Of all disease in the late 20th century, the ones that have received the most attention in the media are the auto-immune diseases. AIDS especially has received much attention. It can be treated with natural remedies to stimulate the immune system to stave off any more opportunistic pathogens for as long as possible, but what we want to focus on primarily are arthritis, fibro-myalgia, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome – the diseases that can respond most dramatically to natural treatment. People who say that auto-immune diseases are incurable are correct in the sense that there is no “magic bullet” that can wipe out these chronic, painful, and often disabling conditions. (Fibro-myalgia has been called arthritis of soft tissue and responds very well to the same therapies as arthritis. Lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome and other auto-immune diseases can be helped with the same general stimulants to the immune system mentioned in this lesson.)
In another sense, these people are misleadingly pessimistic, because many cases of arthritis and auto-immune disease have been greatly – and often unexpectedly – improved when the individual decided to take action on his own.
A woman whom I know well developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of about 45 or 50 and went to a leading rheumatologist, or specialist in treating arthritis. He prescribed corticosteroids, which are considered the most effective anti-inflammatory drugs. Several years later, after moving, she went to another doctor who reviewed her case and kept her on the corticosteroids. Meanwhile, her condition became somewhat worse, and it was necessary for her to walk with a cane. Finally, when one of her ankles was degenerating and becoming quite painful, still another doctor, a surgeon, suggested an operation that he said would help her walk better. At this point, the woman decided to consult another specialist, who informed her that the operation probably would not help her at all. He then asked if any of the other doctors she had been to had prescribed orthopedic shoes. He was surprised when she said they hadn’t, and he then prescribed a pair for her. A few weeks later, she was walking without a cane for the first time in years.
Drugs Waste Bones
There is another aspect to her case that is both important for arthritis patients to understand, and revealing of still another failure of her doctors. One day, after having been on the corticosteroid medication for a number of years, she bumped her arm against a table and discovered a few days later, to her amazement and disgust, that she had broken a bone. At this point, her doctor informed her, “Well, that’s what happens when you take corticosteroids for a long time. Your bones go.”
That was the second or third doctor she had been to, all of whom were aware of her drug schedule, and yet none of them had warned her of this dangerous side effect of cortisone drugs.
Diet and Arthritis
It is wise for the auto-immune patient to take a full range of supplements because of the stress produced by these conditions. For the arthritic who is taking heavy doses of aspirin, a generous supplement of vitamin C is especially important, because aspirin depletes this vitamin from the blood and therefore lowers resistance to a variety of diseases. Large doses of aspirin can also cause ulcers, of course, but even if ulcers don’t appear, there is almost certainly a considerable amount of blood loss taking place from the stomach. Over the course of years, this loss could possibly produce anemia or near-anemia in the patient whose diet is not rich in iron.
A vegetarian diet with emphasis on vegetables, cooked and raw, particularly potatoes (raw and cooked) and all available greens are very good. Alfalfa, fresh and in tablet form, is of specific benefit; also raw potato juice, freshly made. Eat alfalfa sprouts daily.
Most beneficial vegetables: alfalfa, wheat grass, watercress, potatoes, yams, celery, parsley, garlic, comfrey, endive.
Most beneficial fruits: bananas, sour cherries, pineapples, sour apples.
Avoid: meat, fish, fowl, cow’s milk, cheese, bread (even whole grain at first, until you get your symptoms under control), salt, sugar. Use honey for sweetener; kelp as a salt substitute. Raw goat’s milk is excellent in fresh or soured form, up to a quart a day. I have known patients who cured themselves of arthritis by drinking one quart of goat’s milk each day.
Yogurt, homemade cottage cheese and whole grain bread may be added to the diet when the patient is well on the way to recovery. Millet and rice are the best grains. Use sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds sparingly.
Studies in England and the U.S., show that eliminating foods to which a person is allergic may relieve arthritis. While following a diet that excluded certain foods to which they might be allergic, 20 out of 22 patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis found their symptoms relieved. On the average, it took 10 days for the patients to begin feeling better.
The foods to which one or more of the patients were sensitive included grain, milk, seeds and nuts, beef, cheese, eggs, chicken, fish, potatoes, onions and liver. Sensitivity to grain products led the list, affecting 14 of the patients. When they later tried eating the allergens, 19 of the patients found their arthritis worsening – sometimes in as little as two hours.
Can a Low-Fat Diet Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Two researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit have made an observation as exciting and unexpected as the arthritis-allergy link: that painful swelling and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis appear to be aggravated by fatty foods and can be dramatically reduced by a low-fat diet. It made no difference whether the fats were vegetable oils or animal fats. They report: chicken, cheese, safflower oil, beef and coconut oil all seemed to aggravate the condition.
Charles P. Lucas, M.D., and colleague Lawrence Power, M.D. first observed this remarkable side effect in two obese patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, who were put on a low-calorie, low-fat diet for weight loss. Within days, both experienced remissions of the stiffness and swelling in their joints – and they remained symptom-free for 9 to 14 months. However, within 24 to 48 hours of eating fatty foods, the researchers report, the stiffness returned.
Relief with Vitamin E
In one experiment, 29 arthritis patients – 4 men and 25 women at Hasharon Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, were randomly assigned to either a group taking 600 I.U. of vitamin E a day or a group taking an identical but inert placebo. Then, at the end of ten days, the groups were switched.
At the end of the experiment, fully 15 of the 29 “experienced marked relief in pain” while taking vitamin E, while only 1 out of 29 patients had such a reaction to the placebo.
That’s especially significant when you consider that these patients had been living with their woes for an average of over nine years.
Zinc for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Zinc supplements have also been reported to significantly relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in people who had obtained no relief from conventional methods. (Lancet).
Peter A. Simkin, M.D., rheumatologist from the University of Washington, Seattle, based his study on the hypothesis that zinc is somehow necessary for the health of the joints. When the membranes of the joints become inflamed, local zinc levels may be depleted. And blood serum levels of zinc are known to be lower in people with rheumatoid arthritis. He reasoned that replacing the zinc in these tissues by means of diet supplementation might reverse the inflammatory process and increase a person’s resistance to the disease.
In Denmark, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have also reported great success using zinc to treat patients with psoriatic arthritis, which is characterized by scaly red patches on the skin. After only six weeks on zinc supplements, most of the patients were able to move their fingers and wrists more easily than before and were no longer plagued by swollen joints and morning stiffness.
The researchers thought it particularly significant that none of the arthritics, who averaged 50 years of age, had suffered from an outright zinc deficiency. “Serum zinc values before treatment were within the normal range, so the effect of treatment is not explained by the alleviation of an absolute deficiency,” they said. (British Journal of Dermatology)
Flaxseed Oil: The Best Choice
In my opinion, the best choice for supplying the essential fatty acids so necessary to stimulate the immune system, is flaxseed oil – especially when cost is taken into consideration. The recommended daily dosage of either EPA (1.8 grams) or GLA supplements (5 grams) costs $50 to $100 per month. Taking less than the recommended dosage is not likely to produce benefit. In contrast, flaxseed oil is fairly inexpensive. A 12-ounce bottle of flaxseed oil costs less than $12. At a daily dose of 1 tablespoon, this 12-ounce bottle would last more than a month. Homemade salad dressings are the perfect opportunity to use flaxseed oil, (refer to Lesson #2).
Activity is Essential
Careful attention to nutrition is important. But if you really want to stave off the disability that threatens with arthritis, you’ll have to take an active role. And we mean that literally. “Active” as in “exercise.”
“Exercise is essential in dealing with arthritis,” says George Ehrlich, M.D., director of the division of rheumatology at the Hahnemann Medical School and Hospital. “If you don’t exercise a painful joint, the muscles around it start to waste away. This means the joint will function even more poorly – it’s a cycle. Exercise increases the range of motion of the joint – it limbers you up,” Dr. Ehrlich told us. “And it builds up the muscles around it.”
What kind of exercise? “Anything that doesn’t tax the joint. Some find swimming ideal,” Dr. Ehrlich says, “and isometrics are quite effective for many.”
1. All rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, are particularly responsive to vegetable juice therapy. Repeated juice fasts of up to 4 or even 6 weeks are recommended with about 2 months on the above diet between fasts. The alkaline action of raw juices and vegetable broth dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and in other tissues. Green juice, from any green leafy vegetables from your garden or from the wild (example: dandelion, common nettle, parsley, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, turnip tops, etc.) mixed with carrot, celery and red beet juice, and vegetable broth daily, are specifics for arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
2. One of the most successful biological treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions is the raw potato juice therapy, used in folk medicine for centuries. The old way to make potato juice was as follows: take one medium size potato, wash it, cut it into thin slices (with the skin on) and place in a large glass. Fill glass with cold water and let it stand overnight. Drink the water in the morning on an empty stomach. Potato juice can also be made in an electric juicer. Make it fresh and drink diluted with water, 50-50, first thing in the morning.
3. It has been demonstrated that the administration of bromelain (pineapple enzyme), 6-8 tablets a day, helps reduce or eliminate swelling and inflammation in the soft tissues and the joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Hot-and-cold showers, morning and evening.
5. Overheating baths, heat packs, mustard and castor oil packs regularly.
6. Massage and individually adjusted exercises, regularly.
7. Acupuncture or acupressure massage can be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis.
Vitamins & Supplements (Daily)
|Multiple Vitamin-Mineral Supplement 50 -100 mg.||B-complex|
|(all other vitamins and minerals as described in Lesson #2, especially the antioxidants: vitamins A,C,E and Selenium)|
|Alfalfa tablets||up to 20 tablets, or 2 tsp. powder|
|Niacinamide||large doses up to 1,000 mg. (only under doctor’s supervision)|
|Calcium-magnesium supplement||500 mg. of each|
|Vitamin E||600 to 1,000 IU|
|Sea Water||2-3 tbsp.|
|Vitamin A||25,000 IU|
|Vitamin C||up to 5,000 mg.|
|Alfalfa Sprouts eaten raw|
Emphasis on raw vegetable juices: carrots, celery, red beets, parsley, alfalfa, and raw potatoes. Citrus juices only sparingly. Sour cherry juice is specifically effective. Other fruit juices: fresh pineapple juice, black currant, sour apple juice. The enzyme in fresh pineapple juice, bromelain reduces swelling and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout.
Ginger, comfrey, alfalfa, parsley, feverfew, yucca, poke berries, black cohosh, chaparral, buckthorn bark, sassafras, peppermint, slippery elm, ragwort, burdock root.
Vitamin C, flaxseed oil, bromelain, potassium, raw fresh cherries or cherry juice, (best cherries: sour, black, Royal Anne, Black Bing) raw pineapple, raw potatoes, alfalfa (plant and seeds), chaparral, ginger, glucosamine sulfate, mung bean and alfalfa sprouts, goat’s milk.
1) If the arthritis patient uses aspirin, cortisone, prednisone, or ACTH (the usual drugs prescribed by doctors for pain) he should take extra amounts of vitamin C (massive doses up to 5,000 mg. a day), because all the above-mentioned drugs significantly lower blood and tissue level of vitamin C, as shown in clinical studies. Of course, there is something far better than these drugs: Glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occurring substance found in high concentrations in joint structures. When taken as a nutritional supplement, glucosamine sulfate appears to be nature’s best remedy for osteoarthritis. In the body, the main action of glucosamine on joints is to stimulate the manufacture of cartilage components necessary for joint repair.
It appears that, as people age, they lose the ability to manufacture sufficient levels of glucosamine. The result is that cartilage loses its ability to hold water and act as a shock absorber. The inability to manufacture glucosamine has been directly linked to arthritis.
You see, drugs for arthritis can only relieve the symptoms, glucosamine sulfate addresses the cause of osteopaths. By getting at the root of the problem, glucosamine sulfate not only improves the symptoms, including pain, it also helps the body repair damaged joints.
2) If the arthritis patient has been taking cortisone or other corticosteroid drugs for a prolonged period (over a period of several years), such drugs cannot be withdrawn abruptly, but only gradually, and always under the supervision of a doctor. Such patients, even when they are put on a fast, should continue with medication, possibly on a reduced dosage.
3) The following poultice for swollen joints has been used with good results: take 2 tbsp. mullein, 3 tbsp. granulated slippery elm bark, 1 tbsp. lobelia, 1 tsp. cayenne (red pepper powder). Mix ingredients in a bowl and add hot water to make a paste. Spread the paste on a cloth and cover the swollen joints with the poultice. Wrap the cloth with a plastic sheet and then with a dry towel. Leave for 1/2 to 1 hour, or less if burning sensation becomes unbearable.
4) Castor oil packs are excellent for affected joints which are not in an inflamed condition (after the acute inflammation has subsided). The castor oil pack is made in the following manner: pour 3 to 4 tbsp. of castor oil in a pan and heat oil until it starts to simmer. Dip a flannel cloth into the oil until the cloth is saturated. Place the cloth on the affected area and cover with a plastic sheet larger than the cloth, then cover with a thin towel and place an electric heating pad over it. Cover the whole pack with a large towel or blanket. Keep on for 1/2 – 1 hour. Peanut oil can be used if castor oil is not available.
5) Mustard poultice on affected joints (not in an inflammatory condition) is an old time-proven remedy.
6) There have been numerous reports by former arthritis patients who claim that they have cured their arthritis by drinking 2-3 tablespoons of sea water each day (or water from the Salt Lake).
How to build a strong immune system (general instructions)
a) Maintain an ideal weight by decreasing the number of calories you eat.
b) Eat a moderate protein, high complex carbohydrate, vegan diet rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
c) Eat lots of fiber-rich food like fruits, vegetables and cereals that reduce the transit time in the colon. This will help get carcinogens, the bile acids and other fats that can cause cancer, out of the system.
d) Avoid all animal products. Now is no time to be drinking milk, (many residues of pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics are now found in milk.)
e) Keep salt intake low and avoid food additives and preservatives. Avoid condiments like mustard, vinegar, black pepper, baking soda and baking powder. Avoid caffeine, tobacco and alcohol, of course, but avoid other people’s smoke also.
f) Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables for their enzyme content. (Whenever possible, try to obtain foods that were not artificially grown and are uncontaminated with pesticides.)
g) Have X-rays only when absolutely necessary.
h) Avoid refined sugar and nutrasweet. (These are related to systemic lupus, fibro-myalgia, and multiple sclerosis.)
i) Use water filters whenever possible. Wash your hands several times each day, especially before preparing food or eating; limit eating in restaurants.
j) Use stress reduction techniques (Lesson #7), such as regular exercise, rest and taking a vacation.
k) Make Bible reading and prayer a part of your day.
l) Have a positive attitude.
m) Avoid drugs unless absolutely necessary.