Bursitis Herbs & Spices:
Natural anti-inflammatories and pain-killers

Below are the most common - and effective - bursitis herbs you can use to fight this painful condition.


Boswellia (resin found in the bark of a frankincense tree) is a traditional Indian ayurvedic medicinal herb, used to tackle inflammatory conditions of all kinds.

The characteristics of boswellia acid are very similar to those of conventional NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), but without the side effects.

Adverse reactions have not been documented other than a very rare occurrences of skin rash, diarrhea or nausea.

Devil's Claw

Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens; dried root extract), native to South Africa is a traditional remedy for fever and malaria but it is nowadays used as a natural pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and an aid in healing wounds.

It is not recommended to take this herb while pregnant, using blood thinning medications or when suffering from ulcers. Some rare side effect include headache, loss of appetite or diarrhea.


Ginger has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to cure pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Ginger has very much the same effect as NSAIDs in that it blocks production of both types of 'inflammation enzyme' cyclooxyganase (COX for short), COX-1 (always present in the body) and COX-2 (produced during inflammation).

The good news is that ginger:

  • is as strong as the conventional medical painkiller drugs
  • some studies indicate that in fact ginger might be able to reduce pain and inflammation even more effectively than the NSAIDs
  • there are no side effects

So when bursitis causes you grief, spice your life up! Apply ginger compress over the achy joint, make yourself some ginger tea, juice some fresh apples and carrots with ginger and a little bit of lemon, or add some ginger spice into your cooking.

Curcumin / Turmenic

Curcumin is the active component in turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is a traditional Indian Ayurvedic spice:

1. Culinary - gives curry its distinctive flavor and coloring

2. Medicinal - relieves pain and blocks the inflammation-creating enzymes and proteins in the body, improves circulation, prevents blood clotting

The great news is, that although turmenic could have some rare and mild side affects associated with it (e.g. occasional nausea or diarrhea), it offers the pain and inflammation relief of non-prescription NSAIDs and cortisone drugs, but without their side harsh effects.

I find that the cheapest, handiest and tastiest way how to include turmeric into my daily diet is to simply add some into my cooking.

You can also apply turmeric topically to the affected area.

Also, turmeric is sold in supplement capsule form and it is probably the only way to consume enough of this spice to experience the full benefits.

Turmeric is sometimes combined with bromelain because it makes the effects of bromelain more potent.

Burdock root

Burdock root (Arctium lappa / minus) is another of the bursitis herbs native to Asia. It contains essential fatty acids, sterols and tannis, which have excellent anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant qualities.

Unlike with NSAIDs, burdock root does not cause stomach damage.

However, burdock is not recommended for pregnant women and people using diuretic and anti-diabetes drugs.

Also, remember to drink plenty of water when using burdock root as it might cause dehydration.

Add burdock root to stir-fries, make tea with fresh or dried burdock root or take a supplement.


Nettles have amazing anti-inflammatory properties. They are also loaded with minerals (e.g. boron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, silicon) and vitamins (A,B,C,D) and so build strong bones and joints and reduce pain. Nettles prevent water retention too.

You probably will not like me much for this suggestion, but it works: Striking the inflamed joint with a fresh cutting from a nettle plant helps to relieve joint pain and inflammation. Are you brave enough to try it?


Licorice contains a compound called Glycyrrhizin, which could basically be described as your body's natural source of corticosteroids - blocking and relieving inflammation and pain.

Licorice also has the capabilities to reduce free radicals at the inflamed area.

And most importantly, it does not have majority of the side effects of cortisol - such as fatigue, anxiety or tissue damage with long term use.

As with the other bursitis herbs, you can get licorice in supplement form, but I love it as a tea or just chewing its root.

Licorice does not really agree with patients and medications for high blood pressure and heart issues. Also, do not over-do it with licorice otherwise your blood pressure could spike up and cause head aches, for example.

White Willow Bark

White willow bark herb has been used for centuries to relieve painful inflammation in the joints.

You know the main component of aspirin? Yes, the pain-relieving salicin. And what does white willow bark contain? Yes, indeed, salicin.

Disadvantages of willow bark compared to aspirin? White willow bark takes its time to come to action.

Advantages of willow bark compared to aspirin? The results last longer. And it will not ruin your stomach in the process either.

If you are allergic to aspirin, please do not use white willow bark though.

Other potent bursitis herbs & spices

  • Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Basil
  • Cardamon
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Nutmeg
  • Rosemary
  • Horse Chesnut
  • Valerian Root

Please ALWAYS discuss bursitis herb supplementation with your doctor.

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