During this first week of the new year, Dr. Oz gave a bonus recommendation for arthritis. What herb did he recommend for healthy inflammation?
A. Cat's Claw
C. Devil's Claw
D. Kava Kava
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C. Devil's Claw
A. Cat's Claw - 6%
B. Turmeric - 72%
C. Devil's Claw - 20%
D. Kava Kava - 0%
On the January 4, 2012 episode of The Dr. Oz Show, The Alternative Health Guru Who Says You Shouldn't Trust Your Doctor!, Dr. Oz provided a bonus recommendation at the end of the show for arthritis pain. He recommended devil's claw at 500mg daily to help reduce inflammation and pain.
This is another quiz where each item in the multiple choice could be utilized in some form to support the given issue. Cat's claw, turmeric and devil's claw are utilized to support healthy inflammation and Kava Kava is commonly used as a muscle relaxer.
Cat's Claw is another herb that is commonly recommended to support joint function. It has also been recommended to support the digestive tract, hemorrhoids, allergies, immune system imbalances, kidney cleansing and even wound support, according to WebMD. It's a Renaissance herb!
WebMD recommends different doses of cat's claw depending the type of arthritis experienced. For osteoarthritis, WebMD recommends 100mg of cat's claw daily and for rheumatoid arthritis 60mg daily.
According to the website, cat's claw seems to work best when taken for at least a week and will then only support reduction in pain during physical activity, not at rest.
There are some indications that cat's claw can lower blood pressure which may be problematic for people with blood pressure issues. Because cat's claw is connected with stimulating immune function it could interfere with treatments of auto immune disorders.
I love, love, love turmeric! My usage is primarily as spice. Turmeric is added to nearly everything I make! Eggs, chicken, deviled eggs, soups, stews, spaghetti, lasagna...any where I can sprinkle it! Turmeric has long been a staple spice in Indian, Persian and Thai cooking – think curry and mustard - but it is certainly not limited to any one category of food preparation. With a
HealthDiaries.com has a neat list of 20 Health Benefits of Turmeric. The list includes natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, supportive of liver detoxification, reducing risks of Alzheimer's by removing plaque buildup in the brain, natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor, and with it's anti-inflammatory properties turmeric is often utilized to support healthy inflammation particularly in the joints.
Turmeric can be found at health food stores in the supplement section. If you're interested in turmeric, I would encourage you to pick up the spice and see how you can incorporate into your diet. A little sprinkle here and a little sprinkle there and you may become a fan of turmeric. Be warned: turmeric imparts a golden to orange color and it will stain skin, cutting boards, and counters too. I have found that the color eventually comes out of all those things just be aware when you're using it.
According to HealthDiaries.com “turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.”
Several studies listed on the University of Maryland Medical Center website show that devil's claw can be as effective in pain relief associated with back pain, arthritis and osteoarthritis than medications with fewer side effects. Participants of the studies listed on the website used the herb for 8 – 12 weeks.
Another Renaissance herb, devil's claw has also been used by herbalists to support an upset stomach, headaches, skin conditions.
UMM.edu says, “People with heart disease or high or low blood pressure should ask their doctors before taking devil' s claw.”
Kava Kava, so nice they named it twice! Kava, we'll just use the singular, has been used forever by Polynesian cultures as a daily constitutional drink, ceremonial drink, general beverage. It has been in the light of controversy for going on 10 years, or more, now. In 2002, there was international concern that Kava may cause liver damage.
There were several cases of liver damage reported and even death. Working in the health food industry at the time, we had to post warnings near the product – and the company I worked for still has warnings posted near the product. The controversy comes from the knowledge that Polynesian's have been using Kava daily for generations without reported liver issues, or any other issues.
It is possible that the people who experienced issues with taking Kava already had existing liver issues or were taking pharmaceuticals that effected the liver at the same. That said, it's important to talk to a doctor or pharmacist to determine if Kava is suitable.
In addition to acting as a muscle relaxer, Kava has been used to support a more balanced mood, feelings of tension, and trouble sleeping.
For more information on the controversy surrounding Kava Kava, check out the University of Maryland Medical Center website. The website cautions that Kava “should not be taken for more than 3 months without a 2 week rest period.”
Photo credit: Maggie Smith
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