12 Time-Proven Remedies That Can Stop Your Joint Pain

Arthritis affects more than 20% of the American population (54 million people) and is a common reason why people miss work and suffer from a poor quality of life. It is estimated that by 2040, more than 78 million people will suffer from arthritis.

Joint pain, including those related to arthritis, has been known to exist in humans since as far back as 4500 BC. Ötzi, Europe’s oldest known natural human mummy who supposedly lived between 3400 and 3100 BCE suffered from it. Therefore, there are natural remedies that mankind has used to treat arthritis for many, many years.

Bright Side wants to introduce you to some century-old remedies to help you fight against this disease.


Guggul, a sticky gum-like resin from the Mukul tree, has been used for centuries to treat arthritis and joint pain. Guggul naturally neutralizes the “NF-kappaB”, the primary gene that determines inflammatory reactions in the body to prevent, delay and treat inflammation before it gets a chance to cause disease. The Southern California University of Health Sciences’ researchers found that patients who had used guggul for one month experienced reduced pain, swelling, and stiffness.

How to use it:

Add 1/4 tsp of guggul tincture (available in health food stores) to 1/2 a tsp of water. Drink it 30 minutes before a meal, 3 times per day.

Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It not only helps to soothe inflammation but also relieves pain associated with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even muscle injuries. A 2013 study conducted in South Korea found that inhalation of eucalyptus oil was effective in decreasing pain.

How to use it:

Mix 8-10 drops of eucalyptus oil with about the same amount of peppermint oil. To this mixture, add 3-5 teaspoons of any carrier oil, like olive oil or moringa oil. Moringa oil is recommended since it is a potent anti-inflammatory, making it an excellent carrier oil. Rub this into your aching joints and feel instant, cooling pain relief.

Black cohosh

Black cohosh acts as an anti-spasmodic for nerves and muscles. It contains the anti-inflammatory salicylic acid (the base for the active ingredient in aspirin), and since ancient times has been used to treat an assortment of muscular, pelvic, and rheumatic pains.

How to use it:

The recommended dose of black cohosh ranges from 40 mg to 80 mg a day. If you purchase the tincture, add about 2 to 4 ml to water or tea 3 times a day. You may also use capsules. People with liver problems, especially women, should avoid this herb.


Cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde which gives cinnamon its flavor and odor. Cinnamaldehyde stops the release of arachidonic acid, an inflammatory fatty acid. This makes cinnamon effective in reducing inflammation caused by diseases like arthritis.

How to use it:

Mix 1 cup of hot water with 2 teaspoons of honey, and 1 small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Drink it once in the morning and once at night.


The alfalfa plant, like with many other ancient herbs, offers a plethora of health benefits. It is one of the best herbal remedies on the market for joint pain, back pain, and inflammatory arthritis because it contains many minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that play a crucial role in the strength and growth of our bones and maintenance of a healthy body.

How to use it:

It can be brewed to make an herbal tea. Use equal parts alfalfa leaves, red raspberry leaves, and peppermint. To brew, add 1 tbsp of the tea mixture to about 8 oz of boiling water and let boil for about 5 minutes before drinking.

Cabbage leaf

Cabbage has been used as a folk remedy for centuries to soothe painful joints. Apigenin, a flavonoid compound present in it gives it excellent anti-inflammatory properties. The effectiveness of this folk remedy was tested in a study carried out in 2016 that showed cabbage leaf wraps to be extremely effective in treating osteoarthritis.

How to use it:

Remove the hard stem from the cabbage leaves and press the leaves using a hard object to release some of its juices. Wrap the cabbage leaves in foil and place them in an oven for a few minutes to warm them up. Make sure they do not get hot or burnt. Wrap the warm cabbage leaves around the painful joint to completely encase it with the leaves. Hold the leaves in place by wrapping them with a self-stick gauze bandage. Cover the entire poultice with a plastic wrap or aluminum foil to contain the warmth. Let it stay there for at least 1 hour. You may also leave it overnight.


Turmeric powder has traditionally been used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis and joint pain. Turmeric works by blocking inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. In a 2016 study jointly carried by researchers from South Korea and the U.S., turmeric was found to reduce joint pain and swelling in patients.

How to use it:

Start adding turmeric powder to your food. You can also mix 1 spoonful of turmeric to 1 cup of warm milk. Drink this milk in the evening before going to sleep in order to get a good night’s rest. Also, make sure that you consume turmeric regularly to reduce joint pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.


This ancient herb that originated in Indonesia has been used for generations in Chinese and Indian medicine to alleviate joint pain. Research has shown that adding cloves to your diet can reduce inflammation caused by arthritis by about 44%. It not only helps in reducing the inflammation that you already have, but it also keeps new inflammatory cytokines from popping up in your joints.

How to use it:

You can add it to your food or even brew tea with it. If you do not like its taste, you can take clove supplements in pill form.

Devil’s claw

Devil’s Claw is a plant that grows in the deserts of southern Africa. It is called this because of the small claw-like hooks that cover the fruit. For centuries, natives of the Kalahari Desert have used the dried roots of this plant to treat joint pain. There is evidence that suggests that Devil’s Claw works almost as well as diacerein (a slow-acting drug not available in the U.S.) for improving osteoarthritis-related pain in the hips and knees.

How to use it:

As a tea, brew 5 grams of the dried root daily for relief of joint or muscle pain. If you cannot find dried roots, you can instead go for supplementary capsules. Look for products that contain Devil’s Claw extract standardized with 2% to 3% iridoid glycosides.

Willow bark

Willow bark is one of the oldest traditional medicines used to treat inflammation. In fact, people even during the time of Hippocrates (fifth century B.C.) were known to have chewed on willow bark to help treat inflammatory conditions. Willow bark contains a chemical compound called salicin that is similar to aspirin. It has been proven to be useful in relieving OA-related joint pain, particularly in the knees, back, hips, and neck.

How to use it:

Although some people prefer to actually chew on the unprocessed bark of the willow tree, willow bark capsules can be purchased from many drugstores and almost any health food store. The recommended dose is about 240 mg a day. Also, some stores sell willow bark tea, advertising it as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Steep willow bark tea for 2-3 minutes in hot water.


The traditional Chinese practice of acupressure is known to provide relief from joint pain including those caused by arthritis. The various acupressure points related to arthritis are:

  • Li 4: It is located on the highest point of the muscle when the index finger and the thumb are brought close together. Use a deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate the area for about 5 seconds.
  • Lv 2: This point is located on the web margin between the second toe and the big toe. Apply medium pressure using your index fingers, pressing on both feet at the same time if that is comfortable or press one foot at a time.
  • Gb 41: It is located on the top of the foot, in the channel between the little toe and the 4th toe. Press with your index finger using firm pressure.


Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese therapy that uses burning dried mugwort on particular points of the body. Practitioners claim it to be particularly effective in the treatment of chronic joint pain. It is widely used in China and other East-Asian countries to manage the symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. Research published in the Jilin Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that moxibustion paired with acupuncture had an 83.3% efficacy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Did any of these ancient remedies work for you? If they did, share your story with us so others who suffer from swollen joints can benefit from it. Also, in the comments below, let us know about your experience and the various other remedies you might know of to help manage this kind of pain.

Illustrated by Natalia Tylosova and Daniil Shubin for Bright Side
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