Alternative Medicine

Which Homeopathic Remedies Work for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can have a significant impact on your quality of life. This autoimmune condition can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, which can impair movement.

There are many treatment options available, including prescription medications, physical therapy exercises, and more. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis explore all treatment options, including the use of homeopathic remedies.

Ferriwell / Jessica Olah

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine approach to treating health conditions that uses natural products, such as herbs and spices. Scientists have studied some nutritional supplements for rheumatoid arthritis and found that the results are mixed: some people feel relief from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms when taking homeopathic medicines, while others do not.

Here’s what you should know about using homeopathy for rheumatoid arthritis.

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a method of medicine that has its roots in Germany in the nineteenth century. This medical school uses natural materials from plants, animals, and minerals to make medicines. Often, these medications are made as tablets that dissolve under the tongue, but they can also be taken as topical preparations, tablets, or tinctures.

Practitioners of homeopathy believe that the symptoms of the disease can be treated using substances that produce similar systems in healthy individuals. This idea is called “like cures like”. For example, chills can be treated with a substance that causes chills in healthy people.

Additionally, practitioners believe that smaller doses are more effective than larger doses.

Recent research has not shown that homeopathy is an effective treatment for any condition. Since recent research does not support the effectiveness of homeopathy, some people refer to homeopathy as pseudoscience.

The difference between homeopathy and nutritional supplements

Many people confuse homeopathy with dietary supplements. While dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), homeopathic medicines are. This means that homeopathic remedies have to make a claim about exactly what they are treating; Dietary supplements cannot make these claims.

Homeopathic Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although there are no homeopathic medicines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, Including treating rheumatoid arthritis, some homeopathy practitioners believe that certain spices and herbs can be beneficial. These include:

  • Curcuma: This spice contains a bioactive compound (curcumin) with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Scientific research has shown that turmeric can reduce inflammation and may reduce pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. More research is needed to confirm the results and determine the optimal dosage.
  • arnica: When used topically by cream, this herb is believed to reduce pain and bruising. One study showed that arnica cream is as effective as ibuprofen gel in relieving arthritis pain. More research is needed to determine if this treatment is effective for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Poison ivy: Poison ivy, often given its scientific name, Rhus SocodendronIt is used in homeopathy to treat pain and stiffness. An animal study of the anti-inflammatory properties of Roche’s drug secodendron showed that the plant may help regulate inflammation and improve pain. More human studies are needed.
  • Apis: Also known as apis mellifica, this homeopathic remedy is made from bee venom and is believed to reduce swelling. A Chinese study found that rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with acupuncture with bee venom experienced improvement in their pain and stiffness without any side effects. However, more research is needed to understand how and at what dose this compound works.
  • Bryonia: Bryonia vine. The root is used in homeopathy to treat arthritis pain, especially in the knees and elbows. However, a little research supports its use.

Supplements for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research has shown that some supplements, including fish oil and turmeric, can help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Although these treatments are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they may be beneficial for people who are looking for a more natural remedy. Talk to your healthcare provider about nutritional supplements that may help.

Ways to try homeopathy

If you are interested in homeopathy, you should not attempt to practice the remedy on your own. Instead, find a trusted practitioner who understands this approach to treatment. The North American Association of Homeopathy (NASH) maintains a registry of practitioners throughout North America.

Risks and considerations

Many homeopathic medicines are diluted, due to the belief that a smaller dose is more effective. Despite this, some homeopathic medicines can interfere with prescription or over-the-counter medicines that you are already taking. Be upfront with your healthcare provider about any homeopathic remedies you are using so they can make sure you don’t have serious contraindications.

It is important to remember that homeopathic medicines have not been approved by the FDA. Recent research has not shown that these medications can relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The supposed benefit of homeopathy can be explained by the placebo effect, which makes people feel better when any treatment is given, regardless of whether it contains active ingredients.

An integrated approach to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

If you are looking for more natural ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis, some complementary and alternative medicine methods have been shown to help people with rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

  • Supplements and herbs: Outside of homeopathy, there are a range of nutritional supplements and herbs that may help control symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, and turmeric. The Arthritis Foundation offers a list of nutritional supplements and herbs—noting important warnings and contraindications—as a resource for the public.
  • Message: Massage is good for relaxation and has been shown to reduce pain levels in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Acupressure: Studies have shown that acupuncture can help reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

These alternative and complementary therapies can be incorporated into your treatment plan and used as part of a beneficial approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Have an open conversation with your healthcare provider about lifestyle changes and natural treatments that may help keep rheumatoid arthritis symptoms under control.

Word from Verywell

It’s natural to wonder if natural arthritis treatments can help control your RA symptoms. If you are interested in homeopathy, talk to your healthcare provider and homeopathic practitioner about how you can benefit from this remedy.

In addition to homeopathy, the effectiveness of which has not been scientifically proven, there are other alternative treatments for RA. Fish oil supplements, massage, diet changes, and exercise can also help manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, with little or no side effects.

Talk to your health care team about creating a treatment plan that includes modern medicine, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies that work in tandem to help keep you healthy and active.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does homeopathy work for arthritis?

    Doctors and patients have wondered if homeopathy is effective for RA. No studies have shown that homeopathy is an effective treatment for any disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. However, other natural and alternative treatments, from supplements to acupuncture, can help relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

  • What is the best natural anti-inflammatory for rheumatoid arthritis?

    Of all the available homeopathic remedies, turmeric is the only one that has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to help reduce inflammation. This may benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis, as arthritis is an inflammatory disease.

  • Is homeopathy for the treatment of arthritis safe?

    Homeopathic medicines are highly dilute, which means they contain very little of the active ingredient. For this reason, it is generally safe. However, side effects and interactions with other medicines can occur, so be sure to speak with your doctor before using any homeopathic medicines. Currently, there are no homeopathic medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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