There's no cure for osteoarthritis, but you can manage the symptoms. If you prefer a more natural approach rather than relying on pain relieving drugs, here's a look at three herbs that may help ease your arthritis pain and make your daily life more comfortable.
Boswellia is a type of tree that is native to India. Sometimes, it may be sold as Indian frankincense. The gum resin from its bark is said to help relieve inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Compounds known as boswellic acids may also help prevent future cartilage loss, slowing arthritis progression.
Experts recommend taking boswellia in capsule form. A dose of 300 - 400 mg three times per day is ideal for most patients. Though boswellia is safe for most people, you should check with your doctor before taking it if you are taking any other medications currently. It may interfere with their effectiveness.
Found in the Amazon rainforest, cat's claw is a woody vine whose bark and roots have been used in South American medicine for centuries. It has not been studied extensively, but one study did indicate that it helped relieve arthritis pain -- and with no worrying side effects. It is thought to work by increasing the blood flow to certain tissues, and also by reducing inflammation.
Studies have not been conducted to determine the proper dosage of cat's claw, but trials that have been conducted have used an oral dose of 60 mg per day. Talk to your doctor to ensure this is a proper dose for you to take.
Eucalyptus is perhaps the best-known herbal treatment for arthritis pain. This shrub is native to Australia, but thanks to its popularity in cosmetics and health remedies, it is also cultivated widely in the United States. Eucalyptus is effective in alleviating arthritis pain when applied topically to the joints. It should not be taken orally.
To use eucalyptus to treat your arthritis, combine two to three drops of eucalyptus essential oil with about ten drops of a carrier oil like almond or olive oil. This will prevent the strong eucalyptus oil from irritating your skin. Massage the blended oil over your sore joints. Repeat as often as needed throughout the day.
Keep in mind that these herbal remedies -- in particular, the oral ones -- may take some time to take effect. Be patient, and talk to a local doctor, such as Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates, if you have any concerns about arthritis pain management.