Natural treatments and herbal remedies haven’t been shown to cure psoriatic arthritis, but a few may help ease your symptoms. Before taking any natural or herbal remedy for psoriatic arthritis, talk with your doctor. Some remedies can have serious interactions with your medications.
Here are 12 natural treatments you can try to help soothe your joints and relieve inflammation.
Turmeric is a yellow-colored spice used in a variety of cuisines, especially Indian food. The spice is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
You can eat foods with turmeric, like Indian curries, or make turmeric tea. You can also take turmeric in pill form. Look for supplements containing curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric. Curcumin has been shown to block cytokines and enzymes that cause inflammation.
A of several published studies found evidence supporting the efficacy of turmeric (roughly 1,000 mg/day of curcumin) in alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, like pain and stiffness.
High doses of turmeric can thin the blood. So, you shouldn’t take turmeric or curcumin if you’re taking blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin), you’re about to have surgery, or you’re pregnant.
Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Several studies indicate that fish oils may decrease inflammation, tenderness, and stiffness in joints in people with conditions like psoriatic arthritis.
To add more omega-3s to your diet, increase your intake of fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, halibut, and cod, or take a fish oil supplement.
High levels of fish oil can interfere with some medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), so talk to your doctor before taking a supplement. Also, women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid eating certain fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna due to potentially dangerous levels of mercury.
Taking vitamin D hasn’t been found to improve psoriatic arthritis, but a 2011 study suggests that people with psoriatic arthritis are often deficient in the vitamin.
Vitamin D is important for your health, especially your bones. You can get vitamin D through sun exposure and by eating foods fortified with vitamin D. Ask your doctor if you should add a supplement to your diet.
Probiotics are believed to provide health benefits by supporting good bacteria that live in the gut.
A determined that people with psoriatic arthritis had less diversity of bacteria in their intestine compared to healthy participants. Based on this research, it’s possible that taking a probiotic containing live, active bacterial cultures can help with psoriatic arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. More research is needed to confirm this hypothesis.
In the meantime, taking a probiotic may be worth a try. You can find probiotics in yogurt, fermented cheeses, pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, and some types of milk. You can also take a probiotic supplement. Ask your doctor for help choosing one.
The Dead Sea is located in Israel, roughly 1,300 feet below sea level. It’s full of minerals and very salty. People have been soaking in the Dead Sea for centuries to help improve the appearance of their skin and reduce inflammation.
Treating a disease by bathing in mineral springs is known as balneotherapy. In a , balneotherapy at the Dead Sea resulted in a significant improvement in tender and swollen joints, and inflammatory neck and back pain in people with psoriatic arthritis.
If a trip to the Dead Sea isn’t feasible, you can purchase Dead Sea salts online. Another option is to try taking short, warm baths with Epsom salt to help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Capsaicin is a compound naturally found in chili peppers. It has a warming and numbing effect on pain receptors. You can buy ointments, gels, and creams containing capsaicin in stores or online. Simply rub this product on the skin near your painful joints.
You can also find capsaicin patches that work for up to eight hours at a time when applied directly to the skin. You might feel a burning sensation at first, but this should lessen over time.
L-carnitine is an amino acid found in nearly all cells of the body. It plays an important role in metabolism, but it’s not an essential nutrient because our bodies can make it out of other amino acids.
L-carnitine supplementation hasn’t been proven to help with psoriatic arthritis, but some studies show promise. One 36-year-old man who was taking L-carnitine for an unrelated reason had a reduction in his psoriatic arthritis–related knee pain while taking the supplement. The pain returned when he stopped taking it.
L-carnitine appears to be safe for long-term use. Mild side effects include nausea and stomach discomfort. To be safe, talk to your doctor before starting any supplement.
Heating pads help to loosen joints and relax aching muscles. Hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets are useful at bedtime.
Cold packs help to reduce swelling and pain during the day. You can alternate hot therapy with cold therapy throughout the day to help with these symptoms. Be careful not to apply ice packs directly to your skin for long periods of time.
Fatigue is a common issue for people living with psoriatic arthritis. Getting enough sleep is an important step in preventing fatigue as well as improving your overall mood and quality of life.
The best way to ensure a good night’s sleep is to follow these tips for proper sleep hygiene. This includes:
- avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day
- exercising during the day
- keeping your room dark and cool
- turning off all screens an hour before bedtime
- avoiding big meals before bed
- taking a relaxing bath or shower before bed
- going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
Stretching is a vital part of psoriatic arthritis therapy. It helps prevent tightness and keeps you limber. Plus, it helps prevent injuries while you exercise.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends 15 minutes of stretching as part of your daily workout. Work with a physical therapist or qualified personal trainer to create a daily stretching routine that works for you.
Regular exercise has many benefits for people with psoriatic arthritis, including:
- preventing joint stiffness
- improving muscle strength, which can make daily tasks a little easier
- reducing stress and improving your overall mood
- maintaining bone density
- reducing fatigue
- helping you lose weight, which takes pressure off your joints
- lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Engage in simple, low-impact forms of exercise. Swimming, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, walking, and cycling are good options.
A physical therapist can help you create an exercise plan. Always warm up before exercising to prepare your body and help prevent injury. Remember to stretch, too.
Massage is often used to relieve muscle tension and reduce stress. Find a massage therapist who is already trained to relieve joint pain in people with conditions like psoriatic arthritis.
Studies suggest that massage therapy may improve pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength, and overall joint function in people with arthritis.
There’s no cure for psoriatic arthritis, but a combination of the right medications and natural, at-home remedies can help you control inflammation and joint pain.
Always speak with your doctor before using a natural or alternative therapy, especially if you’re taking other medications. If a natural therapy improves your symptoms, don’t stop taking your prescribed medication without consulting your doctor first.