14 Herbs and Spices for Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptom Relief


Ashwagandha, also called “Indian ginseng,” is an herbal treatment that’s been used for thousands of years to ease pain, reduce stress, and treat other conditions. Research has found that taking ashwagandha powder followed by treatment with Sidh Makardhwaj (another type of Indian medicine with herbal and mineral ingredients) eases pain and joint swelling in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The dosage will depend on the type you take.

“There have been many human clinical trials that have found anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects associated with ashwagandha,” says Lise Alschuler, ND, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson. “Many of these trials suggest that at least two to three months of usage is necessary before the benefits will be noted.”

Alschuler says ashwagandha is generally safe for people with RA. However, patients should consult with their doctors if they are taking diabetes or thyroid medicines, as the supplement could cause an additive effect. Additionally, pregnant women should talk to their providers before taking ashwagandha.

The Bottom Line

“Adding herbs and spices to your diet for their anti-inflammatory properties is usually safe,” Roofener says. To keep it that way, she advises using herbs or supplements at least two hours before or after taking your medication. If you want to use them in high doses as medicine, make sure to check with your doctor first, she adds, or work with a Board Certified Traditional Chinese Herbalist. After all, some herbal supplements can cause unpleasant side effects or interact with medication you may be taking.

Additional reporting by Julie Marks, Madeline Vann, MPH, and Stacey Colino.


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