Gardening Home remedies Medicinal Plants

Plants That Will Help You Relieve Your Knee Arthritis Pain

Discover 6 plants that may offer relief to arthritis sufferers.

By Rebecca Grey

Before modern medicine was developed, humans relied on plant-based remedies to treat diseases and ailments, and that use dates back to human existence. Researchers discovered a 5,000-year-old Sumerian clay tablet with recipes made with plants like the poppy, henbane, and mandrake. 

Arthritis is one of those ailments humans have treated with plants. It is a term that describes a condition with symptoms like joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Besides, it affects many parts of the body, of which the knee is one of the most prominent.

According to research published in The Lancet, 22.9% of individuals aged 40 and over had knee arthritis. Plants can be safe and effective in treating this widespread problem (and are almost guaranteed to have few significant side effects). Even though research in natural remedies is limited, some plants have proven very promising in treating knee arthritis. 

Some of these plants are:

Borage Seed Oil

Blue borage flowers.
Borage (Borago officinalis). Photo: AnemoneProjectors, Wikimedia Commons

Borage seed oil comes from the seed of borage (Borago officinalis), a garden herb otherwise called the starflower. The plant is native to certain parts of Europe and North Africa. It is an excellent source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linolenic acid, omega-6 fatty acids. When the body metabolizes them, they produce a molecule that helps regulate immune responses.

Research published in the journal Rheumatology stated that when people with arthritis take daily oral supplements of borage seed oil, they experience significant improvements in joint tenderness, swelling, and pain after six months. 


Kratom is derived from the tropical tree Mitragyna speciosa, which is native to Southeast Asia. The kratom plant contains mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which is thought to reduce pain perception, the way opioids do.

One of the most potent types of kratom is called Red Borneo, from the island of Borneo. It is red because it is harvested at maturity and dried to perfection to preserve the alkaloid content and potency. Red Borneo kratom has many health benefits, including stress relief, helping people sleep, and relieving pain (including knee arthritis). You can also buy Golden Monk kratom to assure the best quality.


Turmeric rhizome and powder.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa). Simon A. Eugster, Wikimedia Commons

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a medicinal herb originally from India that gives a golden or yellow-colored powder also called turmeric. It has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat various conditions, including knee arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders.

The orange pulp inside the plant’s rhizome contains curcumin (responsible for the yellow color). Turmeric and the curcumin in it may reduce the chronic inflammation that happens with knee arthritis. Moreover, it is best combined with black peppers because the body cannot absorb large quantities of curcumin naturally. Piperine, a compound in black pepper, can improve curcumin absorption, according to this 2018 study.


Frankincense is obtained from the gum of the Boswellia tree, which is found in North Africa and India. In addition, frankincense is thought to have strong anti-inflammatory properties as well as analgesic effects. It works by blocking substances (leukotriene) that attack healthy joints, which happens with knee arthritis.

An article published in 2016 about several small-scale clinical trials for frankincense found that it could be used to treat arthritis, significantly improving symptoms of arthritis patients by as much as 60% to 70%.

Aloe vera

Sunbird on an Aloe vera plant
Sunbird on an Aloe vera plant in South Africa. Photo: Jean van der MeulenPexels

Aloe vera is very popular, used almost all around the world for its health benefits. Known for its healing properties, it is famous for treating minor skin abrasions, but it is capable of much more. Aloe vera has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help significantly in treating knee arthritis.

It can also help remove free radicals from the body the way antioxidants do, which can alleviate inflammation by preventing the production of inflammatory enzymes that arthritis produces. Aloe vera, especially topical versions, has practically no side effects and is safe to try for arthritis.


Eucalyptus leaves in a bowl.
Eucalyptus leaves. Photo: Daria ShevtsovaPexels

Eucalyptus, especially oil distilled from the leaves of this tropical tree or shrub (Eucalyptus spp.), is incredibly soothing and possesses antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Eucalyptus leaves contain tannins and flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that may help reduce the knee inflammation, swelling, and pain that knee arthritis causes.

Research and studies done in 2016 found that eucalyptus leaf extracts drastically reduced the levels of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha, two enzymes that cause inflammation. You can buy eucalyptus oil in many stores or online, then use it in a warm bath or soak the knee in.

People with multiple allergies must take care when using this herb, as many people are allergic to it. Place a tiny amount of eucalyptus oil on your forearm. If there is no reaction in 24 to 48 hours, it should be safe to use.


Plants have always been an alternative to expensive medicine when treating ailments, and knee arthritis is no different. These are top-quality plants that can be incredibly beneficial in addressing various kinds of pain. However, you need to consult your doctor before adding any plant or herb into your diet.

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Author’s Biography

Rebecca Grey is a passionate writer and guest blogger. Writing helps her to improve her knowledge, skills and understanding about the specific industry. She loves writing and sharing her knowledge mostly in the travel industry. She believes traveling is the key to a peaceful life and wants to spread her belief across the world. Apart from writing, she loves traveling and reading.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

4 comments on “Plants That Will Help You Relieve Your Knee Arthritis Pain

  1. susanamacmillan

    The byline is fine but the important title should say “ May help” rather than “will help” There is a paucity of good scientific or statistically significant studies on humans that the volume of plant extracts actually helps. Confirmation bias is invalid. Anecdotal evidence is a weak response. Most people only read the layman’s article and do not appraise the scholarly articles for their merit (or weaknesses).

  2. Have used Turmeric for several years to alleviate shoulder inflammation with pretty good success. It’s unfortunate that such a great hobby can be so hard on your body.

  3. Thanks for the information. It is important to note that if you are on heart medication or blood thinners it is always best to check with your doctor to see if any of these herb will interfere with your medications.

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