If you or someone you love suffers from arthritis, you know how debilitating the pain can be. Stiffness, loss of joint function, and swelling are some of the common symptoms.
Although doctors aren’t exactly sure why some people get arthritis and others don’t, it’s believed that both environmental factors, as well as hereditary, play a role. Environmental factors can include injury, obesity and overuse.
Most drugs fall short of our expectations. It makes you wonder about our ancestors and what they used for this common ailment. Believe it or not, besides just “toughing it out,” our ancestors relied on herbs to relieve their symptoms.
Here’s a closer look at the five most common herbs that our ancestors used to deal with the pain and swelling of arthritis:
Not the candy, although real licorice candy does get its flavor from this herb. Licorice acts similar to cortisone, but with no unwelcome side effects. Studies  have shown that this herb has anti-inflammatory compounds in its phytochemical makeup.
Like most herbal remedies, regular, continued use is needed to see results. Try drinking licorice tea two or more times per day. NOTE: If you have high blood pressure, avoid licorice.
2. Willow bark
Think of willow bark as nature’s aspirin. This extract reduces both pain and inflammation. Willow bark can be taken as a supplement or consumed as a tea. Most people find that 15 days of consumption, followed by seven days of rest, work best. If you have stomach problems, such as ulcers, this might not be the best choice.
This common “weed” really gets a bad rap. Dandelion is perhaps the best all-around herb for those suffering from arthritis. It has no known side effects and contains anti-inflammatory compounds  that make it very effective when dealing with arthritis and other chronic joint problems. Even better, dandelion has tons of nutrients and vitamins and is high in antioxidants! Drink two to three cups of dandelion tea each day. Feel free to add some leaves to your salad as well!
Who would go anywhere near stinging nettle?! The truth is that this is one of the most potent herbal remedies for arthritis. But don’t just take it out of the ground and eat it; instead, consume it via tea or supplements. This herb not only treats arthritis pain and swelling but also works for gout, eczema and urinary tract infections!
Scientists  have found that the nettles actually reduce the amount of inflammation in the body, which can interrupt the transmission of pain signals.
Long used as a laxative, modern-day researchers are finding lots of other reasons to consume flaxseeds, including fighting the inflammation responsible for the pain of arthritis. Flaxseeds are loaded with a type of Omega-3 fatty acid called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which fights inflammation. In fact, 57 percent of the Omega-3 fatty acid in these small seeds are ALA. Numerous studies and researchers attest to their inflammation-fighting  benefits. Flaxseeds need to be ground to release those inflammation fighters, so put your spice or coffee grinder to work and consume two to three tablespoons of ground flaxseed to keep inflammation, and arthritis, at bay.
In this uncertain world, it is always a good idea to empower yourself with knowledge that can help you not just survive, but thrive, if the need should arise.
What are your favorite all-natural remedies for arthritis? For all-around good health? Share your tips in the section below: