Benefits of Herbs for Osteoarthritis
Herbal remedies are valuable weapons to use if you are living with osteoarthritis. Herbs work in several ways to maintain joint health, enhance mobility, and decrease pain. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective herbs for osteoarthritis to help make living with OA less challenging.
Devil’s claw is an herb from Africa. I have used it extensively for people who have a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. It is available in the forms of extracts, dried roots, capsules and pills. All are effective. If using the dried root, consume 1-3 grams three times daily. Follow label instructions if you are using a commercially prepared product.
In my experience, devil’s claw either works incredibly well or not at all. If it is going to work, symptoms are relieved in less than one month. I would not recommend using it for over a month if no improvement is felt. When devil’s claw works, it relieves joint stiffness and pain dramatically. Devil’s claw is one of the first herbs that I recommend when people suffer from osteoarthritis of the hands or fingers.
Shitake, maitake, and turkey tail mushrooms are classified as herbal adaptogens. Over the past few decades, a great deal of research has been conducted about the healing benefits of adaptogenic herbs.
Adaptogens are powerful, well-tolerated, slow-working herbs that strengthen the body, reduce wear and tear, and improve your ability to cope with chronic pain and stress. Adaptogenic mushrooms will help you to sleep better, undisturbed from joint pain. Flexibility will also be improved. The mushrooms take several months to reach maximum effectiveness.
Medicinal mushrooms prevent your joints from damage caused by free radicals. Turkey tail mushrooms may reduce free radical, age-related changes by up to 60 percent. Shitake and maitake mushrooms may be included in the diet or taken as herbal supplements. Fresh shitakes are available in large supermarkets, while maitakes grow in temperate climates and are available seasonally in some locales. You could also opt to grow your own mushrooms on pre-inoculated logs. If you gather wild mushrooms, be sure that you identify them properly. Turkey tails are not generally consumed as food, but include one or two cups of fresh shitakes or maitakes in your diet several times each week.
If fresh mushrooms are unavailable, shitakes and maitakes may be purchased and used in dried forms. If you plan to purchase dried mushrooms for healing purposes, obtain them in bulk online from an herbalist, or at a natural food store, as the cost of packages sold in grocery stores is prohibitive and the amounts provided will be inadequate for medicinal use.
Turkey tail mushrooms are best consumed in tincture form. I do not recommend the use of pills or capsules as the healing compounds are not as readily available as those from the tinctured form. Concentrated shitake and maitake extracts are available as well; all are very effective. Follow label instructions.
Herbal poultices quickly and effectively relieve painful and stiff joints. It is simple to make a warming herbal poultice at home. The amounts in the following recipe may be adjusted dependent upon how large an area you are treating.
- Dried, powdered ginger
- Vinegar (any inexpensive vinegar will do)
- A soft thick cloth which is large enough to cover the affected joint.