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Herbal Tea for Stiff Joints

by
author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Herbal Tea for Stiff Joints
Inflammation can occur in any joint. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Inflammation causes joints to feel stiff, particularly first thing in the morning. Anti-inflammatory medication is usually the first line of defense, but many people show interest in herbal treatments to help manage joint issues. Making tea is one of the most common ways to take herbal medicine, and some herbs contain anti-inflammatory substances. Always consult your health-care provider before adding herbal remedies to your regimen.

Joint Stiffness and Using Herbs

Stiffness in the joints is a classic symptoms of arthritis. For example, stiffness following exercise is a typical characteristic of osteoarthritis. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor to help him or her determine whether or not you have arthritis and if so, which type you have. Different types may respond to different herbs.

Seek the guidance of a holistic or naturopathic doctor, in addition to -- not in place of -- your general practitioner, if you plan to use herbal remedies. Most studies evaluating herbs use extracts, so you'll need guidance on what dose you need for making tea. Your ND will provide guidance on dosage and monitor you for complications. Because herbs have bioactive chemicals that affect the body, they can cause side effects and may not be safe for everyone.

Boswellia Serrata Tea

Indian frankincense, botanically known as Boswellia serrata, is an herb particularly used for anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic purposes. Researchers found Boswellia effective in patients with osteoarthritis, according to a study involving 30 volunteers that appeared in the January 2003 issue of the journal "Phytomedicine." The authors assert that it may offer benefits for other types of arthritis as well. Minor gastrointestinal side effects occurred. Commercial tea is readily available, or you can make tea from the root or leaves, available at herbal shops.

Ginger Tea

When compared to a placebo, ginger resulted in significant improvements in pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis, according to a study published in the November 2001 issue of the journal "Arthritis and Rheumatism." The experiment involved 247 patients with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis who took ginger or a placebo for six weeks. The ginger group reported less knee pain and stiffness upon standing and walking. The authors reported mild gastrointestinal side effects in the group that took ginger but asserted that ginger has a good safety profile.

Cat's Claw Tea

The herb Uncaria tomentosa, commonly known as cat's claw, possesses anti-inflammatory properties, according to the Arthritis Foundation. It also suppresses inflammatory proteins involved in rheumatoid arthritis known as tumor necrosis factors. Cat's claw may help relieve swelling and ease joint stiffness. Because other related plants share the name of "cat's claw," make sure to look for Uncaria tomentosa specifically when purchasing commercial tea bags or fresh or dried root to make tea.

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