Are there any natural remedies to relieve arthritis?

Response from Irene McCabe, aturopathic nutritionist

INFLAMMATION and acidity spring to mind when my clients mention arthritic conditions. In my thirty plus years of researching natural remedies I have heard of and witnessed the effects of many supposed solutions to these often crippling, painful conditions. However I only ever report on remedies that I have actually witnessed working on myself, or others regardless of the hype attached to any one product or protocol.

Consuming an alkaline diet, supplementing with omega 3 flax oil, taking a supplement containing Boron and Magnesium and using Apple Cider Vinegar are all at the top of my clients lists.

From a holistic perspective, the foods we eat play a significant role in inflammatory responses. Food intolerances to wheat or grains, as well as sugar, can promote inflammation, which can wreck havoc on the body’s joints. Incorporating fresh green vegetables into your diet can make a difference not just by creating alkalinity but by providing valuable minerals including boron. Some of the best boron rich foods include raisins, apricots, avocado, walnuts, and prunes.

The ancient use of Oil and Vinegar is renowned. There are many theories on why apple cinder vinegar works for arthritis. This remedy was made famous in 1958 by a Vermont doctor, Doctor D.C. Jarvis who included its many uses in his book “Folk Remedies.” Omega 3 flax oil on the other hand is well researched for its anti inflammatory qualities. Both can be extremely beneficial however please check with your GP before consuming any of these products if you are taking any blood thinners including warfarin.

Response from Nikki Biddiss, medical herbalist:

ARTHRITIS or joint inflammation is a term used to describe a wide variety of different connective tissue, degenerative and autoimmune conditions. The herbal approach varies depending on the underlying cause which can manifest in a variety of different symptoms and herbalists will tailor each remedy to meet those specific needs.

The most common forms of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis but joint pain can also be associated with Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Gout, Psoriasis, Bowel conditions, Psoriasis, Menopause and sports-induced injuries. Typical symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, heat or impaired movement of joints.

There are a number of internal and external remedies to try but please check with a herbalist if you are taking any other medication. Externally hot or cold compresses could be used to soothe or ease inflammation and discomfort, or try invigorating creams containing Capsicum and Ginger or Essential oils such as Rosemary, Black Pepper and Lavender. A bath with Epsom salts or a blend of the above essential oils in a base oil may also help. The Romans used to beat inflamed joints with fresh nettle plants to stimulate circulation but I wouldn’t recommend this!

Useful teas or tinctures might contain anti-inflammatory herbs such as white willow, meadowsweet, turmeric, devil’s claw or black cohosh. Herbs such as celery seed, dandelion leaf and yarrow are also traditionally used to eliminate metabolic waste from the body.

Prevention really is better than cure and it is never too early to start exercising regularly and eating a varied, healthy diet to keep your body, fit supple and flexible.

Consult your health practitioner before following any advice if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have underlying health issues.

Irene McCabe is a naturopathic nutritionist and has been an independent nutritional researcher for more than 30 years. She also practices allergy and intolerance testing, advanced clinical hypnotherapy and is the former owner of Napier’s in Glasgow’s West End.

Nikki Biddiss is a medical herbalist, aromatherapy massage therapist and stress and wellbeing coach.

For private consultations contact Irene at The Harvest Clinic, 201 St George's Rd, Glasgow, 0141 333 0878; and Nikki at Napier’s, 61 Creswell Street, Glasgow, 0141 339 5859; or email