Dried arnica

Herbs for Joint Pain & a Few Home Remedies

Due to being overweight Lynn and I are suffering from knee pain. I suppose this is a common problem that affects a lot of people so I decided to make a cream with herbs for knee/joint pain as well as essential oils for knee pain. As I was researching the needed natural ingredients for making the cream I learnt about:

  • Herbs for joint pain (which I used when making my cream by infusing the distilled water – this article is in effect what I learnt from my research)
  • The steps for making my Natural Knee Pain Cream Formula/Recipe but this is only for those interested in DIY/homemade skincare (warning: this is for those who can formulate skincare with more advanced ingredients)
  • A ‘Best Knee Pain Relief Products‘ article as we went to a herbal store and had a look at some creams together with ingredients, etc (very revealing! Here’s where I learnt what I had to use for my formulation)
  • Last, but not least, the ‘Essential Oils for Knee Pain’ since I had to research which essential oils to use on our knee/joint pain DIY cream

**Please note that YOU SHOULD PAY YOUR DOCTOR A VISIT if you’re suffering from joint/knee pain and not use the information on this website (or any website!) as a replacement. I’m learning to deal with aches, ills, pains and beauty with natural/home remedies and formulations but this is more of a fun/info/hobby sort of thing! (Yes, this is my disclaimer : ) )**


I Trust My Research

I do most of my research using the books I buy. Why? I love the Internet but don’t really trust many of the websites with this sort of information. When I click on ‘contact’ or ‘about us’ I don’t really see anything convincing – don’t get me wrong, many websites are filled with incredible information and I do bookmark them! But, in general, there are too many sites out there of dubious origin and so I prefer to stick to my books.

How have I chosen my books? In London I did 2 courses (Naturally Thinking and Neal’s Yard) and investigated in bookstores like Waterstones which were the books to learn from. Needless to say I bought all the books from Neal’s Yard (yes, love love love them!!) and also a few more around people who somehow had some sort of direct link to the Yard. So, yes, I trust my books big time.

On Muscle and Joint Pains

With that ‘second disclaimer’ out of the way, let’s get started!

According to ‘The Handmade Apothecary‘ (aff link – not the best herbal book but a great ‘extra’) “Tendons and ligaments act like elastic bands to hold things together; tendons attach muscle to bone, and ligaments attach bones to each other. Damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments is usually caused by sudden physical injury such as twisting an ankle, or through repetitive use, in cases like tennis elbow.”

I love Vicky Chown’s and Kim Walker’s simple way of explaining about tendons and ligaments. A joint is where ‘two or more bones come together’.

Image credit:Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014“. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010ISSN 2002-4436– Own work

The image above is a good illustration of muscle, ligaments and bones. You can easily see that by putting weight on the knee takes on a lot every time it moves; when standing up (sit and stand up to see how much strain goes into the knee) and when in walking movement. Yes, the idea is to lose weight and we’re working on it but Lynn was in a lot of pain and I knew I could create a product that could help in the meantime (yes, we’re working on losing weight, we are).

Here’s an answer on Quora that explains the difference between tendon, ligaments, joint and cartilage. There’s even an explainer video.

So here’s how I understanding it:

  • Ligaments connect muscle to bones
  • Tendons connect bones to other bones
  • Joints are the point where bones articulate or meet

Correct me if I’m wrong – I’m happy with the simple explanation. Let’s keep going.


Herbs for Joint Pain, Application Methods & Home Remedies for Knee/Joint Pain

Below I’ll look at the herbs that can help with joint pain together with ways in which you can prepare and apply these herbs. I’m new to herbal remedies and I’m learning as I go, but most things I write about here I am trying myself or Lynn is trying it (like the cream we made for knee pain).

My point is that even though I’m new and still learning about herbal remedies I’m preparing and using what I write about in some form or another. This is the article I would want to find myself if I was researching for the herbs I’m mentioning below.

Herbs for Joint Pain

According to my several herbal books, below are the herbs that can help with joint pain. Please keep in mind that these herbs are very good for many different things, but I’m just mentioning their power regarding joint or muscle pain.

As the body gets older, structure and flexibility of the joints become a bit of a challenge. Herbal remedies help, but it is good to balance your diet and lifestyle. I also propose that you look into spirituality to learn about entrenched beliefs and habitual patterns of thought as well as compulsive behaviours (watch out for compulsive [blind] behaviours within the personality as well as physical movements). This can be a bit of a challenge at first, but over time and with practice you won’t want to go back to unconscious behaviours, which are very debilitating and addictive.

Here’s at-a-glance list of the herbs for joints and products. Below you’ll be able to read a little on each as well as having a look at the products I’ve chosen for each:

Arnica – gel
Devil’s Claw – capsules
St John’s Wort – infused oil
Comfrey – topical cream
Meadowsweet – infused tea
Crampbark – extract
White willow – extract
Celery – extract
Peppermint – infused tea
Cayenne – ointment
Elderberry – syrup

(Essential oils)
Juniper – essential oil
Ginger – essential oil
Rosemary – essential oil

Arnica (Arnica Montana)

ARNICA is the herb for joint/muscle injury (sprains, strains, bruising) par excellence! If you need to use the one herb for joint pain, THIS IS THE ONE. To use for sprains and bruises when the skin is not broken. Can also help with relief arthritis and rheumatism pain as well as backache. Apply topically as cream, salve, macerated oil, tincture, ointment.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Sale
Boiron Arnica Gel for Pain Relief, 2.6 Ounce
3,784 Reviews
Boiron Arnica Gel for Pain Relief, 2.6 Ounce
Arnicare helps to relieve joint and muscle pain, stiffness and swelling (neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, leg and foot pain, arthritis). Natural active ingredient! This pain relief gel is unscented.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum Procumbens)

DEVIL’S CLAW is a great anti-inflammatory, relieves swollen and inflamed joints and arthritis. Combines well with White Willow and Crampbark.  To be taken as tincture or capsules.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Sale
Nature's Way Devil’s Claw Root, 480 mg, 100 Capsules
848 Reviews
Nature's Way Devil’s Claw Root, 480 mg, 100 Capsules
A desert plant from Africa the secondary root or tuber or the Devil's Claw has been used worldwide for over 250 years. The secondary root is preferred by herbalists for its high concentration of beneficial components. Nature's Way Devil's Claw is gathered from the wild desert foothills of Africa.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)

ST. JOHN’S WORT is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory herb, helps ease muscle or nerve pains (very good for treating areas that have a lot of nerves in them). Good for treating sciatica and backache, as well as neuralgia (which I suffer from).

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

St.John's Wort Infused Oil Organic, 1 Fluid Ounce
15 Reviews
St.John's Wort Infused Oil Organic, 1 Fluid Ounce
An great option; this herbal oil has been traditionally used for soothing muscle pain and also nerve massage.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale)

COMFREY has remarkable healing properties. Good for sprains, strains, pains, aches and also good for arthritis. Use topically as macerated oil or cream.

Here’s what Moira Brindle says about comfrey (source): “Comfrey root and leaf has to be my favourite herb. It is fantastic for treating cuts, grazes, rashes (including nappy rash), and insect bites, as well as easing pain associated with arthritis, and exercise related pain and injury.”

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Terry Naturally Traumaplant Comfrey Topical Cream, 1.76 oz
306 Reviews
Terry Naturally Traumaplant Comfrey Topical Cream, 1.76 oz
I like the idea that the comfrey for this product has been specially grown for it. It doesn't stain and safe for children 4 and up.

Last update on 2022-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)

MEADOWSWEET helps relieve pain, inflammation and is good for rheumatism and arthritis. You can take in the form of tea (infusion) or as tincture also. According to ‘Cook, Brew and Blend your Own Herbs‘ by Neal’s Yard take 3 times a day (book has aff link, this is a book I personally love because I am in love with everything Neal’s Yard [I could maybe say they’re UK’s version of Mountain Rose Herbs?] but you can find cheaper ones that are also very good).

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Meadowsweet Herb Organic Cut & Sifted - Filipendula Ulmaria, 1 lb
8 Reviews
Meadowsweet Herb Organic Cut & Sifted - Filipendula Ulmaria, 1 lb
Making tea from the dry herb is always a great idea (recipes below). This product is 1 pound organic Meadowsweet Herb, cut and sifted.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Juniper (Juniperus Communis) – [Essential Oil]

JUNIPER is an essential oil but I wanted to add it to this list (although I’m preparing an ‘Essential Oils for Knee Pain’ article). Juniper is antirheumatic as well as helping detoxify. It’s good to relieve gout (make a compress). This essential oil combines well with ginger essential oil to combat muscle pains (remember to mix the essential oils with a carrier oil!).

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Juniper Berry 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil - 10ml
751 Reviews
Juniper Berry 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil - 10ml
Kosher certified, FDA Registered. Company claims their oil is superior to organic and rare, best smelling and therapeutically effective.

Last update on 2022-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

And, if you wanted to mix it with Ginger essential oil, here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Plant Therapy Ginger Root CO2 Extract. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. 10 ml
588 Reviews
Plant Therapy Ginger Root CO2 Extract. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. 10 ml
100% Certified pure. Therapeutic grade essential oil- no fillers or additives added.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Crampbark (Viburnum Opulus)

CRAMPBARK is both sedative and antispasmodic. Helps relief backache (good to combine it with White Willow for this, see below). For arthritis and swollen joints combine with the herb Devil’s Claw. To be used as a tincture.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Cramp Bark Extract for Musculoskeletal Support, 1 Ounce
278 Reviews
Cramp Bark Extract for Musculoskeletal Support, 1 Ounce
Expertly extracted to support the musculoskeletal system. Prepared from the sustainably wildcrafted bark of Viburnum opulus trees.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

White Willow (Salix Alba)

WHITE WILLOW relieves inflammation and pain (it is both analgesic and anti-inflammatory). The way in which White Willow relieves pain is similar to aspirin. It helps with muscles and joints, sciatica, arthritis and neuralgia (I wonder if I could mix it with St. John’s Wort to treat my migraines?). To be taken as tincture or decoction.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

White Willow Alcohol-FREE Liquid Extract, Organic, 2 fl oz
49 Reviews
White Willow Alcohol-FREE Liquid Extract, Organic, 2 fl oz
The company uses classic conventional methods of extraction, meticulously producing their extracts so each herb is extracted according to the distinct characteristic of each plant.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Celery (Apium Graveolens)

CELERY The seeds are treat arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Celery is both an inti-inflammatory and detoxifying. You can combine it with White Willow. Make a decoction or tincture. Take 3 times a day for a few weeks.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Herb Pharm Certified Organic Celery Seed Extract for Urinary System Support - 1 Ounce
69 Reviews
Herb Pharm Certified Organic Celery Seed Extract for Urinary System Support - 1 Ounce
Prepared from the certified organic mature seed of Apium graveolens plants. Gluten-free and non-GMO.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) – [Essential Oil]

ROSEMARY helps bring comfort to muscular pain and joint ache. It helps stimulate circulation also. Massage the affected area by diluting a few drops of Rosemary essential oil into a carrier oil of your choice. Rosemary is very good if you’ve pulled a muscle, for example.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Sale
Rosemary 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil - 10ml
2,498 Reviews
Rosemary 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil - 10ml
Distillation facility is GMP, ISO 9001 and Kosher certified, FDA Registered.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)

PEPPERMINT A compress of the infusion helps to cool down inflamed joints of arthritis and gout.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Frontier Co-op Peppermint Leaf, Cut and Sifted, 1 Pound
1,705 Reviews
Frontier Co-op Peppermint Leaf, Cut and Sifted, 1 Pound
Cut and sifted; non-irradiated. Make an infusion and apply as a compress.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cayenne (Capsicum Minimum, Capsicum Frutescans [Chilli])

CAYENNE Cayenne is a Locally is pain relieving. you can use for several weeks for osteo and tehumatoid arthritis, joint or muscle pain. Ways to take: salve, oil containing it.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Sale
Dr Christopher's Formula Cayenne Heat Ointment, 4 Fluid Ounce
338 Reviews
Dr Christopher's Formula Cayenne Heat Ointment, 4 Fluid Ounce
Promotes relief of sore and tense muscles and joints.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Elderberry (Sambucus)

ELDERBERRY According to WebMD, Elderberry helps with back and leg pain (sciatica) and neuralgia (again, I must give this a try!). According to vix.com, it can help reduce joint pain and soreness.

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Elderberry Syrup with Apitherapy Raw Honey and Propolis
636 Reviews
Elderberry Syrup with Apitherapy Raw Honey and Propolis
Traditional formula includes Whole Elderberry Puree w/ Raw Honey & Apple Cider Vinegar.

Last update on 2022-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Daisy (Bellis Perennis)

DAISY (yes, that’s right, good old daisies) are of the same family as Arnica I believe, and is a good remedy for migraine, pain and joints. Maybe you have daisies in your garden? Here’s a joint ointment with daisy leaves and mallow leaves.

Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)

GINGER According to arthritis.org, ginger  “Decreases joint pain and reduces inflammation in people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis”. Add a few drops of Ginger essential oil and Juniper essential oil (see above) to St John’s Wort oil and massage. You can also add a few drops of both essential oils to the Comfrey topical cream (see above).

Here’s my choice from Amazon (aff link):

Plant Therapy Ginger Root CO2 Extract. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. 10 ml
588 Reviews
Plant Therapy Ginger Root CO2 Extract. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. 10 ml
100% Certified pure. Therapeutic grade essential oil- no fillers or additives added.

Last update on 2022-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Well, there you have it!

[Other Anti-Inflammatory Herbs]

There are many herbs that also have an anti-inflammatory properties, which means they can help ease inflammed joints.

Echinacea

Anti-inflammatory but also helps strengthen the body’s own defences.

Wild Indigo (Baptisia Australis)

Anti-inflammatory but also helps strengthen the body’s own defences.


Application Methods

The above herbs can be applied in different ways, according to how they work best. For example, as you could see, some are extracts (apply on to affected area with cotton gauze or you can massage into the skin until well absorbed). Some will work as poultices, salves, etc. Essential oils will need to be mixed with a carrier oil of your choice (sweet almond oil – aff link – is usually very good as a massage oil). Infused oils mixed with essential oils (see recipes below) are good for massaging the affected area as well. I personally like to make creams (more complicated) using infused teas and oils (also because I don’t always have the macerated oil at hand, but it would be easier for me to get the dry herb). I preserve the cream so I can keep it for longer.

Anyway, have a look below at the different application methods. Tea and decoctions are great if you’re using poultices and compresses (your infused/decocted herb tea should not be used after 24hr period!).

If You’re Applying Poultices/Compresses, Make Infused Tea or Decoctions…

Here’s a link on how to make an infused tea (for leaves, flowers, etc) and how to make a decoction (for roots, bark, etc) as the timings are different. Depending on the part of the plant used, you’ll need to either infuse or decoct in order to apply on the knee/joint in the forms mentioned below.

Also, keep in mind that you might want to make your own infused oils (infusing a herb in oil allows its active, fat-soluble ingredients to be extracted). You can hot-infuse oils (by simmering) or cold-infuse oils (using natural heat). These oils are great as massage oils or added to creams, balms and ointments. For making your own infusing oils visit this link or this one.

Poultice

Create a poultice with the above mentioned herbs. The mix is then applied to the affected area. Poultices are great for easing muscle pains and sprains.

Once your tea or decoction is ready, squeeze out any excess liquid from the herb(s), rub some oil on the knee or affected area (this will prevent sticking) and make sure to apply while the herb is still hot.

Next, bandage the herb in place by using cotton strips or gauze. You can leave for up to 2 – 3  hours. Repeat as often as required.

Lotion / Compress

Today I learnt that a lotion is the water-based herbal preparation that we use for bathing the skin with the aid of a clean cloth (by soaking the cloth into infusions, decoctions, diluted tinctures, etc). When we soak the cloth into the lotion and we hold it against the skin is a compress. When I was little, for example, my mum used to apply a cold compress over my forehead to bring fever down.

Difference between applying a lotion and a compress:
Lotion – we gently bathe the affected area by soaking a clean cloth and wringing it out.
Compress – we leave the soaked clean cloth on the skin for up to 1 or two hours. We can secure the compress with safety pins or a plastic film.

If You’re Making Ointment/Balms Using Infused Oils…

**If you don’t want to make the ointment/balm you can simply massage the infused oil or extract (or use a blend) onto the affected area.**

Ointments/Balms

Ointments will last longer as a product than using just infused herbs via poultices and compresses. Here’s the link on how to make ointments, just replace the parts of oil for infused oils with a mix of the herbs mentioned above.


A Few Home Remedies for Knee Pain/Inflamed Joints/Etc

Here’s a few home remedies using the above mentioned herbs that will help for joint or muscle pain. I created a cream but I understand that salves, balms, ointments, liniments, compresses, poultices, etc etc are easier to make than the cream.

These 2 recipes are from ‘The Handmade Apothecary‘ (aff link)

Muscle Pain Liniment

This liniment is nerve-soothing and relieves pain with the different combination of herbs.

Ingredients:

125ml St John’s wort infused oil (aff link)
125ml Meadowsweet or Willow Bark infused oil (aff link & aff link)
50ml Juniper and Ginger infused oil (aff link & aff link)
150ml Crampbark tincture (aff link)
15 drops Rosemary essential oil (aff link)

All ingredients should be place in a dark glass bottle. Mix by shaking well. Don’t forget to label and date.

To use shake again and massage into the knee or affected area.

This liniment will last up to 6 months. Make sure to store in a cool, dark place.

Comfrey & Elder Balm

Great for healing sprains and aches.

Ingredients:

40g Beeswax (aff link)
150ml Comfrey infused oil (aff link)
150ml Elder Leaf infused oil (aff link – liquid)
20 drops of Wintergreen essential oil (aff link)
10 drops of Marjoram essential oil (aff link)
10 drops of Lavender essential oil (aff link)

Using the Bain Marie method (check the link for different Bain Marie methods including a vegan option) melt the beeswax and then add all the infused oils. Mix well, remove from heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. Add the essential oils, stir and pour into jar. Don’t forget to label and date.

To use massage into the knee or affected area up to three times a day for a maximum of 2 months at a time.

This balm will last up to 1 year in a cool, dark place.

Knee Sprain Herbal Treatment with Arnica

Make a compress with Arnica to help with knee sprain.

Dilute half a teaspoon of arnica tincture in half a pint of water. Wash the sprained area with it.

Devil’s Claw, Celery and White Willow Remedy (Arthritis & Inflamed Joints)

Make a decoction with 8g of each herb to 750ml of water. Divide into 4 doses and take 2 to 3 doses a day.

White Willow Decoction (Arthritis & Inflamed Joints)

Use 10g of root to 750ml water. Take in 3 doses over 1 or 2 days, as required.

St John’s Wort, Comfrey and Lavender for Stiff & Aching Joints

Mix 2 and a half tbsp of St John’s Wort or Comfrey infused oil with 20 to 40 drops of lavender essential oil. Massage into the knee or affected joint.

When You’re Desperate… Use Cabbage!

According to ‘The Complete New Herbal: A Practical Guide to Herbal Living‘ (aff link, a little old in the way it’s written but packed with great info), if you’re desperate and have nothing else, bind a cabbage leaf over any bruised or painful area!

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