There are different types of arthritis, but they can all cause discomfort. Some natural remedies can help you manage mild symptoms, especially if you use them in combination with other treatment options. Some herbs may have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA).
However, many of them lack scientific evidence to support the use of these options, and some may have negative effects. Before choosing a “natural” treatment for arthritis, be sure to talk to your doctor first, as some options may interact with existing medications.
1- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used herbs in alternative medicine. It is available in many forms, such as tablets, powders, gels and sheets. Known for its healing properties, it is known to treat minor skin disorders such as sunburn, but it can also help with joint pain.
Possible benefits include the following:
- It has anti-inflammatory properties.
- It does not have the negative gastrointestinal effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are commonly used to treat arthritis pain.
Tropical Conditions: You can use a gel on the skin.
Oral Medicine: Some researchers have suggested that taking aloe by mouth may help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis.
Further studies are needed to confirm that these treatments are beneficial. A reliable source from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) notes that aloe vera is potentially safe to use, but some people have side effects when taken orally.
It can lower glucose levels and interact with certain diabetes medications.
Traditional and alternative medicine practitioners use Boswellia serrata for its anti-inflammatory properties, also called frankincense. It is derived from the chewing gum of Boswellia trees, which are native to India. According to a 2011 review of a trusted source, boswellic acid has anti-inflammatory effects that can help people with RA, OA, and gout.
The results of human trials suggest that frankincense capsules may help improve pain, function and stiffness caused by OA. However, these were small studies. In Boswellia, up to 1 gram of food a day seems safe, but too much food affects the liver. It is available in the form of tablets and topical creams.
3- Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw is another anti-inflammatory herb that can reduce swelling in arthritis. It comes from the bark and root of a tropical vine that grows in South and Central America. People traditionally use it as an inflammation and to boost the immune system.
The Arthritis Foundation notes that, like many traditional rheumatoid arthritis medications, cat’s cage suppresses tumor necrosis factor (TNF). He cited a small 2002 study that found cat’s claws to be effective in reducing joint inflammation by more than 50% in 40 people with RA.
However, possible side effects include:
- Nausea and dizziness
- Low blood pressure
You should not use this herb if:
- Use diluted blood
- Taking medications that suppress the immune system
According to the NCCIH, some small studies have looked at cat litter for rheumatoid arthritis, but more research is needed.
Eucalyptus is a readily available treatment that people use in a variety of situations. Eclipse leaf extract is used to treat arthritis pain. The leaves of the plant contain tannins, which help reduce the swelling and pain associated with arthritis. Some people follow with heating pads to maximize the effect.
Eucalyptus aromatherapy can help relieve the symptoms of RA. Always dilute it with carrier oil before using essential oils. Use 15 tablespoons of oil with 2 tablespoons of almond or any other neutral oil. Conditions Be sure to get an allergy test before using eucalyptus, known as a patch test.
Put a small amount of product on your arm. If no reaction occurs within 24 to 48 hours, it should be safe to use.
Many people use ginger for cooking, but it can also have medicinal benefits. According to studies, the same compounds that give ginger its strong taste also have anti-inflammatory properties. Some researchers say that ginger may one day replace non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Ginger has long been used in traditional medicine to treat nausea, but it also causes rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint and muscle pain. The authors of the 2016 review article believe that, in the future, the ingredients in ginger could form the basis of pharmaceutical treatments for arthritis. It can not only help control the symptoms but also prevent bone loss.
Here are some ways to use ginger:
- Make tea by soaking tea bags or fresh ginger in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked ginger to the baked goods.
- Add ground ginger or fresh ginger root to grinding dishes.
- Add fresh ginger to salads or sauces.
Consult a doctor before increasing your ginger intake, as it may interfere with some medications, such as warfarin (coumadine), which is thinner.
6- Green Tea
Green tea is a popular beverage. The antioxidants in it can help fight inflammation that occurs with RA or OA.
You can drink green tea as a:
- A Beverage
- Add powdered (matcha) or smoothies to food
Although scientists have found evidence that certain extracts or ingredients in green tea can have an effect on arthritis, it is not clear if the concentration of active ingredients in a cup of tea will help relieve symptoms.
At the same time, it is safe for most people. As a beverage, it is a healthier option than some coffee, sodas and other sweetened beverages, unless you add sugar.
Further research is needed to confirm that green tea can help reduce inflammation and to find out which form and diet will be most effective.
7- Thunder God Vine
The Vine of the Thunder God (Tripterygium wilfordii) is an herb. It has long been used in Chinese, Japanese and Korean medicine to control inflammation and excessive immune activity. It can be a suitable treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
You can use it:
- Orally, as a dietary supplement
- As the case may be, apply directly to the skin
However, it can have very serious side effects, such as:
- Stomach upset
- Respiratory infections
- Hair fall
- Itchy skin
- Menstrual changes
- Sperm changes that can reduce fertility in men
- After 5 years or more of use, bone density may decrease
Many drugs can interact with the bulls of Thunder God, especially those commonly used for RA and other autoimmune diseases. Extraction from the wrong part of the bull can be toxic. With that in mind, it’s also important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the manufacture or sale of natural remedies.
You can’t always be sure what’s in a product, and if the Thunder God’s Bell herb is misplaced, it can be fatal. The NCCIH says there is not enough evidence to prove that the sulfur god bull is safe or effective in treating arthritis. It is important to talk to your doctor about this herb. There are other treatment options available that work with less risk.
Turmeric is a yellow powder made from a flowering plant that adds flavor and color to sweet and savory dishes and tea. Its main ingredient, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory properties. It has long played a role in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It can help with OA, RA, and other arthritic conditions.
Turmeric is available:
- As a powdered spice to add to dishes
- In a tea bag
- As oral supplements
More studies are needed on the safety and efficacy of turmeric. The NCCIH notes that it is probably safe for most adults, although overeating or long-term use can cause gastrointestinal upset.
9- Willow Bark
Willow bark is an ancient remedy for pain and inflammation. You can use it as a tea or in pill form. Some research sources say that it can help relieve joint pain related to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, the results have been conflicting and need further study. Also, it may not be safe for everyone.
Common side effects include:
- Stomach pain
- High blood pressure
- Allergic reactions, especially if you are allergic to aspirin
- Stomach ulcers and bleeding in large quantities
You should consult your doctor before using willow bark, especially if you are using blood thinners or have stomach ulcers. Do not take if you are allergic to aspirin.
Other Complementary Options
Arthritis-related pain is not the only complementary approach to relieving rheumatic pain. Experts from the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation recommend the following:
- Weight control
- Exercise, including tai chi and yoga
- Cold and heat treatment
- Stress management
- A healthy diet