The word rheumatism is derived from the Greek word ‘rheuma’, which means a swelling. It refers to an acute or chronic illness which is characterised by pain and swelling of the muscles, ligaments and tendons, or the joints.
Causes and Symptoms
The onset of the acute variety of rheumatism is characterised by fever, intense soreness, and pain. In the acute muscular type, the area becomes so sensitive that even the weight of bed clothing aggravates the pain. It may settle into a chronic state under a wrong mode of treatment. If the disease is not treated properly in the acute stage, it may become chronic. The symptoms of chronic muscular rheumatism are pain and stiffness of the affected muscles. In the case of chronic articular rheumatism (pain in the joints), pain and stiffness are felt in one or more joints of the body, with swelling in most cases.
The chief cause of rheumatism is the presence of toxic waste Products in the blood. The liberal consumption of meat, white bread, sugar, and refined cereals leaves a large residue of toxic Pastes in the system. When the vitality is low, the toxic wastes are concentrated around the joints and bony structure, where they form the basis of rheumatism. In certain cases, infection from the teeth, tonsils, and gall-bladder may produce rheumatism. The disease is aggravated by exposure to cold water.
Potato Juice: The juice of raw potato is regarded as an excellent remedy for rheumatism. One or two teaspoons of the juice, taken out by pressing mashed raw potatoes, should be taken before meals. This will help to eliminate the toxic condition and relieve rheumatism. The skin of the potato is also an excellent remedy for rheumatism. The skin is exceptionally rich in vital mineral salts, and the water in which the peelings are boiled is one of the best medicines for ailments caused by excess toxic matter in the system. Approximately thirty grams of the potato peelings should be thoroughly washed and boiled in half a litre of water till it is reduced to half. The decoction should then be strained and a glass of the same should be taken three or four times daily.
Bitter Gourd: Bitter gourd is considered beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism. A cup of juice, extracted from the vegetable, should be mixed with a teaspoon of honey, and taken daily for treating this condition. This treatment should be continued for at least three months to provide relief.
Celery: Celery is another effective remedy for rheumatism. A fluid extract of the seeds is more powerful than the raw vegetable. This also has a tonic action on the stomach and kidneys. Five to ten drops of this fluid should be taken in hot water before meals. Powdered seeds can be used as a condiment.
Lemon: Lemons are beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism. The patient should take the juice of two or three lemons each day. This will bring good results.
Walnuts: Walnuts are valuable in rheumatism. They should, however, be thoroughly masticated to achieve beneficial results. Half a dozen can be taken daily in the treatment of this condition.
Rhubarb: The herb rhubarb has been found valuable in rheumatism. The green stalks of this herb should be pounded with an equal quantity of sugar. A teaspoonful should be taken three or four times a day. This remedy seldom fails.
In the case of acute rheumatism, the patient should be put on a short fast of orange juice and water for three or four days. At the juice fast, the patient should be placed on a restricted diet for fourteen days. In this regimen, orange or grapefruit may be taken for breakfast; lunch may consist of raw salad of seasonal vegetables with raisins, prunes, figs, or dates; and dinner may comprise of one or two steamed vegetables. Thereafter, the patient may gradually adopt a well-balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits. In case of chronic rheumatism, the patient may be placed on an all-fruit diet for four or five days. He may, thereafter, gradually adopt a well-balanced diet. The patient should take ripe fruits, fresh vegetables, and buttermilk in abundance. He should avoid all meat and fish; white bread, sugar, and refined cereals; rich, indigestible and highly-seasoned foods; tea and coffee; alcohol; sauces, pickles, and condiments.
In the case of acute rheumatism, the bowels should be cleansed daily with a warm-water enema during the first three or four days of the juice fast Other helpful methods in the treatment of rheumatism are application of heat and hot packs to the affected parts, a hot tub bath, a cabinet steam bath, dry friction, and a sponge bath. Hot Epsom salts baths are also beneficial and should be taken twice a week for three months in case of chronic rheumatism and once weekly thereafter. The affected parts should also be bathed twice daily in hot water containing Epsom salts, after which some olive oil should be applied. Freshiair, deep breathing, and light outdoor exercises are also beneficial. Dampness and cold should be avoided.