Inflammation of the joints. Arthritis is an ailment of the body that is an old chronic condition. There are many forms: such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis which are different from the common variety of arthritis. The joints become enlarged and painful, being very tender to any movement or pressure (the pain may be constant or intermittent). Often the hands draw back or to one side, and in chronic conditions, the muscles shrink and will eventually wither away. This affliction may have a decided effect on childbirth, both to the mother and the newborn child. [SNH p.2]


Arthritis is caused by acids and waste matter in the body, which eventually become solidified and lock the joint. This condition is caused and aggravated by improper diet. Some of the worst intakes are eggs, bread, milk, meat, salt, sugar, etc., because they cause arthritic calcification. The use of extremely hard water (generally of twelve or more grains in hardness) will often accentuate an arthritic condition where softer water will help relieve it. Sometimes an individual with a good inherent structure can throw off the hardest water without arthritic effect. The weaker person may drink water that is not very hard and absorb from it relatively larger quantities of the inorganic minerals. [SNH p.2]

Herbal Aids:

Bowels: For eliminating toxic substances from the bowels, one may use a high enema of slippery elm or white oak bark tea. The system should be cleansed by a daily sweat bath with pleurisy root; massage (except the inflamed joints) with angelica, black cohosh, buckthorn bark, colombo, gentian root, skullcap, or valerian root. One may use poultices such as cayenne, lobelia, mullein, slippery elm for helping to promote the relief of pain of the swollen joints; liniments of oils, such as cayenne, coconut, lobelia, origanum are also good. [SNH p.2]

Chaparral: Drink the tea (infusion for 3 weeks, after which the capsules or tablets may be used. [SNH p.71]

See formula for arthritis using sarsaparilla, yellow parilla, distilled water and glycerine. [SNH p.85]

Arthritis, Painful and Swollen Joints: Cover a small quantity of mullein with boiling hot vinegar, cover closely and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain and add a little tincture of cayenne (powerful stimulant and rubefacient) and a tincture or fluid extract of lobelia (as a relaxant). Foment this on the affected area. [SNH p.317]

Cayenne: It is an old standby and is used in modern medicine yet today. It is used in counter-irritant ointments, for sore muscles, arthritis, etc.; in liniments, back plasters and in many other ways. You will see it listed as capsicum in the ingredients. [SNH p.408]

Apple Cider Vinegar: A fomentation of apple cider vinegar alone will often take the pains out of arthritis, rheumatism and similar conditions. Soak a Turkish towel or gauze or similar material in hot tea, lightly wring (just enough that the water will not run off the body), and place as hot as possible without causing blistering. Generally keep the fomentation moist and warm by placing plastics, oilcloth, etc. over fomentation. [SNH p.485]

Eggs: These are one of the main contributors to arthritis. [SNH p.489]

Milk and Milk Products: These are harmful to many people, both adults and infants. Milk is a contributing factor in constipation, chronic fatigue, arthritis. [HHH p.14]

Joint: Dr. Christopher's Arthritis and Rheumatism Formula:  This combination consists of hydrangea root, Brigham herb, yucca, chaparral, black walnut, lobelia, burdock root, sarsaparilla, wild lettuce, valerian, wormwood, cayenne, and black cohosh. Here is a combination of herbs that detoxify; act as a solvent for the accepted but not assimilated calcium deposits; herbs that relieve pain; herbs rich in new acceptable organic calcium that can be assimilated and useful; herbs that kill fungus and infection and that have the ability to give wonderful relief. This relief is not immediate because here is a long rebuilding job--gradual relief can come, and full healing, if the program is followed faithfully: a cup two or three times a day (two tablets or capsules in Brigham tea or steam-distilled water). Use as a hot fomentation over extremely painful or crippled areas (in addition to this formula), formula called bone, flesh and cartilage [Complete Tissue & Bone]. Even though one uses these aids yet continues on with improper diet, one may get some help, but not so much as going all the way.

Remember the teachings for years have been -- "No healing in this condition." We are giving you hope if you will follow through with these formulas and the mucusless diet. [HHH p.194]

Deep Heating Balm: This penetrating salve contains olive oil, cayenne, oil of wintergreen, pure distilled mint crystals, and other herb oils, in a beeswax base It is excellent for stiff necks, sore muscles, headaches, pain, stiff joints, arthritis, etc. [HHH p.196]

Herbal Calcium Formula: Dr. Christopher's Calcium Formula: These are almost always prescribed for muscle cramps and throughout pregnancy generally, yet calcium requires the proper balance of phosphorus, silica and magnesium to be absorbed. Otherwise the free-radical calcium flows through the bloodstream, sometimes depositing in the forms of cysts and calcium deposits. Often people who suffer from arthritis and related problems, arteriosclerosis and calcium deposits, are taking plenty of calcium supplements, but their bodies cannot assimilate the calcium in this form. The best calcium supplement you can take, other than calcium-rich foods, is Dr. Christopher's Herbal Calcium formula, which contains exactly the right proportion of silica because of the horsetail grass. Carrot juice is a good source of calcium, and green leafy vegetables contain lots of it. The darker the green, the more calcium it contains. Turnip greens and kale--though not everyone's favorite, it is true--contain several times the calcium contained in milk. [EWH p.48]

Alfalfa: Some people wishing to treat arthritis or rheumatism take a tea made of the Alfalfa seeds, but we consider this a waste of the germinating power of the seeds. It is better to sprout them and eat the sprouts. Alfalfa tea made from leaves purchased in the health food stores may have an insipid taste or even taste like nothing at all. If you wish to obtain the best results from Alfalfa leaf tea, you should go and gather your own from the very common plants all around. [UW-Alfalfa]

Aloe Vera: Interesting claims for Aloe Vera include ...relieving the pain of arthritis. [UW-Aloe Vera]

Yucca: Among the Southwestern Indians, Yucca fibers were used to ease many illnesses. A patient with a cold, rheumatism, or a wound would crush Yucca leaves into fibers. Then he would enter the sweathouse where he induced vomiting to expel the poisons by inhaling large quantities of steam and chewing the leaf fibers (Ibid.).
In recent times the Yucca saponin, which is extracted from the root, has been used to treat arthritis. At the National Arthritis Medical Clinic in Desert Hot Springs, California, many patients have found relief from arthritis symptoms by taking the tablets. The doctors made no therapeutic claims in the tests on the herb, only asking patients to test it to see if it would have any beneficial effects along with other treatments including diet and vitamin therapy.

About 20 percent of the patients, chiefly those with joint pains alone or joint pains and minimal swelling and inflammation, showed complete remission of symptoms. About 30 percent showed improvement and relief of some of their joint pain, stiffness and swelling. About 50 percent said they could not detect any change in their arthritic symptoms from taking Yucca extract but this included many who tried it for only two weeks. The patients most helped seemed to be those who had early symptoms of arthritis or rheumatism in their joints, with pain, stiffness and swelling which had been present for less than one year. Patients with symptoms from one year or longer seemed to have less response. Patients with stiffness alone, enlarged joints and limitation of motion but without much pain and inflammation did not seem to notice any benefit from the product (Let's Live, February, 1975, p.63).

The director of the clinic, Dr. Robert Bingham, said that Yucca works by purifying the intestinal tract, improving the bacterial digestion and absorption of foods with a reduction in the production of inflammatory toxins. These inflammatory toxins from certain types of bacteria are the cause and aggravating agents in certain types of arthritis, particularly those related to and including rheumatoid arthritis. The saponins improve circulation by lubricating the joints, which gives them greater flexibility.
Although the herb has had many industrial uses, was first used for health in industrialized society when a few years ago, race-horse owners began using it to limber up their animals before races. Then someone thought it if it works on horses, it should also work on humans. Officials of several pharmaceutical companies began using Yucca to treat friends and relatives suffering from arthritis, finding the herb amazingly effective at reducing joint inflammation. Dr. George Michel, a chemist at Truett Laboratories in Azusa, California, says, "We have put a lot of research into Yucca, and have proven that it reduces inflammation, especially that caused by rheumatoid arthritis". But he adds that lack of money is holding back further research and manufacture of Yucca tablets.

Because the extract is classified as only a food supplement by government regulations, it can only be manufactured and distributed by smaller drug companies and sold to health-food stores. If it were reclassified as a drug, doctors would be encouraged to prescribe it. However, because it is not a high-paying drug, the large firms have not been interested in investigating it. [UW-Yucca]

Eliminating Arthritis: This comes from a question and answer section in Dr. Christopher's Newsletters: Can something be done besides just working on the effect of arthritis? Can't something be done to eliminate arthritis instead of just bringing temporary relief of pain?

Answer: Yes. Many people have had permanent relief from arthritis, not just temporary. When we speak of arthritis we speak of a general term. Actually there are over forty different forms of this disease. They all stem back to a toxic condition of the body. The treatment of this condition must be from the point of reversing the cause by rebuilding the entire body to a higher non-toxic condition, as mentioned in the article on rebuilding and cleaning the bowel. It is inevitable that when an arthritic is badly constipated, the stiffness and pain are worse. The procedure is: (1) clean the bowel, and (2) detoxify the body by clearing the blood stream of poor blood, and have a good powerful flow of healthy blood coursing through the body to deliver food to the area and carry off toxic waste. This is done by using a good blood purifying tea, high in organic copper, such as Burdock Root, Ephedra (Brigham Tea), Chaparral, our arthritis formula [Joint] and our Blood Purifying formula [Blood Stream Formula]. The tea should be used in proportions of one cup three times in a day, six days a week, week after week as needed to get relief, then continue on until no traces of this condition are evident. (Very important: always make herbal teas with distilled water!) It is best to change the type of tea each six weeks to another kind, then come back to a former one. The effect of this change of type of tea, we have found with patients over the years, has speeded up the process. To each cup of tea it is beneficial to add six to ten drops of tincture of Lobelia.

Cayenne should be used six days a week, each week of program. This herb is, as are the others, a food and not a drug. Work up to a teaspoon of Cayenne three times a day.

Apple cider vinegar and blackstrap molasses are also beneficial. Use a tablespoon of each in a glass of distilled water three times each day. Take a tablespoon or more of wheat germ oil three times a day.

Remember to drink no less than one gallon of pure steam-distilled water for a person 130 lbs. or over, every day (less or more, one ounce of distilled water to each pound the person weighs).

For severe and painful joints or areas, the use of Complete Tissue & Bone is good.... The reaction on arthritis is this: the Oak Bark is an astringent and tones up the area, and it is also high in Potassium Chloride to keep the fibrin in motion and not allow further deposit accumulations. The Mullein and Lobelia work on the glands and lymph system to keep the area clear and ready to carry off unwanted debris; Wormwood relieves pain; the Scullcap keeps the spinal cord alert and working smoothly to assist in body motion; Comfrey Root is a cell proliferant, causing the good cells to grow rapidly and push off the dead cells and unwanted accumulations; Walnut Bark is high in iodide and is one of the few plants specific in clearing fungus and is extremely high in Potassium Chloride for the blood and lymph, Potassium Sulfate for skin and mucous membrane, and Potassium Phosphate for the brain and nerve food. The Gravel Root is a solvent to leach off the inorganic calcification (from tap water and processed foods, etc.) and make place for the organic calcium derived from the Comfrey, Oak Bark, and some of the other herbs used in this combination.

We use this formula (Complete Tissue & Bone) as a fomentation over the painful areas, and if the case is severe, follow the fomentation procedure mentioned in the Incurables. Some of this tea, a cup or more daily, is taken internally with good results.

To make the fomentation stronger simmer the strained tea down to 1/2 its original amount (called 3 power) or simmer down to 1/4 its original amount (called 7 power). If you wish to drink some of the concentrated tea, dilute it with distilled water. Drink a cup or more of this tea each day.

There are many other aids to help, but space does not allow more to be given to this subject. Never use dry heat for arthritis, always use moist heat such as a hot water bottle wrapped with a damp towel, fomentations, etc. Dry heat solidifies the inorganic minerals into place, while moist heat aids in dispersing them. [NL 1-1]

Cervical Arthritis: From question and answer section of Dr. Christopher's Newsletters: What could be done in a case where cervical arthritis is present, where X-rays show a narrowing of the interspace between C-5, C-6 and C-7, and where anterior and posterior spurs, heading for spondylosis, are present? Is there any way whereby the calcium deposits can be removed, extracted or eliminated to free the body from its painful burden?

Answer: We have seen numerous cases of the condition described in this question in most areas of the spine all the way from the Atlas Axis down to the tail base. After beginning the therapy with cleaning and mucusless dieting, they followed this procedure: make a fomentation of a tea combination which we call "Bone, flesh and cartilage." [Complete Tissue & Bone] It is also called "comfrey combination", and consists of six parts oak bark, three parts marshmallow root, three parts mullein herb, two parts wormwood, one part lobelia, one part scullcap, six parts comfrey root, three parts black walnut bark or leaves and three parts gravel root. Soak the combined teas in distilled water at a rate of one pint of distilled water to one ounce of combined herbs. Continue the soaking from four to six hours and then simmer the preparation for thirty minutes followed by a straining. After the straining, simmer the tea down to one half of its volume. If desired, a volume of natural vegetable glycerine equivalent to one fourth the volume of the tea may then be added. For example, if there is a gallon of the tea after the straining, simmer it down to two quarts and add one pint of the vegetable glycerine.

Soak some flannel, cotton or other material except for synthetics which should never be used and wrap the soaked cloth fomentations around the malfunctioning area and then cover with plastic, oil paper or oiled silk. In turn cover the area with toweling and leave on all night. Repeat this for six nights a week until relief is accomplished and the calcified deposits disappear. Also, drink 1/4 cup of the finished tea, with or without the glycerine, but diluted with 3/4 cup of distilled water. This should be done three times a day for six days of each week until relief occurs. [NL 1-3]

Juices: These help arthritis: Celery & cucumber, carrot, endive, apple. [NL 3-5]


1. Young Man with Arthritis and Polio Out of Wheelchair in One Year: Using the Incurables program, we are able to relate the following story. In Mesa, Arizona, a young man in his middle twenties was brought into our lecture hall in a wheel chair. He was badly crippled with a combination of polio and arthritis. He was lifted out of his chair and placed on a pile of pillows. I would glance over at times and could see the severe pain he was suffering.

During the lecture we discussed the program we have just outlined. After the lecture he said he would like to try it. A practical nurse from another town offered to take him to her home and help him get well.

They followed the routine accurately and one year later we saw him again. Just before the lecture started, in the same hall as the year before, a young man walked down the aisle to the front of the hall and asked to speak. We granted him the permission. In his short talk he advised the people to listen to the lectures and put them to use. He told how he had listened one year before as he sat on the pillows in the hall and had the desire to start on this natural program. Prior to this night he had been told he would never be out of the wheelchair, unless it was to be in a hospital bed, the rest of his days.

With the help of the kindly nurse, he was now able to walk so well that he was traveling on foot, house to house, selling, to try and pay off his large hospital and doctor bills.

As he walked back to his seat he had tears of gratitude in his eyes.

There are many outstanding cases but these two can give you a picture of what can be done with the good, wholistic program. Use it carefully and accurately for complete, long-lasting health. [HHH p.93]

2. Yucca: The following people took the Yucca saponin mentioned in # 14 above: A forty-six-year-old woman who had had arthritic pain in her hands and knees for several years took two tablets twice a day for two weeks. The pain was relieved after one week, with no side effects. A 57 year old man had had bursitis for six months in both elbows; he was a tennis player and the pain became severe after playing tennis. He took one tablet per day for three weeks, then a half tablet per day for four months, then one tablet per day thereafter. Within three days he had a slight reduction in pain. The pain was completely eliminated after 21 days. The pain returned when the Yucca was discontinued for two days, and left within 24 hours when it was resumed. After five months use was stopped, the symptoms did not return for two weeks. There were no side effects. A female who had had arthritis for nine years, with enlarged joints in her hands, which she couldn't close, had to take aspirin every day for the pain. She was 75 years old. She began to take a half tablet twice a day for 70 days. After 30 days, the pain left, and she was able to close both hands except for one finger. The swelling reduced, and she had no side effects. A 75-year-old male had had arthritis for many years, with pain in the joints of the legs, especially the right knee. He took one tablet twice a day in coffee for one month. There was a slow reduction in pain and stiffness. Both gradually returned when the use of Yucca was stopped. However, some people who had had arthritis for many years took two to four tablets a day for months, and received no effects on the arthritis, though no side effects, either. As Moore says, "Arthritis being such an idiosyncratic disorder no single treatment will help more than a percentage of people, but if Yucca tea is effective, it can relieve pain for several days afterward" (Moore:170). In the research reported above, many more people who took Yucca were helped than those who were not (Let's Live, February 1975, page 64). [UW-Yucca]

3. From a Letter to Dr. Christopher's Newsletter: "We like the herbs very much, the oil of garlic has done wonders for arthritis in the knees." [NL 1-8]

4. From a Letter to Dr. Christopher's Newsletter: "I have a friend who had had eight major surgeries. She lived in constant pain, very seldom was she able to go places and her physician had told her their was nothing more they could do.

"She went on Dr. John R. Christophers "Three Day Cleansing Program" and Dr. John R. Christophers "Mucusless Diet". She started on herbs to cleanse the colon, Lower Bowel the blood Blood Stream Formula, Cayenne, Herbal Calcium Formula, Joint, Herbal Eyebright, etc. In a matter of about three weeks, her pain was gone. She was able to start living again. In about 3 or 4 months her arthritis left her. [NL 1-1]

5. From a Letter to Dr. Christopher's Newsletter: "I have tried your comfrey herb combination for dissolving calcified bone spurs (caused by arthritis when a teenager). My metatarsal arch in left foot was in such bad shape, it had become very painful to walk. The herb began bringing results immediately." [NL 3-7]

See Also:

Joint: Dr. Christopher's Arthritis and Rheumatism Formula
Complete Tissue & Bone: Dr. Christopher's Bone, Flesh and Cartilage Formula
Herbal Calcium Formula: Dr. Christopher's Calcium Formula
Blood Stream Formula: Dr. Christopher's Blood Purifying Formula
Dr. John R. Christophers "Mucusless Diet"

"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"