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Ask the Herbalist--Arthritis

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: My father has osteo arthritis, gout, and inflammation, I was wondering if these herbs are safe in pill form taken as recommended on back of the bottle, They are herb shop brand: devils claw, licorice root, Siberian ginseng, DHEA, pregnenolone,and triphala, I picked these because I read that arthritis is always an adrenal/endocrine weakness so i wanted to strengthen these glands and the devils claw for inflammation/pain.  Also are most herbs ok to combine as long as taken by directions?  Thanks!

ANSWER: Many herbs are safe to combine, but that does not mean they should be. with herbs it all may depend on which herbs, in what form, at what dosage and at what frequency. My honest advise is to never self-medicate. In most cases I never suggest Western herbs in pill form, extracts and tinctures are stronger and work better and faster.

Take for instance your choice of pregnenolone, I personally would never suggest it. I prefer to stay away from any and all steroid hormones. The triphala may be of some use if he falls under the indicators of Ayurvedic medicine. The licorice may be helpful for digestion. and adrenal weakness. The others are okay.  For relief of the pain and inflammation I would encourage you to obtain an ointment by the name of Yee Tin, massaging with a few drops in circular motion and then applying a heat pad to the area may just do the trick. Another great formula comes to us from China named Yunnan Baiyao (Paiyao), 4 capsules 3xs per day. This formula is a good pain reliever and opens up circulation of blood to the needed areas, so it would help reduce the gout and inflammation.

QUESTION: I recently had surgery and was told to stay away from ibuprofen and aspirin. I have VERY bad joint pains especially in my knees. What do you recommend? Is Glucosamine safe for me? 

ANSWER You failed to state the reasons your doctors told you to stay away from aspirin I assume it is because of the blood thinning agents. I would strongly suggest that you add 50mg Zinc once daily, the properties in Zinc helps us heal faster.

Glucosamine should be okay. But remember, If you are allergic to shellfish you should consult your physician before using glucosamine products. Glucosamine is derived from shellfish. If you suffer from diabetes,  please check your blood glucose levels frequently as it may increase the risk of developing insulin resistance.  It should always be taken with meals to avoid gastric problems. 

I would also suggest Yunnan Paiyao a very famous and very effective Chinese formula. Taken 4 pills 3xs day, it should work very favorably.

:  My wife has Rheumatoid arthritis and she lost her right wrist movement, she is only 28 years old, 68 kg weight she has problem with both knees, neck and elbow. Which herbs can we use to cure it? is it possible with herbs.

ANSWER:  First of all, take a close look at her diet, make sure she is eating, healthy, fresh, non processed foods. Make sure she is not eating Nightshades, they are the Solancea, plants, all related first cousins. They are :
potato, tomato, eggplant, green pepper, (also red and yellow), paprika. These foods, in certain types of people, cause arthritis, and severe arthritis, in many. Read the downloads on diet.  Cleaning the toxins out of her diet, will help tremendously.  Give her the following herbs, and supplements:
- our formula, Free Flowin, with turmeric and other herbs for pain, inflammations and arthritis
- Omega 3 oils
- Astragalus, pills, 3 , 3 times daily
- Schizandra pills, 3 - 3 times daily
Rub Neem oil, into the joints, several times daily. Eat very healthy, drink raw juices.


My son is 19 and diagnosed with arthritis in the cervical and lumbar spine. I also have what seems to be arthritis in the lower back and my 15 year old has similar symptoms.  We all had giardia about 10 years ago, which was treated with an antiflagyl medicine, but were never re-tested. After doing some research, I suspect that the giardia may have gone into a chronic state and may have resulted in these inflammatory conditions.  Both kids have severe allergies and asthma. The doctors I've seen recently just wanted to know if we'd been treated for the giardia. The answer was yes, so they move on.  But, I'll push to be retested and possibly treated.
             My question is that I read that we should increase our Omega 3 oil intake.  Also that a combination of flaxseed and alcohol 4:1 used as a liniment would help the arthritis stiffness and pain.  The cervical spine issue is the most serious and we've used the therma heat products which provides relief.  I want to make a sack with alfalfa seeds that my son could heat and put over his neck, but the idea of a liniment also sounded like it works if you rub it in. I don't know how to make this liniment, and from your site it looked like adding some other herbal ingredients might make it more effective.  I thought if I could make this sack it could be soaked in other spirits, rubbing alcohol or a mixture and then heated in the microwave before using. But, that might get messy and it would be good to be able to reuse this sack.
             What are your thoughts?  Also, are there herbs we can take to repair the intestine from the parasitic infection that would also be "safe" for my kids?

ANSWER: Giardia is caused by a parasite that lives in the lower digestive tract. I've never heard of "chronic" cases turning into arthritis. That has to be something else. They aren't even remotely related. I would seriously have a chiropractor look at your son.  The liniment you describe sounds more like a tincture to me. Not knowing the recipe, it's hard to say. I have a special liniment for my clients who are skiers and athletes. If you are interested, e-mail me with the word ORDER in the subject line.  If you are still suffering from the parasites, you need to look carefully at your drinking water. It is caused by dirty water or food that has been exposed to animal feces, so something is getting into your food supply or your water supply if treatment hasn't eliminated it.  Try some Barberry Root Tea. It will kill the parasite. Also, Acidophilus will set up the good bacteria in your digestive tract to ward off the beasties.

QUESTION: I have been told that ACETYL-MYRISTOLEETE will help arthritis.  Is this a
herbal substance?  What can you tell me about it?

ANSWER:  Unfortunately, cetyl myristoleate is not natural or herbal. It is a compound developed by a man named Harry W. Diehl in a home lab in Maryland. I did some research for you and it seems his company sells this product and includes milk thistle, which is a liver tonic and cleanser. My first question is, if this is healthy, why include a liver cleanser?

The following list includes several herbs that may help relieve the pain of arthritis. There is no known cure.

  Devil's Claw: an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, digestive stimulant, Devil's Claw is officially recognized as an anti-rheumatic in Europe.

  Yucca: Yucca improves digestion with actives called saponins. A problematic digestive system can result in excess histamine production, which leads to worsened inflammation and pain in some people.

  Alfalfa leaf: Alfalfa leaves provide needed nutrients to help bring your body to a healthy and aid in healing.

  Wild Yam root: (AKA Rheumatism Root) This root is an anti-inflammatory that can help reduce pain. It also has mild diuretic properties to gently cleanse the body of toxins and waste.

  Sarsaparilla root: Sarsaparilla is officially recognized in Europe for its anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory properties.

  White Willow bark: White Willow Bark contains salicin, a pain reliever. Salicin is used to make aspirin, but when the herb is used, it will not irritate the stomach.

  Horsetail: Horsetail contains silica, which is vital in strengthening and regenerating connective tissue (found abundantly in joints).

  Chickweed: a mild laxative, Chickweed aids in overall cleansing of the body. The laxative effect is so mild that most people do not notice it.

As with any herb, if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you are taking any type of medication, you should consult your doctor.


I'm finding that the fingers on both hands are difficult to manipulate 1st
thing in the morning.  They do improve later although there remains some
stiffness throughout the day.  Also I'm in constant lower back pain when
using a treadmill or playing golf, which does not ease at all.

  I would suggest seeing a doctor in your area to find out what is wrong, without knowing your age or other factors it is hard for me to guess what is wrong.

If I had these symptoms I would assume I had a problem with inflammation and possibly circulation or nerve issues.

Ginkgo is good for circulation
Saint Johnswort is good for nerve issues
Turmuric is a great antiinflammatory
Hawthorn is good for circulation and connective tissue issues

my husband is trying to tell me absynthe can be used as an arthritus(sp) cure, or to ease the pain.  I can't find that in any of my nutritional material.  Is that true?

ANSWER:  I am assuming you are talking about Wormwood sometimes called Absinthe or Absinthium, Latin named: Artemesia absinthium.

This herb has been traditionally used internally for intestinal worms, amoebas and other parasites.  It has also been used externally as a linament in vinegar or as a bath for rheumatism, sprains, strains, and sore muscles, this may be the association for the arthritis mentioned in your question.  It is also a strong bitter herb, in the realm of herbal medicines there are herbs  that have the same actions and are much safer to consume.

Caution is suggested for use of this herb, it is very toxic and  should only be used by those trained to do so, it is high in volatile oils: pinene and thujone (a central nervous system poison) other constituents include absinthin, absinthic acid, cadinene, isovalerianic acid, lignans, phenolic acids, phellandren.

   I would like to know of a herb and how to prepare it for easing inflamation. This would be from arthritis 

ANSWER: Devil's Claw, Yucca, and Alfalfa seed.  All are traditional arthritis remedies.  They decrease pain and inflammation.

Meadowsweet, Honeysuckle, Mulberry bark, Willow bark, Black or Sweet Birch, Wintergreen.  For symptomatic relief of pain and inflammation similar to aspirin.

Other anti-inflammatory compounds not in above categories:  Guiac (Guiacum) or Lignum vitae, Boswellia (Ayurvedic herb), Turmeric and Sarsaparilla

In the diet

Increase water consumption.  Most people don't get enough water, but the water it helps with the inflammation and increase the fluids between joints cushioning them more.  I would drink upwards to a gallon a day.
Increase Omega 3 fatty acids.  If the consumption of dietary or supplementary Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acid ratio is off, inflammation will increase.  Increase fish oils, or flaxseed oil for vegetarians, but flaxseed is harder to absorb. 

Eliminate refined or processed foods it whole foods, lots of colorful fruits and vegetables.  You want a diet rich in Flavonoids, which are anti-inflammatory.  Therefore increase consumption of berries, grapes, cherries, rose hips, dark chocolate (unsweetened), colorful edible flowers, elderberries, blueberries, black and red raspberries. 

There are other specific foods that are helpful.  Pineapple contains Bromelain, an anti-inflammatory. Papaya has anti-inflammatory components.  Paw Paws are a native fruit, called custard banana, with similar properties.  Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar--one tablespoon in 8 oz water, drink throughout the day.  Must be freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Raw vegetable juices

Raw milk contains constituents some say reduce inflammation in arthritis.