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Knee Herbal

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    Dr. Thaddeus Jacobs


    Herbal Treatments

    Some herbal treatments for knee pain may be taken orally, while other herbs are applied topically in the form of a paste or cream. The cause of your knee pain largely dictates the type of herbs used. If you have knee osteoarthritis, for example, you may benefit from using boswellia, ginger, turmeric and white willow bark. Bromelain is believed to be an effective herbal remedy for soft tissue inflammation and pain relief. In her book "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," naturopathic doctor and herbalist Sharol Tilgner notes that arnica, calendula and rue are particularly helpful for musculoskeletal injuries.

    A Popular Herbal Treatment

    One of the most popular herbal treatments for knee pain is turmeric. According to Phyllis A. Balch, a naturopathic physician and author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," turmeric contains a substance called curcumin, which possesses anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving actions. Balch recommends a dose of 600 mg each day, although you should always talk with your doctor about appropriate dosage before using turmeric for your knee pain. Turmeric is also used as a seasoning and is the principal ingredient in curry powder.


    1. Exercise and weight loss. Keeping a healthy weight is key, explains Suzanne Moore, a physical therapist practicing in Maryland, because the extra weight increases the stress on the joint. A study released this week showed that obese people had a 65 percent lifetime risk of developing osteoarthritis in comparison with the 35 percent risk for people of normal weight. One study showed that people who lost an average of about 10 pounds significantly reduced pain and improved mobility in comparison with those who didn't. Other research has proved that strength training, as well as low-impact exercise such as bicycling or swimming, lessens pain.

    2. Physical therapy. The amount of pain people with knee arthritis feel is directly related to muscle weakness. That's why a comprehensive physical therapy program that strengthens quadriceps can go a long way, experts say, especially for people that have difficulty motivating themselves to exercise on their own. Physical therapists can also correct misaligned knees, a problem that can worsen pain, using wedged insoles and other orthotic devices.


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