[caption id="attachment_336" align="alignright" width="300"] Arthritis can be traced back to prehistoric times.[/caption] Arthritis has been known to mankind since ancient times. It can even be traced back to prehistoric man and dinosaurs! In a book by Bruce M. Rothschild, “The Complete Dinosaur”, some forms of arthritis affected dinosaurs, specifically gout. A detailed examination of the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex showed the distinctive holes found in the bones of gout patients. On the Internet today, you can find many different natural treatments for arthritis. Read on to find out how different cultures around the world treat arthritis, with some emerging theories on why ancient remedies can work for modern day joint pain. 5 Arthritis Treatments from Around the World Western Medicine View Arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the joints. The term comes from the Greek word “arthron” which means “joint,” and “itis” which means “inflammation”. In western cultures we consider arthritis to be an inflammatory condition of one or more joints. Although there are several types of arthritis, the main conditions we refer to are rheumatoid arthritis, considered an autoimmune condition, and osteoarthritis, often called wear-and-tear arthritis because it occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time. In western medicine, prescription and over-the-counter medicines are prescribed to reduce pain. Other treatments may include physical therapy, and in more extreme cases, surgery. 1. The Chinese address blockages [caption id="attachment_337" align="alignright" width="300"] Chinese medicine uses herbs to address blockages.[/caption] In Chinese medicine, the theory is that the body's essential energy (Qi) flows along channels called meridians. These meridians are like rivers that irrigate the body and nourish the tissues. Any obstruction along one of the meridians is like a dam that blocks the vital energy flow, creating pain and disease. Arthritis is referred to as blockage that affects the bones, blood vessels, tendons, or muscles. The aim of Chinese arthritis treatment is to unblock the system, and regulate the immune system. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses herbs to address the blockages, along with ointments, plasters and oils. For pain relief, acupuncture is used on specific points along the meridians to help unblock the blocked energy channels. The goal is to stimulate some of the more than 2,000 points on the body. Sometimes heat, pressure, friction, suction, or electrical impulses are used along with the acupuncture needles. 2. The British use sweets In Britain, where cold, damp climates usually aggravate arthritis pain, the British, swear by crude blackstrap molasses dissolved in water. They claim it eases and even eliminates joint pain when they take it every morning. Molasses is an excellent source of minerals, including copper and manganese, and a very good source of potassium, magnesium and iron. “Copper is essential for the function of a number of antioxidant enzymes, including powerful superoxide dismutase (SOD). It is also involved in vitamin C metabolism and the synthesis of collagen, a structural protein in bones and joints. Lack of copper reduces activity of SOD and may contribute to the development of inflammatory diseases” says Dr. Sarah Brewer, Health Advice, The Telegraph. In Britain they use two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses to sweeten their tea or coffee. This supplies 14.0% of the daily recommended value for copper. 3. Europeans use venom: [caption id="attachment_338" align="alignright" width="300"] Bee stings were used for centuries by ancient Europeans to cure rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.[/caption] This 2000 year-old arthritis therapy may sound like more of a punishment than a treatment, but it was used by Hippocrates. Bee stings were used for centuries by ancient Europeans, and were considered to be the leading cure for rheumatism, arthritis, and gout. More recently, scientists in Switzerland, France, Germany, and Great Britain use injections of bee venom, either with a hypodermic needle or a live bee! The theory is that bee venom stimulates the immune system to better protect you. Some people in Russia use a homemade salve containing viper venom, similar to bee venom, to ease arthritis aches and other pains. Now, Israeli researchers at the Shulov Institute for Sciences have extracted the viper venom and isolated the pain-relieving peptide in the poison. They have created a synthetic version without the dangerous toxins in the venom. This potential treatment is under investigation to confirm its safety and effectiveness. 4. South African’s use desert devils [caption id="attachment_339" align="alignright" width="300"] Africa native tribes have treated arthritis pain with Devil's Claw.[/caption] Devil's-claw is a cure that sounds ominous! It comes from the Kalahari Desert of South Africa where, for at least 250 years, native tribes of this region have treated arthritis pain with a large claw-like fruit. People from these tribes brew a tea from the extract of the root, or use a dry, powdered form. Recently, scientists support the healing properties of devil's-claw. Studies in France and Germany found that devil's-claw relieves pain in a way that is similar to cortisone. The root has active ingredients that act as anti-inflammatory agents. Using the whole plant works even better because it contains additional compounds, such as flavonoids, that enhance the anti-inflammatory effect. You can get devil's-claw tea and other formulations at many health food stores and online. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/DevilsClaw.htm 5. Americans use gin-soaked raisins: [caption id="attachment_340" align="alignright" width="300"] The gin-soaked raisin remedy became a fad in the United States in the 1990s.[/caption] The gin-soaked raisin remedy became a fad in the United States in the 1990s where people began to eat a prescribed number of the gin-infused raisins daily to combat arthritis. This remedy may have its roots in England in the middle ages, when clusters of juniper berries, a gin ingredient, were used to counter the stench of death from bubonic plague. While there are no rigorous studies supporting this treatment, thousands, if not millions of people around the world claim they received incredible relief from their joint pain, often in only a few weeks. Many people state they have used this method successfully for years. Some people believe it's the raisins themselves, which contain the antioxidant resveratrol. Others believe it's the gin, since most gin is made from juniper berries, which contain many healthy anti-inflammatory ingredients. As with every natural remedy floating around, it's not guaranteed to work for everyone. Some people enjoy the fact that it's natural and most likely won't affect any other medications. However, there is a very small amount of alcohol in the raisins which may not be safe if you take medications. Check with your health provider before trying this or any other new remedy.