HERBS FOR JOINT PAIN: PART III
Updated: Jul 13, 2021
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium): also known as wild chamomile, Feverfew has a bright, cheery flower with a long stem, yellow bee, and white petals. It is a sunflower family plant that is useful in the treatment of migraines, the inflammatory stages of arthritis, and painful menstrual periods.
Feverfew has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, and it’s a natural sedative with similar effects to chamomile. The potent anti-inflammatory benefits come from the phytochemical parthenolide, which decreases the production of inflammatory cytokines while improving liver function. Studies show that the feverfew flower is effective at treating inflammation associated with encephalitis, and multiple sclerosis, and reducing signs of inflammatory bowel disease, and joint inflammation.
To soothe the signs of inflammation, drink a few cups of feverfew tea each day.
Ginger: (Zingiber officinale): Ginger tea is popular, especially in South and East Asia. Use of ginger tea is praised in ancient Chinese medicines and Ayurveda as an antioxidant that contains antibacterial properties. It cures diseases like cold, flu, and nausea, and improves digestion and appetite.
Ginger root extract is a strong natural anti-inflammatory, making it a great choice for managing pain levels. Ginger root accomplishes this by preventing the creation of the elements that cause inflammation. Ginger helps to prevent the formation of cytokines, specific immune chemicals that cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joints. The phytochemical gingerol is the reason for its healing action. The activity of gingerols assist the body to stop the creation of the inflammatory process. Ginger root helps to lessen pain levels over a period of time, and gives enhanced ease of movement in the joints.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica): also known as ‘the brain herb’, studies have shown that Gotu kola may boost memory, increase concentration and improve learning capabilities. It is Adaptogenic, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, an adrenal strengthener, a blood purifier, a nervine, a sedative, and a tonic. The kidney-shaped leaves of Gotu Kola contain vitamins A, B, C, D and K, as well calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silica and zinc.
The asiaticoside constituent in Gotu kola has the action of speeding the healing of wounds and accelerating the repair of connective tissue, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, bone fractures, and repair of veins and arteries. The phytochemicals contained in the plant also relieve the pain of rheumatism and arthritis.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna): the leaves, berries, and flowers of the Hawthorn tree are filled with flavonoids which are responsible for the herb’s healing power. Flavonoids are plant pigments that have the same heart-protecting effects as the tannins in red wine. There are more than five different flavonoids in the Hawthorn herb, but vitexin and hyperoside are found in the highest concentrations. These flavonoids give a rich, vibrant hue to the flowers and berries of the Hawthorn tree, and also give the herb many health benefits, including blocking enzymes that destroy heart muscle and tissue, strengthening cardiac muscles, and fighting heart disease by causing the heart to pump blood more easily and vigorously.
The joint pain caused by arthritis or gout occur when the inflamed joints lose collagen and protein. This can be can be alleviated by Hawthorn because the herb helps the body retain more protein and collagen to support joints and allow joints to move with ease.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): also known as “Queen of the Meadow”, meadowsweet loves to grow in damp meadows and banks. It grows from 3 to 7 feet tall. The individual flowers are quite small but have five petals and many stamens, typical of the rose family. The leaves are dark green on top with a whitish and downy color on the underside. They grow as leaflets that are three to five lobed on the terminal leaflet. Meadowsweet blooms from June to September and boasts creamy white flowers. The flowers are strongly aromatic and sweet smelling.
Herbalists use meadowsweet to treat a variety of conditions including pain, indigestion, heartburn, arthritis, gastritis, chronic ulcers, peptic ulcer, minor stomach upsets, and diarrhea. Meadowsweet has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and astringent actions. A simple meadowsweet tea is wonderful medicine. It is strongly aromatic, sweet, and slightly astringent. Use a heaping tablespoon per pint of water. Steep covered for 15 minutes. It will get noticeably more bitter with the longer steeping time. Meadowsweet also works well as an alcohol extract or tincture. Generally, a small amount of glycerin is added to help extract the tannins.
Saint John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): has a restorative effect on the nervous system and nerve tissue, helping to reverse damage and ease the pain of pulled muscles and ligaments, neuralgia, rheumatism, arthritis, fibromyalgia and sciatica.
St. John’s Wort is also used to treat anxiety, tension, and depression. Externally, it is a valuable wound healer and anti-inflammatory for bruises, burns, varicose veins, cuts and scrapes.
Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum): the soft, sweet white/yellowish rhizomes of Solomon’s seal look like bones and vertebra, while the leaves wrapping around the stalk look like tendons and ligaments wrapping around bones. Solomon’s Seal is used to strengthen the bones, marrow, and tendons. It can help almost any one with muscular and skeletal problems.
Solomon’s Seal is antirheumatic, and it eases pain and inflammation. On connective tissues it works on stiffness, injury, overuse, underuse, lack of nourishment, and it detoxifies the connective tissue. It is also Adaptogenic. It helps the body adapt internally to bones, connective tissues, and joints by boosting the immune system, and it directly “feeds” irritated joints and cleanses by reducing inflammation.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa): This flavor-filled spice is primarily cultivated from the rhizomes of a flowering plant in India and other parts of Southeast Asia. It gives curry its vibrant yellow color, and is also known for having potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
The primary active component of turmeric, and the one that gives the spice its yellow color, is curcumin. Curcumin is a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory benefits, slows the aging process, prevents Alzheimer’s Disease, and eases the symptoms of depression.
White Willow Bark (Salix alba): is the original source of salicylic acids used to make aspirin. It is traditionally used for general aches and pains, rheumatism, fevers, gout, low back pain, osteoarthritis, headache, and inflammatory conditions, such as bursitis and tendinitis.
The bark of white willow contains Salicin, which is a phytochemical similar to aspirin. Salicin, along with the flavonoid content, is responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. White willow brings pain relief more slowly than aspirin, but its effects last longer.
Anti-inflammatory Salve Recipe: an all-purpose healing salve for muscle aches & pains, cuts, wounds, bruises, rashes, skin irritation, minor burns, sunburn, insect bites, scars and ringworm.
Ingredients: 1 cup sweet almond oil, 1/4 cup dried calendula flowers,
1/4 cup dried St. John's Wort, 1/8 cup dried German chamomile, 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles, 20 drops frankincense essential oil, and
15 drops lavender essential oil.
· Fill a clean, dry glass jar with the herbs.
· Add the carrier oil and shake to combine.
· Check the jar over the first couple of days to ensure all the herbs are completely covered with the oil as they expand. Add more oil if needed.
· Allow the oil mixture to infuse for 2 weeks in a warm, sunny spot.
· Strain the oil using a cheese cloth.
· In a double boiler, heat 1 cup of the prepared oil and the beeswax until the beeswax is melted. Allow to cool slightly before mixing in the essential oils.
· Pour immediately into tins or small glass jars, label and date.
Solomon’s Seal Tincture Recipe: this tincture is meant to be used as a compress or poultice.
Tear or chop Solomon’s Seal root to extract as much medicine as possible. Fill a glass jar 2/3-3/4 full of the root, then fill the jar to the top with 100-proof vodka. Cap the jar tightly, and label with the name of the plant, the part of the plant used, the type of the spirit used, and the date. Top up the liquid level the next day. Let it sit for six weeks to insure the most potent medicine. To strain the tincture, use a cheesecloth, transfer the liquid into a tinted glass bottle, and cap tightly. When ready to use the tincture, soak a soft cloth compress with it and wrap the affected area.