Pic Credit: backyardheirloomseeds.net

That dull, sharp, burning pain due to arthritis is perhaps the worse pain one feels in one’s joints. Managing the pain physically and mentally, sags one down prompting them to pop a pill. Wait!

Is popping a pain killer a safe option?


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used to treat and help manage the chronic pain, inflammation and swelling associated with arthritis. The NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen that you buy over the counter from the chemists can help ease pain, but they must not be continued over a long period of time. They usually give instant relief but it can take a couple of weeks for its actual effect to show.

Risks associated with NSAIDs

When these drugs are taken in higher doses or frequently or on a continual basis they can damage the lining of your stomach and cause bleeding. They also cause side effects such as indigestion, stomach upset, fluid retention and heartburn. Moreover, they can slightly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It’s therefore very unlikely to be prescribed to any patient with heart disease history. Also, it is not suitable for people with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

So, what’s the balance between soothing the killing pain and the negative effects of such medicines? The answer lies in natural herb based therapy.

Boswellia, the relief offering herb 

One can easily turn to this herb that has been used by traditional Indian healers for centuries now, the boswellia serrata. The anti inflammatory properties of the gummy resin from the tree’s bark has made it the wonder herb for pain relief. Locally called salai guggal this vascular supporting herb is rich in different kinds of compounds that help to reduce the inflammatory response by targeting a number of different mechanisms.

Studies show that its medicinal properties come from boswellic acids, that have proven anti-inflammatory abilities. Boswellic acids contained within the resin can inhibit leukotrienes that are harmful inflammatory compounds and are responsible for inflammation in the body. Leukotrienes directly influence the disease process in a number of medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis and tendonitis.

How the herb works

Boswellic acid appears to reduce inflammation in an effect similar to mainstream non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, they work in a different manner from the OTC and prescription pain relievers. They deactivate the hormonal triggers for inflammation and pain related area. Long term use of NSAIDs which make up approximately half of all drugs used to treat pain in the longer run results in irritation and ulceration of the stomach. With boswellia there are no known significant side effects. The patient rarely complains of minor stomach discomfort.

Usage of the herb

The herb can be taken internally (available as capsules) as well as applied topically to affected joints to relieve inflammation associated with any joint disorders. A typical dose of boswellia is 300 to 400 mg thrice a day of an extract standardized to contain 37.5% boswellic acids. However, it is best to check dosage with your doctor. For patients with arthritis, boswellia is best when used in combination with turmeric, another anti-inflammatory herb.

Some additional benefits of boswellia are that it reduces the aging process, improves the metabolism, can reduce the occurrence of wrinkles, helps with asthma and allergies, fights against cancer and has anticoagulant properties.

Finally, let me share with you a quick simple anti inflammatory smoothie recipe.

In a blender, put all the below ingredients and blend for a minute till smooth.

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered hemp seeds
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon of Boswellia (dried herb)
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon

Relish your drink and go pain free!