10 Herbs that help fight joint pain
If you’re living with relentless joint pain, you’re probably ready to try anything to make it go away. But plying your body with medicines that don’t always work can be an unappealing prospect.
Fortunately, there are a range of herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with joint pain.
These herbs can be taken in many different forms: liquids, teas, roots, pills, pastes, or powders. They can be taken as a supplement or incorporated into a recipe—many herbs are tasty as well as medicinal!
However, be forewarned that as with anything you ingest, you should consult with a medical professional before including herbs for arthritis and joint pain into your diet.
These herbs can carry side effects, especially when taken in tandem with each other or with other prescribed drugs.
With that said, let’s look at ten of the most common herbs for arthritis and joint pain.
1. Cat’s claw
Cat’s claw, or uncaria tomentosa, is a herb found in the Peruvian rainforest. Its name comes from its appearance: a curved thorny vine that resembles a cat’s claw. The herb is typically taken as a supplement, and is said to have anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2002 study published by the Journal of Rheumatology found that cat’s claw reduced joint swelling and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis by more than 50% when compared to the placebo.
Ginger root isn’t just a tasty addition to stir-fries and curries, it also has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s reported to have similar effects to ibuprofen, an over-the-counter drug commonly used to reduce swelling.
How does it work? Ginger suppresses inflammatory molecules and turns off specific inflammatory genes. As an added bonus, ginger can even help with nausea—a 2005 study showed that it can kill stomach ulcer-causing bacteria.
It’s no surprise that ginger and turmeric frequently appear together in recipes; turmeric is related to the ginger family. The critical element of turmeric is curcumin, which has the ability to block inflammatory elements.
In fact, a 2010 study revealed that a turmeric supplement was able to provide long-term improvement in 100% of patients with knee osteoarthritis.
4. Devil’s claw
Sometimes called ‘Wood Spider’ or ‘Grapple Plant,’ this herb is traditionally used in South Africa. It is said to reduce pain and inflammation, and may even help with uric acid levels for those with gout.
In a 2002 study of people with low back pain or osteoarthritis, 50% to 70% of those treated with devil’s claw extract saw improvement after eight weeks.
5. Stinging nettle
Don’t be afraid of the thorny name, because stinging nettle is one of the herbs for arthritis and joint pain. It can be taken as a tea, leaf, tablet, or tincture, and claims to reduce aches and pains.
Studies from Germany and Turkey found that stinging nettle packs a powerful punch, with anti-ulcer, antioxidant, analgesic, and antimicrobial powers.
If your joint pain is keeping you up at night, you might want to consider valerian. It’s often used as a sleep aid, as it has mild sedative properties. Valerian allegedly eases pain, which allows those suffering from arthritis and joint pain to sleep easier.
7. Thunder god vine
You’d be forgiven for associating this herb with the Greek and Roman gods, but it’s actually a root found in Asia. Thunder god vine is used to treat joint pain and the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. It’s common in Chinese medicine and appears to suppress the immune system.
However, there are serious side effects associated with this herb. Its leaves and flowers are extremely toxic and should never be ingested. Do not attempt to use this herb without first consulting a doctor.
Rosehip – commonly seen in tea form – is a herb with anti-inflammatory properties. It is sometimes given as a powder, and studies suggest that it can be highly effective in relieving joint pain.
Clinical trials from 2012 found that patients treated with rosehip powder over a three month period reported reduced pain scores. They were also twice as likely to respond to rosehip than the placebo.
9. Aloe vera
This magical plant, perhaps best known for its ability to soothe sunburns, could also have the ability to ease joint pain. Studies suggest that when taken orally, aloe vera could help with pain, though large-scale research is still lacking.
Flax is a staple of the vegan diet, as it can be mixed with water to replace eggs as a binding force in baking. But it’s healthy properties go deeper: it’s packed with omega-3, omega-6, and lignans, which are comparable to fibre.
Flaxseed is said to lubricate joints, which can make them more flexible and reduce pain.
Ready to try some natural remedies? Ask your doctor about these ten herbs for arthritis and joint pain.