Osteoarthritis Natural Remedies

What are some osteoarthritis natural remedies that work?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease affecting the joints. The weight-bearing joints are the ones most likely to be affected.

In the past, it was referred to as "wear & tear" disease, but now it is known that this condition is the results of aging combined with joint damage.

For osteoarthritis (OA), we recommend trying natural treatments as a first step for treating and possibly curing or slowing down it down. There are a various natural cures that you can try.

Below is a detail list of natural herbal remedies that have been used around the world to treat OA.

Best Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis Pain

Natural Remedies What Experts Say...
Capsicum
(Capsaicin)
(What's This?)

Also known as cayenne pepper, it contains the natural and powerful pain relieving ingredient capsaicin. Applying capsaicin cream onto the affected joint is very effective for reducing pain from arthritis.

Dose: Typical strength is 0.025 to 0.075% cream applied three to four times daily.

See Benefits of Cayenne Pepper to get more information.

Glucosamine Sulfate

Glucosamine sulfate has been studies to help prevent joint damage. It is often used with chondroitin.

Use glucosamine sulfate instead of glucosamine hydrochloride. Sulfur is used by the body to repair the cartilage.

Dose: Typical dosage used is 1,500 mg of glucosamine daily.

See Review of Glucosamine to get more information.

SAMe
(S-adenosyl-L- methionine)

Many studies show that SAMe is effective for treating the pain from osteoarthritis.

It appears to be as effective as prescription anti-inflammatory drugs (although not all studies show positive results).

In research studies, reported side effects include headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea and anxiety.

Dose: Take 200 mg taken three times daily. 

Turmeric (Curcumin)

Studies have shown that turmeric is as effective for osteoarthritis pain as the non-prescription drug ibuprofen.

The review Evidence for Using Turmeric to Reduce Arthritis Pain outlines some of the research done to show that it works.

Dose: Take 500 mg turmeric two three times daily.

Chondroitin

Chondroitin is often used with glucosamine to help prevent joint damage.

Dose: Experts suggest taking 800 to 1,200 mg daily.

See Review of Chondroitin to get more information.

MSM Methyl Sulfonyl Methane leaf

MSM is a rich source of sulfur. Sulfur is used by the body for building and maintaining the cartilage.

Dose: Take 500 mg three times daily.

Click here for a detailed review

Bromelain (Bromelin) leaf

Bromelain possesses antiinflammatory activity and has been shown to help reduce arthritis pain.

Dose: Take 250 to 1000 mg twice daily.

See Health Benefits of Bromelain for a full review of this naturally occurring enzyme.

Willow Bark leaf

Studies report that willow bark is useful in reducing back pain as it contains the ingredient salicin which converts to salicylic acid (similar to ASA).

Mild side effects include stomach ache. People who are allergic to ASA (Aspirin) or other anti-inflammatory drugs should not take willow bark.

As well, those with a history of stomach ulcer or heartburn should not take this supplement.

Dose: Take an extract that contains 100 to 300 mg of salicin.  

Boswellia leaf

Several studies clearly show that boswellia significantly reduces swelling and pain caused by arthritis.

The subjects in the study reported mild side effects only such as heartburn, nausea and diarrhea.

Dose: Take 300 mg three times daily.   

Stinging Nettle leaf

Research studies show that stinging nettle helps to reduce the pain from osteoarthritis. It shows anti-inflammatory activities.

This is true both of the oral pill and topically applied creams. It is commonly used in Germany to help with arthritis.

Some side effects include stomach aches, sweating and skin reactions.

Dose: Take 300 mg three times daily.  

Did you know that exercises designed to strengthen the muscle and a mild walking program can help to reduce osteoarthritis pain and to keep the joint fluid?

As well, some experts suggest increasing your intake of antioxidants such fruits and vegetables along with antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C and E as a measure to protect the joints.

You can combine oral natural antiinflammatories like turmeric with cream containing capsaicin to give you added benefits and maximum pain relief.

Below is a table listing natural remedies that have less evidence that they work for osteoarthritis pain. Try the recommendations listed above first.

Other Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis Pain

Natural Remedies What Experts Say...
Fish Oil
(Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
leaf

Some studies have suggested that fish oil, which is rich in omeg-3 fatty acids, may help with arthritis pain since it possesses antiinflammatory effects.

Dose: Fish oil contains DHA and EPA and experts suggest a dose of 1,800 mg of DHA and 1,200 mg of EPA. That amounts to about 10 grams of fish oil daily, a high dose. (Fish oil contains about 18% DHA & 12% EPA.)

See Health Benefits of Fish Oil for more information.

DMSO
(dimethylsulfoxide)
leaf

Click here for a detailed review.

Devil's Claw leaf

Research evidence shows that devil's claw is effective for controlling pain, especially of the lower back. It seems to be as effective as some prescription anti-inflammatory drugs.

Dose: Typical dosage is 600 to 1,200 mg taken three times daily. It is standardized to contain 50 to 100 mg of harpagoside.

Celadrin
(cetylated fatty acids)
leaf

Research studies show that Celadrin is effective in reducing pain and stiffness of the knee. This benefit is seen for both the oral pill and topical cream formulation.

Dose: Typical dosage is 350 mg taken one to six times daily.  

Rutin leaf

Rutin is a citrus bioflavonoids and is sometimes considered a vitamin. It is found in several forms such as hesperidin, eriodictyl quercein, rutin and hesperitin.

It shows strong anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties. Some research studies show that rutin helps to relieve osteoarthritis pain of the knee.

Side effects are mild and include headache and stomach aches.

Dose: Take 100 to 500 mg taken three times daily.  

Trypsin leaf

Trypsin is a digestive enzyme similar to Bromelain. It is often used in combination with rutin and bromelain to treat osteoarthritis. Research studies support the claim that trypsin helps reduce pain and stiffness. Side effects are not commonly reported for trypsin.

Dose: Take 50 to 100 mg three times daily.  

Cat's Claw leaf

Some small studies show that cat's claw helps to reduce pain in as fast as one week. Reported side effects include headache and dizziness.

Dose: Typical dosage is 100 mg daily.

Guggul leaf

One small research study showed that guggul was effective in reducing osteoarthritis pain.

Dose: Typical dosage is 500 mg taken three times daily. It is standardized to contain 3.5% guggulsterones.

Yucca

Yacca has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-viral properties. Some research studies suggest it might be helpful in reducing painful arthritis.

Dose: Take 500 to 1,000 mg of the powder is taken two to three times daily.  

Ginger Helpful

The antiinflammatory effects of ginger can be helpful in treating osteoarthritis, hip and knee pains and other arthritic conditions  

Shark Cartilage Helpful

Shark cartilage contains large quantities of chondroitin and has been suggested for treating osteoarthritis.

Dose: The amount of shark cartilage to take would be based on the amount of chondroitin contained in it.

Apple Cider Vinegar Apple cider vinegar is traditionally used to reduce the pain and inflammation from arthritis. However, there is no studies to support this use for apple cider vinegar.  

Bottom Line

There are many remedies available that help to reduce osteoarthritis pain.

Start with those that have the most evidence such as turmeric, glucosamine, capsicum.

Although many people can experience the benefit within days of taking some of these supplements, some could take months before they show any effect.

In particular, glucosamine and chondroitin takes many months as these supplements are designed to improve joint quality rather than directly reducing pain.

Capsaicin, on the other hand, are designed to reduce inflammation.

Turmeric, a popular spice, have shown to be as effective as ibuprofen (Advil / Motrin) in just several weeks. And this is shown in many clinical trials.

And if those fail to reduce the pain, then perhaps consider supplementing them with over-the-counter (non-prescription) antiinflammatory medications like ibuprofen (Advil / Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).

Ultimately, as a last resort, there are prescription antiinflammatory medications that you might want to consider.

When trying different remedies, take one at a time for several weeks. This will allow you to find out which one works.

And when choosing natural remedies, stick with those that are standardized to the active ingredients. This will ensure that you get the same amount of the ingredients each time. Most reputable manufacturers will always do this.

Related to Osteoarthritis Supplements

Return to Home Page for Osteoarthritis

Revised: 20.06.2015

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