Arnica gels and ointments, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, borage oil, ginger, and green tea extract are noninvasive treatments for treating joint inflammation, according to WebMD. Curcumin or turmeric, quercetin, white willow bark and boswellia also act as anti-inflammatories, similar to ibuprofen.
A vegetable extract made from avocado and soybean oils, called avocado-soy unsaponifiables, appears to facilitate regeneration of connective tissue, reports WebMD. The supplements can often cause upset stomach; similar benefits are found in eating the foods in their natural states. Cat’s claw, derived from the bark of an Amazon vine, has proved to be somewhat helpful in reducing joint pain and swelling, although it can cause nausea and dizziness. SAM-e has anti-inflammatory properties, but potential side effects include headache and diarrhea.
Studies show that a topical gel made from the herb arnica is an effective treatment for the pain and swelling caused by arthritis, notes WebMD. Arnica is also used to help bruises heal more quickly. The oil found in cold water fish, such as salmon and tuna, decreases the pain and joint stiffness of chronic inflammatory disease and allows patients to reduce their use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. When combined with certain medications, fish oil supplements may cause bleeding. Borage oil reduces joint pain and swelling, but may cause intestinal discomfort and increased bleeding risk in patients taking anti-clotting medications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.