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Clinically Proven Alternative Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Updated on January 2, 2013

Alternative supportive treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the inflammatory autoimmune conditions which effects the entire body, and especially the joints. Involved joints will get tender, warm and swollen. As the disease progresses, deformities might develop in the joints of the hands and feet.

There is a lot of information out there on the possible causes and the symptoms of this disease, but I wanted to write about alternative therapies which have been successfully used by RA patients; specifically natural remedies and therapies clinically proved to reduce the symptoms and in some cases bring totally remission

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Wikimedia commons | Source

Caution: due to the seriousness of this condition, any alternative therapies and/or remedies should be used under the supervision of your physician and with his/her approval. Don't ever stop taking any of your prescribed medication without doctor's approval.

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is a complicated goal, and there are many aspects of health which need to be addressed, but good results were seen with the proper use of herbal supplements and other alternative therapies.

Natural Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Supplements shown helpful for RA patients in clinical studies:

1. Fish oil

Helps to reduce severity of RA symptoms and reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease, which is very prevalent in RA patients, take up to 2.6 g daily.

Dr. Hyman expert on autoimmune diseases

2. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)-found in evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil and borage seed oil.

Many studies were conducted and all of them showed improvement in the groups using GLA.

Effective dose is 1.1 g to 2.6 g daily.

People who have a history of seizures should not use GLA.

3. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Standardized extract to contain 20% gingerol and shogaol at a dosage of 200 mg three times per day.

4. Boswellia (Boswellia serrata)

400 mg-800 mg three times daily

5. Whole foods multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement

Most RA patients are deficient in certain vitamins and/or microelements, to correct any deficiencies a multivitamin should be taken.

Two of the best whole foods brands are Garden of Life and New Chapter.

6. Capsaicin (Capsicum frutescens) cream, helps to relieve pain when applied topically.

7. Curcumin(Curcuma longa)

Curcumin is a yellow pigment of an herb turmeric, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, standardized extract 400 mg three times per day.

Alternative Therapies:

1. Elimination of food allergens

Many RA patients have food allergies, that is why it is very important to get tested for food allergies and/or sensitivities and to eliminate all possible allergens. A blood test will give more accurate results then a skin test, and, it can show not just allergies, but also food sensitivities, which could be aggravating the arthritis symptoms. Elimination diet is also a possibility, your doctor can tell you how to do it correctly to find out if you are allergic to any foods.

2. Dietary changes

Aside from eliminating allergens, if any, it has been shown that RA patients who switch to vegetarian diet, with lots of fresh berries, vegetables and fruits, have less fatigue, pain and stiffness. Try to eliminate all processed foods and concentrate on whole foods, especially fresh greens and fresh berries. Also, include fresh pineapple and fresh ginger root in your diet it helps to reduce or/and eliminate some symptoms. The addition of cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines) and flavanoid-rich berries, are particularly beneficial for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Exercise for RA patients

3. Exercise

Exercise is very important, especially for RA patients. Try to adopt an exercise program, 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, swimming or water aerobics in warm water, shown to be beneficial. A special exercise program that would suit your needs can be developed with the help of your doctor or other specialists in your treatment team.

4. Bacterial overgrowth

Studies have shown that many RA patients suffer from bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. This issue can be addressed with the help of enteric coated oil or oregano, and addition of fermented foods to the diet, such as kefir, or a probiotic supplement.

Guided Imagery For Self-Healing

5. Guided Imagery

Good results were reported with the use of guided imagery, it helps to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and pain.

6. Balneotherapy

Bath therapy is widely studied and used in Europe, this form of therapy has been shown effective in reducing pain and inflammation. In particular, the use of mud packs, sulfur baths, and hot baths with added sea salt. The most effective treatments were seen in Israel, when patients were treated with combination of mud packs, sulfur baths and bathing in the Dead Sea.


Statements made in this article have not been evaluated by FDA, they are not meant to diagnose or treat disease or prescribe any medication. Written for educational purposes only. Some of the above mentioned supplements may increase the risk of bleeding. Any supplements and therapies should only be started with your doctor's approval.


University of Maryland Medical Center

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Murray N.D. and Pizzorno N.D.


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    • MargaritaEden profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oregon

      Levertis, I am glad this info can be useful to you :)

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      6 years ago from Southern Clime

      You have interesting tips. I take one cod liver oil capsule each day, but I am considering some of your other suggestions. Thanks for sharing.

    • MargaritaEden profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks for stopping by Maria Cecilia :)

    • MargaritaEden profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oregon

      GoodLady, I appreciate your input, and I am glad that you liked my hub. These remedies are herbals, by homogenous you mean homeopathic? They are not homeopathic actually, they are whole herbs.

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      I think I am going to check the link...

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I am interested in your hub and will study it slowly. There are a few remedies that I know about and agree that they are helpful but you mention many that I don't know about. Thank you. I appreciate your disclaimer - and fully realize that these natural aids are not necessarily completely 'curative'. Things like this are a part of an homogenous healing aren't they?

    • MargaritaEden profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Oregon

      Thank you Shelley!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for this excellent advice, a friend of mine has arthritis and I will send her the link to your hub. Up, interesting and useful. Will also share


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