Arthritis Natural Remedy

Written By: Chloe Wilson, BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
Reviewed by: KPE Medical Review Board

Arthritis Natural Remedy Options: Which ones work best

Arthritis natural remedy treatments are becoming an increasing popular choice as part of arthritis management.

The Arthritis Foundation reports that approximately two thirds of arthritis sufferers have tried alternative home remedies for arthritis, many of whom have found them very beneficial.

When opting for natural remedies for arthritis, people are generally looking for help relieving pain, stiffness, depression, anxiety, stress and poor sleep that often accompany arthritis.

Here, we will look at the different arthritis natural remedy options, how they work, which ones are most effective and how to use them safely.

Arthritis Natural Remedy Options

Some natural arthritis remedies can work really well and more research is being done to look into their effectiveness.  However, many more don’t work or haven’t been studied enough.  What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. 

Arthritis is unpredictable and arthritis symptoms can vary massively from day to day which can make it hard to evaluate the effect of treatments. There are three main options when looking at arthritis natural remedy are:

  1. Supplements: natural products e.g. glucosamine and SAMe
  2. Homeopathy: herbal products e.g. Boswellia and Ginger
  3. Alternative Medicine: other common remedies that can help eg copper bracelets and magnets

Here, we will look at some of the most popular natural arthritis relief options, concentrating on supplements and homeopathy and what evidence there is behind them. We will also look at the safety issues associated with using a natural arthritis remedy. We will then go on to look at other alternative medicine options for arthritis.

Supplements For Arthritis

Supplements are one of the most popular types of arthritis natural remedy.  They are commonly available now from supermarkets, health shops and online. 

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are thought to reduce inflammation and are one of the most commonly used arthritis natural remedy.

Several studies have shown a decrease in pain and fatigue for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) sufferers, which returned when the supplements were stopped.  Other studies have shown a reduction in the morning stiffness associated with RA*.

However, conclusive evidence is lacking, and benefits tend to be short lived.  Possible side effects include prolonged bleeding and an increased risk of stroke so always talk to your doctor before taking them. Some fish oil supplements contain high levels of mercury or vitamin A which can be toxic so always check before you buy.

A good alternative is to eat more foods rich in omega-3 such as oily fish, broccoli, flaxseed (ground or oil), wheat germ, tofu, soy milk, Chinese greens, legumes, beans and walnuts. Average user rating 4.6/5LEARN MORE >

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2. Glucosamine

Glucosamine can help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis

Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance found in joints and connective tissue.

The main functions of glucosamine are to repair cartilage and maintain joint mobility and it claims to slow the deterioration of cartilage*.

There are two different types of glucosamine supplements you can take as an arthritis natural remedy, glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. 

Glucosamine sulfate tends to have better results with arthritis when taking 1,500mg daily. Average user rating 4.6/5LEARN MORE >

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3. Chondroitin

Chondroitin can be a useful arthritis natural remedy

Chondroitin is an increasingly popular arthritis natural remedy which claims to reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint function and slow the progression of arthritis. 

It can take about a month to notice the effects from taking chondroitin so don't worry if you don't notice the effects immediately. A review of over a dozen studies showed significant improvement in pain and function*. 

Another good thing about chondroitin is that there aren’t really any major side effects so it may be worth trying this arthritis natural remedy. Average user rating 4.4/5LEARN MORE >

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4. Combined Glucosamine & Chondroitin

Many arthritis sufferers opt for combined glucosamine and chondroitin natural remedies

Combined glucosamine and chondroitin may be more effective than taking them in isolation, and can reduce pain more than taking painkillers. It has therefore become an extremely popular arthritis natural remedy.

A large study was carried out by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) looking at the effect of Glucosamine and chondroitin taken in isolation or together compared to an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) or placebo pill, tracking results over 2 years. They looked at the effects on pain levels, and progression of the disease. 

The study of 1,583 people with knee osteoarthritis showed that the combined supplements were more effective than when taken in isolation, however in people suffering from mild-moderate pain, they were not statistically better than placebo or the NSAID celecoxib (Celebrex). 

However, people who reported moderate to severe pain did show significant benefit, even more than with the NSAID. The results showed that there was no difference in the structural damage between the groups*. Average user rating 4.6/5LEARN MORE >

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5. SAM-e

SAMe is becoming an increasing popular arthritis natural remedy

SAM-e (S-Adenosyl-L-methionine), sometimes known as Ademetionine is another popular arthritis natural remedy. 

SAM-e is a natural chemical found in the body that supposedly increases blood levels of proteoglycans—molecules that seem to play a key role in preserving cartilage by helping to keep it “plumped up” and well oxygenated”*.

Over the last two decades, multiple clinical trials involving thousands of people have shown that SAM-e is comparable to NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories) in terms of the effect on pain relief and inflammation in osteoarthritis sufferers, but with fewer side effects*. Average user rating 4.5/5LEARN MORE >

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Arthritis Homeopathy

Arthritis homeopathy involves using natural products to help reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness without the need for chemicals. It takes very small doses from plants and/or minerals and uses them to boost the body’s immune system.

1. Boswellia (Indian Frankincense)

Boswellia is thought to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and painkiller*. In one study, it decreased arthritis pain by over 80%. In another study, people taking Boswellia reported less pain, better mobility and were able to walk further than those taking a placebo pill.

It generally receives excellent user reviews for reducing pain and stiffness making it a popular arthritis homeopathy product. Average user rating 4.5/5LEARN MORE >

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2. Feverfew

Feverfew has been used for centuries for arthritis homeopathy. It is thought that Feverfew reduces the production of substances that cause and prolong inflammation.

Some studies have found that the anti-inflammatory effects of this herb are greater than those achieved by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories e.g. ibuprofen)*. It is most commonly used to relieve migraines, but is now becoming popular with arthritis sufferers.

There are few side effects but it should not be taken during pregnancy or when breast feeding. Average user rating 4.4/5LEARN MORE >

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3. Ginger Root

Ginger has long been known to help with travel sickness and nausea, but now there is a lot of interest in its use for joint problems. It is thought that

Ginger root (Zingiber Officinale) works by increasing circulation which takes inflammatory chemicals away from arthritic joints*.

In one study, more than 75% of participants suffering from arthritis reported at least some relief from pain and swelling when taking a daily dose of ginger. Even after more than two years of taking these high doses of ginger, none of the people reported side effects. Average user rating 4.5/5LEARN MORE >

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4. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil contains GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which is an essential fatty acid. Studies suggest that GLA can help decrease pain, swelling and stiffness associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), but it only works when taken orally*.

One of the most promising studies showed significant improvements related to joint pain, stiffness and grip strength in people who had taken GLA for six months. GLA doses at this level were found to be safe and effective for RA. Average user rating 4.6/5LEARN MORE >

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Are Natural Remedies Right For Me?

Any arthritis nautral remedy that does provide relief tends to work to reduce symptoms, rather than stopping the progression of the disease. Whilst the scientific evidence behind arthritis homeopathy products is often lacking, some people do find considerable benefit from using them.

Arthritis symptoms can differ massively from person to person which can lead to different responses to arthritis homeopathy – what works well for one person might not work at all for someone else. It can take up to a couple of months to notice the effects from homeopathic substance. 

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Usually there is no harm in trying natural arthritis relief, but this is not always the case – don’t just assume that because they are “natural” there won’t be side effects. 

You should never turn down proven conventional therapy in favor of natural arthritis remedies. 

Always check with your doctor before taking any arthritis natural remedy, be it supplements or homeopathy, especially if you are on any medication. Herbal supplements can have strong side effects and they could have unknown and potentially dangerous interactions with medication.

Prescribed drugs are very carefully regulated and checked for side effects. Herbal drugs do not have to go through any safety tests before going on the market, so do be aware. Some studies have shown that what is on the label doesn’t always match what is on the bottle of natural herbal remedies so use caution and always buy any arthritis natural remedy rom a reputable retailer.

What Else Can Help?

Here we have concentrated on supplements and homeopathy as an arthritis natural remedy to reduce arthritic symptoms. Other natural arthritis remedies include:

If you would like to find out about more conventional treatments, visit the Knee Arthritis Treatment section.

You can also check out our book Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control. It is the top rated book on Knee Arthritis on Amazon with an average user review rating of 4.4/5.  It's packed full of great information from exercises to knee replacements and everything in between. A perfect guide for anyone who is suffering from knee arthritis.

Page Last Updated: 17/01/24
Next Review Due: 17/01/26


*Prices correct as of February 2024.  All prices are subject to change.  Please note we do not stock products directly and therefore have no control over price changes.  See advertising policy for more information.

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References:

  1. WebMD: Natural Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  2. Arthritis Today: Glucosamine
  3. Arthritis Today: Chondroitin Sulfate
  4. NIH: GAIT Trial
  5. NIH: SAMe
  6. Arthritis Today: SAMe
  7. Arthritis Foundation: Boswellia
  8. Herb Wisdom: Feverfew
  9. Arthritis Foundation: Ginger
  10. Arthritis Foundation: Evening Primrose Oil