Rheumatism is an old word and is not often talked about by modern doctors now. Rheumatism, in short, is the old word for arthritis. This is a very common challenge as individuals get older and get less and less movement. The joints start to deteriorate and pain often ensues as bones can start to rub against each other. Herbs that are labeled as anti-rehumatic do not all have the same method of action in the body. Instead they all have a similar end effect, improved joint function.
As a very common herb, yarrow may be your most accessible herb to harvest from the wild that is antirheumatic. (Take care not to confuse it with wild carrot leaves) Not only is yarrow supportive for healing tissue damage it has also been shown to be antimicrobial when used as a water extract. It is also a gentle diuretic, encourages urination, which is through to contribute to it’s antirheumatic effects, potentially supporting the removal of toxins from the body which may accumulate in joints causing irritation.
Cayenne peppers are a very strong circulatory stimulant. Just thing about when you eat a spicy meal and you start to feel hot. For joints cayenne can be excellent for relieving pain and with the extra circulation, enhance healing and joint lubrication. This is exceptionally supportive for arthritis pains as joint lubrication is through to be the primary supportive method for long term healing.
For more long term rheumatic challenges, poke root is excellent. It is also an alterative, and it’s ability to support removal of toxins is thought to be how it is supportive for rheumatism along with it’s stimulating effects towards the lymphatic system. If you choose to use poke internally, you must be careful as it is a powerful purgative (make you vomit). Do not eat the fruit of poke as it is poisonous.
Like yarrow, juniper’s antirheumatic effects are thought to come from its capabilities as a diuretic herb. It can be used both internally and topically to relieve joint pain and stiffness and is considered by David Hoffman to be a stronger antirheumatic herb. This herb is another to take caution with as long term use can cause damage to the urinary system. It should also be avoided during pregnancy.
Rosemary is an excellent circulatory stimulant and as such, eases muscular strain and neurological pains. It can be used both topically and internally for these pains. Rosemary leaf can easily be harvested or purchased a grocery stores then made into tea, tincture, or infused oil for rheumatism.
For more information on herbs that are anti-rheumatic, please consult the book “Medical Herbalism” by David Hoffmann. For arthritis symptoms, consider learning more about our Warming Salve. If you are interested in using these and other herbs on a daily basis, please consult with a professional herbalist.