Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms
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Similar to other medical conditions, research has shown that what you eat can have an impact on arthritis. Experts recommend anti-inflammatory foods including fatty fish high in omega-3 and olive oil. Studies have shown one herb in particular that works to fight inflammation.
One paper, published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology explains the benefits of fenugreek – also known as trigonella foenum-graecum – on the condition.
The leaves of fenugreek are used as a herb and the seeds are used as a spice.
Both are popular in India in foods such as curries, where the herb can be used to treat certain conditions like diarrhoea, diabetes and high cholesterol.
It can also be consumed as a supplement in the form of tablets or powder.
The study by a team from the Institute of Pharmacy in Gujarat, tested the use of fenugreek seed extract on arthritic rats.
It explains: “With 0.5 mL/kg fenugreek seed petroleum ether extract (FSPEE) treatment, there was 37 percent and 85 percent reduction in inflammation of the paw in carrageenan and formaldehyde-induced paw edema.”
It concludes: “Thus, petroleum ether extract of fenugreek seeds has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activities which are due to the presence of linolenic and linoleic acids.
“Our studies show FSPEE to be rich in linolenic and linolenic acids with significant anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activities in all the models tested.
“The results also indicate that the activity resides not only in the mucilage and polar fractions of seeds as reported by other workers but also in the nonpolar fixed oil.
“Thus, the entire seed may be more beneficial in inflammation and arthritis.”
A separate study published in the Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica journal, also showed that the fenugreek seed had anti-inflammatory properties when tried on mice.
It says: “Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects were examined in a partially purified fraction of the trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract.
“The results suggest that the water soluble fraction of herbal origin has significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory potential as reflected by the parameters investigated.”
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly nine million people.
Initially it compromises the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement more difficult and leading to pain and stiffness.
It mainly affects joints in the hands, knees, spine and hips.
The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, causing pain and swelling.
Symptoms of arthritis will depend on what type you have, but can include:
- Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm red skin over the affected joint
- Weakness and muscle wasting.
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