Natural Health Remedies for You

How to Treat Bursitis Naturally

This page focuses on how to treat bursitis naturally, using herbs, nutritional supplements, and aromatherapy.

"Housemaid's knee", "dustman's shoulder", and "weaver's bottom" are just of the names used to describe bursitis. Bursitis is the inflammation or irritation of the bursa found inside joints. The bursa is a sac which contains lubricating fluid which helps to lubricate and cushion pressure points between the bones and the tendons and muscles near the joints. It helps decrease rubbing, friction, and irritation. As you can imagine, when the bursa is inflamed, movement can be painful.

This page shows you how to treat bursitis using natural remedies such as herbs, essential oils and nutritional supplements. For more general information on bursitis such as the causes and symptoms of bursitis, please visit our page on What is Bursitis.

How to Treat Bursitis

Conventional treatment of bursitis usually involves the use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or corticosteroids to reduce pain and inflammation at the joint. Natural remedies using herbs, essential oils, and nutritional supplements can help relieve the pain and inflammation - without the side effects that can be caused by allopathic drugs.

How to Treat Bursitis Naturally - Herbs

Herbs that are anti-inflammatory and can relieve pain are good for bursitis. Some such herbs include:

  • White Willow Bark: Willow bark contains salicylates, natural precursors of aspirin. It can relieve and reduce swelling. To ease the pain caused by bursitis, you can make a tea by using one to two teaspoons of dried herb per cup of water and boiling it for about 20 minutes. Have a cup two or three times a day. Alternatively, take a teaspoon of the tincture of this herb three times a day.

    NOTE: Do not take white willow if you are also taking aspirin or blood-thinning medications, or if you are allergic to aspirin or salicylates.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, which has been proved to be as effective as cortisone in the treatment of some kinds of inflammation. Recommended dosage is 250 to 500 mg of curcumin three times a day, between meals.
  • Bromelain: Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce swelling, bruising and pain. It speeds the healing of joint and tendon injuries. Recommended dosage is 250 mg three times a day, between meals. Preferably, take bromelain together with turmeric because turmeric can enhance the effects of bromelain.
  • Licorice: Licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is as effective a treatment for bursitis as the commonly prescribed drug hydrocortisone, without the side effects. You can make a tea by using one to two teaspoons of dried herb per cup of water and boiling it for about 20 minutes. Have a cup two or three times a day.
  • Arnica: Arnica has anti-inflammatory effect. When used topically in a gel, it has the same effect as the use of NSAIDs (ibuprofen) in treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis and bursitis.


How to Treat Bursitis Naturally - Nutritional Supplements

The following supplements can help treat bursitis:
  • Glucosamine Sulfate: Glucosamine is a substance found in cartilage, the tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. It is commonly used to help treat the pain of osteoarthritis, and it may also help reduce inflammation in bursitis. Recommended dosage is 500 mg two or three times a day.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: FAs such as fish oil or flaxseed oil are anti-inflammatory. Recommended dosage is 1,000 mg two or three times a day.
  • Vitamin C with Flavonoids: Vitamin C has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps repair connective tissue (such as cartilage). Recommended dosage is 500 to 1000 mg two times a day. Reduce dosage if diarrhea occurs.


How to Treat Bursitis Naturally - Aromatherapy

Essential oils good for the symptoms of bursitis include:
  • Ginger
  • Chamomile Roman
  • Juniper
  • Cypress
You can use any of the above oils (5 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of base carrier oil) to make a massage blend oil and use it to massage the affected area.


How to Treat Bursitis Naturally - Exercises

Exercising the muscles around the joints will help reduce pressure on the joint and bursa. One effective form of exercise is yoga. Gentle yoga may help bursitis by increasing flexibility and reducing muscle tension in the area of the bursa.

Other similar exercises such as Tai Chi and pilates can also help improve muscle and joint strength and reduce the tension caused by repetitive motions.

Related Topic

What is Bursitis


J.A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperback, 2002).
V.A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991).
University of Maryland Medical Center (

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