Arthritis is painful.
It is a debilitating illness that worsens with time. Pain, swelling in the joints and stiffness affect your mobility and curb your active lifestyle. Corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medicines help alleviate pain in the joints and reduce inflammation.
But more and more people with arthritis are now adopting natural remedies to get it treated safely. Making positive changes in the lifestyle like regular exercise, foods with anti inflammatory properties and getting restful sleep etc. help to ease the pain.
But do herbal supplements for arthritis work?
Let us go through a list of herbal supplements to know about their efficacy in treating symptoms of arthritis-
A) Cat’s claw
Cat's claw is also known as ‘Alai' in Hindi. It has shown mixed results in relieving inflammations due to arthritis like morning stiffness, swelling and pain in the joints. It has shown minimal side effects with tummy upset as the major complaint.
Ginger has anti inflammatory properties that help relieve common cold, migraine, hypertension etc. It can be brewed into tea or even available in the form of supplements in the market.
Studies have shown that taking 3 to 6 grams organic ginger powder two times a day regularly for three months proves beneficial in treating arthritis symptoms. It provides relief in pain and enhances mobility of joints. This happens because it improves blood circulation.
Turmeric is a great anti inflammatory herb. It contains two compounds – curcumin and curcuminoids that help lower inflammations in arthritis.
Although it is used commonly in Indian cooking, but should be consumed in the form of a supplement to enjoy its maximum benefits. Take 1 – 2 turmeric capsules with food and water twice a day, or as directed by your health care practitioner. It effectively helps mitigate pain in arthritis.
Eucalyptus oil extract helps relieve arthritis pain and swelling in the joints. Eucalyptus leaves contains tannin that reduces the joint swelling and pain. The extract is applied topically and generally followed by heating pads over the affected joints.
E) Green Tea
Green tea is cultivated extensively in India and China. It is a traditional herbal remedy for improving digestion and boosting metabolism as well as heart health.
It is powerhouse of antioxidants like polyphenols which restrains damage to your joints and inflammations caused due to arthritic condition. Its anti inflammatory nature will keep you protected against autoimmune arthritis. You can drink green tea 2-3 times a day preferably after day time meals. You may add a few drops of lemon juice to it to enhance its anti oxidant properties.
If you are taking any medicines, make sure you consult your doctor before consuming green tea as it may react with other medications.
Flaxseed can be consumed raw or in the form of oil and capsules. It helps in lubricating the joints that have gone stiff due to arthritis and helps relieve stiffness and joint pain. This happens because flaxseed is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids that are anti inflammatory in nature. You may also add flaxseed to salads, soups, curd, sandwiches or smoothies.
G) Night Jasmine
Night jasmine is also popularly known as ‘Parijat' or ‘Harshingar' tree in India. It is anti inflammatory, anti spasmodic and analgesic in nature. The decoction of its leaves help relieve symptoms of arthritis. You may take it once a day for arthritic relief.
Who would have thought that pineapple could come in handy in relieving symptoms of arthritis! Bromelain or an extract of pineapple stem is anti inflammtory in nature and helps reduce swelling and pain in the joints. For specific dosage, consult your ayurvedic doctor.
Chirayita is a herb found commonly on the slopes of Himalayas. It is abundant in swerchirin, swertianin and swertanone compounds that are anti inflammatory in nature. It thereby helps reduce symptoms of arthritis. For specific dosage, consult your ayurvedic doctor.
Boswellia helps relieve morning stiffness, pain and swelling in joints in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It is a safe way to treat symptoms of arthritis. Infact a combination of Boswellia and turmeric supplements checks the degeneration of arthritis without any side effects. For best results, take 1 capsule of Boswellia supplement in the morning and 2 capsules at night.
K) Willow Bark
It is anti inflammatory and therefore helps alleviate pain in rheumatoid arthritis by reducing inflammation in the joints. It is generally taken in form of tablets.
L) Devil’s Claw
It is a traditional African herb used to treat infections and problems of the digestive system. Its root extract contains compounds like iridoid glycoside that has shown positive results in treatment of rheumatoid tendonitis, arthritis and osteoarthritis. It also has pain alleviating properties with negligible side effects.
M) Stinging Nettle
Its leaves and stem are used as tea or in capsule form. Stinging Nettle has high amounts of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium that helps relieves symptoms of gout. It has analgesic properties that helps ease inflammation and pain in case of osteoarthritis.
Ask your doctor before taking this supplement for arthritis as it may interfere with medicines for heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol.
N) Burdock Root:
It has immense anti inflammatory power. This is because Burdock root contains essential fatty acids or EFAs. This is beneficial in relieving joint pain due to arthritis.
Some herbal supplements work wonders in relieving symptoms of arthritis while others give mixed results depending on the type of arthritis. Consult your doctor before you start taking them for specific duration, dosage and suitability for your arthritic condition to derive maximum benefits.