Herbal Anti-Inflammatory

wpid-20140502_104937.jpgWhen I was first diagnosed with systemic hypermobility, arthritis, and structural defects in my back, my doctor recommended I start taking a daily dose of Advil, in addition to glucosamine, tart red cherries, and an herbal supplement.  Taking daily pain medication made a huge difference in my quality of life, but the Advil quickly took a huge toll on my stomach, something that is not unusual for EDS patients.  In my search for something that would help my pain without damaging my stomach or sending me down the narcotic road I did not want to travel, I found a recipe for a home-made herbal supplement that promised to be an effective substitute for ibuprofen without the side effects.  I ordered the supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs, made the capsules myself, and they lived up to my expectations completely.  My friends can testify to the whimpering mess of pain I turn back into when my pills run out and I have to wait for a shipment of one of the ingredients!

I had been sending my friends to this site to get the recipe, as well as to the listing on etsy under the same name for “turmeric plus” capsules.  I want to give credit where it is due, not take business away from somebody.  However, at the moment those sites are down and the capsules are unavailable, so I am sharing the recipe here for my friends who are asking about my “miracle” pills.  I have converted the recipe from volume parts to grams to satisfy my own need for precision.

  • 176 grams powdered meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
  • 289 grams powdered devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
  • 142 grams powdered turmeric (Curcuma longa)
  • 45 grams powdered kava kava (Piper methysticum)
  • 26 grams powdered hops (Humulus lupulus) (I powder these myself from the leftover hops from my husband’s brewing)
  • 40 grams powdered bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

Mix all of these ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl, and then use a capsule machine to fill “00” capsules with the mixture, tamping thoroughly.  You should end up with capsules that weigh about 0.6g apiece.  I take two of these every 5 hours to prevent breakthrough pain, up to 6 capsules per day.

Before taking this recipe at face value, I took the time to do research on all of these herbs, trying to make sure I was looking at a viable treatment and not something somebody made up.  Meadowsweet has anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties, as well as being soothing for ulcers.  Devil’s claw is used for a variety of pain-relief treatments as well as intestinal upset.  Turmeric is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties and also can help with diarrhea and stomach pain.  (I see a pattern here.) Kava kava has many uses, including treatment of chronic fatigue and muscle pain, and although it has been vilified recently for liver toxicity, the level used in this recipe is nowhere near the levels reported as toxic.  Hops is antiseptic, the primary reason for its use in brewing beer, as well as soothing to the stomach.  Finally, the bladderwrack appears to be mostly a small mineral supplement, although it has been used for treating arthritic conditions in its own right.  All-in-all, based on known properties of these herbs, this looked like a good recipe, and as of today it has served me well for more than six months.

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