Herbal Health Information on Rheumatism

Rheumatism is a very similar condition to arthritis but affects muscles as well as joints.

Sadly by the time Rheumatism sufferers come to see me they have usually had the condition for many years resulting in degeneration (breakdown) of the joint lining and stiffening of the muscles. They have a long history of taking strong anti inflammatories, pain killers and possibly steroids. I know the joints and muscles are painful and inflamed but pain tells us when to stop doing something and if it is masked then there is a possibility the joint is used beyond its capability causing further damage to the joint itself.

So my first advice is to always be aware of the limitations of a rheumatic joint and only use it as much as is comfortable.

Many people report that it is worsened by damp weather so keeping warm and dry in cold damp weather is important.

The Romans found England too cold for them and imported nettles to grow. They then used to flail their joints with the nettles!! This increased the circulation to the joint warming them up. I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS. I tried it once and it is very painful and then you are left with the sting for ages. We have the Romans to thank for nettles and garden snails!!

Diet is very important but different people find their condition may react to different foods. The norm is to radically reduce the intake of dairy and wheat and never eat any Tomatoes and Oranges. The acid in these two foods is not broken down by the body so creates an acidic environment which is not good for joints and the urinary system. Many rheumatism sufferers find eating meat will increase inflammation. The message here is to keep an eye on your diet to see if any foods do make your rheumatism worse. If they do, you may have to visit a nutritionist to cut out these food substances while maintaining a healthy diet.

Drink loads of water.

Any inflammatory condition I approach in the same way

  • Ensure the digestive system is working well to break down food and eliminate toxins
  • Improve joint circulation
  • Make sure the urinary system is eliminating metabolic (body function) by-products
  • Reduce inflammation

A typical herbal prescription would be:-

  • Dandelion root tincture, which improves digestive function and elimination of toxins via the Bowel.
  • Ginger, (very small amounts) to improve circulation
  • Celery seed, (small amounts) to improve uric acid excretion from the kidneys as well as having anti rheumatic properties.
  • Meadowsweet, a little favourite of mine, which has strongly anti inflammatory properties.
  • Crampbark, to relax muscles which may have tightened up due to the Rheumatism and which will put pressure on the joints, exacerbating the condition.

This is not set in stone and may vary depending on the patient, what medicines they are already on and the severity of their condition.

There are many over the counter herbal remedies for rheumatism but if you buy one make sure it is a licensed product, which means it is tried and tested.

I do recommend if you have suffered from Rheumatism for some time and are on orthodox medicines but want to try an alternative, that you visit a qualified Medical Herbalist who can take all these factors into account and will tailor make an Herbal Remedy specifically for you.

My Clinic details can be seen by clicking here or on the “Clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

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