Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms
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Arthritis is a condition that wreaks havoc on the body in a multitude of ways. The condition can be broken down into different types, each carrying its own set of symptoms. The overarching signs associated with all forms of arthritis, however, include joint pain and stiffness. Fortunately, one leaf that is widely used in cooking can help reverse these.
There are several herbal remedies promoted for treating arthritis, including bay leaves – a fragrant herb widely used in cooking.
The anti-inflammatory effects of the herb are well documented.
Bay leaves have a number of curative and protective effects against ailments, but one of the most revered is pain relief.
Medical sources advocate topical use of bay leaves in the form of an oil to help soothe inflammation in a wound area.
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An entry in the medical journal of the National Centre for Biotechnology Information states: “Bay leaf has many biological activities such as wound healing activity, antioxidant activity, antibacterial activity [and] antiviral activity.”
The journal cites one study that bears out these claims, showing that “animals treated with bay leaf […] have a reasonably high rate of wound contraction, hydroxyproline content, and weight of granulation tissue.”
Wound contraction is generally defined as a healing response that functions to reduce the size of tissue defects, and subsequently helps lower the amount of tissue in need of repair.
Hydroxyproline, on the other hand, is a key component of collagen, while granulation tissue forms as inflammation evolves.
One Indonesian Study published in November 2020 looked more closely at the benefits of administering bay leaf as a decoction, alongside a warm compress.
The study looked at the benefits of the herb for gout arthritis on 52 subjects, using a decoction described as “bay leaf stew.”
The authors wrote: “People with gout arthritis pain should use non-pharmacological interventions such as warm compress therapy or take a bay leaf stew to reduce the scale of pain.”
Alongside its use for arthritis, the medicinal purpose of bay leaves is generally recognised in relation to conditions like malaria and jaundice.
In fact, the leaf’s antimalarial compounds are so potent it is considered a therapeutically effective drug to treat the disease.
Separate study advice chewing leaves two to three times a day to help reduce signs of jaundice – a symptom of multiple diseases.
Bay leaf extract has also been studied for its protective effects on cancer, with a study published earlier this year suggesting the leaf has curative effects on breast and colorectal cancer.
Studies suggest that bay leaves may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells, but further research on humans is needed to confirm these findings.
However, some medical journals including the Journal of Nutrition Research, have released research supporting the anticancer agents of bay leaves.
The potential anticancer properties of bay leaves could be attributed to their organic compounds that include catechins, linalool, and parthenolide.
These powerful antioxidants have been shown to save off the cancer-inducing effects of free radicals in the body.
What’s more, compounds such as linalool, can help reduce levels of anxiety and stress in the body.
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