There are many herbal remedies that claim to help you control your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Some herbal remedies for rheumatoid arthritis help, some don’t and some are not worth the side effects they cause. Below is a summary of the most frequently used herbal remedies for rheumatoid arthritis.
I have said this many times in the past, but these statements bear repeating again.
- There are literally thousands of herbal supplement products on the market. Many of them claim to treat your disease symptoms, but the industry is not regulated by the FDA so you need to do your research and ask your health care provider before taking herbal supplements.
- Some herbal supplement products may contain other natural products that may be harmful to you. Example: some herbal supplement products contain plant pollen that is certainly natural. In can, however, cause allergy symptoms if you are sensitive to pollen.
- Some health problems can be made worst by taking herbal supplement products so you should always check with your health care provider before taking these products. Example: Many of these herbal supplements increase your risk for bleeding so if you are being treated with an anticoagulant, you should not try them.
- Herbal supplement products can also have a negative effect on other medications you are taking. This is another reason to check with your health care provider before taking supplements.
- Herbal supplement products can also have a negative effect on your body by interfering with medical treatments such as surgery.
Herbal Remedies That May Help You Control Your RA Symptoms
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 Fatty acids decrease morning stiffness and RA inflammation for many people. They have also been shown to decrease your need for pain medications. Omega 3’s do, however, increase your risk for bleeding so should not be taken if you are taking a blood thinner medication. Be sure to read the label on the bottle. You need to avoid Omega 3’s who do not state on the bottle that they are mercury free.
- Borage Oil ( also called Star Flower): Can decrease swollen and tender joints and may allow you to decrease the amount of prednisone you are taking. Like Omega 3, it can increase your risk for bleeding. There is also some possibility of liver damage with long-term use.
- Green Tea Extract: This tea is also has anti- inflammatory ingredients. It can also act to inhibit joint damage. There are essentially no side effects caused by green tea and it contains lots of aerobics that are good for your overall health.
- Tumeric: This Indian spice contains cercuen which is another substance that protects your joints from inflammation. Use it in cooking or take it as a supplement.
- Ginger: One study at the conducted at the University of Miami Medical School put patients with RA on ginger 2 x per day for 3 months. They found that the patients who received ginger had less pain and improved joint function after 3 months of treatment. Ginger can, however, cause an increased risk of bleeding.
- Avacado-soy Unsaponifiables (a vegetable extract, ASU) is used extensively in Europe to treat Osteoarthritis and studies have shown that it may help regenerate normal connective tissue and reduce the progression of osteoarthritis. The French government has tracked its safety for years and has found no safety risks. It can cause upset stomach. There is no evidence that it helps RA, If you have osteoarthritis as well as RA like I do, it may be worth investigating. Recommended dosage is 300 mg per day.
- Cayanne Pepper: Cayanne pepper has been used for years for pain control. Add it to your diet.
- Cammomile Tea: This tea also decreases inflammation and promotes sleep. I take a cup of this tea to bed with me every night. If your pain is keeping you awake, you might want to try it.
- Cat’s Claw: Decreases joint swelling and pain. Can cause nausea, dizziness and headaches.
- Devil’s Claw. Contains a substance that is effective in treating RA pain, but there are no firm study results to confirm it’s effectiveness.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D supplements have been found to inhibit RA. I can testify to this. I have had RA for 15 years and have always taken a high dose of Vitamin D because my original diagnosis was Psoriatic Arthritis ( false diagnosis). I have a family history of RA and my Rheumatoid factor has been high since I was 30 years old. My RA is fairly mild compared others. I believe Vitamin D is responsible for helping me control my RA symptoms.
May Help, but May Not Be Worth the Risk To Your Health
- White Willow Bark: Decreases the production of pain enzymes. It does, however, cause kidney problems in some people. Side effects include, nausea, increased bleeding risk and sometimes an allergic rash.
- Komkucha Tea: This tea is made from fungal mushrooms. There is a high risk of contamination from this tea.
- Colloidal Silver: This supplement contains silver. It can turn your body blue permanently, cause kidney problems, fatigue, stomach upset and even neurological problems.
- Thunder God Vine: Fights inflammation, but can cause skin rashes, nausea, temporary infertility in men and stop periods in women. Long tern use can reduce bone density. Some parts of this plant are poisonous and can cause death. Since this substance is not FDA regulated it is not worth the risk.
There are still very few studies conducted on humans for most herbal remedies for rheumatoid arthritis. Many of the substances listed above have been tested on animals, but not humans. On the other hand, many of these remedies are safe and have a history of helping many people with RA. You might want to try the safer remedies and see if they help you control your RA symptoms. Please do check with your doctor first.
Arthritis Today has a great supplement guide here.
What about you? Have you tried any herbal remedies for rheumatoid arthritis?