Friday, May 24, 2024

Herbal Remedies for Knee Pain: Traditional Approaches in Singapore

Traditional medicinal remedies actually play a huge part in today’s society. Many doctors today even agree or suggest that using traditional methods is healthier and safer for an individual. In Singapore alone, the trend of using herbal remedies has increased over the years. This could be due to an increase in knowledge and awareness of the beneficial effects it has on an individual to combat diseases or illnesses. With the higher cost of living and medical treatment, many Singaporeans and foreigners turn to herbal remedies as a cheaper and easier solution to relieve pain and cure their illnesses. This is also the same for patients who have knee pain. The treatments may vary from person to person depending on how the pain started and what caused it. Usually, those who have terminal illnesses as a cause of knee pain would not brand herbal remedies as a solution. An example of such an illness would be bone cancer. This pain is due to the weak or brittle bones, and the pressure on the joints is causing pain. On the contrary, patients that suffer from arthritis, a common illness that causes severe inflammation of the knee joints, can easily get a herbal remedy to cure knee pain.

The article is reflective of the knowledge the author has about herbal remedies for knee pain Singapore. The special highlight is on the traditional approaches of using herbal remedies to relieve knee pain. The research spans across different age groups, genders, and races in Singapore. The article includes the benefits of using herbal remedies for knee pain, stating the reasons why it is advantageous compared to using pharmaceutical drugs or over-the-counter medication. By the end of the article, it also mentions the caution that has to be taken while opting for herbal remedies and the complications that can arise if the wrong type of treatment is taken.

Traditional approaches for knee pain relief

These herbal remedies are viable alternatives to medicinal drugs and are suitable for those who seek natural medication for their knee pain.

An interesting herbal method is the use of ginger tea for knee pain. Ginger is well known for its natural healing properties and is also a very effective anti-inflammatory agent. This may not be the most convenient method as one would have to prepare the ginger tea daily, but it is an inexpensive method that is still quite effective in the relief of knee pain.

A common herbal medication for knee pain is a brew made from the dried husk of the mangosteen fruit. The mangosteen husk is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and is said to be effective in reducing knee swelling and pain, with patients often reporting results within a week of using the product. Another popular product is a traditional herbal remedy in pill form for rheumatic and arthritic knee pain. This pill is a concoction of various herbs and is a proven remedy for the relief of pain, although it may be less effective for severe cases of knee pain.

A recent study in Singapore concluded that for patients with chronic arthritic knee pain, symptoms improved with a combination of Chinese herbs and weekly acupuncture, compared to a control group who used the natural history of their disease.

Traditional medicine for the relief of knee pain is still widely practiced in Singapore. The traditional approach for pain relief often involves a few different types of treatment. More often than not, a topical application in the form of a herbal liniment or medicated oil is used. This is sometimes combined with an oral herbal remedy such as pills or a herbal brew. Acupuncture and the use of the traditional Chinese medicine technique of heat therapy using moxa are also employed, especially if the pain is a chronic condition. These treatments are cheap and effective, often yielding good results for the patient.

Benefits of herbal remedies for knee pain

There are some benefits of using this herbal medicine to treat knee pain. It is said to be cost-effective, meaning that the cost of using this herbal medicine is cheaper than modern medicine. The herbal medicine used is easily found and the process of preparing it is also very simple. Both Malay and Chinese traditional healers state that the herbal medicine is very effective if the patient uses it properly based on the given instructions. This herbal medicine can also be used as an alternative medication if modern medicine does not work for the patient. In order to try this herbal medicine, patients do not need to spend a lot of money because the medicine is cheap and easy to find. Sometimes, the outcome of the herbal medicine is the same as modern medicine and it can also lessen the risk of complications caused by the chemical impact contained in modern medicine.

Herbal medicine is the traditional medicine, which is used to treat any kind of diseases that exist in this world. Knee pain is one of the diseases that can be cured by using this herbal medicine. In Singapore, Malay and Chinese traditional healers still use this herbal medicine to cure knee pain. The herbal medicine is normally prepared using parts of plants and boiled into hot water. The patient needs to use this medicine until the pain disappears. This herbal medicine is said to be effective for certain people and not for others.

Common Herbal Remedies for Knee Pain

Ginger is another herb that has been used for centuries in the Asian culture to treat a myriad of disorders, due to the presence of more than four hundred chemical compounds, and it is therefore used as a natural remedy for different ailments. In modern times, it is most widely used to treat nausea, motion sickness, and inflammation. The division of the herbalists on the confirmation of the effectiveness of ginger for relieving pain caused by knee osteoarthritis is actually a reflection of the inadequacy in understanding how ginger works. This is because ginger is very unique in the sense that it has both the properties of a food spice and a medicine. It contains certain chemical compounds that function as a highly potent anti-inflammatory agent, and these are the same compounds that give ginger its distinct sharpness in its taste. Due to its nature, these compounds can be found in ginger essence and beer. At the same time, ginger has a similar effect to aspirin in that it thins the blood and prevents the build-up of a material that is secreted by certain white blood cells, which is a pro-inflammatory exygenase enzyme. This material is a chemical compound known as Thromboxane, and the prevention of its secretion will prevent pain and reduce swelling of the joints. It is important to also watch the implication of ginger in thinning the blood, as it may conflict with certain medication. A recommended dose for relieving knee pain would be 1500mg to 2000mg of ginger, taken in three divided doses throughout the day.

Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for inflammatory joint disorders. More recently, scientific studies have provided evidence that turmeric can help prevent arthritis, due to its ability to suppress the action of inflammatory enzymes. The chemical compound curcumin found in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and is very effective in relieving pain. It is interesting to note that in a Western society, where the percentage of the population suffering from chronic, inflammatory diseases is much higher, turmeric is a regular part of the diet. Curcumin is a fat-soluble element, so taking turmeric in the form of a capsule is recommended. Turmeric is also an ingredient in curry, but the curcumin content is not as high, so supplements would be a better way to achieve a medicinal effect. I would recommend a dose of 300-600mg of turmeric three times per day.


The other name of turmeric is Curcuma longa. It has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. In a survey of rheumatologists in the United States, a majority of the knee pain specialist said they believe that their patients do derive symptom relief from turmeric and that it can have a place in a formal treatment regimen. Experimental evidence also suggests that turmeric consumption can indeed directly benefit arthritis. Turmeric extracts and curcumin, its active agent, have been shown to be safe and effective in scientific studies. They seem to be able to switch off the COX-2 enzyme triggers arthritis pain. To date, one human trial and a few animal studies have found that turmeric appears to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. How much should you take? What forms should you use? There are no easy answers to these questions. Most studies in people have used turmeric extracts. Role in treatment: Although few controlled studies have been carried out to see if it can reduce pain, the traditional age-old use of turmeric as a painkiller in Indian and Chinese societies should not be discounted. Turmeric supplements (curcumin) are easy to take and have a very good safety record. It is not clear how much you need to take in order for it to be effective, but many studies have used 400mg-600mg per 3 times a day. Simulation studies suggest this would be enough to have an impact. Any dose over 8g is expected to cause digestive problems.


Clinical evidence and dosage: Of the five investigation trials on patients with osteoarthritis (OA), only one showed effectiveness of ginger in pain reduction compared to placebo. On the other hand, one was inconclusive, and three were in favor of the use of placebo for knee pain. All three of the positive studies (which used a highly purified and standardized ginger extract) demonstrated a trend to pain reduction with increasing dosage of ginger. The best results showed reduction in knee pain on standing and a decrease in the use of rescue medication. A recommended dosage of powdered ginger is 1-2g per day.

Background information: Ginger is an important ingredient in the Chinese materia medica. It is prescribed for a variety of cold-related ailments. In Ayurveda, ginger is thought to act as a universal medicine. Modern-day herbalists suggest taking ginger for muscle pain and arthritis, along with its use for rheumatic and joint pain in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic actions, which may be attributed to its phenolic compounds – gingerols and diarylheptanoids. These are found to lessen the expression of phagocytic markers, proinflammatory cytokines, and chemokines, and the consequent JNK, ERK, and NF-kappa B activation in T cells, and include gene products linked with arthritis (COX-2, iNOS, and chemokine synthesizing enzymes). Ginger also has a potential preventive action by inhibition of induction of several genes involved in the inflammatory response induced by IL-1beta. These actions can help to explain the use of ginger in the treatment of inflammatory and degenerative diseases.


Yet, it is noted that results from some earlier studies on the efficiency of boswellia for knee pain do not give statistically significant results when compared to placebos. The preliminary results are still promising, but more studies need to be done to confirm the actual efficiency of boswellia for knee pain.

Pure boswellic acid, the active component of boswellia, has been found to inhibit the activity of leukotrienes in the inflamed human joints. Significant improvement in pain and physical functions of the knee was found in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial when osteoarthritis patients were given 333 mg of boswellia extract 3 times a day for 8 weeks. These results are consistent with an earlier uncontrolled trial where medical doctors observed a reduction in swelling and pain in arthritic patients taking boswellia in an extract form.

Boswellin, a special herbal product from Indian frankincense also known as Salai myrrh or Boswellia serrata, is one of the most popular herbal remedies for knee pain. Joint inflammation and knee pain in people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis are the most common reasons for the use of this herbal remedy.

Devil’s Claw

Harpagophytum procumbens, also known as Devil’s Claw, grapple plant, or wood spider, is a South African plant which takes its name from the small hooks on its fruit. It has large tuberous roots and is a member of the sesame family (Pedaliaceae). The medicinal properties of the plant are found in the roots, or tubers, and are used in Herbal Medicine. Devil’s claw was introduced to Europe in the early 20th century and is used to support joint health. It is approved by the German Commission E for the treatment of degenerative disorders of the locomotor system, such as arthritis, and for general aches and pains. Devil’s claw is anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and has sedative properties. As such, it is used to reduce inflammation of the joints and relieve pain associated with joint and muscle conditions. In a study, devil’s claw was found to be effective in the treatment of arthritic conditions. A statistically significant reduction of pain was found in the treatment group, thereby supporting it as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. Pain relief from Devil’s Claw is also through its effect on the stomach. It stimulates the production of gastric juices and, at the same time, has a rich protective action on the lining of the stomach. This makes it a useful medication for those with arthritis and rheumatism who are simultaneously taking other medications for the same or other conditions that may affect the stomach. The side effects produced by many modern anti-inflammatory drugs, particularly in the stomach, make a relative reduction of these side effects with Devil’s Claw an attractive option.

Traditional Practices in Singapore

Malay Traditional Medicine Malay traditional medicine is heavily influenced by the concept of humoral balance in the body, a concept shared with other Southeast Asian societies. Disease is seen as the result of an imbalance within the body or due to an invasion of external elements stemming from an imbalance in the environment. The successful treatment of a condition is achieved by restoring the humoral balance to its healthy state. Treatment can vary from one healer to another and can depend on the constitution of the individual, the severity of the condition, and the healer’s own specialty. It generally makes use of natural materials and non-invasive techniques. A common method used in treating knee OA is the application of massage therapy using heated stones, rice, or salt. This is believed to improve the circulation of blood and reduce stiffness and swelling and will be followed by the application of a herbal poultice to remove wind and cold from the affected region. This simple and non-aggressive method is one that will be well tolerated by most patients.

TCM provides comprehensive treatment for knee osteoarthritis. The main aim will be to remove the obstruction in the meridians, activate the circulation of blood and qi, and to expel the pathogenic factor. This will be achieved by the use of various acupuncture techniques and specific acupoint selection. Herbal medication will be prescribed to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and repair and re-nourish the worn-out cartilage and bone.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) TCM is one of the oldest healing systems and is based on the concept of a vital force or energy called qi. According to TCM theory, health is a result of balanced qi. An imbalance in the flow of qi will lead to a blockage, thus resulting in a state of unwell. TCM diagnosis is a complex process which includes taking a thorough history, inspection, and listening and smelling. Once a diagnosis is made, the TCM physician selects from a variety of possible interventions. Herbal medicines are commonly used and are usually given as formulae, made up of a combination of individual herbs. The physician will also make use of techniques such as acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping in the management of the condition.

Singapore is a multicultural society with a significant Chinese, Malay, and Indian population. This diversity is also reflected in the healthcare practices of the different ethnic groups, with each having their own distinct practices.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

The TCM approach tends to be more holistic than western methods. The Chinese believe that everything in this universe has its own complementary opposites, Yin and Yang. In a healthy body, there is a balance of yin and yang. It is the imbalance of the two that causes illness and is a large part of diagnosis in Chinese medicine. Another method of distinguishing the factors causing illness are the ‘eight causative factors’. These are four pairs of external influences which can cause disease: Wind and cold, heat and fire, summer heat and dampness, dryness and dampness. All of these factors have their own symptoms and signs, and the knowledge of these can assist in diagnosis.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) There is evidence that the Chinese community has been established in Singapore as far back as the fourteenth century, and Chinese influence remains strong in Singapore. Singapore’s history is one of immigrants from different places over the ages, and all these people who came to Singapore brought with them their own culture and traditions, and this is still very much in evidence today. Although modern and western methods of medical treatment are becoming more and more popular, there is still a large portion of the population who have a strong belief in traditional Chinese medicine. This system of medicine has been practiced in China for over 3,000 years and has its own unique approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Malay Traditional Medicine

A traditional healer who is sought after by patients with any ailments is known as a bomoh. A Dukun is a bomoh who specializes in herbal remedies and will usually have vast knowledge of the different types of herbs and tonics. The patient must first consult the bomoh to see what has caused the ailment, whether it’s natural or supernatural. This is done by reading the pulse of the patient, face reading, and asking questions about the patient’s lifestyle. Due to the effectiveness of the bomoh in curing patients, only a handful of bomohs still exist in Singapore. More often, the private and public consultations of the bomoh are documented in court cases where they are being accused of being involved in the black arts and sorcery.

The main form of traditional medicine which is still being widely practiced is known as urut, which consists of a massage of the affected area with herbal liniments and ointments. When one is injured, the Malays believe that wind enters the body, and urut is used to remove the wind. In recent years, the younger generations have adopted the urut technique and modified it into a sports massage for athletes. The effectiveness of urut has been questioned as there is no scientific explanation. However, sometimes the patient’s belief in the remedy is important when dealing with subjective matters such as pain.

The first Malay settlers arrived in Singapore during the 13th century, and it was only in the 1800s that the Malay kingdom fell under British rule. When Sir Stamford Raffles arrived in 1819, he began his policies of development which marginalized the Malays. Without the financial resources to seek modern medical services, the Malays continue to depend on traditional medicine during the modern healthcare era. Traditional medicine among the Malays is as diverse as the different sub-ethnic groups that exist in the Malay community. In Singapore, it is predominantly practiced by the older generations and in the rural areas.

Indian Ayurvedic Medicine

India has a history of traditional medicine that goes back over 5000 years. Ayurveda, the science of life, prevention and longevity, is the oldest and most holistic medical system available. Its fundamentals can be found in Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas – the ancient Indian books of wisdom. Ayurveda is a very detailed and holistic medical system. Ayurvedic medicine is being practiced in India for a long time. In recent years, Ayurvedic medicine is also gaining popularity in Singapore, as many people are concerned about the side effects of taking modern medicine, which includes over-the-counter and prescription drugs. According to an interview with Mr Kannan, who has been practicing Ayurvedic medicine in Singapore for the last few years, he said, “Ayurvedic medicine is all about balancing the body and mind using natural substances and changing the diet and lifestyle. We need to give time for the medicine to take its effect, since it’s about repairing the cells in the body. It will take time, but it’s a safer practice compared to consuming chemical drugs.” Indian medicine has been commonly practiced in Little India, due to a lot of white-collared workers of different age groups getting tired of their long sitting hours at work and giving up on western medical treatment. They are now trying Ayurvedic medicine as an alternative solution. Mr Kannan noted that knee pain problems are very common in Singapore. He is getting a lot of patients with knee pain problems and the majority of them are between the ages of 40-60. They generally face knee pain problems due to wear and tear on the knee, which also includes arthritis. Mr Kannan states that wear and tear on the knee is due to the lack of synovial fluid in the knee. When the knee lacks synovial fluid, it will cause problems with the friction between the joints and the cartilage. Ayurvedic medicine has several remedies for knee problems, especially when noting that arthritis and wear and tear problems are common.

Consultation with a Knee Pain Specialist in Singapore

The knee pain specialist is important in determining the most suitable diagnosis and management for your condition. For osteoarthritis, an accurate diagnosis and early intervention is important because there is much that can be done to halt progression of the disease and prevent unnecessary disability and joint replacement. For gout, an accurate diagnosis is also crucial since the treatment differs depending on the cause of the gout. If the knee pain is referred, e.g. from the lower back, simple management may not resolve the condition and the knee pain may recur. An accurate diagnosis on the source of the pain is essential. In all instances, if an incorrect diagnosis is made, the treatment prescribed may be unnecessary or even harmful. In view of the diverse range of conditions, invasive procedures and surgeries, and the risks involved, it is vital that you find a reputable knee pain specialist who is skillful in the management of your specific condition.

Importance of seeking professional advice

Discuss the severity of your knee pain condition with your knee pain specialist. Seek the appropriate consultations and treatment in order to gain full recovery from your painful knee injuries. Understanding the nature of your knee pain is crucial in identifying the right course of treatment. Your knee pain can be a result from an acute traumatic event or from overuse. Sometimes it can be related to a degenerative condition or even a result from systemic disease. The severity of the pain does not necessarily reflect the seriousness of the condition. Mild pain can be associated with a severe condition and severe pain can be associated with a mild condition. Identifying the cause and nature of your knee pain is the first step towards a successful treatment. Professional advice includes an accurate diagnosis of your knee pain condition. This may require a series of tests, i.e. X-rays, blood tests, or an examination of the fluid from the affected knee. An accurate diagnosis is essential in order to develop the most appropriate treatment plan that will lead to a full recovery of your knee pain. It will also prevent unnecessary treatment or even surgery for a condition which is not the cause of your knee pain.

Finding a reputable knee pain specialist

Time and effort are required to find a reputable knee pain specialist who can provide professional and well-informed advice on treatment. However, this is worthwhile to ensure the best outcome and quality of life for knee pain sufferers.

Step four is to consider consulting a qualified sports trainer, particularly for knee pain caused by dislocation or overuse of the knee joints. A sports trainer can provide informed advice on exercises to improve the physique of the knee joints and prevent recurrence of the knee pain condition. This is particularly useful for athletes with chronic knee pain who want to resume sporting activities.

Step three is to find a reputable doctor of TCM. Many knee pain sufferers prefer to seek non-invasive forms of treatment, and Chinese medicine has been known to provide herbal remedies and acupuncture for knee pain conditions. A reputable doctor of TCM would be able to provide targeted treatment and advice based on the specific knee pain condition. Often, Chinese medicine is administered over a long term, which can be more cost-effective compared to Western treatment involving surgery and physiotherapy.

Step two is to seek a reputable physiotherapist to work on the knee pain condition. A physiotherapist can work with various knee pain conditions and is able to assess the client’s condition and provide advice on the best forms of exercise to promote knee joint movement and mobility. This is useful for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis and helps to prevent further deterioration of the knee joints.

Step one would be to get an X-ray taken of the affected knee area. This would allow for a clearer diagnosis of the condition of the knee and be a starting point for various forms of treatment. An MRI scan may be necessary to ascertain details of any torn ligaments and tendons around the knee joint. Both the X-ray and MRI results will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the knee pain condition and allow for targeted treatment. An orthopedic doctor would be able to provide informed advice on possible surgery if it is necessary.

A dislocated kneecap can also cause knee pain. When the patellar moves out of its original location, it can cause osteoarthritis and lead to chronic knee pain. These conditions require diagnosis by a specialist who can provide professional advice on treatment for knee pain sufferers. A reputable knee pain specialist would be an orthopedic doctor (bone and joint specialist) or a rheumatologist.

Knee pain can be due to a tear in the tendons surrounding the knee joint. It can cause inflammation and fluid buildup in the bursa (a fluid-filled sac located around the joints) and cause a lot of pain. A tear in the bursa can cause inflammation and swelling in the knee, resulting in pain and lack of movement. This is often due to overuse of the knee joints.

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