Herbs & Arthritis

Individuals have been using many different kinds of herbs to treat arthritis for thousands of years. Several of these herbs include turmeric, ginger, ashwagandha, frankincense, feverfew and stinging nettle. Even though some herbs are combined to produce a stronger impact on joint pain, each one has its own medical application and medical history.


Turmeric has been medically tested and proven to be extremely effective in reducing inflammation. Traditionally, turmeric (Curcumin longa) has been prized for its color and taste in many Indian dishes. Clinical research has shown that turmeric prevents production of prostaglandin in the body. Turmeric also increases the amount of the body’s natural cortisol which reduces inflammation.

Turmeric appears to act like an ingredient in cayenne pepper called capsaicin, by reducing the amount of the neurotransmitter substance P in nerve endings. When cayenne pepper was ingested internally with turmeric in animal research studies, it significantly decreased joint inflammation. Often, capsaicin is added to lotions that are absorbed by the skin to sooth painful joints.


Most individuals trust that ginger is perfectly safe to ingest because it has been studied more than most other herbs. The studies have indicated that ginger inhibits the creation of leukotrienes and prostaglandins. These chemicals can cause much of the inflammation and pain of arthritis.

In 1992, a Danish clinic performed an uncontrolled study with 56 patients that had either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Each patient received powdered ginger. Everyone of the patients that suffered from musculoskeletal pain and 75 percent of the individuals that had osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis received partial to total pain relief. There were not any side effects reported including from the individuals that took ginger for over 2 years.


The herb ashwagandha (Withania somniferum) comes from Asia and is a member of the potato, tomato and eggplant family. Ashwagandha’s roots have been used for several centuries to reduce high blood pressure, erection difficulty, immune deficiency, inflammation and joint pain. Ashwagandha grows prolifically in India and is commonly known as “Indian ginseng”.


This herb is also called Boswellia serrata. Frankincense is an aromatic gum that is created when the bark of a Boswellia tree is peeled off. During medical testing on animals and in test tubes, frankincense inhibited the body’s normal production of leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are the primary cause for inflammation.


The plant feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is an aromatic perennial herb that grows throughout Europe. It has been used to fight against arthritis for hundreds of years. Some clinical studies in England have shown that feverfew can reduce inflammation more than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle has been officially approved as a treatment for rheumatism in Germany. Doctors often refer to this herb as Urtica dioica. It has been particularly effective in relieving the early symptoms of arthritis. The juice made from stinging nettle has an anti-inflammatory element that is similar to several steroid medications.

Here are a couple of other herbs that have been recommended by herbalists to treat arthritis.


The herb Alfalfa (Medicago saliva) is a flowering plant and is a member of the pea family. Alfalfa has been used as a medicine for arthritis, poor digestion and water retention for over 1,500 years. Alfalfa is considered to be most effective when taken as a tea. Alfalfa tea is loaded with nutritious minerals.


Licorice acts like the drug cortisone except that it does not have the harmful side effects. The licorice plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) helps to relieve join pain because it contains a substantial amount of anti-inflammatory properties. However, you should avoid long-term use because licorice can raise your blood pressure.

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