Medicinal herbs

Medicinal herbs and application to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other joint diseases

Medicines are only 150 years old. Nevertheless, our ancestors had a history of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (rheumatism) and other rheumatic diseases. Was everybody left to his or her destiny? Absolutely not. Prior to the introduction of synthetic drugs, people lived closer to nature. And there were thousands of plants and crops that could provide a satisfactory solution in case of illness. Without this huge herbal knowledge of our ancestors, there might not even have been drugs now. Many medicinal substances in plants have become a model for the development of synthetic drugs.

Herbs precursors of modern medicine

Many modern drugs are thus derived from plants and herbs, with which our ancestors could cure themselves. Only the active substance is replicated in laboratories in synthetic form. This is not only cheaper, but it can also be patented. The pharmacist then has the sole right to sell a medicine for 20 years and determines the price. This is the reason that drugs are often so expensive. A good example of a nature-copied medicine is the well-known aspirin. This contains the synthetic form of salicylic acid from willow berry. Our ancestors already knew that this berry had a fever-inhibiting and analgesic effect. But also morphine in severe pain is a synthetic version of a poppy component. This also applies to anti-malaria drugs. These contain quinin from the chin tree berry that is synthesized in a laboratory.

Pioneering with herbs

Medicinal herbs
Medicinal herbs are actually the part of the plant that has beneficial properties. That can be the root, but also the stem, leaf, fruit or flower. But how did our ancestors actually discover which plants could cure us from a certain disease or symptom? In the remote past, every village has a person that was profiled as a herbal doctor. When a fellow-member with a disorder came to visit him, the doctor prepared tea from a desirable plant parts, which he or she got to drink. The medicine man carefully observed the effect. Did his visitor get well from using it? Or did he or she become even more ill because of it? This way, the doctor experimentally found out which specific complaint or condition benefited from which herb. This herbal knowledge was then transferred from generation to generation.

Herbs are back!

It is not that strange that in our country the interest in medicinal herbs is increasing significantly. More and more people prefer a natural remedy over a synthetic medicine because there are no annoying side effects. This is because the active ingredients in herbs are often surrounded by other substances that inhibit any adverse reactions. That explains the great success of, for example, liquid Green-lipped mussel with Bio-Curcumin and Blackcurrant Leaf. Unlike NSAIDs, the use of this natural anti-inflammatory inhibitor is not associated with annoying side effects. This drug works well in about 70 percent of people who suffer from chronic joint inflammation.

Herbs beneficial for joints

There are more than 200 herbs that would have a beneficial effect on the joints. Until the onset of Glucosamine and Chondroitin, in the late 1990s, herbal tablets, including Devil’s Claw, Female Sheath and Alchemilla, were sold. And who remembers the unprecedented success of Chien Pu Wan? A herbal tablet from China against various rheumatic complaints? Most people have now found that the combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin does not yield the desired result. Cartilage once worn out can no longer grow back. The only remedy for osteoarthritis is to inhibit this wear process. This is mainly because of fighting inflammation in the joints, which can damage the cartilage. Below a list of the most important herbs that support joint function in rheumatic conditions:

Alchemilla (Womens Mantle)

Arab women believe that this herb brings eternal youth and beauty. That’s why Womens Mantle is the Dutch name for Alchemilla. In America and Europe, this herb is used mainly in aging of the joints. It stimulates blood circulation around the joints. This results in a thorough removal of waste products, inflammatory remains and cartilage fragments. Alchemilla also contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents.

Birch leaf

Birch leaves are antiseptic, blood purifying and anti-inflammatory. In the past, tea drawn from birch leaf was popular among people with gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

Nettle fiber plant

The leaves of this plant are covered with small hairs. It is well known not to touch these hairs. These “needles” inject a fluid into the skin that is composed of formic acid, histamine, serotonin, acetylcholine and 5-hydroxytryptamine among other compounds, causing a nasty burn mark. In some cultures, people with rheumatoid arthritis deliberately confront themselves with the nettle. They rub over the painful joints with the freshly picked leaves, providing instant relief, which is not a matter of eliminating one pain with the other. The fluid in the hairs also contains specific substances with strong anti-inflammatory action.


Curcumin is the yellow dye of the Oriental Curcuma longa plant. It is known in India and Pakistan as a medicinal herb. It inhibits acute and chronic inflammation in and around the joints. In addition, it has a protective effect on the cartilage. Curcumin is absorbed very badly by the body. Black pepper is known to promote Curcumin uptake, but cannot prevent rapid excretion by the body. Currently, there is a Bio-Curcumin (BCM-95®) that is well absorbed. This Curcumin with high bioavailability is often added to the liquid Green-lipped mussel. Bio-Curcumin is therefore more effective in joint inflammation than a product containing Curcumin and black pepper. Also check out the 5 health benefits of Curcumin.

Devil’s Claw

This plant is getting its name from the curved hooks that stick out like a kind of claws. The roots of the devil’s claw contain many glucocorticoids. This substance has a dual effect in joint rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Glucocorticoids relieve the pain on the one hand and inhibit the inflammation on the other. This increases the mobility of the joints. Devil’s claw also promotes uric acid excretion and is therefore also effective in gout.


The extract of the ginger root has a long history in folk medicine. The Indians used to cure digestive disorders and to purify body and mind. Three thousand years B.C., ginger root served as a remedy for colds and flu in Chinese culture. Seamen chewed on the root to fight sea sickness and women drank ginger tea to prevent menstrual complaints. Ginger contains shogaol and gingerol. These are good anti-inflammatory agents, for instance in joint discomfort.

Licorice root

This has been one of the most important natural drugs in China for 5,000 years. In this country, licorice root is used as a remedy for colds, flu, bronchitis, malaria, skin problems, food poisoning, fever, stomach problems and sore throat. In addition, licorice root contains the natural anti-inflammatory inhibitor Glycyrrthenic acid, which can relieve pain in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Blackcurrant leaf

The leaves of the Blackcurrant or Ribes nigrum have long been associated with long life and good health. The extract helps with chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, arthritis, migraine, fever, mouth and throat infection, colds and fatigue. The leaves support the degradation of uric acid and are therefore advised by naturalists in gout. In addition, this herb stimulates adrenal glands to separate more anti-inflammatory hormones. The leaf itself also contains anti-inflammatory substances and substances that protect the cartilage. Blackcurrant leaf is thus very effective in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout.


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