Ancient Wisdom, Modern Relief: Chinese Herbs for Joint Needs

Lenore Cangeloso

By Lenore Cangeloso


Ancient Wisdom, Modern Relief: Chinese Herbs for Joint Needs

Joint support is a common situation that affects millions of people around the world. Whether triggered by aging, injury, or underlying medical situations, the challenges and reduced mobility it brings can significantly impact one's quality of wellness and life.  

Traditional Chinese Medicine theory (TCM) provides a unique and holistic approach to addressing joint needs using Chinese herbs. In this article, we will explore some of the most effective Chinese herbs for joint support—whether due to injury, aging, or even if you are just trying to increase overall joint strength. 

How Chinese Medicine Views Joint Needs

In TCM, condition of disharmony in the joints are seen as a disruption of the body's natural balance and flow of energy, known as "Qi.  Chinese Medicine theory views this disharmony as a signal that something is imbalanced within the body, often related to blockages, ":stagnation", or other imbalances. These conditions can be caused by various factors, including emotional stress, poor diet, injury, inflammation, or external factors like the weather or seasonal changes.

Chinese Medicine theory believes that situations of disharmony or unpleasantness can be addressed by restoring the flow of Qi within the body through acupuncture, massage, breathwork, and herbal remedies. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine also focuses on treating the root cause of of the imbalance, not just its symptoms, and aims to bring the body back to a state of balance and well-being.

Chinese Medicine solutions for joint disharmony doesn't stop at herbal remedies; it also includes acupuncture, moxibustion, dietary recommendations, and lifestyle modifications.

Chinese Herbs for Joint Health & Support

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbs are rarely used in isolation. Instead, they are combined in eloquent formulas tailored to individual patients' needs. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners like acupuncturists take into account a patient's specific symptoms, "constitution", and the underlying causes of their joint disharmony to create a personalized treatment plan. Some commonly used herbs to treat pain are as follows. 

  • Du Huo (Radix Angelicae Pubescentis)- Angelica Root is an effective herb known for its joint support properties. It's used to alleviate joint and musculoskeletal disharmony thanks to its potential anti-inflammatory, circulatory effects, and muscle relaxation properties.

  • Sang Ji Sheng (Herba taxilli)- Mistletoe is renowned for its potential supporting properties. This herb is believed to work by invigorating blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and easing muscle tension. Sang Ji Sheng may help address disharmony due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. 

  • Du Zhong (Cortex Eucommiae)- Eucommia Bark is recognized for its ability to support joint and musculoskeletal needs. It is believed to strengthen bones and tendons, promoting joint health, by addressing inflammation and promoting blood circulation.

  • Niu Xi (Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae)- Achyranthes Root is valued for its ability to support joint health. It's thought to work by invigorating blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the tendons and bones. 

  • Qin Jiao (Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae)- Large Leaf Gentian Root works to address inflammation, strengthen joints, and improve joint mobility. It is often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to support joint health due to its ability to enhance overall circulation.  

Other Natural Ingredients to Strengthen Joints

Outside of Chinese herbs and herbal formulas, there are a plethora of other supplements and natural remedies that may help support your joints. Some of the most common are;

  • Collagen- Collagen is vital for joint strength and overall joint health, as they are predominantly made up of connective tissues, with collagen as a key component. Collagen provides structural support, elasticity, and cushioning, essential for joint mobility, tissue repair, reducing inflammation, and preserving cartilage integrity. Research shows that Including collagen in your diet or as a supplement supports joint health, potentially slowing the progression of conditions like osteoarthritis. 

  • MSM- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing compound found in foods and used as a dietary supplement. It's valued for its potential to address inflammation, address joint disharmony, and promote overall joint health. 

  • Glucosamine- Glucosamine is a natural compound found in healthy cartilage and is often taken as a dietary supplement. It supports joint health by aiding in the maintenance and repair of cartilage, reducing inflammation, and alleviating joint disharmony. Glucosamine is commonly used topromote joint flexibility.

How to Use Traditional Chinese Herbs to Help Support and Strengthen Your Joints

Traditional Chinese Medicine's emphasis on balance within the body can have long-lasting benefits for joint health. It considers the interconnectedness of different systems in the body and how imbalances in one area can affect all others. Chinese herbal formulas such as Dao Labs Joint Vitality stem from an ancient formula known as Duo Huo Ji Sheng Tang, and have a combination of herbs that not only focus on addressing joint disharmony but warming the body, increasing circulation, "drying dampness", and "dispersing wind".

Chinese herbs can be used in a variety of forms to help support joint health. 

  • Teas- Tea is often the most common way Chinese Herbs are taken and can have a systemic impact on the body's health, and sometimes guiding herbs are added to formulas to help focus the herbal efforts on specific areas or joints.

  • Topicals- Topical analgesics are a very effective way to target specific areas, and many companies produce high-quality herbal patches or lotions. 

  • Poultices/Soaks- Using raw herbs to make soaks are poultices is another effective way to support your joints. Things such as herbal foot soaks or herbal poultice wraps can be very effective. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a holistic and natural approach to support joint health using Chinese herbs. These natural solutions, backed by centuries of use, can complement modern treatments such as NSAIDs, western solutions and acupuncture treatments. Chinese herbs have been studied to improve the quality of life for individuals needing added joint support and mobility.


García-Coronado, J.M., Martínez-Olvera, L., Elizondo-Omaña, R.E. et al. Effect of collagen supplementation on osteoarthritis symptoms: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. International Orthopaedics (SICOT) 43, 531–538 (2019). 

Care Consideration: 

Just a reminder that the above information is not a substitute for medical care and is not a substitute for medical advice or recommendations from a healthcare provider. This information is not intended to treat, mitigate or cure any disease. That said, we encourage you to connect with an Acupuncturist in your community to learn more about this and other Traditional Chinese Medicine options. If you’ve got questions about Chinese herbal medicine or getting started with an Acupuncturist, feel free to connect with us on

Lenore Cangeloso, LAc is a state-licensed and board certified Acupuncturist and Herbal medicine practitioner. She is the owner of Wild Earth Acupuncture in Portland Oregon. Lenore has spent many months traveling to deepen her knowledge of the human body, and is a dedicated and skilled practitioner that strives to help you achieve optimal states of wellbeing. You can learn more about Lenore at

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