Herbs for fibromyalgia (and other chronic inflammatory diseases)

My life changed about 2 years ago.  I began to realize that the ‘normal’ aches and pains of being a woman in her late 30’s weren’t all that normal.  A lot of other people my age weren’t feeling the same things I was.  Furthermore, those ‘normal’ aches and pains were getting a lot worse.  They were beginning to affect my mood, my energy level, and my ability to cope with ‘normal’ life things like stress and sleep.

I talked to a friend who has fibro, and found that a lot of my symptoms were very much like hers.  So I went to a doctor, who ran blood tests to rule everything else out.  She did.  We were left with fibro.  And here I am.

It’s been a tough road trying to learn how to manage my symptoms and keep from crashing and burning.  I’ve learned that meat is bad, sleep is good.  Stress is bad, hot baths are good.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten a handle on everything.  Then I have a gnarly flare-up and all pretenses that I’m in control of my own life are shot straight to hell.

So I’ve been thinking more and more about alternative treatments, as I still don’t have insurance, and doctors and pills just aren’t in the budget.  That’s how I compiled this list.

Herbs for Fibromyalgia

Rose of Sharon in Britain and Australia, Aaron...

St. John’s wort(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pain Relief and Anti-inflammatory

  • White willow bark-  White willow bark has a long history of use for pain relief among Native Americans, but other varieties of willow bark have been chewed as far back as Hippocrates’ time.  The main constituent is salicin, which is similar in composition to Aspirin.
  • Meadowsweet-  Aspirin was originally synthesized from the leaves of meadowsweet to obtain the methyl salicylic acid that we know today.  It’s great to reduce fevers, pain, and the whole herb also helps to relieve stomach problems.  It’s also a great anti-inflammatory.
  • Turmeric-  Turmeric has shown great promise in fighting the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases like fibro.  It also covers a lot of associated problems, like headache, stomach issues (which can often arise from the medicines we take), and intestinal problems.  (A lot of fibro sufferers also suffer from IBS and other intestinal issues.)

Mood Enhancement

  • Kava Kava- (Sometimes called Kava) is used to help treat anxiety, stress, and sleep disorders.  There is tons of information on Kava on the Internet, but it seems that a lot of it revolves on how to get the ‘high’ from ingesting concentrated doses.  However, there is evidence that heavy Kava use can also cause liver damage- so tread lightly.
  • Skullcap-  Skullcap helps to fight anxiety and sleep problems as well.  There is anecdotal evidence that shows an anti-inflammatory effect, so this may be a better option than Kava Kava all around as it doesn’t have the warnings about liver damage.
  • St. John’s Wort- (Do not use with Valerian!) St. John’s Wort is best known for its anti-depressant effects.  It has been used in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and also has been shown to help with migraines.  I recommend doing some research before using St. John’s Wort, however, as it does seem to interact with other drugs.  There are too many interactions to list here easily.

Immune Boosters

  • Echinacea- Echinacea is used to fight infections, mostly respiratory infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, and rheumatism.  Generally it is used to bolster the immune system.

Miscellaneous

  • Damiana- helps to recover lost libido, but is also used to combat anxiety and mild depression.  It is also used as a general, good-health tonic.  Sometimes, with a chronic pain condition like fibromyalgia, sexuality suffers.  This can help to bring some of the spark back.

 

Making tinctures

I’ve ordered a lot of these herbs, and am currently waiting for them to come in the mail.  However, since I already had dried meadowsweet at home, and fresh turmeric root is available at my local Asian market, I went ahead and made some.  Since the turmeric root was fresh, I filled a jar with thinly sliced turmeric, and then covered with 80 proof rum.  (I couldn’t find 100 proof, but this should suffice.)  The meadowsweet was dried, so I 1/2 filled the jar with the herb, and then continued to fill the jar to the top with rum.  I’ll leave them to soak for about 2 months, and will strain and bottle them on the full moon in June (aka The Strawberry Moon.)

Once I’m able to strain and bottle them, I’ll try each individually to see if I have any bad reactions, and then start blending them to come up with one big master mix of Fibro-banish goodness.  🙂

 

Making tinctures, meadowsweet and turmeric

Making tinctures, meadowsweet and turmeric

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Herbs for fibromyalgia (and other chronic inflammatory diseases)

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I haven’t tried turmeric or meadowsweet so I shall have to give them a go! I look forward to hearing how your tinctures turn out 🙂 Love, blessings and gentle hugs, Chrissy xx

  2. Wonderful article! St, Joans (as the feminist in me prefers to call the herb ; ) has been a plant alley of mine for a few years now. I sometimes get neck tension from stress and or exercise strains and this lovely plant is the ONLY thing that will tough the pain! Great Medicine! and here in Oregon it is considered an “invasive” species! ha! Which reminds me…..I need to be out there harvesting what no one else seems to want anyway! re-blogging this! Thank you!

    • You may want to consider taking Devil’s Claw Root, it’s very good for arthritis and fibro

      Before you purchase a Botanical, research it, whether it be at your library or google so you know what part of the plant has the medicine in it, root, leaf, bark etc

      Lastly Kava Kava is good, what went wrong in reference to liver trouble

      The only part of Kava that has the helpful medicine is the root only

      What the Pharmaceutical companies were doing, to make big bucks, is put the entire plant into their mixture which lead to liver trouble and Class Action Law Suit

      And I also have Fibro, I found walking helps greatly and daily stretching, keep the body and mind moving

      • It looks like the liver trouble comes with the much higher doses that people take in search of a high. It is the root that is used in these preparations, but it’s just a case of too much of a good thing.

        I’ll definitely look up Devil’s Claw! Thanks for the tip. 🙂

      • I love Mountain Rose! In fact. I just got a big box from them today. That’s also where I get a lot of my incense ingredients, as some of the resins are gathered in a very non-sustainable way. So at least with MR, I know that they try to source their herbs through the most responsible means. 🙂

  3. You just convinced me: I was debating about putting turmeric in my vegan mayo, now definitely will! The plant sources of salicylates sound like a very good idea. So many pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory compounds achieve their effectiveness at the expense of the digestive tract. That same caution should apply using natural sources, but the risk is a lot less.
    I love the way you approach problems in life with full on passion. Can’t wait to see you and Joe.

    • Turmeric is always fabulous. We use it when we make tofu scramble to give it the yellow color, but it also adds a lot of flavor. 🙂

      And I do still take 2 ibuprofen on work days, but they ARE doing a number on my stomach, so I try to limit it. I found it interesting that Aspirin comes from meadowsweet, and can hurt your stomach, while meadowsweet itself can help heal stomach problems. 🙂

  4. Excellent post, it came just in time. My wife was diagnosed with Fibro about 4 months ago. It’s a tough battle, and I wish you luck. She takes Lyrica and Amitriptyline but it would be nice to try something a little less abrasive.

  5. Pingback: Herbs for fibromyalgia (and other chronic inflammatory diseases) | AmieRavenson

  6. Pingback: Herbs for fibromyalgia (and other chronic inflammatory diseases) | Amie Ravenson

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