10 Effective Natural Herbs to Treat Joint Pain
Published on Sep 09, 2019
By Dr. Surya Bhagwati
Chief In- House Doctor
BAMS, DHA, DHHCM, DHBTC | 30+ Years of Experience
We rarely give it much thought, but our joints are critical to mobility and motility. After all, you can’t live an active and fulfilling life if your joints are constantly acting up and you’re in pain. Unfortunately, joint pain is an exceedingly common problem, usually caused by inflammation, degenerative joint disease, and injury. While conventional medications can provide relief, pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories and pain medications can cause other serious side effects, making natural treatments a good option. Ayurved gives us some of the best herbs and medicines for joint pain, so let’s take a look at some that have proven to be effective.
The Best Herbs for Joint Pain Relief
In the Ayurvedic system, arthritic joint diseases are described as amavata, which manifests as a result of vata aggravation and the buildup of ama or toxins. Guggul has been used to relieve and treat joint pain naturally as it is believed to help detoxify the body, reducing ama, while it also helps to balance vata dosha. Clinical studies have also found notable joint health benefits from guggul supplementation, with some observing notable pain relief and reduction in symptoms of severe joint diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the herb aids weight loss, which can reduce stress on the joints.
Nirgundi is an herb that is native to Asia and is widely used not just in Ayurved, but also in traditional medical systems like Unnani, Sidha, and Chinese medicine. Noted for its strong anti-inflammatory properties, the herb is often used to treat pain and inflammatory conditions such as migraines, asthma, wounds, and also joint pain. Every part of the herb, from the leaves to the bark, contains medicinal properties. Nirgundi extracts can be consumed in a wide range of Ayurvedic products, including topical applications like Pain Relief Oil or balm for joint pain relief.
Capsaicin is not a herb itself, but is a bioactive compound that is found in foods we often eat, including capsicums or bell peppers and chilies. While adding more chilies to your diet may not be the best idea, bell peppers can help. You could also opt for Ayurvedic medications, supplements, or balms that contain the ingredient. Research has shown it to be so effective at relieving inflammation and joint pain that capsaicin is now used in conventional medications too. As an added benefit, capsaicin has also demonstrated anti-obesity effects.
For most Indians, haldi is something that we use almost daily in practically every dish. It’s not just a flavoring ingredient however, and has a long history of use in Ayurved for pain relief. The herb has been closely studied for decades and its anti-inflammatory effect has been well established, with most of the benefits attributed to organic compounds like curcumin. These compounds are so effective at treating joint pain that research also suggests they can slow the progression of joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Haritaki is another important ingredient in herbal Ayurvedic medications for joint pain disorders. It’s also known for its immune boosting effect, among other benefits, and is one of the primary ingredients in the ancient Ayurvedic formulation triphala. In herbal medications for joint pain, haritaki is often used for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, to provide relief and also to reduce the severity of symptoms. These benefits of haritaki are supported by evidence from research suggesting a more important role for the herb in joint disease management.
Amla is best known as a powerhouse of vitamin C, which is why it is the primary ingredient in My Prash Chyawanprash and other products to boost immunity. This feature of the herb doesn’t just help with immune function, as vitamin C is also essential for the optimal absorption of minerals and nutrients that are vital to skeletal health or bone density. In addition, the herb has proven analgesic effects that can be beneficial to people suffering from joint disease, among other painful conditions.
Eucalyptus is best known for its oil, which is commonly used in the treatment of respiratory disorders and as an antimicrobial agent to fight skin infections. Aside from these benefits, eucalyptus is also a helpful herb when you’re dealing with aches and pains, whether connected to joint disease or overuse injuries. Research published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation even found eucalyptus oil to be effective as a topical application for pain relief.
Yes, ginger and ginger tea may be great medicine for coughs and colds, but the wonderful herb also has a role to play in the management of joint disease. Those same organic compounds in ginger that provide relief from throat inflammation can also help relieve joint pain, with some studies suggesting anti-inflammatory benefits when dealing with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger’s beneficial effects on circulation may also help relieve joint pain and reduce symptom severity.
9. Flax Seed
Flax seed is a common kitchen ingredient for most of us, but there is growing evidence for its health benefits. Most of these therapeutic effects are linked to the seed’s high content of Omega-3 (ALA), which is essential for a healthy inflammatory response and immune function. Adding a tablespoon or two of the seeds to your daily diet can give you a good dose of the essential nutrient, especially if you are a vegan and cannot get it from fatty fish.
It’s the first herb that comes to mind when you think of natural supplements for muscle growth, but ashwagandha has a lot more to offer. The herb, which is classified as a rasayana or rejuvenant in Ayurved is also effective for inflammatory joint disease and is sometimes used in herbal medications for joint pain. Through its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, ashwagandha reduces joint pain caused by inflammation and relieves joint pain. By lowering stress levels, which can be a trigger for inflammatory attacks, the herb also reduces the frequency and severity of joint pain.
If you’re unsure about the underlying cause of your joint pain, consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and for more personalized recommendations with regard to herbal medications and their dosage.
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