go away; I was not as advanced a case as the old man.
Since then, I’ve used other anti-inflammatory foods known to keep arthritis at bay. I’ve been using more black cherry and tart cherry juice lately than Crazy Juice; I got that remedy from the People’s Pharmacy column in the Oregonian. I mix a cup of juice half-and-half with Mountain Dew; it tones down the richness of Knudsen’s Just Black Cherry and Just Tart Cherry, and lends a sparkle to the taste, taking off the vegetable edge.
Turmeric also keeps coming up in the People’s Pharmacy as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is the yellow colored spice in mustard, relish, pickles, and curry powder, among other uses. I don’t like curry, but I put a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric with the ½ teaspoon of cinnamon in the sesame-oatmeal cookies that, along with cashews and dried apples, are a staple of my mid-day diet, and I also eat the occasional sweet pickle or my homemade zucchini relish.
Still, cayenne in Crazy Juice seems to be most effective for me. If I leave it out of my diet for long, I start getting odd pains in my joints, and soreness in my vulnerable hip-they just started up again yesterday.