What Are Herbal Remedies for Psoriatic Arthritis?

Many people living with chronic diseases like psoriatic arthritis turn to herbal remedies and supplements. While the research is limited on alternative and complementary medicine, they may help people manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Benefits of herbal remedies and supplements

Herbal remedies refer to the use of plant and plant extracts. Supplements are dietary ingredients that add nutritional value to a person's diet. Supplements may include 1 or a combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, herbs, or other botanicals. Some of the herbal remedies and supplements used by people with psoriatic arthritis include:1,2

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a plant that produces a gel. It has been used for thousands of years for various skin conditions. It is often used for psoriasis lesions and to soothe joints inflamed by arthritis. Some studies have shown aloe vera may help heal burns and abrasions. There is not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for other uses. Use of aloe vera on the skin is not linked to major side effects.1,2

Apple cider vinegar

Some people with psoriasis have used apple cider vinegar on their skin to relieve itching. Apple cider vinegar has not been scientifically studied, but it may have some antimicrobial properties. Other people drink apple cider vinegar diluted in water to protect against infections.1,3

Arnica

Arnica has been used for hundreds of years. Applied to the skin, arnica is often used to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds. It is commonly found in creams, ointments, and as a tincture, which can be used in compresses and poultices. It is generally safe to use on the skin.3

Fish oil

Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for many functions in the body. There has been lots of research on omega-3s and their effect on heart disease. However, the findings have been inconsistent.2

More on this topic

There is some evidence showing that omega-3s help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3 supplements are generally safe, but they may interact with drugs that affect blood clotting. People may want to avoid supplements that combine omega-3 and omega-6 because of the possible inflammatory properties of omega-6.2

Turmeric

Turmeric is a shrub that is related to the ginger plant. The herb from the plant is known for its warm, bitter taste and golden color. In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, turmeric has been used to aid digestion and liver function, relieve pain from arthritis, and regulate menstruation.2

Today, other uses for turmeric include heartburn, ulcers, inflammation, and cancer. Few clinical trials have been conducted to study turmeric. However, findings from some studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric, called curcumin, may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties. Turmeric is considered safe and is used in many traditional Indian dishes. While turmeric is considered safe, it could interfere with blood thinners such as Warfarin.2

Willow Bark

Willow bark contains salicin, which is a chemical that is similar to aspirin. It has been used for thousands of years to reduce fever and inflammation. Today, it is used to treat pain, headache, and inflammation. While it has not been studied in psoriatic arthritis, several studies have shown that willow bark is more effective than placebo (an inactive substance) in reducing pain from osteoarthritis. Because it contains salicylates, willow bark can interact with a number of drugs and herbs.3

Before beginning treatment for psoriatic arthritis, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

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Written by: Emily Downward | Last reviewed: February 2021.