According to the American Orthopedic Foundation, almost half of the people in their sixties and seventies have arthritis of the feet and ankles. That’s a staggering number of seniors who suffer from inflammation of the joints! Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis is the most common form of the disease.
While there is no cure, pain can be managed with OTC drugs, warm foot baths, poultices and herbal treatments. In addition to treatment from a health care professional, you may want to seek out a holistic foot specialist who may recommend herbal therapies and other treatments. (This article is not intended to replace your physician’s advice.)
Below are some time-honored remedies for foot pain, gout and arthritis. And yes, I do have arthritis and use a variety of herbal recipes.
Soothing Herbal Poultice
This soothing herbal recipe helps relieve the pain and inflammation of swollen joints. It increases circulation and helps ease morning stiffness in the joints.
2 tablespoons dried peppermint
2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
2 tablespoons dried sage
5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Add just enough hot water to form a thick paste. Stir until well blended. Spread the paste on a piece of flannel (a section of an old flannel shirt will do) and place the flannel over the swollen area. Cover with plastic wrap and a small towel. Elevate your foot and relax for about 15 minutes. If the poultice cools off, use a hair dryer on low and gently sweep it back and forth across the towel. The warm air from the hair dryer will help activate the healing properties of the herbs.
Remove the poultice and the towel, and rinse your foot or feet, dry well and put on some warm socks. This treatment also works well for tired and achy feet.
Foot Soak Recipe for Gout
There are many suggestions for the treatment of gout — some work and some don’t. While you should always follow your doctor’s recommendations for medications, at times they may have only limited success. I have a friend who suffers from gout, and sometimes it involves more than just a swollen and inflamed big toe. Often, her entire foot is affected as well. She finds relief in herbal foot soaks and elevating her foot as much as possible. I make this preparation for her and she says it helps her when the gout flares up. Here is the recipe:
In a large bowl, add the following: 1/2 cup each of dried peppermint, lavender buds, crushed Eucalyptus leaves, thyme and sage. To this herb mixture add 2 cups of Epsom salts. Mix well, and pack 3 tablespoons each into small muslin bags, tying them up to hold in the herbs and salts. If you don’t have cloth bags, you can always use coffee filters tied up with yarn or twine. Fill a foot tub with very hot water, lower the bag or coffee filter into the water, swishing it around. Place your foot in the water and soak until the water is cool. Towel dry and elevate your foot.
While you’re relaxing, sip on 12 ounces of lemon water. In over 50% of gout flare-ups, lack of water is often to blame, so keep yourself well hydrated at all times (but leave the sodas alone!)
Soothing Calendula Oil Treatment for Dry and Cracked Skin
You’ll need a small jar with a lid, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried calendula petals and either almond oil or extra virgin olive oil. Place the petals in the jar and slowly pour the oil over the petals just enough to cover them. Cap the jar and place in a warm area for 7 days. You can strain out the calendula petals, but I leave them in for extra healing power. You can use a swab to apply the oil, or your fingertip if you prefer. Gently rub the oil into dry skin, especially heels and the bottoms of your toes. You won’t need much, just a few drops. You can use this on dry toemails as well.
After you’ve rubbed it in, put on socks and let the calendula-infused oil work on healing the dry skin. You’ll be amazed at how well your skin feels after 30 days of nightly use. Our Mother the Earth is also a nurse — the best!
Here’s to healthy feet…
Blessed be, sweet ones
~ Meadow Walker
Photo above is from the movie Footloose (1984) starring Kevin Bacon.
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