Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) inflammation can incapacitate an otherwise healthy person. The pain and swelling of the joints is particularly bothersome, because it may come in the way of a person’s day to day chores.
But fortunately, there are plenty of herbs that have been used traditionally to get rid of the pain and stiffness. In some cases one can get cured, whereas in others it is possible only to reduce the pain and swelling.
Herbal Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Turmeric is useful for joint inflammation, Any inflammation can be looked after by turmeric. Cucurmin, the primary organic compound found in turmeric is a powerful antiseptic agent. It can switch off or regulate the inflammation producing molecules.
According to National Center for Complementary and alternative Medicine, modern medicine has been studying the benefits of turmeric and has found it to be very effective. Its powder is used in India for day to day cooking. Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicines has been using it for inflammations of all kinds, including application of paste made from turmeric powder on the affected joints.
It can be eaten as well as used for topical application of rheumatoid arthritis affected joint. Its powder should be eaten thrice a day. It can be applied on the painful areas mixed with some oil.
It is not known to have many side effects, nausea and diarrhoea may be seen in rare cases.
Odense university of Denmark reported relief in pain of the arthritis-inflammation related cases. Ginger supplements were given to these patients. Mayo Clinic also says that there is a probability of ginger reducing arthritis pains. “Journal of Medicinal Food” published a study in 2005, stating that ginger can look after inflammation by inhibiting the related genes.
Throughout Asia, it is a culinary herb, used in most of the preparations. Usually it is used fresh, occasionally as a dried powder. It is a tropical plant and its underground stem if useful.
Taken in a large quantity it can produce heartburn, diarrhea and interact with drugs, because it has blood thinning capability.
White Willow Bark
Used in Europe and Japan for its anti-inflammatory properties, its action is somewhat similar to aspirin. Its active chemical compound salicin, is found in its bark. It is taken by the patients suffering from arthritis. University of Maryland Medical Center endorses the use of willow bark for inflammation. It is available as a powder, tincture, or just as a dried bark.
One should not use it if one is allergic to aspirin. Some side effects, if large amounts are consumed, can be rashes, vomiting and inflammation of the kidney or stomach.
It is a folk medicine of Africa, used traditionally to relieve the symptoms of inflammation of joints due to rheumatoid arthritis. Its active chemical compounds are iridoid, glucosides and harpagoside. These compounds are powerful anti inflammatory agents. Use it for arthritis or any kind of joint pain.
Medline Plus, belonging to National Institutes of Health (USA) has said that there is an evidence of efficacy of devil’s claw in being helpful for arthritis.
The root of devil’s claw is loaded with the medicinal benefits. It has been used in Europe for half a century now and France has started its production and sells it for painful joints. According to European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP), devil’s claw is an approved herb for arthritis.
Its root can be used as a tea and is available in the form of a tablet and a capsule. You need only 1 tsp of root powder to make a cup of tea. Its tablets and capsules have standardized doses. Check with your doctor before use.
Medline Plus, a service of National Institutes of Health (USA) mentions the effect of bromelain enzyme as an anti-inflammatory when taken on an empty stomach.
Bromelain is an extract from the pineapple stem, obtained after the harvesting of pineapple fruit. Various clinical studies have suggested its efficacy as being helpful in inflammation. It is good for knee pains and inflammations.
Ayurvedic system of medicine makes use of the resin of boswelia for the treatment of inflammation of joints. It is also called a super herb, because of its health benefits. Boswelia grows in India, Africa and the Mediterranean.
Boswelic acids are unique because they have very potent anti-inflammatory properties, hence very useful to rheumatoid arthritis patients. The reason behind their potency is the special way in which they act. They block the undesirable activity that causes damage to the tissues, alongside that they improve the flow of blood around the inflamed area resulting in better movement of the stiff joints.
The resin is used in powder form as well as in the form of oil. It can be used as a gel or as a dried herb. Its standardized extract is also available.
Garlic contains organosulphur compounds, believed to be responsible for their disease fighting ability. Garlic has been associated with looking after rheumatoid arthritis related inflammation.
Feverfew has been a traditional herbal remedy of Europeans for arthritis and fever. The University of Maryland Medicine Center laboratory tests uphold its value as an anti-inflammatory herb. It can be used in the tincture form as well as an extract.
If we can get fresh root of horseradish, it can be used as a poultice. It is very easy to make a poultice. Put pieces of horseradish in the blender along with some warm water and churn it fine into a paste. Spread this paste on a clean cloth, it can be about 2 mm thick paste. Cover it with one more piece of cloth and place it on the affected joint. Keeping it for about half an hour will get you good benefit. This poultice requires hot bottle fomentation. Keep a fomentation bottle filled with hot water, hot to the extent that it is bearable. You may remove the poultice, if you find uncomfortable.
The compress of juniper helps the RA joints in pain. One can make an infusion using juniper berries and use this as a soak or a compress.
The inflamed injuries, wounds and bruises have been healed since olden times with yarrow.There are many other herbal remedies for inflammation, namely chamomile, rosemary, comfry, celery, gotu kola, and borage seeds.