Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an overactive immune system and generally the protocol for treatment can be quite intense (such as chemotherapy and other therapies which suppress the immune system.) A lot of arthritis sufferers would rather take a more natural approach for dealing with inflammation and joint pain.
The use of herbal supplements and remedies are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative method to manage arthritis pain.
How Are Herbs Taken?
Not all botanicals are the same. They can come in a variety of forms. And keep in mind studies conducted almost always use standardized extracts in pill form, so using other forms could make it hard to know how much active ingredient you are really getting.
Infusions and Teas
Tea is one of several ways botanicals are sold and is probably the most popular and well known form. Tea requires just a few minutes of steeping, but some plant products need more time for their active ingredients to release.
Concoctions and Decoctions
A concoction is a mixture of herbal ingredients that can be prepared in a variety of ways, usually with heat.
Liquids, Extracts and Tinctures
Botanicals are sold in liquid forms, such as oils, extract-containing drinks, syrups and tinctures. When preparations are made with alcohol and water, they are called tinctures. Extracts can be made with many different liquids (solvents), and that liquid is often evaporated to make a dry extract.
Pills and Capsules
Dry extracts are put into capsules and tablets and consumed orally on a daily basis.
Fresh or Dried Herbs
Herbs can be grown at home or purchased fresh-cut at a market. Air-dried, freeze-dried or fresh, herbs can be used in cooking or for making tea. Below you are going to discover the best natural herbs for arthritis pain that also reduces inflammation around the joints.
Flax ( Linum usitatissimum): Flaxseed is one of the best vegan sources of Omega-3 (ALA), which is so important to a strong immune system and for fighting inflammation. Try to include two tablespoons of flaxseeds or flaxseed oil in your daily diet.
Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera is one of the most commonly used herbs in alternative medicine. Known for its healing properties, it’s popular for treating small skin abrasions. You may already have a bottle of aloe vera gel in the medicine cabinet from a past sunburn. This same type of product may be applied topically to soothe aching joints.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – Turmeric is an extremely effective anti-inflammatory herb, and thus an effective pain reliever. It contains at least two chemicals (curcumin and curcuminoids) which decrease inflammation (and are very much like the oft-prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs). Incidentally, this anti-inflammatory effect is also why turmeric is often recommended for treatment of cancer, cataracts and Alzheimer’s.
Boswellia – Boswellia, also called frankincense, is praised by alternative medicine practitioners for its anti-inflammatory capabilities. It’s derived from the gum of boswellia trees indigenous to India. This herb is thought to work by blocking substances (leukotrienes) that attack healthy joints in autoimmune diseases such as RA.
Omega-3 Raise your Omega-3 fatty acid consumption. Animal based Omega-3 are considered the most available. This includes fish or krill oils and eggs from free grazing pasture hens. Omega-3 is also available in meats from humanely treated grass fed cattle. Plant based omega-3 is found in freshly ground flax seeds, chia seed (unground), and hemp seeds.
Ginger – Gingerol is the compound in ginger that gives it flavor and some of its anti-inflammatory properties. Elements in ginger were found to reduce the action of T cells, immune cells that can add to systemic inflammation.
Green Tea – Green tea contains polyphenols which could aid in reducing inflammation and protecting joints. Studies suggests that polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants, may suppress the immune response. That could be important because rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the dysregulation of the immune system leads to inflammation in the joints, causing pain and swelling.
Eucalyptus – It’s used in oral medications, and topical oil extracts are used for a variety of conditions. Topical forms of eucalyptus leaves are used to treat arthritis pain. The plant leaves contain tannins, which may be helpful in reducing swelling and the pain arthritis causes. Some users follow up with heat pads to maximize the effects of eucalyptus on swollen joints.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon bark is used to make natural remedies such as medicinal powders and teas. Cinnamon may have some properties that fight inflammation. The phytochemicals in cinnamon help reduce inflammation. Cinnamon is a hot herb. It’s very useful for aches and pains, especially when they are worse with cold or cold weather.
Cat’s Claw – Cat’s claw is another anti-inflammatory herb that may reduce swelling in arthritis. This herb is from a tropical vine, and its usage dates back to Incan civilizations. Traditionally, cat’s claw is used to boost the immune system. In recent years, the immunity powers of the herb have been tried in arthritis. The downside is that cat’s claw may overstimulate the immune system and make arthritis pain worse.
Nettles (Urtica dioica) – Stinging nettle is an amazing herb for those with all types of arthritis and gout. Its anti-inflammatory power combined with its minerals (boron, calcium, magnesium and silicon) ease pain while helping to build strong bones.
Black Pepper – Peppers are widely used to fight pain and swelling in traditional natural remedies. For instance, capsaicin, the substance that gives hot peppers their heat, is used in gels and creams as an arthritis treatment.
Thunder God Vine – Thunder god vine is one of the oldest herbs used in Chinese medicine. Extracts from skinned roots are known for suppressing an overactive immune system. This makes thunder god vine a possible alternative treatment for autoimmune diseases such as RA.
Willow Bark – Using willow bark is one of the oldest treatments for inflammation. Willow bark has been shown to help reduce markers of inflammation. The herb shows promise in relieving OA-related joint pain, particularly in the knees, back, hips, and neck. This treatment is taken orally, either by tea or tablet.