17 Supplements & Herbs for Arthritis

Overview of Arthritis:

The pain in your joint is getting severe with every passing day. You cannot walk or run and even standing continuously leaves you in extreme pain. Then, yes, you are suffering from Arthritis. It is a malady in joint usually followed by inflammation that leads to severe pain. You are not the only one suffering from this disease and there are many people around the world who are suffering from similar conditions. Don’t believe me? Just have a look at these findings,

  • Every 1 out of 4 persons in South Asian has this disease
  • 10 million of the UK’s population is suffering from this disease
  • It is the biggest reason behind pain in the UK
  • Every 1 out of 5 persons in America has Arthritis

This is not something to worry about. You just need some changes to your lifestyle and add some good medications. Before moving on to the supplements and herbs, you should be familiar with the type of arthritis you are having to get the right medication after discussing it with the physician.

Types of Arthritis:

Supplements & Herbs for Arthritis

The researchers, till to date, have found nearly hundred types of arthritis. Here I will highlight only the most common types.

  1. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and this disease involves wearing and rending of your joints. This is followed by slow disruption of Cartilage that engrosses the shocks to your body. The symptoms are;
  • Severe aching in the joint
  • Difficulty in doing daily life tasks like climbing stairs
  • Stiffness of joint in the morning that lasts for short time
  • Increase in pain while walking
  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis damages your joints as the immune system of the body instead of attacking foreign germs/bodies, starts attacking its own tissues. It is often more harmful than osteoarthritis. The symptoms are;
  • Harsh pain in multiple joints
  • Feeling of warmness in joints followed by swelling
  • Long lasting stiffness in joints unlike osteoarthritis
  • Can affect other organs like heart and eyes
  1. Psoriatic Arthritis leads to the tenderness of the skin (psoriasis) and joints (arthritis), combined. You can even suffer from psoriasis alone with no effects on your joints. The symptoms are;
  • Fingers and toes are swelled
  • You lose the color of your fingernails
  • Few joints are attacked unlike rheumatoid arthritis
  1. Fibromyalgia is a type of arthritis that causes muscular and skeletal pain. The symptoms are;
  • Prolonged pain in the muscles
  • Exhaustion
  • Sleep problems
  • Pain originating from specific points
  1. Sjogren Syndrome is a type of arthritis in which immune system of the body starts to attack fluid secreting glands of the body like tear glands. The symptoms are;
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Vaginal dryness in women

Now, that you have understood some of the common types of arthritis, I will take you towards some of the best supplements and herbs to cater this joint disease.


Supplements & Herbs for Arthritis

The list will focus on the supplements being used by the people all over the world for the treatment of most common types of arthritis.

  1. SAM-e (S-Adenosyl methionine)

SAM-e is a molecule that body forms naturally. It belongs to the family of nutritional supplements and can be found easily in stores. SAM-e promotes the production of collagen and proteoglycan which are major actors in cartilage building. Some of the benefits that SAM-e can impart are;

  • A pain reliever equipped with anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helpful in growth of cartilage
  • Minimizes the acuity of pain
  • Rare side effects were known
  • Extended benefits
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis. It might take as long as one month to give out the results
  • Can be used for Fibromyalgia. Some of the research findings support its use for this disease to alleviate pain and trigger points.
  • Side effects of SAM-e are minor and occasional. They might include nausea, dryness in mouth, headaches, restlessness, and stomach problem. Patients with depression can have more serious side-effects like anxiety and mania. Even the drug can interact with the medications used for suppressing the depression. If you have a surgery coming up, stop taking it ahead of two weeks, minimum.


  1. Boswellia Serrate (Indian Frankincense)

Indian frankincense is found in India and Arabia. It is a native tree of these regions and is used in the preparation of some local medicines. There are several known species of Boswellia but the most effective for arthritis is Boswellia serrate. Some of the benefits that can be obtained from Boswellia Serrate are;

  • Contains Boswellic acids that have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties
  • Slows down the breaking of cartilage
  • Prevents the autoimmune (antibodies attacking body tissues) process
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis. Some studies found it more effective for knee osteoarthritis.
  • Can be used for Fibromyalgia
  • Side effects of this medicine have not been studied in detail. If, however, taken in excess can lead to serious side-effects on the liver. Pain in stomach, nausea and diarrhea was also noticed in some people.


  1. Capsaicin

It is the herb that is commonly used as red pepper and chili pepper. Capsicum plant bears a fruit that is utilized in making of medicines. It is available in the form of cream or gel and you can apply it directly to the affected area. Some of its benefits for arthritis are;

  • Substance that lessens the spreading of pain, Substance P, for a short period
  • Effective pain reliever
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis
  • Can be used for Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriasis and Fibromyalgia.
  • Side effects are not severe if applied in an adequate amount on skin. Excessive use can lead to burning, itching and irritation of the skin. It also causes infliction in eyes, nose and throat. Never use it on damaged skin or if your skin is wounded. A redness of the skin is noticed which is rather common with the use of capsaicin gel.


  1. Turmeric

If you are from Asia then you should be familiar with this as it is a part of Asian food. This plant is widely grown in southern parts of Asia. Its use is not limited to spice or flavor in the curry but is also used in making of medicines. The vital part of medicine is the turmeric root that contains a chemical called Curcumin. Some of the benefits of turmeric for patients with arthritis are;

  • Contains a chemical named Curcumin that minimizes the pain in joint
  • Blocks inflammatory enzymes to lessen the swelling
  • Long-term effectiveness for knee osteoarthritis
  • Active in pain reduction for rheumatoid arthritis patients
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis
  • Can be used for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Side effects of turmeric are not very prominent. Some patients suffered from diarrhea, dizziness and nausea after taking the medication. Turmeric can also interact with medicines used for slowing down the blood clotting.


  1. Avocado-soybean Unsaponifiables

It is obtained from avocado and soybean oils. It is sold by prescription in some countries while available in others without any prescription. Some of its major benefits for arthritis patients are;

  • Stops the chemicals that are a cause of inflammation
  • Helpful in rejuvenation of connective tissues
  • Effective in hip and knee osteoarthritis
  • Eliminates the requirement of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis


  1. Cat’s Claw

It is not the foot of cat but a very famous herb used for making medicines in America and Europe. Both of its root and bark are used in medicines. There are two known types of cat’s claw named, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianesis. It is also capable of fighting with detrimental molecules produced by your body cells. It is found naturally in southern and central parts of America. It has following benefits for patients;

  • Promotes anti-inflammatory action by targeting the TNF, tumor necrosis factor, that is usually targeted by prevailing rheumatoid arthritis drugs
  • Indorses effective working of immune system
  • Effective in pain reduction
  • Recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Can be used for Osteoarthritis
  • Side effects in some patients include dizziness, vomiting and headache. It is not suitable for people with bleeding disorders and low blood pressures. It is observed that it can aggravate the condition of Leukemia.


  1. Fish Oil

Supplements & Herbs for Arthritis

Fish oil is obtained from fatty fish tissues. Some of the fish in this category are; mackerel, sprat and salmon. Along with highly useful Omega-3 fatty acid, it also contains vitamins A and D in considerable quantity. It has following benefits for patients with arthritis;

  • Omega-3s in fish oil not only stops inflammation-causing proteins but converts them to potent anti-inflammatory substances.
  • Highly beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis patients as they dramatically reduce the pain and soreness in joints.
  • Reduces the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Can be used for Osteoarthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Side effects that are common include nausea, loose stools, rash, heartburn and nosebleeds. If taken in excess, it can affect the ability of immune system to fight foreign bodies.


  1. Borage Seed Oil

Borage oil is categorized under the nutritional supplements. It is extracted from the seeds of a plant called Borage. This plant can be easily found in the Mediterranean regions. It has following benefits for patients with arthritis;

  • It is a fatty acid, Omega-6 type, which the body converts to anti-inflammatory chemicals.
  • Noticeable reduction in joint pain and stiffness especially for rheumatoid arthritis patients
  • When used along with fish oil eliminates the use of analgesics
  • Recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Can be used for Psoriasis
  • Side effects of borage oil include nausea, headache, rashes and indigestion.


  1. Ginger

Supplements & Herbs for Arthritis

This plant is found in hot parts of the world like Asia. It has leafy stems and bears yellowish green flowers. Rhizome, the stem of ginger, is the most effective remedy for several diseases. It is helpful in treating arthritis due to following properties;

  • Possesses anti-inflammatory properties
  • Can be as effective as steroids to control inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients
  • Regular use of ginger for about three months brings down osteoarthritis pain in knee
  • Effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain in hip
  • Recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis
  • Side effects of using ginger are very less known. The side-effects reported are stomach problems and mouth irritation.


  1. Burdock Root (Arctium lappa or Arcticum minus)

Burdock root is obtained from a plant called Burdock. It is interesting to note that all its parts, leaf, root and seed are employed in the preparation of prescriptions. It is beneficial for arthritis because,

  • It has fatty acids that are very effective anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis
  • Can be used for Psoriasis
  • Side effects of the root are skin problems in some people like irritation and rashes.




  1. Flaxseed Oil (Linum usitatissimum)

This oil is obtained from the seeds of plant Linum usitatissimum. Its oil is then used in making certain medicines. This plant is found naturally in Europe. It has following beneficial properties;

  • Contain Omega-3 fatty acid and provides strength to the immune system
  • Able to form resistance against inflammation
  • Recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Can be used for Osteoarthritis
  • Side effects of flaxseed oil include stomach problems, difficulty in breathing and rashes.


  1. Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)

Stinging nettle is a plant found in North America, Europe and Asia. It belongs to an herbal medicine from nettle family. It has following benefits for arthritis patients;

  • Rich in health beneficial elements like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium
  • Contain vitamin A, C, D, and B complex
  • Resist inflammation of joints
  • Extremely helpful in increasing the strength of bones
  • Minimize the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Can be used for Osteoarthritis
  • Side effects of using nettles are not very severe. It can cause minor skin problems like itching and irritation.


  1. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Plant of licorice is used commonly as a flavor in foods and drinks. Its roots are used for preparing different drugs. It has following properties that make it favorable for arthritis;

  • It inhibits the enzymes that are responsible for joints inflammation
  • Helps in easing the pain of arthritis
  • Not suitable for patients with high blood pressure problem
  • Can be used for Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis
  • Side effects show up with prolong use of licorice. They might include a rise in blood pressure, weakness and decrease of potassium level in the body.


  1. Glucosamine

Glucosamine belongs to the family of nutritional supplements and is used in combination with sulfate and hydrochloride. It is obtained from shellfish and can also be made in the laboratory. It has following benefits for arthritis patients;

  • Provides relief in arthritis pain
  • Prevents cartilage from waning
  • Give strength to enjoy sound joint movement
  • Effective remedy for severe arthritis
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis
  • Side effects reported after using glucosamine are constipation, headaches, diarrhea, and rashes.


  1. Chondroitin Sulfate

Chondroitin belongs to the family of nutritional supplements. It is the vibrant component of cartilage and stops it from disintegration. It is usually obtained from the cartilage of animals like pigs and cows. It has following beneficial properties for arthritis patients;

  • Controls arthritis pain
  • Lowers down the inflammation
  • Prevents the advancement of Osteoarthritis
  • More effective when taken with something else like glucosamine sulfate
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis
  • Can be used for Psoriasis
  • Side effects of chondroitin sulfate are minor and occasional. They might include headaches, rashes, diarrhea and excessive production of intestinal gas.


  1. Methylslfonylmethane (MSM)

MSM is one of the best-known minerals that is helpful in nutrition due to its sulfur content. It can be obtained from plants, animals and humans. These days it is also being prepared in the laboratory. The amount of sulfur in MSM ranges from 30-35%. It has following valuable properties for the patients with arthritis;

  • It is present naturally in different fruits and vegetables
  • Tendency to suppress arthritis pain
  • Moderate control over inflammation
  • Effective for knee osteoarthritis
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis
  • Can be used for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Side effects of MSM are occasionally reported and gastrointestinal discomfort is the most common one.


  1. Devil’s Claw

Devil’s claw, unlike its name, is a very health beneficial herb and used for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Roots of this herb are utilized in making drugs for several diseases. It is helpful for arthritis patients due to following properties;

  • It is considered to be helpful in alleviating pain and inflammation
  • It acts as a barrier to pathways that lead to inflammation in joints
  • Studies found it effective for hip and knee osteoarthritis
  • Recommended for Osteoarthritis
  • Can be used for Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Side effects that are less reported include rashes, loss of appetite and diarrhea. It may have negative reaction with other drugs like blood thinners. The infrequent but serious side-effect of devil’s claw is the bleeding and irregular heartbeat.

Final Words

This brings me to the end of a brief overview of various supplements and herbs generally used for arthritis. Remember, always use the supplements after consultation with a physician. Taking them on your own might lead to the side-effects not listed above. Always keep in mind that medications alone might not help you in surviving with arthritis. Bring some positive change in your lifestyle and keep physical activity an essential part of daily routine.


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