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Homeopathic Remedies for Osteoarthritis

Also indexed as: Arthritis (Osteo), Degenerative Arthritis


Osteoarthritis is an inflammation of the joints, involving breakdown of the cartilage at the ends of bones. Pain and inflammation, often from misalignment or overuse, can lead to thickening or bony deposits in these areas. Homeopathic remedies can be helpful during painful flare-ups. A constitutional remedy, chosen by an experienced practitioner to closely fit the individual, may help on deeper levels.

For dosage information, please read the information at the end of this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional Guidance” in What Is Homeopathy?

Aconitum napellus: This remedy may be helpful for pain and inflammation that comes on suddenly after exposure to cold wind and weather. The person is likely to feel fearful, panicked, or agitated.

Apis mellifica: This remedy can be helpful in acute conditions with redness, tenderness, and swelling. Joints feel hot and have stinging pain. The hands and knees are often affected. Warmth can aggravate the symptoms and cool applications bring relief.

Arnica: Chronic arthritis with a feeling of bruised soreness can indicate a need for this remedy. Pain is worse from touch, and may occur in joints that were injured in the past.

Belladonna: Sudden flare-ups of arthritis with a sensation of heat and throbbing pain indicate a need for this remedy. The joints look red and inflamed, and the surface may feel hot to the touch.

Bryonia: This remedy can be useful for tearing or throbbing pain that is worse from any motion. Rest and pressure may bring relief (if the pressure adds stability), but movement is intolerable. Cold applications often reduce discomfort.

Calcarea carbonica: This remedy is often useful for arthritis in a person who is chilly, flabby or overweight, and easily tired by exertion. Inflammation and soreness are worse from cold and dampness, and weakness or cramping in the extremities are often seen. Problems often focus on the knees when Calcarea is needed.

Calcarea phosphorica: Stiffness and soreness of the joints, worse from drafts and cold, may be relieved by this remedy. Aching in the bones and tiredness are common, and the person feels worse from exertion. Calcium deposits or bone-spurs may develop, especially in the neck. A feeling of dissatisfaction and a strong desire for travel or a change of circumstances are often seen in individuals who need this remedy.

Calcarea fluorica: This remedy is often indicated for arthritic pains that are improved by heat and motion. Joints become enlarged and hard, and nodosities or bone spurs may develop. Arthritis after chronic injury to joints often responds to Calcarea fluorica.

Cimicifuga (also called Actaea racemosa): Severe aching and stiffness that is worse from cold may respond to this remedy, especially if the neck or larger joints are affected. Shooting pains or twitching can be felt in the area, and inflammation may be worse around the menstrual period.

Dulcamara: If a person has a flare-up of arthritis during cold damp weather, after getting wet and chilled, or when coming down with a cold, this remedy may be helpful. People who need this remedy are often stout, with a tendency toward allergies and back pain.

Kali carbonicum: If the joints have begun to get thickened or deformed, and discomfort is worse from cold and dampness, this remedy may help to bring relief. People who need this remedy are often dutiful and conservative, and tend to feel anxiety in the stomach.

Kalmia latiflora: Intense arthritic pain that appears quite suddenly may indicate this remedy—especially when the problems start in higher joints and extend to lower ones. Pain and inflammation often start in the shoulder, moving to the elbow, wrist and hand. The knees are also frequently affected. Discomfort is worse from motion and often worse at night.

Ledum palustre: Arthritis that starts in lower joints and extends to higher ones suggests a need for this remedy. Pain and inflammation often begin in the toes and spread up through the ankles and knees. The joints may make cracking sounds and may be very swollen. Cold applications bring relief to both the pain and swelling.

Pulsatilla: Pain that moves unpredictably from one joint to another suggests a need for this remedy. The hips and knees are often affected, and pain may be felt in the heels. Symptoms are worse from warmth, and better from cold applications and open air. A person who needs this remedy often is moody and changeable, and usually wants a lot of attention and comforting.

Rhus toxicodendron: Arthritis with pain and stiffness that is worse in the morning and worse in cold, wet weather suggests a need for this remedy. The person may feel extremely restless. Both warmth and motion improve the symptoms in the joints, as well as the person’s general state.

Ruta graveolens: Arthritis with a feeling of great stiffness and lameness, worse from cold and damp, and worse from exertion often is relieved by this remedy. Tendons and the capsules of the joints may be affected. Arthritis may have developed after overuse, from repeated wear and tear.

Homeopathy Dosage Directions

Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.

Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient.

If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.

For more information, including references, see What is Homeopathy? and Understanding Homeopathic Potencies.

(See also Homeopathic Remedies for Bursitis, Gout, Fibromyalgia, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.)

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