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6 Natural Remedies for Arthritis Relief

Getting relief for your arthritis aches and pains could be as simple as a trip to your pantry.

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Getting relief from the discomfort of arthritis doesn’t have to be time-consuming or pricey. Whether you suffer from twinges of osteoarthritis or more pervasive rheumatoid arthritis, you may need to look no further than your own pantry for the relief you crave. Here are our six best recipes to try; try them all and see which works best for you. To maximize your arthritis-fighting power, pair your favorite natural remedy with these super-easy changes to your everyday routine.

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Pain-relieving perfume

You probably already know about the many benefits of essential oils: they can ease stress, get you through cold and flu season, and help you sleep. They can also provide quick and easy arthritis relief. You can soothe your sore joints wherever and whenever you need to with this super-simple essential oils remedy.

DIRECTIONS

Use 15 drops of your favorite pain-relieving essential oil—lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, or vanilla will all work. Add the oil to a “neutral oil”—two tablespoons of almond, jojoba, coconut, or avocado oil. Rub it on your sore joints, or use it as a massage oil. However, make sure to mix it up; if you use the same oil every time, your body will grow used to the pain-relief powers and won’t respond to them any more.

(If you suffer from a type of arthritis called gout, try one of these 13 natural gout treatments at home.)

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Oil and beeswax salve

This variation on our Hot Chili and Mustard Foot Oil can soothe your arthritic joints. Mix it up, drop in some essential oils, and rub it on the affected areas. CAUTION: This oil is hot, so keep away from eyes and other sensitive areas.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup (60ml) Hot Chili and Mustard Foot Oil
5 tsp (20 g) beeswax
30 drops peppermint essential oil
30 drops rosemary essential oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Pour the oil into the top of a double boiler. Add the beeswax. Place over a pan of hot water and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the wax melts. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

2. Just as a “skin” begins to appear on the surface of the oil, add the peppermint and rosemary oils using a dropper. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a sterilized dark glass jar. Allow to cool before putting on the lid.

USE

Apply twice daily to affected areas, remembering to wash hands after use.

STORAGE

Keeps for up to six months.

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Cabbage leaf poultice

Cabbage leaf has been used for centuries for swelling, ulcers, sprains, and strains. In one Swiss hospital, patients with rheumatoid arthritis have their swollen joints wrapped at night in cabbage leaves to help reduce joint swelling and pain. Savoy cabbages work best.

TO MAKE YOUR OWN POULTICE:

Take some cabbage leaves, cut out the central rib, lay them flat on a chopping board, and bash with a rolling pin until the juices start to come out. Then place the leaves over the swollen joints and wrap a gauze bandage around the joint to keep the leaves in place.

Here are some more arthritis remedies that doctors recommend.

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Homemade capsaicin cream

Capsaicin, which can be found in cayenne pepper, can actually halt pain signals by reducing your amount of the pain transmitter substance P. In fact, capsaicin cream is a pharmacy staple, but you won’t believe how easy it is to whip up your own.

DIRECTIONS

Kitchen Cures: Homemade Remedies for Your Health recommends adding a “few dashes” of cayenne pepper to two or three tablespoons of olive oil. Use gauze to apply this cream to the place where it hurts. It might burn a little at first, but that should pass quickly. Watch out for skin irritation, which is the most common side effect, and avoid touching the pepper’s seeds. Here’s more about the healing properties of cayenne pepper.

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Minty pain relief oil

This one’s a bit more time-consuming to make, but mint has some serious pain-fighting power, and the addition of benzoin will make this remedial oil last a long time.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups, more or less, fresh mint leaves
Olive oil
1 tablespoon vodka or rubbing alcohol
Few drops tincture of benzoin

DIRECTIONS

1. Loosely fill a small clean jar with fresh mint leaves.

2. Cover with olive oil to fill the jar.

3. Add the vodka or rubbing alcohol. Allow it to sit on a sunny window and steep for at least two weeks. Then strain it and transfer it to a clean jar or bottle. Add the tincture of benzoin (available at drugstores and health food stores) to preserve to oil. Store it in a cool dark place. Rub onto aching joints as needed.

Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t just strike senior citizens. Here’s why millennials need to worry about it too.

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Spicy massage oil

To soothe the pain of both hot and cold arthritic joints, try this spicy remedy. This one’s also got the magic of cayenne pepper working for it. Plus, the herbs work wonders for inflamed and painful joints.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
3 teaspoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon crushed cayenne or other red pepper
8 ounces olive, almond, or jojoba oil

DIRECTIONS

1. Whir the rosemary, celery seeds, and red pepper until pulverized in a clean coffee or spice grinder.

2. Spoon into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and add the oil.

3. Shake vigorously, then cover and leave for 10 days, shaking periodically.

4. Strain through a paper coffee filter into a sterilized glass bottle and keep in a cool, dark place for up to six months, longer if you refrigerate it.

5. To use: Rub one to two drops onto the skin to test for any adverse reaction. If there is no reaction, gently massage a little of the oil onto the aching joint twice a day.

USE

Use it twice a day, every day, for a week or until pain abates.

Of course, these remedies can’t stand entirely on their own; keep an eye on your diet as well. These eight foods can make your arthritis worse.

NOTE TO OUR READERS:

The information in this feature should not be substituted for, or used to alter, medical therapy without your doctor’s advice. For a specific health problem, consult your physician for guidance. Before using any of these remedies, especially if you have an existing medical condition, or are pregnant or breast-feeding, check with your physician. Some herbs may interact with prescription drugs, including the Pill and antidepressants; always do a 24-hour skin test before using. The publishers and author cannot accept responsibility for any damage incurred as a result of any of the therapeutic methods contained in this work.

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been storytelling since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. Her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine in spring 2017. Meghan is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.