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s wol len on both sides of the body.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (R A) belongs
to the category of autoimmune diseases ,
which are caused by the inflammation and
destruction of tissues by the b ody’s own
a ntibodies. Even today, it is still not clear
what causes the body to begin attacking
itself in such a manner in certain individuals,
but not in others. Sometimes the condition
c a n re solve itself spontane ously, but in most
c a s es it follows a progressive degenerative
pattern of remission and rel apse for se vera l
years before finally burning out leaving the
joints severely deformed.
Since no cure ha s yet been found, the
convention al treatment option s available to the
s uf ferer are analgesic medication s or cortisone
injections. Unfortunately, these medications
a re not only expensive to buy but al so
potentially dangerous to the body. The side
e f fects include stomach ulcers and bleeding, a s
well as hormonal disturbances. This explains
why many patients are now turning their
attention to altern ative forms of treatments ,
which are less damaging to the body.
In my clinic , I have found Acupuncture
a nd Chinese Herbal Medicine to be effective
in both alleviating pain and reducing
swelling. Also many studies have shown the
benefits of regular gentle exercise like Tai
Qi or Qi Gong, both of which stimul ate
the circulation of energy and blood to the
affected areas. Another traditional form of
treatment which is often neglected is the
traditiona l remedy of applying “poultices“.
Poultices have a very similar action to
c ompresses. In the old days, they were a
favorite household remedy, often involving
the use of bread, onions, or mustard as a
carrying mixture for herbal infusions or oil.
Like compresses, hot poultices can be used for
relieving swellings, sprains, or even to draw
pus or splinter s. Cold poultices with comfrey
a re often applied to reduc e varicose ulcers.
I must admit that I have found poultices
to be both smelly and uncomfortable in the
past, until I recently discovered, in an old
book, a recipe I rea lly like, and I would like
to share it with you today.
The “potato compress” is a very simple
folk remedy, which ha s been used in Japan
to treat inflammation for many decades. T he
pot ato compress can absorb heat more quickly
than an antibiotic to reduc e inflammation
very quickly. The book mentions that it can
be used to treat a wide range of conditions
including rheumatoid arthritis, as well as
respiratory conditions such a s pneumonia ,
bronchitis, cough and emphysema. It can
a lso be u sed to reduce toothaches and
head aches. Apparently, a lmost all types of
cough can be treated by using the compress
for two consecutive days. For head ache s
due to sinusitis, both inflammation and the
headache itself can be treated by applying a
pot ato compress to the forehead .
Here’s the recipe!
Ingredients : one potato, a piece of ginger,
a grater, a couple of cotton cloths or tea
Step 1. Grate an unpeeled potato, a nd
wring the contents with a piece of cloth
to remove the potato juice. Add an equal
a mount of flour to the potato. Mix together
a nd k nead thoroughly.
Step 2. Grate an amount of ginger
equivalent to one tenth of the previous two
ingredients. Mix all the ingredients together
and knead well to make a paste with the
consistency of softness of an earlobe.
Step 3. Apply baby oil to the affected
a rea . Spread the ingredients onto the skin
to make a paste roughly the thickness of
a pencil. Cover with a piece of cloth, a nd
secure with an elastic bandage.
Leave the compress for five to six hours.
It should be applied only once daily, either
during the day, or during the night while
you sle ep, which is the option I prefer. I
persona lly recommend applying baby oil
to the skin first to avoid itchiness, and stop
the compress sticking to the body. But if
your skin becomes irritated, I advise you to
remove the compress and massage the area.
To avoid staining clothing or bed sheets , one
can also cover the compress with a piece of
plastic after application.
If you suffer from any inflammatory
c ondition, I strongly recommend that to you
try it. Being very che ap to prepare, you have
very little to lose, and I think you will be
pleasantly surprised with the re sults.
In my case, a cycling knee injury was
c ompletely resolved after applying my
“potato medicine” for three con secutive
nights, leaving me ready to face, once again,
the challenging environment of Sydney
traffic with a smile.
Olivier Lejus MHSc.BHSc. is a registered
acupuncturist practicing in Sydney.
‘Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
belongs to the category of
autoimmune diseases, which
are caused by the inflammation
and destruction of tissues by
the body’s own antibodies.’
‘The “potato compress” is a
very simple folk remedy which
has been used in Japan to
treat inflammation for many
This month I would like write about
Rheumatoid Arthritis (R A), a n
autoimmune disease affe cting
nea rly half a million Australians.
I will describe a very cheap and simple
ancient form of treatment, which, after all
these years, can still be remarkably efficient
at resolving pain and reducing inflammation
in the joints of the sufferers.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (R A) is a chronic
infla mmatory condition which affects the
synovial lining of the joints of the body,
especially the fingers, feet, wrists, ankles or
elbows. In some cases, it gradually spreads
to the hips, knees, shoulders and neck. The
affected joints become very painful and
Olivier LeJus discovers the healing power of an ancient home
remedy for inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis.
for Rheumatoid Arthritis
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