Top 7 Science-Based, Effective Home Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief In Hands, Knees, And Ankles


Nowadays, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most popular health problems in not only the elderly but also officers whose exercising volume is comparatively low. Statistically, at least 1.5 million Americans are suffering from this disease. And they report identifying over 200,000 new cases in the USA every single year. What an alarming issue!

Moreover, rheumatoid arthritis can quickly result in severe fatigue, weight loss, fevers, and anemia. It also causes further problems throughout the major organs, such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys. RA patients also frequently suffer from dry eyes, dry mouth, damaged nerves, shortness of breath, and small skin lumps, etc. Therefore, you should be serious in treating and relieving RA to have a healthier and happier life. This article will give you the best home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis relief in hands, knees, and ankles. Continue reading it to discover these natural ways and then find one way that is suitable for you.

7 Best Home Remedies For Rheumatoid Arthritis In Hands, Knees, And Ankles

The recipes we've focused on are traditional home remedies that can be used alongside usual medical treatment. Always consult your doctor about recurrent infections, and if symptoms are getting worse rather than better.

I. Effective Remedies

1. Cinnamon 

Why: Cinnamon has a healing effect and anti-inflammatory property. So, it works wonders in alleviating symptoms of RA[1]. Furthermore, this herb is useful in relieving pains and aches, especially when they get worse in the cold weather in winter.

What you need:

  • Cinnamon powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Honey (optional)

How to do: Use cinnamon powder as spice every day, which is equivalent to 2 – 4 grams of cinnamon powder. You can combine it with honey. You should use the powder of cinnamon ground bark for the best result.

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Warnings: Do not consume cinnamon in large doses as they can be detrimental to your health. Do not use this herb for pregnant or breastfeeding women. This herb also has the potential negative reaction with the natural blood clotting of your body. It may interact with any doses of blood-thinning medications you take. So, just take a proper amount of cinnamon every day, just about 2 – 4 grams.

2. Willow Bark

Why: Willow bark has an anti-inflammatory property, which gives you instant relief in RA-related pains[2] [3]. It further works like aspirin, but it’s more natural and has less long-term side effects to your health. It works effectively in reducing fevers, stiff joints, and muscle aches.

What you need: 

  • Dried willow bark

How to do: You can chew and take dried willow bark directly by mouth regularly to get the benefit. You can also make the herbal tea from willow bark.

You can mix it in boiling water and strain it to make the mouthwash or apply it directly to the wounded or affected areas. Alternatively, you can add willow bark powder in dough and foods to consume it regularly in daily meal. Or else, you can take willow capsules if you do not want to eat this herb. It’s also available in the form of tincture and fluid extract, so you can easily use it to relieve RA-related pain.

Warnings: Willow bark contains salicin, which is fatal when taken in large doses because it can shut down your kidneys. Beethoven was killed by taking salicin overdose. Therefore, you should be careful when using this treatment. Do not use it for children under 16. Adults should take willow tea, which is made of 1 -2 teaspoons of willow powder in 8 ounces of boiling water. Drink this tea 3 – 4 times per day is allowed, which is equivalent to 60 – 240mg per day. In the form of tincture, willow should be taken from 4 -6ml in 1 – 3 times per day.

3. Black Pepper

Why: Black pepper is very useful in easing pain and reducing swelling. This ingredient also has capsaicin, which may help relieve RA effectively[4] [5]. Capsaicin can also be found in creams and lotions as an anti-inflammatory agent[6].

What you need:

  • Black pepper: 5 – 10mg

How to do: Consume 5 – 10mg of black pepper in the daily meal to boost the absorption of nutrients in foods into the body. Using black pepper with turmeric gives you a better result for RA. The proper daily dose of black pepper is from 250mg to 2g of powdered pepper. Or else, you can consume pepper oil twice every day topically.

Warnings: It’s normally safe when using black pepper in treating RA, but some RA sufferers can get swelling, or stomach upset. Do not inhale the black pepper or it can cause anoxia, respiratory distress, and swelling. Pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t use this spice. Do not use it when having diabetes, or taking medicine. Only take the tablets after 3 – 4 hours after consuming black pepper. Be careful when using this treatment if you suffer from autoimmune diseases.

4. Green Tea

Why: Green tea contains polyphenols, which are rich in anti-inflammatory and joint-protecting properties. Moreover, it’s the antioxidants in polyphenols that play the most important role in suppressing the immune system and treating RA[7].

What you need: 

  • Fresh green tea
  • A slice of lemon

How to do: Brew fresh green tea to enjoy its natural taste. Steep the tea in hot water for 3 – 5 minutes. You should not add sugar to limit the calories in your diet. You can also add a slice of lemon to make the tea tastier and healthier. If you have no time to make the tea yourself, use the bottled, instant, and decaffeinated products, which contain fewer healthy compounds.

Warnings: Green tea is safe drinking, but you shouldn’t abuse it. The effects of green tea on immune system disorders and inflammation has only been proven in animals. Short-term using could not bring the instant result in your RA symptoms.

5. Garlic

Why: Garlic is a healthy ingredient that is beneficial for many diseases, including RA, thanks to its anti-inflammatory property in[8] [9]. It helps reduce the symptoms of RA and the progression of it by preventing inflammation. It would help you treat RA effectively without taking medication.

What you need:

  • Raw garlic cloves
  • Lemon
  • Honey
  • Freshwater

How to do: Put 2 crushed raw garlic cloves in a blender with a peeled lemon and a teaspoon of honey and mix them well. Drink this mixture any time every day. Or else, you can grind 2 garlic cloves and mix it with 2 tablespoons of honey and some water to drink. Alternatively, you can peel a garlic clove and rub it directly on your RA pain.

Warnings: You may get burned in your skin when applying garlic directly to it.

6. Ginger

Why: We all know ginger is useful for many conditions, especially nausea. What’s more, ginger also helps relieve RA symptoms thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties[10] [11].

What you need:

  • Different forms of ginger extract: essential oil, gel, topical cream, capsule, tincture, or tea.

How to do: You can take ginger in many forms like oil, capsule, tincture, tea, or topical cream at a proper amount. But remember to take it after a meal, or you can consume it with food. Drinking a cup of ginger tea or add it into your dishes to boost your intake slightly.

Warnings: Be careful when choosing a high-quality supplement of organic ginger and avoid using products containing additives.

7. Turmeric

Why: Yellow turmeric is useful for relieving RA due to its anti-inflammatory effect and curcumin[12] [13]. Moreover, this ingredient is very easy to eat; you can add it to your curry dishes, daily meals, or take turmeric tea, milk, supplement, etc.

What you need: 

  • Fresh turmeric roots/ powdered turmeric
  • Black pepper

How to do: You can add fresh turmeric to your diet, juices, or in every meal. Chop or slice 1 – 3g or half an inch of a long piece of root, add a pinch of black pepper and water to make the juice. Take 30ml of this juice a day individually or take it as a part of your daily fresh juice to relieve the pain.

Alternatively, you can add 1 teaspoon of powdered turmeric to your food when cooking. You can also take 1 – 2g powdered turmeric with a pinch of black pepper. Or else, you grind ¼ teaspoon of fresh black pepper and mix it with 1 teaspoon of powdered turmeric to consume thrice a day.

Another way to take turmeric is the golden paste, which consists of heat, black pepper, turmeric, and healthy fats. This recipe helps boost the absorption of turmeric in RA patients. You should begin with small doses of turmeric like ¼ – ½ teaspoon. If you notice no side effects, you can increase to a ¼ teaspoon per week, then 1 – 2 teaspoon twice to thrice per day. The ideal dose should be 1 teaspoon of turmeric three times per day.

You can also take turmeric tincture. Add 10 – 30 drops of turmeric tincture to juices, teas, or smoothies to consume twice to thrice per day. Make and drink 1 – 2 cups of turmeric tea or milk per day. Or, the fastest way to take the supplement with the recommended dosage of 300 – 400mg for 95% curcumin extract in 2 – 3 times per day. You should take this supplement with an empty stomach. Remember to start with a small dose and increase the intake gradually every week if you notice no side effect.

Warnings: Don’t consume too much turmeric in your daily meals. Pregnant and breastfeeding women shouldn’t consume turmeric by mouth in medicinal amounts. Avoid using this spice if you suffer from gallbladder problems, bleeding problems, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hormone-sensitive condition, infertility in men, and iron deficiency. You should also stop using it two weeks before surgery.

Read more: Turmeric also aids in treating knee pain. (This article was medically reviewed/fact checked by Millie Lytle, ND, MPH).

II. How-To Tips

1. Stretching

Stretch is an effective way to relieve the symptoms of RA. According to a scientific study published in the Health Technology Assessment, strengthening and stretching program may help ease the pain in RA patients in wrists and hands[14]. Before taking this treatment, you should consult the advice of your doctor or physical therapist.

2. Exercise 

Besides stretching, you also should take some low-street and dynamic exercises to reduce the pain of RA[15], such as cycling, swimming, jogging, to strengthen your muscles around the affected area and be stronger to slow down the progression of the disease.

3. Heat & Cold

It’s still quite controversial on whether heat and cold medically effective for RA patients. But it provides the temporary relief in the sore areas in many RA sufferers[16] [17]. You can do it at home by applying a heat or ice pack to the affected feet and wrists. Alternatively, you can use ultrasound heat and cold sprays in pain for a deep penetration without causing a great temperature change on the skin.

4. Adequate Rest

You should spend enough rest for painful joints in addition to exercise. Exercise and rest must be balanced, or your pain will get worse. To make sure your rest and exercise are balanced well, have your doctor or physical therapist check your level and process of treatment, and your condition.

5. Healthy Diet

Diet is one of the most important factors that you should take into consideration if you want to treat RA effectively[18]. You know what, as inflammation is a big problem with RA patients, you should eat an anti-inflammatory diet to stay out of this unpleasant problem. According to a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine Magazine, which was conducted among 600 people on their plant-based diets loaded with fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, they got a decrease in the level of protein intake, which helps them reduce the chance of inflammation.

Therefore, a healthy vegan diet is an excellent treatment for RA[19]. People who are having this health problem, please take a healthy, balanced, and plant-based diet to reduce the progression of RA, relieve the pain, and make the condition better.

III. Facts & Myths

A. Myths

#1: RA Only Happens To The Elderly 

Although RA is more frequent in men and women over 80, it’s not only the problem of the older people. Women are likely to get RA earlier than men. Women usually get RA at the ages of 55 to 64, while men get this disease at the ages of 75 to 84. Moreover, RA can happen to anyone at any age, even in under-16-year-old children, and more common in the prime of life.

#2: RA Is Similar To Osteoarthritis

RA is completely different from osteoarthritis disease although both of them affect and cause pain and disability in the joints. They are different in terms of the cause of joint pains. Osteoarthritis usually happens to the middle-aged and old people and causes pain in aging joints by wear and tear. Whereas, in RA, the cause of joint pain is inflammation.

#3: When People Get RA, They Eventually End Up In A Wheelchair, Nursing Home With A Disability. 

RA can be so severe that it can cause disability, but thanks to the recent advances in treatment, a lot of RA patients can enjoy their active lives. Therefore, when you get the painful feeling in your joint, visit your doctor to get an instant treatment that available and suitable for you.

 #4: Changing The Lifestyle Or Using Pain Medications Can Clear Up RA.

Although RA is a type of arthritis, making changes in lifestyle or using pain medication is not effective for this disease. RA is caused by inflammation, which results from the autoimmune process when the immune system in our body turns to attack its healthy tissue. Therefore, changing the lifestyle such as changing the diet, losing weight, or exercising are not enough to treat this disease. Also, pain medications will not stop RA. It requires special medications, which help control and handle the cause known as the autoimmune process.

#5: RA Only Causes Pain And Damage To Joints.

Agree that RA leads to damage and pain in joints and related structures like cartilage and bones, but they are not the only symptoms. RA can also affect the cardiovascular organs, such as lungs, heart, and blood vessels all over the body. According to many studies, RA can reduce around ten years of your total lifespan. Therefore, RA is a very dangerous disease that you must be serious about it.

#6: Unhealthy Diet, Stress, And Excess Weight Gain Are Some Causes Of RA. 

Stress, unhealthy eating, excess weight gain, or any other lifestyle factor can cause RA. It means that you cannot make this condition disappear when losing weight, controlling the stress level, eating healthily. But you live healthily to be strong enough to struggle with diseases.

B. Facts

#1: Treatment For RA is Often Unconsciously Delayed.

Early treatment is the key for slowing down the progression of diseases and preventing the long-term damages. However, it’s quite common that RA treatment is usually delayed because people often miss noticing the symptoms or realizing how dangerous the joint symptoms may be. They just ignore the symptoms and miss the best time to treat RA. The disease should be treated within 6 months after the symptoms emerge. If you get joint pain, swelling feeling, or joint stiffness in the morning, you should go to the doctor right away.

#2: Smoking Is One Of The Main Risk Factors For RA. 

Smoking increases the inflammation in the body, especially in your lung tissues, which is the main cause of RA[20] [21]. Therefore, smoking raises the risk of RA strongly.

#3: RA Is More Than A Family Disease.

Yes, RA is a genetic disease, but more than that, it has a complex interaction with the environment and many other potential triggers which cause the autoimmune process. It means that if your parents don’t get RA, you still may do. Therefore, be careful and serious about it, do not ignore any symptoms.

#4: RA Can Occur Outside The Joints.

You may not notice RA even after it has started for years because it may occur outside your joints. RA can be predicted by the changes in the lining of your lungs. It can also start at your mucosal surfaces, such as lung, mouth, gut, and any organs where the environment is favorable for the development of the disease.

IV. Frequently Asked

#1: May Changes In Diet Help Treat RA?

A well-balanced healthy diet can aid in treating RA. Some studies have shown that a plant-based diet helps slow down the progression of this condition. Many experts also advise RA patients to consume fish at least twice a week to reduce the symptoms of this disease. Fish oil also works wonders in treating RA and give you relief from the joint pain[22].

#2: How To Notice The RA Symptoms?

Some main symptoms of RA are swelling, redness, pain, warmth, and limitations in range of motion of the joints. It happens more frequently in small joints like feet, hands, knees, ankles, twists, and elbows. It can result in injury in cartilage, bone, and soft tissues like tendons. If RA isn’t treated at the proper time, it can lead to deformities and functional limitation of the joint.

#3: When To See The Doctor?

RA patients should go to the doctor as early as possible. Specialists will check your condition, give you advice, plan of treatment, and also warnings. You are advised to see a specialist in RA when you get into many situations below:

– The diagnosis is unclear.

– At the beginning of the therapy, you should visit the expert to get information about the physical therapy regimen and optimal medication.

– During the treatment to test the response, progression, and effect of the treatment.

– When you get unexpected effects from the medication.

– When the disease keeps growing despite the treatment.

– When a significant functional limitation happens in a joint.

– When you get weight loss, marked fatigue, or fever.

– Before orthopaedic surgery.

If left untreated, RA can get worse and lead to many serious conditions, especially disability and decrease in the lifespan. These natural treatments and tips will give you relief from RA pain and slow down the progression of the condition. If you get joint pain and functional limitation of the joints, visit your doctor right away. If you know other natural home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis relief, do not forget to share with us in the comments box below.

All content provided is for informational and educational purposes. We recommend you consult a healthcare professional to determine which method is appropriate for you.

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