Inside: Must have Herbal Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis like – Turmeric, Boswellia, Thunder god vine, Ashwagandha. Natural treatment options for arthritis and how they can help reduce pain, swelling.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is growing rapidly world over especially in the western world. It is a cause of significant debilitating painful arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory condition which affects females more than males.
There are various treatment options available for people to help with the pain and also slow the progression of the disease. But several people like to incorporate natural approaches like vitamins, herbals remedies and other supplements to help their Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Incorporating lifestyle changes along with herbal remedies to your treatment plan is beneficial in many ways. People see an improvement in their symptoms, especially pain, they feel their overall quality of life is also improved, and they have more energy and less fatigue. There are numerous supplements in the market to help with Rheumatoid Arthritis but all might not be safe and might not have the same beneficial effects.
But there are some natural treatment options which have shown to be beneficial in the disease process and has improved patients quality of life and also the disease process.
Interestingly a lot of studies have been done to show improvement in Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms, and each of the following supplement’s effects has been backed up by studies and meta-analysis.
Below are 6 supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms.
1. Curcumin / Turmeric: Curcumin comes from an Indian spice called Turmeric. Curcumin is one of the active ingredients in turmeric, and now we have concentrated form of curcumin so that high doses can be given in a single pill and it is also better absorbed with fewer side effects.
Curcumin has so many health benefits but in Rheumatoid Arthritis it has shown to reduce pain and inflammatory markers.
Randomized control trial was done to evaluate curcumin in RA patient as compared to placebo. The results showed significant improvement in pain scores as well as improvement in ESR, CPR, and RF values for patients who were treated with curcumin.
A metanalysis was also done to review all the research trials that have been done in RA patients with curcumin and it concluded that the curcumin benefited RA patients in the majority of those studies. The side effects profile of curcumin is very low and can be taken in high doses.
Curcumin 2000-3000 mg day gives good pain relief for patients.
2. Gamma Linolenic acid ( GLA): Gamma Linolenic Acid coming from evening primrose oil, borage oil or black currant seed oil has shown to improve RA symptoms.
This study was done on 60 patients and they were supplemented with Omega 3 and GLA. The results showed improvement in clinical symptoms as well as inflammatory markers like ESR.
According to another bigger meta-analysis which included 7 studies with GLA and RA, the results showed improvement in pain and also improvement in disability. GLA at doses of 1000-1400 mg daily can be used and can help people with pain.
3. Tripterygium wilfordii (TwHF) or Thunder God Vine: This is a Chinese herbal formulation which has been used for a long time to help with various conditions. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and can help with inflammation in RA.
This study on 200 RA patients compared TwHF treatment with methotrexate and found that the results were similar in both categories and that methotrexate was not superior to TwHF in the treatment of RA.
A meta-analysis of several studies done on TwHF use in RA showed improvement in grip, strength, joint swelling and morning stiffness in patients who used TwHF as compared to the placebo group.
4. Boswellia: This is another herb which has shown to have anti-inflammatory activities. It decreases the production of proinflammatory cytokines in your system, these cytokines are mainly responsible for destroying the cartilage and other joint tissues in RA.
Boswellia has shown to decrease the inflammatory marker and improved arthritis markers in RA in animal models.
5. Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is another ayurvedic herb known for multiple benefits like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. Ashwagandha works by reducing TNF alpha in RA patients which is an important underlying cytokine which causes inflammation. Ashwagandha in studies have shown to improve pain, swelling of joints and also reduces the ESR and CRP.
6. Probiotics: Probiotics appears to have an immune-modulating action along with decreasing inflammation and thus helpful in RA. The gut microbiome in RA patients is not healthy and now more and more connection is being made about how our gut microbiome affects autoimmunity. Probiotics have shown to reduce symptom score in RA patients and also improved inflammatory markers. At this point we don’t know which strain of probiotic is the best, so an overall a well-balanced probiotic should be good enough to take.
The above herbal remedies can be very useful for people with arthritis and can reduce their symptoms of joint pain and swelling.
These natural treatments can come handy for people who have not seen good success with traditional medicine or wants to add one more modality of treatment.
Related Read for Supplements for Rheumatoid:
Amalraj A1, Varma K1 A Novel Highly Bioavailable Curcumin Formulation Improves Symptoms and Diagnostic Indicators in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Two-Dose, Three-Arm, and Parallel-Group Study.J Med Food. 2017 Oct;20(10):1022-1030. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.3930. Epub 2017 Aug 29.
Daily JW1, Yang M2, Park S2.Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.J Med Food. 2016 Aug;19(8):717-29. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2016.3705.
Wang HL1, Jiang Q. Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F versus conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs as monotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and network meta-analysis.BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Jul 13;16:215. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1194-x.
Zhou YZ1, Zhao LD. Comparison of the impact of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F and Methotrexate treatment on radiological progression in active rheumatoid arthritis: 2-year follow up of a randomized, non-blinded, controlled study.. Arthritis Res Ther. 2018 Apr 10;20(1):70. doi: 10.1186/s13075-018-1563-6.
Zhou YY1,2, Xia X1. The Effectiveness and Safety of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook. F Extracts in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.Front Pharmacol. 2018 Apr 16;9:356. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00356. eCollection 2018.
Kumar R1, Singh S1,. Effect of Boswellia Serrata Extract on Acute Inflammatory Parameters and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α in Complete Freund’s Adjuvant-Induced Animal Model of Rheumatoid Arthritis.Int J Appl Basic Med Res. 2019 Apr-Jun;9(2):100-106. doi: 10.4103/ijabmr.IJABMR_248_18.
Umar S1, Umar K. Boswellia serrata extract attenuates inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress in collagen induced arthritis.Phytomedicine. 2014 May 15;21(6):847-56. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Mar 22.
Khan MA1, Ahmed RS1. In vivo, Extract from Withania somnifera Root Ameliorates Arthritis via Regulation of Key Immune Mediators of Inflammation in Experimental Model of Arthritis.Antiinflamm Antiallergy Agents Med Chem. 2019;18(1):55-70. doi: 10.2174/1871523017666181116092934.
Zaka M1, Sehgal SAComparative in silico analyses of Cannabis sativa, Prunella vulgaris and Withania somnifera compounds elucidating the medicinal properties against rheumatoid arthritis.J Mol Graph Model. 2017 Jun;74:296-304. doi: 10.1016/j.jmgm.2017.04.013. Epub 2017 Apr 19.
Kumar G, Srivastava A,. Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder & Sidh Makardhwaj) in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot prospective study.Indian J Med Res. 2015 Jan;141(1):100-6.
Vaghef-Mehrabany E1, Alipour BProbiotic supplementation improves inflammatory status in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.Nutrition. 2014 Apr;30(4):430-5. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.09.007. Epub 2013 Dec 17.
Mohammed AT1, Khattab M1The therapeutic effect of probiotics on rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized control trials.Clin Rheumatol. 2017 Dec;36(12):2697-2707. doi: 10.1007/s10067-017-3814-3. Epub 2017 Sep 15.
Zamani B1, Golkar HR1. Clinical and metabolic response to probiotic supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.Int J Rheum Dis. 2016 Sep;19(9):869-79. doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12888. Epub 2016 May 2.
I am Dr.Gupta, a Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine physician. I like to write about Functional medicine approach to managing different diseases and want to empower people to reclaim their health through this modern approach. Come join me on this healing journey.