Managing Arthritis Pain…Naturally? I’m giving it a try!

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my father’s mortar and pestle

I have never liked taking medication.  We didn’t grow up that way.  My father was a very wise man, a pharmacist.  And just as you’ve heard that the shoemaker’s children have no shoes, so it was with us.  The pharmacist’s children had no meds.  We’d try.  We’d call dad up at the pharmacy and let him know we weren’t feeling well.  Be it cramps, a cough, congestion, an ear ache.  Instead he’d come home and take us down to the herb shop in Chinatown.  We were lucky to live on the edge of downtown Los Angeles, so Chinatown was about 20 minutes away.  Once there, my dad would ask for a few ounces of this root, or that flower or leaf and off we go back home.  Once there he would do one of three things:

  1. He would boil the herbs/flowers and have us breathe and steam
  2. After boiling, he would have us drink the “tea”
  3. He would put the plants in his mortar and pestle, grind them up with an ointment or oil and apply it to our bodies topically.

I always was in awe of how he knew which plant was good for what.  But he knew.  Sadly, my father died young.  And though I don’t possess the knowledge that he had, I do share his desire to learn.

Two years ago, I was introduced to essential oils to support my health and wellness.  When I learned that DoTerra’s essential oils can be used aromatically, topically, and even internally, I felt that I had been giving this “gift” from my father.   I plunged into building a business with these beautiful gifts from the earth and I have to say it’s been so rewarding because I get to help people and empower them with knowledge on how to help themselves.

Okay, so as I was saying, I don’t like taking medication.  But my arthritis in my knees has gotten so bad.   My doctor says knee replacement is somewhere in the future.  And along with the xrays and the diagnosis came a prescription for NSAIDs one every 12 hours.  And for several months I didn’t take them regularly…just here and there “as needed” until the need was pretty great.  So I started taking them as prescribed.  And guess what?  They really work well!   The pain was manageable with the meds.  All was good.  Until…

Last week I had my annual endoscopy.  I knew something was up because my stomach has not been feeling well.  The endoscopy revealed multiple stomach ulcers, biopsies were taken, and I was advised to immediately discontinue use of my medication.  Just three days after, once my system had gotten rid of the meds, my knees were complaining…seriously.  And not good timing, I might add, because I just started training to walk the 39.3 mile Avon walk for breast cancer (my 12th year).

So now what?  How am I going to manage this pain without meds?  Well, I’m going the natural route.  And I wanted to post this today because I want to log the journey because I know there are others that are suffering with this pain as well.  I’m planning on reporting back in on this post and updating it with my progress (or lack thereof).

There are four things I’m going to try to help me manage my arthritis pain:

  1.  High dose curcumin (turmeric) supplements as anti-inflammatory.  Thankfully, my GI doctor is open to natural solutions.  He took me off the Naprosyn and told me to start taking 3000 – 5000 mg of curcumin daily.  I found a good quality Curcumin supplement.  Two pills are 1800 mgs.  I’m taking a dose in the morning and evening.  3600 mg to start.
  2. He also told me to take Frankincense, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.  I already take DoTerra’s Lifelong Vitality supplements daily along with their DDR Prime soft gels.  Both have frankincense as well as other essential oils/vitamins/minerals which my doc is happy with.
  3. Use essential oils topically to help me manage pain and inflammation.  I am using a carrier oil and then layering Marjoram (antiflammatory and good for circulation); White Fir (cartilage inflammation, muscle soreness and fatigue); and Peppermint to bring heat and blood flow to the area.  white fir marjoram peppermint
  4. Lose weight.  This last one is the most difficult of all and something that I have been working on for a long time.

I have started with all four at this time.  I took a 3 mile training walk on Saturday morning and I have to say that yesterday my knees were very painful and sore.  Today, I am much better, and I’m not sure if it’s just time, or the curcumin/frankincese and oils….but I’m hoping that tomorrow will be even better.

I am following Susan Peirce Thompson’s Bright Line Eating plan because it’s structured and unlike most diets, there are plant-based vegan options.  I am committing my food the night before, staying on plan…and acknowledging that I am human and not perfect….so I’m not going  to give up if the unexpected comes up.

So there you have it.   I wanted to put it out there so I can commit to myself and to you as well.  I’m hoping to check in weekly and report my progress.  Wish me luck!


P.S.  If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and how to use them to support your health and wellness, please email me at