Rheumatoid Arthritis Herbal Remedies


Individuals with a history of corticosteroid use (e.g., prednisone) and those being weaned of corticosteroids should take adrenal-supportive herbs such as Chinese thoroughwax, licorice, and Panax ginseng.

The following herbs may be used alone or in combination with others.

  • Fresh ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties effective in the treatment of RA
  • Curcumin exerts excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
  • The cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsicum, which is very useful in relieving arthritis pain. It can be absorbed through the skin when applied topically. Caution: Capsicum may cause a stinging sensation when first used; however, the pain should cease with repeated use.
  • Burdock helps to reduce joint swelling
  • Garlic helps to prevent the formation of free radicals due to its antioxidant effects which are believed to damage the joints
  • Yucca can control swelling and irritation
  • Eucalyptus liniments are very soothing to sore, inflamed joints. Apply to effected area.
  • Angelica compress warms and stimulates muscles and relieves painful joints.
  • Bromelain helps to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Turmeric and white willow bark has anti-inflammatory properties, useful for arthritis. White willow bark is an excellent aspirin substitute and is not irritating to the stomach lining.
  • Dandelion has been found effective in relieving chronic arthritis
  • Cedar berry has been used as a remedy for chronic rheumatism
  • Other herbs found to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis include nettle, meadowsweet, cat’s claw, devil’s claw, chaparral, celery, evening primrose, and alfalfa


  • Include increased amounts of cold-water fish (mackerel, herring, sardines, and salmon) and flavonoid-rich berries (cherries, hawthorn berries, blueberries, blackberries, etc )
  • The most common offenders that can aggravate RA are milk and other daily products, wheat, corn, beef, and nightshade family foods (tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers, and tobacco)
  • Avoid potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, paprika, cayenne, and tobacco for a month to see if you find any symptomatic relief.
  • Being overweight further damages painful joints, losing those extra pounds helps considerably


A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Beta-carotene: 25,000 IU. Caution: Do not take if you are pregnant. Note: Recent studies have cast doubt on the benefits of getting beta-carotene through supplementation. The best way to take beta-carotene into your body is through foods high in beta-carotene, such as carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, papaya, mangoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Copper: 1-2 milligrams
  • Selenium: 100-200 micrograms
  • Vitamin C: 2,000 milligrams. Caution: Doses of vitamin C larger than 1,200 milligrams a day can produce diarrhea in some people.
  • Vitamin E: 400 IU. Caution: If you are taking anticoagulants, you should not take vitamin E supplements
  • Zinc: 23 milligrams (zinc picolinate or zinc citrate).  Caution: Do not exceed a total of 80 milligrams daily from all supplements. Taking over 80 milligrams of zinc daily can weaken the immune system
  • Pantothenic acid: 500 milligrams 4 times/day
  • Manganese: 15 milligrams
  • Flaxseed oil: 1 tablespoon /day
  • Fish oil: 1,000 mg three times a day. In addition increase your consumption of fish
  • Boron: 2 milligrams

Note: If you take NSAIDs for pain relief: vitamin B1: 100 milligrams; vitamin B12: 1,000 micrograms in tablets dissolved under the tongue. (these supplements may allow you to reduce your drug dose)

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications.  Such interactions can be dangerous.  Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled.  Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven.  Consult your physician.  Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking.  Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.