Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat rheumatism (disorders of the muscles and joints), eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), for urinary tract infections, for kidney stones, for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites. In fact, some small but well designed studies are beginning to confirm that certain traditional uses have scientific validity, particularly osteoarthritis especially when used in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications (see Possible Interactions), and BPH. Plus, recent laboratory studies are offering plausible explanations for why stinging nettles might help rheumatoid arthritis as well as several of the conditions already mentioned.
*Note: Touching this plant can make people itchy, though my highly sensitive skin didn't react to it.
Turmeric Prevents Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis, Bone Loss
Science Daily An ancient spice, long used in traditional Asian medicine, may hold promise for the prevention of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, according to a recently completed study at The University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Turmeric, the spice that flavors and gives its yellow color to many curries and other foods, has been used for centuries by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammatory disorders. Turmeric extract containing the ingredient curcumin is marketed widely in the Western world as a dietary supplement for the treatment and prevention of a variety of disorders, including arthritis.
Tart cherries (the variety sold as dried, frozen and juice) are one of
the richest sources of anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory
properties that are similar to some types of pain relief medications. For
years, tart cherries have quietly grown a fan base of arthritis suffers who
routinely consumed the fruit to help soothe their symptoms. Although this
anecdotal evidence has existed for decades, there now appears to be science
behind the cherry folklore(1-5).
Also listed as: Crack willow; European willow; Liu-zhi; Purple willow; Pussy willow; Salix alba; Salix nigra; Wheeping willow; White willow
Willow bark is used to ease pain and reduce inflammation, and there is good evidence that it is effective as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Researchers believe that the chemical salicin, found in willow bark, is responsible for these effects. However, studies have identified several other components of willow bark which have antioxidant, fever-reducing, antiseptic, and immune-boosting properties. Some studies have shown willow is as effective as aspirin for reducing pain and inflammation (but not fever), and at a much lower dose. Researchers theorize that may be due to the other compounds in the herb. More research is needed.