Herbs for Rheumatoid Arthritis (herbal medicine for arthritis)

Are you looking for herbs for rheumatoid arthritis? Herbal medicine for rheumatoid arthritis has been around for centuries and many of these treatments are still being used by herbalists and doctors today – because they are effective.

arthritic hand pic

Do you or someone you know suffer with arthritis?  Do you suffer with swollen joints and constant pain?  Is your activity restricted because of good days and bad days due to pain and limited range of motion from arthritis?

arthritic joint diagram

Are you concerned about all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you have to take for the pain and swelling and what those drugs might be doing to your body?  Many people live fairly normal lives without all the side effects and dangers of chemical drugs.

There are many herbs and other alternatives that have been used to treat arthritis which is, in fact, an autoimmune disease.

This is an extensive list.  I would not suggest that you try to take all of these herbs and supplements. I started to call it “The Baker’s Dozen” however, the list got longer than 13 (which is officially a baker’s dozen) so I had to change the title.

As with any herbal treatment, I would suggest you consult with your health care professional before you begin.

Also, always begin with just one herb, never a formula or combination of herbs.  That way, if one doesn’t work or causes any kind of reaction, you will know it is the one you just began to take.

Your pharmacist may be able to help you further to know about any interactions with chemical medications.

Here’s what I’ve found in my research:

Burdock Root



Burdock Root is an anti-inflammatory full of essential fatty acids.  Increasing essential fatty acids in your diet is at the top of things to do for any autoimmune disease.


Cayenne  cayenne pepper

Cayenne peppers contain capsaicin – a powerful pain reliever.  Capsaicin works by triggering the release of endorphins in the brain which results in pain relief.  Many over-the-counter arthritis creams containing capsaicin are sold even in pharmacies today.



Celery Seed


Celery seed has long been used in India as a treatment for arthritis.  It is an anti-inflammatory.  Research has begun to identify other properties of celery seed that make it a good choice for help with arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

Dandelion Rootdandelion-root

Well known as a liver-cleansing herb, dandelion root stimulates the liver which helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis.



ginger root


While ginger’s reputation is for soothing upset tummies and helping with nausea, ginger is actually an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.  It increases the body’s own production of cortisone and is good to replace pain relieving drugs in the category called NSAIDs. Ginger should not be used along with blood thinners.

Juniper BerriesJuniper-Berries

The use of juniper berries can be traced back to ancient Greece.  Olympians used it to build stamina.  Egyptians used juniper to embalm the dead. It is actually used to produce the alcoholic beverage known as Gin.  Juniper is an anti-inflammatory and diuretic. Juniper cleanses the kidneys of toxins which is just as important as cleansing the liver.  This is especially good for fluid retention and symptoms of “heavy” legs.  Juniper should not be used over a long period of time.



Licorice is an anti-inflammatory that mimics your body’s natural corticosteroids.  Licorice should not be used by those with high blood pressure or other heart problems, low potassium or kidney disease.

Mustard Seed

mustard seed crop


Mustard seed is a powerful anti-inflammatory.  It is most often used as an infusion in a soak for joint pain or as a plaster for swelling.



Another powerful anti-inflammatory, nettle leaf tea nourishes the adrenals and kidneys.  It helps with water retention as well.

pineapple plant     Pineapple

Bromelain in pineapple has a similar effect to many chemical drugs called NSAID’s which relieve pain and are anti-inflammatory.  Bromelain helps to break down protein. It reduces swelling and relieves pain.  It should not be taken with blood thinners, although you can just eat pineapple more often!

Rosemary          rosemary3

“Rosemary, that’s for remembrance” – from Hamlet – I heard that long, long ago and, for some reason, it stuck with me.  In Shakespeare’s time it was used in arrangements for bridesmaids and for funerals. As far back as ancient Greece, rosemary was used to help with the memory – students would braid it into their hair at exam time.  There is so much more to tell about rosemary – it has a long and colorful history.  Rosemary oil is excellent for use in a massage oil to help with the pain and aching that comes with arthritis.  It helps reduce spasms and cramps.

tart cherry    Tart Cherry

Tart cherry is such a powerful anti-inflammatory that it actually can compete in results with chemical drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen.  Of course, the pharmaceutical world would prefer you to continue using their brand of pain reliever which, by the way, can actually have deadly side effects!

Ask a nephrologist about how many of their patients are in kidney failure due to aspirin abuse.

Enter the natural and very effective NSAD – tart cherry!

This is due to powerful components called anthocyanins.  All berries are loaded with anthocyanins and each one seems to have a favorite area of the body.  That’s a story for another day.


Fresh turmeric root and ground spice - shallow depth of field ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Fresh turmeric root and ground spice –


Turmeric is another powerful anti-inflammatory.  It has been used for arthritis and similar conditions since ancient times.  Turmeric is being studied today for many reasons, including cancer research.

More information on turmeric can be found in my post related to Psoriasis.

Do be careful and avoid if you are on blood thinners or if you have gallbladder disease.  Avoid in pregnancy.  Also, discontinue several days prior to any kind of surgery.

Willow Bark        white-willow

Willow bark contains a substance called salicyn which is, in a natural form, the precursor to today’s aspirin.  It is an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.

I hope you enjoyed this list of herbs for rheumatoid arthritis.  Herbal medicine for arthritis and the pain and inflammation it causes is a good alternative to chemical medicine.

Please comment below and tell me about your experiences with any of these herbs.  I do try to use herbs that are readily available in the US but, if you have others you’d like to know about please let me know.



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  1. Sandy says:

    Great and very useful article for people who suffer from arthritis like my father. His arthritis is quite mild so the herbal treatment hopefully will be enough and he won’t need any prescription drugs. Interesting think is that many of the herbs you mentioned I use when I cook. You wrote so many of them. Should we try to use all or many of them or just pick up a few? If a few which ones would you recommend?

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks so much for your comments Sandy. To answer your question, always add only one herb at a time. If you have any kind of good or bad reaction you will know it was that particular herb. Maybe start with tart cherry. Take it for about 2 weeks before you try adding anything else. Work from there. Also, using them in cooking is a good thing too. You can use more of any or all of these in your foods if you are already accustomed to them. Let me know how things go for your dad.



  2. brandon says:

    Hey Debby,
    Thanks for the list of different herbs. I don’t actually have arthritis, but I think I might start eating more pineapple;)
    I was wondering though… My dad has MS. Would these herbs be useful for him? Do you think it could help relieve some of the pain instead of the shots he has to take everyday?

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Thanks for your comments Brandon. Yes, some of these herbs would be useful in MS. I did a post about vitamin D3 and MS. Take a look at that one. Come back again, as I am going to do some further posts about MS and things that might help with that.



  3. Gina says:

    Wow! There are so many options.
    I don’t have anything diagnosed but I’ve always had wrist problems. Working at home on the laptop all day takes a toll on my wrist as well. Natural remedies are always the best idea so I’m glad I found this. I have never heard of a bunch of these but they’ll be fun to try, to see what works best!

    • Debby Morrow says:

      Great. Be sure to only try one of these at a time so you can evaluate how it works for you. Thanks for your comment and please, come back and let me know what kind of relief you get.



  4. Debbie says:

    I need to try cayenne pepper or something because I can tell the ibuprofen is hurting my stomach…plus my Dr. says causes my ears to ring. (which I don’t believe her on that as they ring 24/7 without any drug helping) Now to find the pills!! Thanks for your helpful advice.

    • Debby Morrow says:

      That’s true Debbie, if it’s hurting your stomach your definitely need to stop taking it. You might also want to add Burdock Root to address the source of the problem. Add the Burdock at least a week after you try the Cayenne. Also, in case you didn’t notice, Tart Cherry acts like an NSAID without all the side effects such as the damage to your stomach.

      Please be sure to visit often and let me know how you are doing.

      And feel free to scroll down to the bottom of the post so that you can share it with your friends on facebook, pinterest, and google, etc.


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