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Joint Tasks

Island Epicure

Now that most of the deciduous trees have cast down their leaves and we’re having  cooler weather, often with a brisk breeze that makes it feel even cooler, we’re also hearing complaints of aching joints. Of course, those are always with us, but now the cold and the dampness actually interfere with people’s ability to do what they need and want to do. What can we do to mollify those aching knees, arthritic fingers, and painful backs?

One woman wears a gold ring on each finger and thumb, swearing that gold is curative, that her rings make it possible to keep writing her stories, “even if it’s only gold-washed.”

Another person with gouty big toes eats cherries to quell that pain. Son Steve’s Chinese sister-in-law called from the East Coast to beg us to come to her home for Thanksgiving because the pain in her knee or knees made it impossible for her to attend her family’s  Thanksgiving reunion in New York. I told her about fresh ginger root: cut off a slice, sliver it and chew a sliver every few minutes (with back teeth because it’s too spicy for the front of her tongue.) Repeat as needed. Ginger is both a digestive aid and a mild pain reliever.  Avoid sugar in all forms; it’s an anti-nutrient that increases pain sensation.

 I sent Xaoliang an email listing more things she can use to move closer to being able to travel  by Thanksgiving. These are the natural remedies that have worked for me when ginger alone did not suffice. Some are available at Minglement. Others can be found at Even if you only add *collagen capsules to your pre-breakfast routine, you will feel good results.

Herb devil’s claw capsules
Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha
Cherries--canned, frozen, or dried; fresh in season
*Collagen to cushion joints: Chicken Sternum Collagen II from Swanson
Bone broth: from soup section in supermarket or save bones and make it yourself. Recipe below
Eleuthero Root capsules (a variety of ginseng)

For less sensing of pain:
      Calcium and magnesium work together. (Calcium alone causes constipation and tends to end up in your arteries. Magnesium alone and too much at a time causes diarrhea.
      Vitamin E mixed tocopherols 200 I.U. once or twice a day

BONE BROTH: Save all meat bones in a plastic bag in your freezer. When you have enough to fill a 6-cup saucepan with bones, cover with water, bring to a boil, add a bay leaf, 6 whole cloves, a splash of vinegar to leach minerals from the bones, a teaspoon or two of sea salt, ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper, a knob of ginger root, a carrot cut in 1-inch chunks, a coarsely chopped onion, celery ends, a little wakame or other sea vegetable,  and any other odds and ends of compatible vegetables. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer several hours, checking once in awhile to be sure the ingredients all remain under water. Taste for salt. Adjust to your taste. Remove bones and cooked vegetables. Use broth as consomme, or instead of plain water to add to canned condensed soup,  or  homemade soups.  Or just remove the bones, add 1/2-cup leftover cooked brown rice for body. Reheat and serve with a  green salad on the side for lunch or a light supper.