Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. While many conventional treatments are available, some people prefer to explore natural remedies to manage their symptoms.
Several natural herbs for arthritis have been used for centuries. I’ll be exploring some of the most effective herbs for arthritis and how they can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
Ways you can take herbs for arthritis
Pills and Capsules
Pills and capsules are one of the most accessible supplements to consume. Getting the correct dose with them is more convenient, and you can tell the active ingredient.
You can make your tea by adding boiling water to the tea bag or dried herbs, stem, flower, leaves, etc., and allow it to seep for about 15 to 20 minutes before drinking it, or you can follow the instructions on the package. Getting the proper dosage is difficult with loose tea, so consult someone who deals in medicinal herbs.
Topical products (creams, gels)
Some herbal remedies can be applied directly to the skin as creams or gels, ointment, and oil to relieve that area.
You can purchase some herbal supplements in liquid form, which can be drunk directly. Ensure you are taking the proper dosage. You can consult a herbalist to help you with that.
Many herbs, like turmeric, ginger, cayenne, black pepper, etc., can be added to your food to incorporate into your diet. It can also be a great way to add flavor to your meals.
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Best natural herbs for arthritis
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It is widely known for its healing property, and you can apply it directly to soothe joint aches.
You can apply the aloe vera plant or gel extract topically because orally taking it can cause decreased blood sugar and gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea.
Boswellia is also known as Indian frankincense, made from the gum of the Boswellia tree. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well as an analgesic effect. It is effective in reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A study showed that Boswellia extracts provided short-term relief for knee, hip, and hand pain in osteoarthritis.
The supplement can be taken as a capsule or tablet. Ensure you consult your doctor before taking it because Boswellia may increase the side effects of other medications like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, ibuprofen, and immunosuppressants.
Also, the Arthritis Foundation showed some concern that Boswellia might stimulate the immune system, so you should use it cautiously if you have rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases.
3. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw is a herb from a tropical vine. It has some anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce swelling arthritis. It is used to boost the immune system. The immune power has been tested on arthritis in recent years, but the drawback is that the cat’s claw may overstimulate the immune system and worsen the pain. A study showed that it could improve swelling in rheumatoid arthritis, but no proof exists that it can avert further damage.
4. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw is a plant found in southern Africa and has been used to treat pain and other conditions for a long time. It has some significant anti-inflammatory effects. One study showed that people with rheumatic disorder experienced substantial improvements in pain, stiffness, and function, especially in the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and back when they took a daily tablet of devil’s claw for eight weeks.
Another study suggests that it may be as effective in helping with knee and hip pain as other osteoarthritis medication when used for sixteen weeks.
Consult your doctor before taking devil’s claw because it can affect your heart rate and interfere with blood thinning, cardiac, and diabetes medications. Don’t take it if you are pregnant or have an ulcer or gallstone.
Eucalyptus is an herb that has anti-inflammatory properties. It contains tannins, which can help reduce swelling, joint pain, and stiffness in arthritis.
Eucalyptus is believed to work by decreasing the activity of enzymes that cause inflammation and reducing the production of inflammatory cytokines. You can use it topically as an essential oil, added to a warm bath or inhaled.
Eucalyptus causes allergic reactions in some people, so do a patch test before using it. Put a small quantity on your hand and leave it for 24 to 48 hours. If there is no reaction, you can go ahead to use it.
Ginger is a popular spice that is used for cooking, and it is known for its medicinal benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate arthritis pain. You can use it for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint and muscle pain. A study showed that ginger might help improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by decreasing disease manifestation via the expression of some genes.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is a popular tea consumed in Asia for a long time. It has antioxidant properties and contains polyphenols rich in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation, protect joints, and cause changes in immune responses, reducing the severity of arthritis.
A study was done to compare the effect of drinking black tea and green tea on arthritis, and they found that green tea has a higher anti-inflammatory effect.
You can take your green tea hot or cold or treat yourself to a cup of matcha (ground green tea).
8. Thunder God Vine
Thunder god vine is one of the oldest herbs used in Chinese medicine. It is known for suppressing an overactive immune system, so it is used to reduce inflammation in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis when extracts are taken orally.
One study compared thunder god vine with other drugs used in treating rheumatoid arthritis, like sulfasalazine and methotrexate, and found it more effective. Also, a study suggests that using thunder god vine alongside standard treatment is more effective for symptoms like joint swelling and tenderness.
It is important to note that the thunder god vine can be poisonous if the wrong part is extracted. And it also has emetic properties, which could cause vomiting.
Turmeric is a yellow spice used to add flavor and color to food. It has also been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat some conditions. It contains curcumin, an active ingredient that decreases inflammation. Research has shown that it also has an analgesic effect, acting as a pain reliever. Studies also show that it is helpful in rheumatoid arthritis.
You can add it as a spice to your meals, boil it and take it as tea, but to experience the full medicinal benefit of turmeric, you need to take it as a supplement. Studies have shown that combining turmeric with black pepper will help increase the absorption of curcumin in the body.
Ensure you consult your doctor before taking turmeric because it contains blood thinning properties, and you should avoid large doses if you are on a blood thinning medication.
10. Willow Bark
One of the oldest treatments for inflammation is using willow bark. In the fifth century BC, people chewed on willow bark to help treat inflammatory conditions. Because of its significant anti-inflammatory properties, it shows promise in relieving osteoarthritis joint pain.
In a study, researchers noticed a significant reduction in pain within three weeks of using willow bark extract in a group of people with osteoarthritis and back pain.
It can be taken as a tea or tablet. But it is vital to get the correct dose because an overdose can cause rashes and other forms of inflammation. Speak with your doctor before using willow bark because it reacts with other medications like aspirin and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
11. Black Pepper
Black pepper is a spice widely used to add flavor to meals. Black pepper contains an active compound called piperine, and a study has shown that it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial properties, and gastro-protective effects. Piperine helps to increase the absorption of curcumin (turmeric) in the body, which helps to reduce inflammation.
Cayenne pepper and other chill pepper contain capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It can be applied as a topical cream, gel, or patch to relieve arthritis pain. Capsaicin works on specific nerve receptors to cause them to lose their ability to function correctly and process pain, thereby reducing arthritis.
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of capsaicin in reducing pain in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
You can also take it in capsule form or add cayenne and other chill pepper to your food. Consult with your doctor because it can interfere with other medications. Capsaicin can cause a burning sensation and irritation. Avoid applying it to your eyes and sensitive skin.
Borage Seed Oil
Borage seed oil, as the name implies, comes from the seed of the borage plant. It is rich in gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid. A study was conducted over a six-month period where people with rheumatoid arthritis took a daily supplement of borage seed oil. They noticed a significant improvement in joint tenderness, swelling, and pain.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat arthritis. It contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. Ashwagandha is believed to work by decreasing the activity of immune cells that contribute to joint damage. It can be taken as a supplement or brewed into tea.
Consult your doctor if you are taking diabetes or thyroid medicines, as the supplement could cause an adverse effect. Also, if you are pregnant, you should talk to your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
Cinnamon is a spice with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon is believed to work by reducing the production of inflammatory cytokines and blocking the activity of enzymes that cause joint damage.
Studies show that the proper dosage of cinnamon supplements taken over some time can lead to reduced disease activity, including tender and swollen joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Cinnamon can be taken as a supplement; you can take it as tea or add it to your meals.
Consult your doctor and speak with a herbalist to get the correct dosage. Large doses of cinnamon can interfere with blood thinning and blood-clotting medications, and overdose is unsafe for pregnant women.
Tips for taking natural herbs for arthritis
- Herbs cannot replace drugs.
You should use them alongside your medication.
- Always carry your doctor along.
Talk to your doctor when you want to start taking herbal supplements. It is important to do this because some supplements can interfere with your medications and cause adverse effects.
- Consult a herbalist if your herbs don’t come in pre-set doses.
Taking the correct dose of herbal supplements is vital if you want to see improvement. Overdosing on some of them may have adverse effects on your health.
- Take herbs in moderation.
Don’t overtake them, and follow the correct dosage.
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In conclusion, these natural herbs for arthritis can be a safe and effective way to manage the symptoms of arthritis. From turmeric to ginger, these herbs have been used for centuries to treat various ailments and are now widely available in multiple forms.
Natural herbs can be a valuable addition to conventional medication for managing arthritis symptoms. Many herbs with anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce joint pain and stiffness.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before adding herbal supplements to your treatment plan to ensure they don’t interfere with other medications or cause adverse effects.
By incorporating some of these natural herbs for arthritis into your daily routine, you can support your joint health and improve your overall quality of life.
However, it’s also important to remember that natural remedies may not work.
So, stay positive and keep exploring the many natural remedies for arthritis until you find the perfect one.
Here’s to a healthy and pain-free life!
How many of these natural herbs have you taken for arthritis?
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