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Home Remedies for Rheumatism

The word rheumatism relates to a disease of a moist nature leading to watery deposits in the joints. When most people lived and laboured in the cocountry the varied aches and pains put under the heading of rheumatism were caused by physically stressful work, carried out in adverse weather conditions and aggravated by damp, illheated houses There were a score of ancient remedies to alleviate or prevent this occurring, many of which are in common use today. The most note worthy example is that of wearing a copper bangle, a worldwide custom much derided by men of science who would find it even more difficult to explain why a potato carried in the pocket becomes increasingly fossilized as the rheumatic condition improves. Scoff one might, but commonsense was paramount when a loss of livelihood was at stake.

Washed wool beneath the feet would keep the damp from creeping through the soles of the shoes although sulphur powder in the foot of the stocking owed more, I suspect, to its hellishly hot associations than its mild antiseptic properties. Beating the body with holly is less comprehensible than beating with nettles or rolling naked in a nettle bed as nettles contain formic acid which is considered helpful in the treatment of rheumatism. It is for the same reason that the stings of angry bees were con sidered beneficial. Better, perhaps, a bee sting than coming to terms with swallowing live spiders or carrying a collection of moles feet around in the breast pocket, for neither of which K can find an explanation.

There may be more to be said for the practice of stuffing eelskins with lavender and burying them in layers of peat and mint, after which, suitably macerated, they were tied above the right knee of a man or the left knee of a women. A fatty eelskin full of warming, antiseptic lavender , impregnated with oils and minerals from its earthy incarceration where it must, presumably, have lost some of its smell, would probably have been quite  cosy! It would have been more comfortable, at any rate, than a massage of searing mustard oil or a fiery rub of red peppers in oil from the North American Indians.

Warmth, not surprisingly, figured strongly in the treatments for rheumatic pains. Boiled sea water applied on compresses and the floury contents of potatoes baked in their jackets made use of local ingredients both of which contain minerals which might have penetrated into the painful joint, whilst flannel cloth laid on the body and smoothed over with an iron, hot from the fire, had much in common with today’s treatment of Turkish baths or saunas followed by a good massage. Hot baths, hot water bottles and even hair dryers have all been used to comfort aching limbs although the thought of yielding up one’s body to electrical treatments with the names of Galvanisin and Faradism make one’s hair stand on end. The most pleasant remedy that I can bring to mind is to indulge in a warm, soothing bath, rub the aching joint with a therapeutic liniment and retire to a well heated bed with a good book and a warm drink.

Baths and Poultices

  • Epsom salts Whether the quantity recommended be in kilos or cups, Epsom salts added to the bath water has always been considered an important method of easing rheumatic pain. One cupful should be enough.
  • Essential oil of rosemary, pine, lavender or juniper Add a jew drops to the bath water, with or without Epsom salts.
  • Seaweed extract or powder Long believed to be valuable because of its iodine content, it will ensure a healing and invigorating bath.
  • Mastard and cayenne One dessert spoon of each whisked into the bath water should have the desired effect.

Home Remedies for Rheumatism

The most famous remedy for aches and pains is the classic Tiger Balm – that aromatic and effective blend of camphor, cajuput, cassia, cloves, menthol and peppermint. There are, howerer, a host of proprietary brands of creams and liniments on the market and some very good ones that you can make your self. The majority of the following remedies are effective on all aches, pains, sprains and arthritis.

  • Essential oil of peppermint or coriander  A few drops of either of these sweet-smelling oils in a tablespoon of almond oil and massaged in is exotic and soothing. Several drops in a glass of hot water will also improve the digestive disorders that many rheumatle people suffer from. One of the best home remedies for rheumatism.
  • Eucalyptus, camphor and wintergreen oils The following recipe is the most effective liniment of all and works wonders on bruises, sprains, pulled muscles and unbroken chilblains, to name but a few complaints.

Camphor Rub

¼ teaspoon each camphor and mustard powder
300 ml pure oil of turpentine
300 ml sunflower oil
300ml rubbing alcohol

Dissolve the camphor and mustard powder in the turpentine. Pour into a large glass jar and add the oil and alcohol. Shake well together and use to massage aching limbs and wheezy chests. The area anointed must be kept well covered and warm. This is one of the useful home remedies for rheumatism

Rheumatism Diet

Rheumatic conditions are often exacerbated by constipation and kidney disorders. Therefore it is important to regulate the diet and in aggravated circumstances to avoid all tea, coffee, alcohol, white suger and bread , food additives and acid fruit with the exception of lemon which has been proven to be beneficial. It does appear that stewed fruit has a worse effect upon the system than fresh.

These are only basic ideas to ease those pains which appear to the layman as rheumaticky but there are certain conditions which do require specific diets. Eating the right food all the time can help to prevent rheumatism occurring. Plenty of good green vegetables are essential. Kale, nettles (in soup), watercress, parsley, fennel and sorrel are all particularly good as they are high in minerals and vitamins as well as being gently laxative and diuretic.

  • Celery Make a celery soup or simply stew the celery gently in milk or stock . Some sources advocate chewing celery seed but this can be harmful if done to excess, particularly when pregnant. Celery as a foodstuff has no unpleasant side effects.
  • Onion drink Chop 3 washed but  unpeeled onions into 1 litre (1.75 pints) of water and boil gently in a covered saucepan for 15 minutes. Strain and drink one cup morning or night. This is not quite as bad as it sounds but a little antisocial. Good home remedy for rheumatism
  • Cloves of garlic Several cloves of garlic pounded in olive oil with parsley and eaten on coarse brown bread is somewhat more appetizing, in fact quite delicious.
  • Kelp  Powdered seaweed, sprinkled on broth or soup, contains many valuable minerals.
  • Apples an unpeeled apple a day will keep the body in good working order. Grated apple mixed with raw oats and yoghurt is a good way to start the day.
  • Cider This has to be good, rough cider, not the commercial varieties from which all natural goodness has been eradicated. One to 2 glasses of cider daily or 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar act as both a preventative and cure. Cider is also good for the kidneys.
  • Juniper berries  Three chewed daily are said to prevent rheumatism.

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