We all love to wear it and are attracted to its glimmering beauty in jewelry, accessories, coins, bullion and investments. But gold is also quietly helping the healing arts.

It has been so since ancient times. In China, doctors placed gold flakes in the beverages of the wealthy class. In India, Ayurvedic medicine used gold for its anti- inflammatory properties, along with other minerals and herbs.

About 100 years ago, Western medicine joined the gold rush. Rheumatologists started injecting gold into people with rapidly progressing rheumatoid arthritis. This disease is painful and causes joint deformities. Conventional treatment often proves unsuccessful.

Unfortunately, the many side effects include kidney failure, blood problems, severe nausea and vomiting due to the toxicity of the high doses necessary to eliminate, or at least diminish, the symptoms.

In spite of the downside of gold injections, it is still used as a last ditch effort for people with severe cases of autoimmune arthritis that cannot be helped with the more conventional chemotherapeutic agents available.

Interesting studies from the U.S., U.K. and Denmark in the early 2000s seemed to point to benefits outweighing risks in patients being treated with gold injections for rheumatoid arthritis, particularly the aggressive form of the disease that leaves more than 500,000 sufferers unable to care for themselves.

In these cases, the toxicity of gold is not as worrisome as the pain, cumbersome deformity of the joints and loss of mobility and freedom.

Another use for gold in medicine is in the treatment of prostate cancer. To focus the necessary radiation dose, little gold seeds are often implanted in the diseased gland and serve as markers for the radiation beam, leading to fewer side effects.

Anti-cancer drugs have also been tagged with gold molecules in experiments to locate tumors and prevent the toxicity of general chemotherapy, which is known to destroy healthy as well as cancer cells.

Finally, researchers at MIT are exploring similar golden approaches to the treatment of AIDs.

For those of us, however, who like our gold on the body rather than in it – who are fortunate enough to be at the prevention stage of the life cycle – this should give us pause and inspire us to recommit to the principles of a healthy lifestyle:

• Detoxification counteracts inflammation in the body and may very well decrease the amount of joint destruction caused by rheumatoid arthritis. So change your diet to include fewer processed foods, sugar substitutes and toxins. Drink lots of fresh water.
• Take supplements rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients like omega 3 and 6 oils, astaxanthin, vitamin C, coenzyme Q 10, L-carnitine and vitamin D.

• Lead a less stressful life by practicing yoga and other stress reduction techniques like deep breathing and meditation.
• Get a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night.
• Exercise daily and keep active regardless of age.
• Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you honestly and care about your well-being.
• Care about others and give kindness in return.
• Smile a lot: It will help you feel better.
• Do not be a skeptic but rather embrace all options and ways of thinking.
• Prevent disease and enjoy life to its fullest.

After 35 years of practicing medicine, I can assure you that these principles are worth their weight in gold.

For more information, email Dr. Erika at

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