Natural remedies for rheumatism

Do you suffer from tingling or tearing joint pain? See which natural means and methods can help you with rheumatic pains such as arthritis, polyarthritis and osteoarthritis.

Rheumatism is a collective term for around 200 rheumatic illnesses. The best-known of these are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints (polyarthritis) and can occur at any age. Osteoarthritis on the other hand becomes an increasing risk as a person gets older, because osteoarthritis refers to the wearing away of the joint and the breaking down of the cartilage. Arthritis, or rather polyarthritis and osteoarthritis can affect several joints.

Practitioners of alternative medicine often use herbal medicine in the treatment of rheumatism. Well-known plants used in phytotherapy include devil’s claw, comfrey, stinging nettles and arnica.

Acupuncture, herbal therapies from traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy and Kneipp treatments also play a part. The focus is on improving the immune system and the metabolism. This generally alleviates the pain and ensures that the rheumatic illness doesn’t spread any further.

What you can do to stave off rheumatism

These household remedies and practical everyday tips help against joint pain:

Cold therapy
For acute joint pains with swelling or rashes apply a cold pack or compress to the affected area multiple times a day with aluminium acetate, quark or healing earth. It has an anti-inflammatory effect as well as working as a decongestant and analgesic.
Heat treatments
Full and partial baths with arnica, hay flowers, fango (volcanic healing mud) or marsh dampen pain and stimulate metabolism and circulation. Compresses made from potato, healing earth or linseed also help. Cherry juice is also an effective short-term remedy.
Herbal meadowsweet tea
Drink two cups a day of meadowsweet tea, also known as brideswort or Queen of the Meadow. The herb contains acetylsalicylic acid, the same as the painkiller aspirin, and has an anti-inflammatory effect as well as working as an analgesic.
Regular movement

Despite the symptoms, patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis should use the affected joint on a regular basis to keep it flexible and to stop the cartilage from becoming degraded. Some of the activities that are recommended for those with joint problems include aquafit, strength training, Nordic walking, swimming and cycling. Talk with your GP or therapist about what kind of training and what level of activity is right for you.

Learn how to relax

Cramps and tension make the pain worse. You can use techniques to help yourself relax like autogenic training or respiratory exercises. Read more here.​

Alongside being active and relaxed, a balanced diet is one of the pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Interesting tips and background information on the subject can be found on the website of the Rheumaliga Schweiz [in German].


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