Osteoporosis is a condition marked by progressive bone loss, which leads to higher risk for broken bones and fractures, as the bones are weak and brittle. Low levels of minerals, especially calcium is responsible for this weakness. People, who use tobacco, lead a sedentary life, consume more alcohol, low calcium intake or use of corticosteroid medicines for a long period are often at a risk of developing this disease.
Osteoporosis affects both men as well as women, but it is more common among women, especially those who have lesser levels of estrogen in their body or have gone through menopause. Herbal medicines are one of the effective methods for treating osteoporosis. These herbs are sourced from flowers or plants to cure a wide-range of diseases and have been used for thousands of years by many cultures across the world.
There are numerous studies conducted to establish its effectiveness and help in providing medical treatments that could disseminate far and wide. Many of these herbal therapies have a scientific basis. The chemical constituents of these herbs have a remarkable effect on the disease.
10 Herbal Remedies to Treat Osteoporosis
This is one of the most widely used herbs to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Boneset helps in building strong bone mass and also has diuretic, anti-inflammatory, laxative and decongestant properties. This herb also loosens phlegm, increases sweating, decreases fever and calms down the body.
Besides osteoporosis, boneset is used to treat various other health conditions such as pains, aches, bronchitis, flu and colds as well. The leaves, petals and flowers of this herb are used in the herbal preparations.
Also described as just nettle, this herb provides abundant nutrients. Some of the nutrients like protein, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron are essential for strong bones. Stinging nettle is available as a tea or as capsule form. It is important to take the herb as per the directions on the label. About 3 cups of the tea are recommended to be taken daily.
The plant contains a compound known as phytoestrogens, which are quite similar to the hormone estrogen produced in the human body. Estrogen is vital to the body, as it prevents bone loss. It is noted that with growing age, the amount of estrogen declines in the body. This herb is available in dried form and also as a tincture.
The dosage suggested on the label must be followed to avoid the risk of osteoporosis. Supplemental estrogen products carry a risk of developing breast cancer, hence more studies are required to determine whether the intake of this herb will also lead to a similar peril.
The certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A Balch states that horsetail is a very good source of silica. Silica is required by the body, as it helps in absorbing the calcium, which is a key nutrient for healthy and strong bones. You can take horsetail in the form of tea or as a dried herb (400 to 500 mg daily). It provides enough silica that helps in strengthening hair, nails and bones.
This plant is a good source of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium and also every other known vitamin. It also has the ability to absorb the nutrients, which makes the phosphorus and calcium it provides all the more effective.
About 1000 – 2000 g per day is the recommended dosage or you can use a handful of alfalfa sprouts in your daily diet.
This leafy plant is native to Russia, Mongolia, Korea and China. Herbalists make use of this herb to treat numerous disorders including hypertension, allergies, skin problems and osteoporosis. The herb is a good source of coumarins and essential oil.
According to a study, which was published in “Planta Medica” in January 2010, coumarins prevented bone loss and also promoted bone formation. However, it is essential to use this herb cautiously. The intake of the herb must be avoided if you are using blood thinners and during pregnancy. It is suggested to discuss with your doctor beforehand.
Achyranthes bidentata or Ox knee is native to Japan, China, Nepal and India. Besides nourishing liver and kidneys, the herb also helps in strengthening muscle and bone. It is used to treat an array of disorders related to bone.
A research report published in the periodical “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” in the year 2010 (February) found that the ox knee root extract prevented bone loss and induced bone mass (in test animals). It is recommended not to use the herb during pregnancy.
Epimedium pubescens or barrenwort is an ingredient present in many herbal formulas, which is used to treat osteoporosis and also in tonics for nourishing bones. Flavonoid glycoside also known as icariin is the main active ingredient present in the herb that has bone-healing, anti-inflammatory and aphrodisiac properties.
A research report published in the journal “Phytomedicine” in 2010 May issue found that icariin supports bone growth and decreases bone loss by preventing the death of osteoblasts (cells that build bone). It is advised not to combine barrenwort along with other medicines for osteoporosis. Also, consult a physician before using herbal remedies.
In ancient Greek, the herb feverfew was recommended to ease childbirth and regulate menstrual cycle. This herb is quite effective in treating osteoporosis as well. Feverfew contains a few chemical compounds that help in reducing bone pain and also reduces joint inflammation, which is a common symptom of osteoporosis.
Intake of this herb might cause abdominal pain, hence consult a medical doctor before using the herb to address osteoporosis. You must avoid feverfew, if you are taking anticoagulant medications, as it may further slow down blood clotting.
Red clover contains a compound known as isoflavones, which act as the estrogen. It inhibits bone reabsorption and is available as tea and also in capsule form. About 3 cups of this herbal tea are recommended to be taken daily. The capsules must be taken based on the directions given on the package.
The other herbs that are used to treat osteoporosis are parsley, kelp, dandelion, licorice, and pigweed. Besides these herbal remedies, the other best strategies to maintain healthy bones would be to do weight bearing exercise regularly, get adequate amounts of Vitamin D (15 – 20 minutes of sunlight exposure daily) and a diet that is naturally high in proteins and calcium.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.