Arthritis is a condition in which there are pain and swelling in the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints and is of various types. The most common types of arthritis seen occurring in people are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
There are certain herbs and natural remedies that can help relieve pain and inflammation along with medical treatments, regular exercise, and proper nutrition.
8 Herbs That Can Help Fight Arthritis
Aloe vera is the most commonly used herbs and is known for the wide variety of health benefits. It is available in many forms such as powder, gels, pills, and leaf. Along with being successful in treating small abrasions such as sunburn or rashes, it can also bring relief in joint pain.
The benefits of aloe vera include:(1)
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- There is no negative effect like gastrointestinal effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, that are used in arthritis pain
Taking aloe vera by mouth helps in relieving osteoarthritis pain.(2) Aloe vera gel can also be topically applied directly to the skin.
Boswellia is used in alternative and traditional medicines for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is derived from the resin of the bark of the Boswellia tree. The aromatic odor makes it a popular ingredient in perfumes, essential oils and incense sticks. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can be effective in those with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and osteoarthritis.(4)
Cat’s claw or Uncaria tomentosa, is an anti-inflammatory herb that helps in reducing swelling in arthritis patients. It is a vine plant that is native to South and Central America. It is also used to boost the immune system.
A clinical trial was done to look for the anti-inflammatory effect of the cat’s claw on rheumatoid arthritis. It was found that there was a 53.2% reduction in joint pain in the participants who took the cat’s claw or Uncaria tomentosa for 24 weeks.(5)
There are a few side effects related to the usage of cat’s claw:
If using blood thinners or medication to suppress the immune system, this herb should not be taken.
Eucalyptus is an easily available remedy used for a variety of health benefits. The flavonoids and tannins present in eucalyptus leaves have antioxidant properties that reduce pain and inflammation. In a study, it was found that the eucalyptus leaf extract significantly reduced inflammatory enzymes i.e. interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor.(8)
Its essential oil should always be diluted with a carrier oil before use. Do a patch test before using it, check for any allergy.
The compound present in ginger that gives it a strong flavor also has anti-inflammatory properties.(9) It has been used in traditional medicine for long, to treat nausea, but can also treat arthritis, osteoarthritis, and pain in joints and muscles.
Ginger can not only manage symptoms but also prevent bone destruction. Ginger can be consumed in tea, in baked goods, to savor dishes, in a salad or stir fry.
More research is needed to confirm its anti-inflammatory action but as a beverage, it is a healthier option than coffee, soda, and other sweetened drinks.
Borage oil is derived from borage officianalis plant, seeds of which are rich in omega-6 fatty acids called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It also contains linolenic acid.
When metabolized in the body, omega-6 fatty acid gets converted into a precursor of prostaglandin that helps in regulating immune responses.
There is evidence that oils containing GLA, such as blackcurrant seed oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, help relieve pain and improve functions in people with rheumatoid arthritis.(12)
Its high concentration can be toxic.
Turmeric is a yellow, medicinal herb that has its origin in India. It contains a compound called curcumin that had a variety of health benefits.
It can reduce inflammation that occurs in the joint due to rheumatoid arthritis.(13)
Curcumin cannot be absorbed by the body in large quantities, and that limits its therapeutic application.
These herbs can also be used along with other medications of arthritis to maximize the benefits. But, a doctor should be consulted when starting any of these so that he it can advice on the positive and negative effects of any of the herb on the body.
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- What is Arthritis (Joint Inflammation)?
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