Medical herbalist Nicola Parker explains joint supporting nutrients

Joint problems are often an area of speciality for herbalists, since much of the treatment offered on the NHS is centred around pain medication that isn’t well tolerated by those with a sensitive digestive system.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 3:13 pm

Joint problems are often an area of speciality for herbalists, since much of the treatment offered on the NHS is centred around pain medication that isn’t well tolerated by those with a sensitive digestive system.

There is a vast array of joint diseases and successful treatment is often dependent on identifying the correct cause. Terms like rheumatism and arthritis are commonly used to describe general joint pain, but some of the most common types of joint disease are treated very differently. Obtaining a correct diagnosis can go a long way towards ensuring you receive the most accurate treatment.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is the wear and tear type that is characterised by general degeneration of joint tissue over time.


Where bone meets bone, a cushioning of cartilage forms part of the joint structure, sometimes aided by a pocket of fluid called synovial fluid. This helps to supply the joint with nutrients and the cartilage stops the bones grating against each other. Unfortunately, cartilage has a limited ability to heal itself, so taking care of old, injured or overworked joints becomes a task we want to take an active role in.

A visit to a physiotherapist will help to identify any negative patterns in the way you use your joints that could be contributing to repeated wear and tear. A physiotherapist can also provide you with exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joints, to ease the burden on the joint itself by strengthening the surrounding structures.

In addition to visiting a physiotherapist, you may wish to consider taking joint supporting nutrients.

Nutrients associated with joint support include green lipped mussel, glucosamine, msm, chondroitin and collagen. These are the nutrients I work with the most and as a person with early onset joint problems, and I’ve trialled them all personally at some point over my career.

Nicola Parker

Ingredients like these are purported to supply the body with amino acids and other compounds that cartilage needs to repair itself. If you’re considering taking a formula that provides joint nutrients, speak to an expert first.

Some products on the market, like glucosamine for example, are available in very low doses. Taking low dose nutrients for chronic joint issues will barely touch the problem, whereas a higher dose may be just the ticket!

Other products may boast that they contain a combination of all these ingredients, but end up containing so many different things that they can only fit micro doses of each into a single capsule.

Another thing to bear in mind when using joint supporting nutrients is that many of them are not pain relieving in and of themselves.

While they may be able to offer the joint some protection and reduce further degeneration, degraded cartilage is impossible to repair after a certain point. If this is the case, it is best to combine these nutrients with some pain relieving herbs.

This is exactly the approach I take.

After an injury at a young age, I developed osteoarthritis in my mid 20s, so joint care has been of special interest to me ever since.

I like to keep active, so I personally choose a blend of collagen, Boswellia (an anti-inflammatory herb) and a few other pain-relieving herbs. This formula is called Seven, because it is purported to work in as little as seven days.

Being an impatient type, this appealed to me in a big way, and once I started recommending Seven to my customers, I began receiving glowing reports.

One lady, in particular, stands out because after two weeks of using Seven, she returned to show me how easily she could raise her arms above her head.

While this might not seem like a great feat, the couple of weeks prior she had been telling me how distressed she’d been because her shoulders were so painful, she couldn’t even raise her arms to wash her own hair. As this lady was living alone, this had become incredibly distressing and it made me realise just how much I take the simple things for granted.

No one joint nutrient is right for everyone, so if you’d like more advice on how to support your own joint health, contact Nicola at her clinic on 01524 413733.