What is the best & natural way to treat Rheumatoid arthritis without side effects of allopathy drugs ?

What do we mean by natural ways to treat Rheumatoid arthritis ? What qualifies as natural therapy ?

There is no clear answer. For most people, anything which doesn’t involve taking synthetic or factory drugs, qualifies as natural therapy. It includes naturally occurring plants and herb products like turmeric, chaga mushrooms, moringa, ginger, fenugreek etc. Any product which is derived from things occurring in nature, like ayurvedic medicines & oils, homeopathy, Chinese herbs etc, are also considered natural (even if the product is made in factories or has alcohol :).  Therapies like oil massage, exercise, yoga, acupuncture, etc are also considered natural. Some consider dietary changes a natural way to treat.

Natural therapies can include dietary changes, use of alternative medicine systems like Ayurveda, Chinese herbs & homeopathy, exercise, acupuncture, chiropractice etc. Healthy diet and exercise are recommended by all rheumatologist doctors as add on to allopathy medicines. Using only natural therapies to treat RA can lead to many issues.

Natural therapies can have 'side-effects' in Rheumatoid arthritis

Harms of trying only natural therapies to treat Rheumatoid arthritis







Read here to understand how rheumatologist confirm that one has rheumatoid arthritis

Why Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a severe disease ?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most painful, debilitating and crippling diseases known to humans. It affects 1 in 200-300 people. It usually lasts life long. It can almost affect every joint of the body.  RA is not just disease of joints, it affects whole system of one’s body. If right treatment is not started early, it can cause irreparable damage to joints and other organs too.

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most painful disease known to man. It can lead to life long pain with damage to joints and many other organs.   

Read here to understand what is Rheumatology & arthritis ? Who is a Rheumatologist?

How was RA treated in past when these natural methods were available ?

Previously (20 – 50 years back), doctors did not have many options in treating RA patients. Only pain control remedies were used for RA patients. Most of the above natural treatments were then available. Despite their use, RA patients used to suffer & develop a lot of damage and complications. Modern allopathic medicine has progressed remarkably with regards to Rheumatoid arthritis treatment (Read here to find evidence of progress in RA treatment). With early and good RA treatment, we are seeing much lesser deformities and joint replacements in RA. (see here for evidence).

Natural therapies never worked in the past. Most RA patients used to develop life long deformities or develop serious complications then. Modern allopathic has led to very good control in most RA patients with a better quality of life.  

Why everybody wants natural or herbal therapy for Rheumatoid arthritis ?

‘Natural therapy occurs naturally, so it won’t have any side effects and hence, there is no harm in trying’, is the argument most people love to put up. There are many other arguments like, ‘Natural therapies cure RA as they target root cause of disease’, ‘synthetic drugs for arthritis have too many side effects’, ‘they were effective for our ancestors’, ‘drug companies do not earn from natural therapies ‘ etc. People easily ignore the fact that none of the natural therapies are effective in controlling RA.

People get misguided by claims that natural therapies have no side effects and it can cure the disease. The worst ‘side-effect’ of natural therapy is that delaying or avoiding good allopathic treatment in RA can lead to serious joint and organ damage.   

Have you stopped eating dals/chana/curd (dahi) etc because of arthritis ? Read here why you shouldn’t do that.

Missing the ‘window of opportunity’ in Rheumatoid arthritis treatment

Early treatment is the key in RA. There is ‘window of opportunity’ in early RA (not our invention, but a recognised term :). This window is open for 12-24 weeks after RA starts.  There is decent evidence that if RA patients are properly treated during this window, they are less likely to have joint damage or might need much lesser treatment in the future. Many patients miss this window for a ‘unproven’ natural treatment.

In a patient whose RA symptoms have just started, a ‘window of opportunity’ is present for 12 -24 weeks. Decent research shows that effective early treatment during this window can lead to less pain, less damage and lesser costs in the long-term. Patients going for ‘unproven’ natural therapies often miss this ‘window of opportunity’ with poor outcomes.

Why there are so many claims of successful use of natural therapy in Rheumatoid arthritis ?

Most claims of successful natural therapies on internet or real-life are fake or misguided. Many patients with mild disease at start will feel better with anything, but they will worsen without proper treatment in future.  There is almost no government or medical organisation in the world, which endorses use of natural therapies exclusively for RA treatment. Yes, they might recommend healthy diet, exercise, herbs, acupuncture etc, but just as add-on to allopathic treatment.

Most claims of natural therapy curing RA on internet are fake or misguided.   

Common ‘myths’ about natural therapies in RA and ‘real facts’


Myths about natural therapies in RA  Real facts and hard truth
Natural therapies have  no side effects or harm. Natural therapies might make you delay taking proper treatment. Remember in RA a ‘window of opportunity’ is open only for a short period. Miss this window and one’s RA is more likely to cause damage to joints.Damage in RA cannot be reversed. You can’t get every joint replaced. Many herbal medicines can be very toxic to liver. Many quacks (in developing countries) give unlabeled steroid powders and even give methotrexate (an allopathic drug), so don’t be sure that you are receiving just herbal medications.

Many herbal medicines can have unpredictable harm to liver or kidneys and damage may go unnoticed until its too late.

Allopathic pharma companies have hidden interests in selling their drugs. They will earn less from natural therapies. Most basic drugs in Rheumatoid arthritis are cheap. Yes, biologic injections for RA are expensive. But, then many herbal products are sold at costly rates. People who sell books and diets on natural therapy in RA, play with patients minds and trick them with marketing. Its better to give profits to pharma companies for their drugs which work and are approved by trusted government medical organisations.
There is good research on many natural therapies in RA. A research on any drug should be good quality and repeatedly show similar results. At any point an approved  RA drug will have anything ranging from 50 to more than 100 papers. No natural therapy used in RA has consistently shown such results.
All allopathy drugs in RA have many side effects. RA drugs have been used for 20-70 years now. Yes they are not light drugs, but they are generally safe. They have been so extensively studied that we know their problems and how to monitor them. If there is a problem with one, we catch it early and change to something else. RA is a deadly and damaging disease, its therapy cannot be light.

Most allopathy drugs are well researched and we understand their good and bad effects very well. No natural therapy has consistent high quality research showing effective results in controlling RA. RA allopathy drugs are usually safe and patients on these drugs are regularly observed for any side effects.

There are so many patients reporting side effects on internet, not all can be wrong ! 60-80% patients do very well with RA therapies in current era (obviously under good care). People who don’t do well on one therapy will report that on internet, something else might suit them.
Natural therapies can cure Rheumatoid arthritis, allopathy cannot. RA is usually a lifelong disease. If somebody says that they or a therapy can cure RA completely, never believe that person. At any point, 1 in 200-300 people around the world have RA. Why haven’t numbers decreased if RA can be cured ?

Do not fall for fake claims of curing Rheumatoid arthritis.

We are sorry if you were actually looking for natural therapies in RA. Our point here is that relying only on natural therapies in Rheumatoid arthritis can be disastrous. One can obviously eat healthy, do exercise and may try other things after discussion with Rheumatologist. Take your call.

Best wishes

Author: Dr Nilesh Nolkha, Rheumatologist

Dr Nilesh Nolkha is a young and dynamic rheumatologist who keeps patients interests at forefront of everything he does.

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