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Top 10 Herbs For Joint Pain and More...

A debilitating condition, joint pain can be experienced as a result of ageing, over-use, or autoimmune diseases attacking the joints and their surrounding tissue.

[1] If you have tried all available traditional medications yet failed to get the results you expected, this would not be surprising as many drugs only alleviate the symptoms without targeting the underlying cause. [2]

Several alternative herbal treatments have been researched - and lab studies suggest that these may have the potential to address both symptoms and origin. Below are 10 herbs considered useful for managing joint pain:
10 Herbs For Joint Pain:


This is a popular herb present in various commercial ointments externally applied to the skin. When applied as a balm or cream, arnica has been shown to serve as a natural pain reliever to alleviate soreness and stiffness.

[1] The evidence of arnica's clinical value is rich that when a study was conducted to compare its effects with ibuprofen in 204 patients with active hand osteoarthritis, there was no difference found in pain and hand function improvements between ibuprofen and arnica tincture after 3 weeks of treatment. This study suggests that arnica formulation is comparable to ibuprofen in treating hand osteoarthritis, yet without the potential side effects of ibuprofen. [3]



Ginger is traditionally known to aid nausea but research has also found convincing evidence of its success in combating arthritis.

[2] Its active ingredients, gingerols, possess anti-inflammatory characteristics responsible for its medicinal actions. Ginger has been found to relieve pain by preventing cytokine formation, an immune chemical that triggers inflammation. Consequently, one 3 year study discovered that 75% of the participants with rheumatoid arthritis experienced improvements in pain and swelling after using powdered ginger. [1]


Stinging Nettle


Its name may sound daunting but once you have infused this herb in tea, skin rash that would be brought about by this plant's hairs will naturally be neutralized.

After concocting tea made from dried or fresh leaves of stinging nettle, it may be used to alleviate pain linked to joint pain, arthritis and gout. [4] Exploratory studies that investigated the value of stinging nettle as a useful, safe and cheap therapy in treating joint pain have discovered nettles as being very effective to the extent that some subjects believed they have been cured by it without any major side effects. [5]


Researchers discovered how the interesting mechanism behind rubbing cayenne works to relieve joint pain; cayenne, through the presence of its active ingredient capsaicin, acts as a counterirritant to the pain by producing mild irritation to distract your nerves from the more severe joint pain.


[2] Eventually, repeated application of cayenne pepper can significantly reduce arthritic pain. [4] Because of cayenne's anti-inflammatory properties, experts believe that it can also ease gout and gut-related pain like ulcers. [1]


Boswellia (Frankincense)

This tree commonly found in India attributes its therapeutic value to its gum which promotes anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and analgesic activities.

A 2003 randomized controlled study that evaluated the efficacy, safety and tolerability of boswellia extract in 15 patients with osteoarthritic knees concluded that this herb can decrease knee pain and frequency of swelling, increase knee flexion and walking distance after 8 weeks of usage with minimal side effects.

[6] Moreover, boswellia is believed to prevent invasion of inflammatory white cells into damaged issue making it a natural pain killer for osteoarthritis, gout and possibly, other types of arthritis as well. [1]


According to research, when it comes to joint pains, increasing your intake of foods and supplements rich in essential fatty acids can really of great help.

Aside from its sterol and tannin content, burdock contains high levels of essential fatty acids which are known for their anti-inflammatory effects. [7]

Burdock root contains analgesic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing inflammation and pain associated with arthritis and other degenerative diseases. Studies show that burdock root helps in eliminating the discomforts caused by arthritis such as stiffening, swelling, tenderness, pain when moving.

[8] Though generally safe to use, some have said that burdock should not be used long-term. [9]


For over 7,000 years, flax has been widely cultivated because of its powerful healing compounds. This potent herb is known for its Omega 3-ALA content which is noted for its ability to fight against inflammation.

Omega 3 fatty acids actually limit the inflammatory reactions caused by gout and joint pains. The use of flaxseed of oil proves to be effective in lessening the intensity of severe and sudden pain and swelling of the joints. [10]


Known for its anti-inflammatory effects, turmeric is a powerful herb that aids in the treatment of a wide range of health conditions including gout, arthritis and joint pains.


This excellent pain reliever works because of its curcuminoids and curcumin contents that help in reducing inflammation. [11]


In a study conducted at the University of Arizona, it was found out that intake of turmeric really helps in dealing with inflammation.

Results showed that turmeric reduced swelling to a certain degree.

Researchers concluded that turmeric works by blocking down the production of protein on genes that tell the tiny blood vessels to swell and grow. [12]


This famous yellow-orange spice is used to help people suffering from achy and sore joints. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study in 2009 which compared the effects of curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric, and ibuprofen to 107 subjects who were suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Results showed that curcumin was as effective as ibuprofen in improving knee function and in alleviating pain. [13]



Licorice is probably one of the most popular herbs for joint pains.

It works by resembling the activities of the body’s natural cortiscosteroids that help in relieving inflammation.

Licorice also works by eradicating free radicals on the affected areas as well as in inhibiting the production of enzymes that contribute to inflammation.

When used as a supplement or tea, licorice helps in controlling the body’s production of cortisol hormones which eases the pain associated with arthritis and joint pain. [14]




A native herb from the Balkan Peninsula and Europe, feverfew also proves to be an excellent herb in relieving joint pain.

Research has demonstrated that this herb is capable of reducing pain-causing inflammation in tissues and joints. Its parthenolide content inhibits the release of histamine, serotonin and other inflammatory agents that trigger the spasm of the blood vessels and promote inflammation. Like aspirin, feverfew works by reducing the inflammation and intensity of pain throughout the body. [15]


Notes Do not expect these herbs however to instantly cure joint pain overnight. Some herbs take longer to work their magic than traditional medications.

[1] However, their cumulative effects may be more effective and may be safer for long term use given the right dosage.

Be diligent also in understanding the safety and contraindications of the herbs you are considering.

If in doubt, or if you are taking prescription meds already, it's best to consult a physician before taking herbs. You can learn about many of the herbs on this site; however you can also search on "________ (herb name) safety" or _______ contraindications. This page is not medical advice.



Natural ways to relieve pain

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, roughly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain (persistent pain that lasts more than six months).*


Many patients have been prescribed opioids—painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl—and have had good results. However, this has also resulted in a nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse that has become a top priority for the Department of Health and Human Services. Many people who become addicted to opioids end up switching to the cheaper heroin.*


Here are facts that should get your attention:


• 91 Americans die every day from opioid abuse—including prescription and heroin use—and that number increases every year.*


• Since 1999, deaths involving opioids have quadrupled in the U.S.*


• In 2007, of the nearly 28,000 Americans who died from unintentional drug poisoning, nearly 12,000 involved prescription pain relievers.*


• Nearly half a million emergency department visits nationwide in 2009 were due to people misusing or abusing prescription painkillers.*


If you or a loved one is already taking opioids, here are some signs to watch out for that may indicate dependency or addiction:


• Withdrawal from friends, work, school, and favorite activities

• Depression and/or anxiety

• Mood swings

• Doesn't seem to care about anything or gets very secretive

• Money goes missing

• Appears antsy or nervous*


There is another way to go. If you don't want to use opioids or would like to reduce the amount you use, there have been studies that show the effectiveness of some natural pain relief methods. Most can be used in combination.


Warning: Talk with your doctor first before trying anything new, stopping your medicine, or adding in diet supplements. Don't hide any new approaches from your doctor.*


Acupuncture: An ancient Chinese art of stimulating specific points of the body by inserting thin needles.


A recent analysis of studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that acupuncture can help with chronic pain depending on the patient's belief that it will work and on the needling locations and the depth of the needle.*


If you go to an acupuncturist, make sure he or she is licensed by the National Certification Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.


Massage and acupressure: There are many different kinds of massages, but in general, it is the practice of pressing and kneading muscles and joints to relieve pain and stress.


Studies looking at the effect of massage on different varieties of pain found that it can be a source of relief for some chronic, non-malignant pain conditions, particularly musculoskeletal pain complaints (e.g., shoulder pain, low back pain).


In addition, patients who were evaluated several weeks after treatment stopped showed around 62% less pain than people who hadn't received massage.*


Healthy diet: Inflammation (swelling, heat, pain, redness) happens when your body's immune system responds to damaged tissue or infection. Some people's immune systems over-react and lead to chronic diseases and chronic pain.


An anti-inflammatory diet includes avoiding processed foods and sugar, getting 6–8 servings of vegetables and 3–4 servings of fruit a day, choosing oily fish like salmon or sardines, and eating whole grains such as barley and oats.*


Yoga, tai chi, and qigong: These centuries-old mind-body practices have been shown to be effective in pain reduction in many scientific studies. Yoga poses, in particular, can be helpful with lower back pain, and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee.


The meditative quality of all 3 improved chronic headaches and migraines.*


Mindfulness meditation: A Wake Forest School of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study discovered that mindfulness meditation is moderately effective for pain relief.*


Simply put, this is a way to quiet your mind by sitting still and focusing on your breathing. There are many variations, but you can get a free introduction on the UCLA website.


Hypnosis: Studies show that hypnosis (psychological techniques that increase your response to suggestions to modify your behavior) can have an impact on the perception of pain. One study reported that hypnosis produced significant reductions in pain, the need for painkillers, and the length of stay in hospitals.*


Exercise: Physical activity increases blood and oxygen flow to tissues and brings healing nutrients to areas of the body where pain is present.


Staying active may even help rehabilitate an existing injury.*


As long as your doctor gives you approval to exercise, movement such as walking or cycling can be medicine for your body.


If these methods of relieving pain don’t work, talk to your doctor about other alternatives to opioids to help manage pain. There may be non-opioid medicine you can take that might work.


This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.


















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