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Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis

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If you have osteoarthritis and you don’t like the idea of taking medications long term for the condition, or you have medical problems that restrict the treatments you can have, you may want to try some alternative remedies. Here are a couple of ideas:

Rosehips are good for reducing arthritis pain – A study in the Journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage found that rosehip powder was three times more effective at combating arthritic pain than acetaminophen.

Three hundred and six patients from Denmark and Norway were enrolled in studies that compared rosehips to a placebo in treating osteoarthritis. The patients in the rosehip group had their pain reduced to a third of what it had been and were twice as likely to respond to treatments as patients in the placebo group.

According to the NHS, UK, "This systematic review provides good evidence that rosehip reduces pain associated with osteoarthritis."

Rosehip powder is available in capsule form from herbal supplement stores.

Frankincense Extract – This remedy from the boswellia sacra tree is over 5,000 years old and was made famous by its association with the birth of Christ. Scientists used frankincense extract to make a drug called 5-Loxin®.

A study in India was carried out on 75 people with mild or moderate knee osteoarthritis. They were split into three groups. One group took 100mgs of 5-Loxin® a day, the second group took 250mgs of 5-Loxin® a day and the third group took a placebo. All groups completed a questionnaire about their medical history and diet and they were followed up at seven, 30, 60 and 90 days. Conventional painkillers were not allowed to be taken for three days before and after assessments in case they skewed the results of the study.

Patients then had a joint aspiration done to check for the presence of an enzyme that is responsible for breaking down bone cartilage. Both sets of patients in the frankincense groups showed a significant reduction in pain after only one week, compared with the placebo and enzymes found in the joint fluid were reduced by 31 percent in the 100mgs frankincense group and by 46 percent in the 250mgs group. There were also reductions in stiffness and improvements in overall function.

Researchers also reported that there were no side-effects resulting from 5-Loxin®. However, as the frankincense has been converted into a drug, further tests are needed to determine its safety.

If you want to try frankincense at home, add a few drops of essential oil into your bath to soak those aching joints or you can add it to a carrier oil. You can also add frankincense essential oil to your favorite skin lotion to use as a massage lotion to rub into affected areas. Frankincense is also a sedative and can help you sleep.

Christensen R, Bartels EM, Altman RD, et al. Does the hip powder of Rosa canina (rosehip) reduce pain in osteoarthritis patients? – a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2008; Apr 11.


Sengupta K, Alluri KV, Sathis AR, et al. A double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study of the efficacy and safety of 5-Loxin® for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Arthritis Res Ther 2008, 10:R85.

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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