Herbs and Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Herbs and Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1% of the population. It is characterized by chronic inflammation that affects the joints on both sides of the body. This type of arthritis can cause deformities and may also affect the eyes, skin, nerves, blood, heart or lungs. Discover which herbs and supplements can help the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Cat’s Claw

Cat’s claw is the bark and root of a vine in South America. It works as an anti-inflammatory. What makes this supplement unique is that it targets TNF, the same target as some of the most powerful medications for rheumatoid arthritis.

A 2002 trial showed that joint pain and swelling was reduced by more than 50% in participants compared to the placebo.

Tip: Look for brands that do not have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil is becoming a “super supplement” with all of its helpful uses. For rheumatoid arthritis, the omega-3 fatty acids decrease joint tenderness and stiffness significantly, according to a 2010 meta-analysis. Sometimes fish oil can be so effective that patients can reduce or even stop taking NSAID medications.

Research indicates that fish oil is also helpful for those with osteoporosis, depression and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Gamma Linolenic Acid

Known as GLA, gamma linolenic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. The supplement converts the acids into anti-inflammatory chemicals.

A 2005 trial showed rheumatoid arthritis patients had less joint pain, reduced stiffness and increased grip strength after six months.


Ginger seems to have anti-inflammatory properties. It can suppress inflammatory molecules and turn off certain genes responsible for inflammation. Some say that it might be more effective than modern pain relievers.

Rheumatoid arthritis can be a debilitating illness. Talk to your doctor to see if any of the above herbs and supplements could help ease your symptoms.