Herbal Remedies for Arthritis and Rheumatism

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and rheumatism is pain suffered in the muscles. Rheumatoid Arthritis is chronic inflammation of the connective tissue around joints which cause pain, swelling and stiffness and may include weight loss and tiredness. Essential oils used in the bath, in hot compresses and massage oils and herbal supplements such as rosehips can help make the discomfort more manageable.


Essential oils used for inflammation are Roman Chamomile and lavender. Juniper berry, eucalyptus, cypress, lemon and rosemary help reduce swelling. Black pepper, sweet marjoram and ginger help relax muscles and relieve mild pain. For severe pain use Roman Chamomile and cajuput, these have analgesic properties.

Baths help relax muscles and relieve pain. Add two drops lavender and rosemary and three drops of eucalyptus. For consistent pain add two drops cajuput and Roman Chamomile. To make a warm compress use hot water and add 3 drops of juniper berry to the mixture above and place over affected area. Wrap it in plastic wrap or cling film to keep the hot compress warm. Leave compress in place for at least two hours.

Herbal supplements for arthritis include willow bark, Salix nigra, an herbal anti-inflammatory as well as an analgesic and antiseptic. To prepare a tea pour a cup of water onto one to two teaspoonfuls of bark, bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink three times a day.

Rheumatism and Neuralgia

St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum, is used in the treatment of neuralgia, fibrositis, sciatica and rheumatic pain and is an anti-inflammatory and tonic for the whole nervous system. Used externally, the oil has produced good results when used for at least three weeks for chronic neuralgic pain. Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria, a sacred herb of the Druids, is an anti-rheumatic anti-inflammatory. It relieves the pain of rheumatism in muscles and joints. To prepare these teas pour a cup of boiling water onto one to two teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes and drink three times a day.

Rosehips, Rosa canina, has been shown in a recent study to significantly reduce the use of painkillers when taken as a supplement. Rosehip oil is also used externally to relieve swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis and it is an excellent moisturizer.

Making a Massage Oil for Pain and Stiffness

Massage oils are also useful for relieving stiffness and pain. Mix together essential oils with the carrier oil and apply regularly to affected areas. Use gentle pressure and avoid massaging painful or inflamed joints.

Calming and Anti-Inflammatory Mix

5 drops of

  • juniper berry
  • eucalyptus
  • roman chamomile
  • lavender
  • 2 fluid ounces, 60 ml, 10 teaspoon of carrier oil or lotion