Top 10 Herbs And Supplements For Arthritis And Joint Pain

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Top 10 Herbs And Supplements For Arthritis And Joint Pain
Top 10 Herbs And Supplements For Arthritis And Joint Pain. Graphic © Photo – Pixabay (PD)

Arthritis is a common medical condition that causes inflammation in the joints, the tissues that surround the joints, and other connective tissues. There are various forms of arthritis including osteoarthritis (OA), gout, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several factors contribute to the development of arthritis including injury, abnormal metabolism, genetic makeup, and infections.

Arthritis is typically treated with a combination of medications, physical therapies, and patient education. Several supplements and herbs may also help you manage joint pain from arthritis. More natural medicines are being put to test in well-designed clinical trials to determine their effectiveness. However, too many products advertised for arthritis don’t measure up or may even be harmful, so you need to ask yourself if there is any science backing the claim or if the product is made by a reputable company with strict quality control testing. Note: To reduce risk of drug interactions, allergy problems, or harmful side effects, discuss these natural remedies with your doctor before taking them.

1. Glucosamine

This natural compound is found in healthy cartilage, particularly in the fluid around the joints. Glucosamine is harvested from shells of shellfish for dietary supplements. Glucosamine sulfate is the most common used chemical form of the compound. Some studies have explored the potential of glucosamine in providing relief for people with arthritis. One of them is by Jörg Jerosch [2] who combined glucosamine sulfate with chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, collagen hydrolysate, and omega-3 fatty acids as therapeutic approach for OA. The study investigated on the ability of glucosamine to slow down the degenerative process of cartilage destruction.

2. Fish Oil

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are converted by the body into anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins. Omega-3 fats are mostly found in oily fish such as tuna, salmon, and herring, and certain nut and seed oils. Current research suggests the relief offered by fish oil supplementation to people with inflammatory arthritis such as RA, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. The British Society for Rheumatology [3] conducted a 1993 study to determine if the anti-inflammatory properties of a fish oil supplement product could reduce the requirement for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) in patients with RA. The study found significant reduction in patients’ NSAID requirement without experiencing any deterioration in the clinical and laboratory parameters of RA activity.

3. Ginger

This root spice has been used in Asian medicine for treating nausea and digestive problems. Science has confirmed that ginger has beneficial properties for inflammatory arthritis and degenerative arthritis. Masshadi et. al. [4] reviewed MEDLINE publications to seek evidence on ginger effects as anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative. They cited one study that showed the significant effect of ginger extract on reducing symptoms of OA of the knee. [5]

4. Green Tea

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a cup of green tea may be equally beneficial. Herbal teas have been used to treat various ailments since ancient times. Green tea has anti-oxidant properties and has been touted by health coaches, nutritionists, doctors, and dietitians for decades. A study published in the January 25, 2016 issue of the medical journal Arthritis and Rheumatology [6] reveals a compound found in green tea that holds promise in rheumatoid arthritis disease management.

5. Green-Lipped Mussel

This shellfish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and may have the same anti-inflammatory effects as fish oil. It is used by people to make a natural medicine which can be available in freeze-dried, ground, and capsule form. The efficacy of green-lipped mussel in providing relief for people with arthritis was the topic of many studies. Coulson S et. al. [7] found out that green-lipped mussel improved knee joint pain, stiffness, and mobility. The study administered GLM extract and discovered that it improved gastrointestinal symptoms by 49% in OA patients.

6. Dandelion Leaves

Dandelions are everywhere and are sadly regarded as a weed by many gardeners. But did you know that the plant has great medicinal potential – including arthritis healing power – and there is sufficient evidence backing to this claim? Recent studies have shown that dandelion leaf extract can relieve pain, fight inflammation, and can help remove toxins that contribute to arthritis. The December 2008 issue of the journal Experimental Neurobiology [8] published a study on the role of dandelion leaf extract in shutting down inflammatory pathways in carrageenan-induced arthritic mice.

7. Pepper

Cayenne and other hot chili peppers have been used for their health benefits since ancient times. This spice contains a natural compound called capsaicin which is the main ingredient that gives peppers their heat. Capsaicin is also responsible for giving the fruit its anti-inflammatory properties. The Arthritis Foundation highly recommends cayenne peppers as part of anti-inflammatory diet. According to a 2011 research, [9] higher concentrations of capsaicin can help with pain management. In 1991, the journal Clinical Therapeutics [10] published a study that showed capsaicin cream as a safe and effective treatment for arthritis. The study’s subjects experienced a reduction in pain after two weeks of capsaicin cream treatment. More: How To Make Hot Pepper Cream For Arthritis And Joint Pain

8. Evening Primrose

This herbal medicine is used for many conditions, from RA to menstrual concerns. This wildflower is known for its protective and anti-inflammatory properties. According to Arthritis Research UK, evening primrose oil contains polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids that can help control pain and inflammation. The plant is also rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which helps your immune system and joints function. GLA had been studied [11] to be effective in reducing morning stiffness as well as pain.

9. Quercetin

This phytonutrient and dietary supplement has anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. Found in fruits and vegetables, this bioflavonoid has been shown to lower disease activity and reduce clinical symptoms in women with rheumatoid arthritis. A study [12] that appeared in the April 2006 issue of the journal Inflammatory Research revealed the potential of quercetin for the treatment of crystal-induced arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. In 2013, the African Journal of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine [13] posited quercetin as an adjuvant natural drug for treatment of RA.

10. Thunder God Vine

This traditional Chinese herb has been used for the past five centuries to treat joint pain, swellings, and skin problems. In China, this vine is still used extensively for arthritis and autoimmune diseases that are managed in the West with corticosteroid drugs. Thunder god vine might help RA by relieving inflammation – as revealed by a 2002 study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism. [14] This study was the first to investigate the use of an extract of this vine in rheumatoid arthritis patients in the U.S. Funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the study noted the effectiveness of the root extract of the plant in reducing pain and inflammation in a small group of people with treatment-resistant rheumatoid arthritis.

Further Reading:

12 Best Foods For Patients With Arthritis

14 Home Remedies For Arthritis And Joint Pain

101 Superfoods That Fight Joint Pain And Inflammation


[1] Information for Consumers on Using Dietary Supplements.

[2] Jerosch J. (2011). Effects of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate on Cartilage Metabolism in OA: Outlook on Other Nutrient Partners Especially Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

[3] Lau CS. (1993). Effects of Fish Oil Supplementation on Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Requirement in Patients With Mild Rheumatoid Arthritis – A Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Study.

[4] Masshadi NS. (2013). Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence.

[5] Altman RD, Marcussen KC. (2001). Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.

[6] Singh AK et. al. (2016). Regulation of Transforming Growth Factor ߖActivated Kinase Activation by Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts: Suppression of K63-Linked Autoubiquitination of Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor–Associated Factor 6.

[7] Coulson S et. al. (2012). Green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) extract efficacy in knee osteoarthritis and improvement in gastrointestinal dysfunction: a pilot study.

[8] Sur BJ et. al. (2008). Protective Effect of Orally Administrated Dandelion Against Carrageenan-induced Ankle Arthritis in Rats.

[9] Anand P & Bley K. (2011). Topical capsaicin for pain management: therapeutic potential and mechanisms of action of the new high-concentration capsaicin 8% patch.

[10] Deal CL. (1991). Treatment of arthritis with topical capsaicin: a double-blind trial.

[11] Brzeski M et. al. (1991). Evening Primrose Oil in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis and Side-Effects of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.

[12] Jackson JK. (2006). The antioxidants curcumin and quercetin inhibit inflammatory processes associated with arthritis.

[13] Jian-Jun J et. al. (2013). Quercetin: A Potential Natural Drug for Adjuvant Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

[14] Tao X et. al. (2002). Benefit of an extract of Tripterygium Wilfordii Hook F in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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