Arthritis is an extremely common condition that afflicts mostly the elderly; it is a degenerative condition of the body's joints, causing pain and reducing mobility. In severe cases, arthritis can be debilitating, preventing one from functioning normally; even simple tasks such as using a computer can become almost impossible. Still, millions of sufferers learn to cope with arthritis, managing pain and finding workarounds for tasks that are difficult or impossible.

There are a few different varieties of arthritis; osteoarthritis is most common. Typically, one's joints will swell, and this inflammation will cause immediate discomfort and, over the long term, tissue damage. In a more severe form of the condition known as rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system will begin attacking the inflamed tissue. There is no permanent cure for arthritis; treatment attempts to manage the condition, reducing pain, preserving mobility, and preventing further deterioration.

The primary symptoms of arthritis are pain and stiffness in the joints; the primary cause is a breakdown and deterioration of cartilage around the joints, causing greater friction between bones and consequent inflammation. There may also be hereditary factors.

Over generations, a number of folk remedies have been used to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. One of the most successful has been drinking raw potato juice. Traditionally, one should slice a medium-sized potato, unpeeled, into thin slices, and let the slices soak overnight in a large glass of cold water. Drink the water first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Or, liquefy the potato and mix with 1 cup of cold water. If you find the flavor unpalatable, you can also mix in vegetable juices. But however you consume the potato juice, do not remove the peel, which is the most nutritious part of the potato.

The juice from raw vegetable greens can have curative properties as well. Mix the juice from any green leafy vegetable with an equal part of juice from carrots, red beets, or celery. The alkalinity of these raw juices helps dissolve the accumulation of deposits around your inflated joints. Pineapple juice, too, can be beneficial; pineapple includes the enzyme bromelain, which reduces inflammation.

Some people find sesame seeds effective. Soak a teaspoon of black sesame seeds in a quarter-cup of water overnight; drink the water with the seeds the next morning. If you keep the water in a copper container, trace amounts of copper will also see into the water overnight. Some people believe that copper strengnthens the muscle system. However, researchers have found that the practice of wearing a copper bracelet to alleviate arthritis in fact has no beneficial effects.

Calcium has long been known for its importance in strengthening bones and staving off osteoporosis in old age. Calcium deficiency can also lead to osteoarthritis. Ironically, much of the inflammation around joints that occurs during arthritis is calcium deposit, but the buildups occur because of insufficient dietary calcium, leading to hormonal imbalance and the body's improper utilization of calcium. If you're younger than fifty, you should take about 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day; those over fifty should consume 1,200 milligrams daily. Good sources of dietary calcium include green leafy vegetables, low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, black-eyed peas, wheat flour, and raisins.

There are many other common foods that can help alleviate arthritis. Garlic, raw or cooked, has anti-inflammatory properties. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6. The citric acid from limes is a solvent of uric acid, the primary cause of some kinds of arthritis; drink the juice of one lime diluted with water every morning.

As for external treatments, mix warm coconut oil or mustard oil with a few pieces of camphor, and rub the oil into stiff, aching joints. This gentle massage treatment will increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation around your joints. In general, keep your body warm, and do not tightly wrap any affected joints. Tight wrapping or bandaging, or tight clothing around joints, will only limit movement and interfere with the free circulation of blood. Yoga can help improve your flexibility, but be sure to work with a yoga instructor who has experience with arthritis sufferers.

One of the most enjoyable ways to treat arthritis is to bathe in the sea. The natural iodine in seawater can treat arthritis pain; iodine helps regulate the acid / alkaline balance in your blood and body tissues, which in turn helps regenerate deteriorated tissues and nourish the bone structure. If you're not near the sea, then relax in a hot tub of water every night for thirty minutes, mixing a cup of common salt with your bath water. The iodine and other minerals in the salt will be absorbed through your skin's pores.

None of these treatments will cure arthritis, and if your case is severe, you should see a doctor for advice. But any of these home remedies may help alleviate your discomfort and stave off further tissue deterioration.