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 Herbal Actions: Anti-Rheumatics 
These are remedies that have been observed improving the patients experience of rheumatic problems. That is not to say that they have a specific effect upon the disease or even necessarily upon the musculo/skeletal tissue itself. It is a description of outcome rather than process, and as such is very limited in its applicability, unless the processes at play for each herb are understood.
Achillea millefolium Yarrow
Angelica archangelica Angelica
Apium graveolens Celery Seed
Arctium lappa Burdock
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Bearberry
Armoracia lapathifolia Horseradish
Arnica montana Arnica
Artemisia absinthium Wormwood
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort
Berberis aquifolium Mountain Grape
Betula spp. Birch
Brassica spp. Mustard
Capsicum minimum Cayenne
Caulophyllum thalictroides Blue Cohosh
Cimicifuga racemosa Black Cohosh
Dioscorea villosa Wild Yam
Eupatorium perfoliatum Boneset
Eupatorium purpureum Gravel Root
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet
Fucus vesiculosus Kelp
Gaultheria procumbens Wintergreen
Guaiacum officinale Guaiacum
Harpagophytum procumbens Devil's Claw
Iris versicolor Blue Flag
Juniperus communis Juniper
Menyanthes trifoliata Bogbean
Myrica cerifera Bayberry
Petroselinum sativum Parsley
Phytolacca decandra Poke
Populus tremuloides White Poplar
Rosemarinus officinalis Rosemary
Rumex crispus Yellow Dock
Salix spp. Willow bark
Smilax spp. Sarsaparilla
Tanacetum chrysanthemum Feverfew
Taraxacum officinalis Dandelion
Urtica dioica Nettles
Viburnum opulus Cramp Bark
Zanthoxylum americanum Prickly Ash
Zingiber officinale Ginger

The activity of these herbs as anti-rheumatics can be explained as an expression of a more broadly relevant action. This may be rationalized by the main action alone or a more holistic synergy of the plants actions. For example, the alteratives can work in a number of different ways, as can the anti-inflammatories (please refer to that section if this is unclear). Of course this cannot always be worked out. If you want predictable, reductionist cause & effect, become an accountant....................
Anti-Inflammatories: Angelica archangelica, Apiumgraveolens, Betula spp., Dioscorea villosa, Filipendula ulmaria, Gaultheriaprocumbens, Guaiacum officinale, Harpagophytum procumbens, Menyanthes trifoliata, Populus tremuloides, Salix spp., Tanacetum chrysanthemum

Alteratives: Arctium lappa, Berberis aquifolium, Fucus vesiculosus, Guaiacum officinale, Harpagophytum procumbens, Iris versicolor, Menyanthestrifoliata, Phytolacca decandra, Rumex crispus, Smilax spp., Urtica dioica

Diuretics: Apium graveolens, Achillea millefolium, Arctostaphylosuva-ursi, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Eupatorium purpureum, Juniperus communis, Petroselinum sativum, Taraxacum officinalis

Circulatory Stimulants: Armoracia lapathifolia, Brassicaspp., Capsicum minimum, Myrica cerifera, Rosemarinus officinalis, Zanthoxylumamericanum, Zingiber officinale

Anti-Spasmodics: Cimicifuga racemosa, Viburnum opulus

Other action or basis unclear: Arnica montana, Artemisiaabsinthium, Artemisia vulgaris, Caulophyllum thalictroides

A number of useful books are available for both the practitioner and patient. Those that deal with exercises and non-drug pain relief will prove most valuable. An excellent example is:
Gach, Micheal Reed. Arthritis relief at your fingertips.Warner Books, New York, 1989

Very useful information is supplied by these organizations:

The National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Bethesda, MD 20892

Arthritis Foundation
1314 Spring Street, NW,
Atlanta, GA 30309.
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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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