$6.95 USA Shipping • 90-Day Hassle-Free Returns

Home » Chinese Medicine for Pain Articles » Best Chinese Herbs for Juvenile Arthritis

Best Chinese Herbs for Juvenile Arthritis

No parent wants to see their child in pain. But what can you do when your child develops a chronic pain condition and other treatments just don’t work? If you haven’t considered using Chinese herbs for juvenile arthritis, you may have found your new solution.

Childhood pain conditions have been treated successfully with Traditional Chinese medicine practices like acupuncture and herbal medicine for thousands of years. Today, we can still help our little ones live healthy, happy, pain-free lives with the help of these holistic practices.

Read on to learn more about how TCM works for juvenile arthritis and the best child-safe Chinese herbs for pain relief.

What is Juvenile Arthritis?

Juvenile arthritis (JA), also known as pediatric arthritis or childhood arthritis, is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects children and adolescents under the age of 16. Like adult-onset arthritis, JA is a condition with inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness, and can potentially cause long-term tissue damage.

But, not all JA is the same. There are several different types of arthritis that can affect children:

  • Oligoarticular Juvenile Arthritis
    This is the most common type of juvenile arthritis and affects fewer than five joints in the body (olig– means “few”). Most children feel pain in their knees, wrists, and/or ankles. This version typically starts in children under the age of six.
  • Polyarticular Juvenile Arthritis
    Polyarticular JA affects five or more joints (poly– means “many”) and is sometimes related to rheumatoid arthritis. It often begins in the small joints of the hands and feet and may lead to systemic symptoms like fatigue and fever.
  • Systemic Juvenile Arthritis
    This type of JA affects the entire body, causing a full-blown inflammatory reaction. Children can experience symptoms such as high fever, skin rashes, and inflammation of internal organs. Joint pain is still a key symptom, but the systemic symptoms are often more prominent.
  • Enthesitis-Related Arthritis
    Enthesitis-related arthritis primarily affects the areas where tendons and ligaments attach to bones, commonly in the spine, hips, and knees. It is often associated with inflammatory bowel disease and has a strong genetic component.
  • Psoriatic Juvenile Arthritis
    Psoriatic JA is an autoimmune response that causes joint pain along with psoriasis – a skin condition marked by red, scaly patches and sometimes changes in the nails.

What Causes Juvenile Arthritis?

Unfortunately, scientists don’t know exactly what causes childhood arthritis. But, it is most likely related to inflammation and imbalances in the immune system.

Some children may also have a genetic predisposition to the disease, or have other factors (such as frequent infections or stress) that can trigger the autoimmune response and lead to inflammation in the joints.

Although it’s not a direct cause, lifestyle factors like diet and physical activity can also influence the severity and progression of juvenile arthritis.

Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis

Juvenile arthritis (JA) can manifest in various ways, and the symptoms experienced by children with JA may vary depending on the type of arthritis and their general health condition. Here is a list of common symptoms associated with juvenile arthritis:

  • Persistent joint pain in one or more joints
  • Swollen and inflamed joints, or joints that are warm to the touch 
  • Stiffness or limping (especially in the morning or after exercise)
  • Difficulty fully extending or flexing their joints
  • Fatigue and a general sense of tiredness
  • Difficulty doing basic activities (like dressing, hygiene, and even playing)
  • Fever or rash (in children with systemic juvenile arthritis) 
  • Eye inflammation, redness, pain, or sensitivity to light
  • Weight loss, reduced appetite, or growth delays 
  • Emotional or behavioral changes (such as anxiety or depression)

The Western Approach: Conventional Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis

Most Western treatment approaches focus on helping the child feel better as soon as possible. The core aims of treatment are to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, slow disease progression, and enhance a child’s overall quality of life.

Conventional Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
    NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and naproxen, are often given to children to reduce their pain and keep inflammation low. They work by inhibiting specific enzymes responsible for inflammation.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
    DMARDs, such as methotrexate, slow the progression of rheumatoid-positive juvenile arthritis by moderating the immune system and reducing inflammation.
  • Biologic Response Modifiers (Biologics)
    Biologics, including drugs called TNF inhibitors, target specific immune system proteins to control inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids
    Corticosteroids, like prednisone, are potent anti-inflammatory medications used during severe flares of juvenile arthritis.
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
    These therapies aim to maintain and improve joint function, mobility, and overall well-being. They have no significant side effects and are an important part of managing juvenile arthritis.
  • Lifestyle Modifications
    Making lifestyle changes like maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and ensuring adequate rest can help manage symptoms and enhance overall health. These modifications generally have no adverse side effects and are encouraged as part of holistic treatment.

While these treatments are helpful in the short term, they can have side effects when used for long periods of time. Issues like weight gain, growth delays in children, bone thinning, liver problems, infections, and mood changes have been reported.

Chinese herbal medicine offers a sustainable, natural approach to managing juvenile arthritis symptoms without these side effects. Let’s learn more about how you can help your child feel better with the power of Chinese medicine.

The Eastern Approach: TCM Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis

Like Western medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine works to relieve pain and other arthritis symptoms so children can live a healthier, happier life. But unlike conventional treatments, TCM goes one step further. In addition to symptom management TCM treatments also work to rebalance the root issues that lead to the development of arthritis in the first place.

In fact, by addressing the root imbalances contributing to your child’s juvenile arthritis, TCM can help ease their symptoms and, in some cases, reduce the need for high doses of medications or other treatments.

So, how can TCM address the root cause when other treatments (like medications) do not?

TCM takes into account all factors of a child’s life, including physical symptoms, emotional well-being, diet, lifestyle, and environmental influences. TCM also offers individualized treatments, taking into consideration their specific symptoms, body constitution, and the underlying TCM patterns of imbalance. This personalized approach ensures that the treatment plan is tailored to each child’s needs and helps them get healthy faster and with fewer setbacks. 

TCM Diagnosis of Juvenile Arthritis: Patterns of Imbalance

For children with juvenile arthritis, TCM uses certain patterns of imbalance to guide the treatment and balance the body’s energy. While JA can be complex, there are a few key patterns that show up commonly in most children with arthritis:

  • Wind-Cold-Damp Bi Syndrome
    Bi syndrome is a unique phenomenon in TCM that describes joint pain and discomfort, often attributed to external factors like cold, wind, and dampness affecting the body. Many different types of arthritis fall under this pattern of imbalance, including some types of JA. Children with this pattern often experience joint pain and stiffness that gets worse in cold and damp weather.
  • Blood Stasis
    In this pattern, children may have severe joint pain, noticeable joint swelling, and limited range of motion. Their joints might feel heavy, and it can be challenging to move them freely.
  • Kidney Deficiency
    Children with kidney deficiency tend to get sick often, have weaker bones and joints, and may have growth issues. They might be more prone to developing arthritis, and their musculoskeletal development could be slower than other children.
  • Liver Imbalance
    A Liver imbalance is typically associated with emotional stress and mood swings, along with symptoms of inflammatory joint discomfort. When children with this pattern feel upset or stressed, their joint pain may worsen.

These patterns tend to be the most common underlying issues involved in JA, but every child is different! Your child may have signs of more than one pattern, or symptoms that don’t seem to match any. That’s where referring to a TCM practitioner to fine-tune your child’s diagnosis and treatment is essential.

Let’s dive into what those potential treatment plans can look like.

TCM Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis

  • Acupuncture
    Acupuncture is often a go-to therapy for those with stubborn pain conditions like arthritis. For children with juvenile arthritis, acupuncture can help alleviate joint pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance overall energy flow. It promotes a sense of balance and relaxation while addressing the root causes of the condition.
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
    Chinese herbal medicine is also used to restore balance in the body from within. Certain herbs are used to combat pain, others may be used to quell inflammation, and others may be used to relieve stress and support healing.  Here are some of the top herbs commonly used in the treatment of juvenile arthritis:
    • Boswellia (Ru Xiang)
      Boswellia extracts may help reduce joint swelling and alleviate pain.
    • Turmeric (Jiang Huang)
      Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, is recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Ginger (Gan Jiang)
      Ginger can help with pain relief, enhance blood circulation, and reduce inflammation.
    • Licorice Root (Gan Cao)
      Licorice root is used to harmonize and balance other herbs in formulas and can help reduce inflammation.
  • Pediatric Tui Na
    Tuina is a type of Chinese medical massage that is a great treatment for children. Because it is gentle and doesn’t involve needles, it can be an alternative to acupuncture. This massage helps to improve joint mobility, relieve pain, improve circulation, and calm the mind.
  • Dietary Therapy
    In TCM, diet plays a huge role in healing. As research reveals the power of gut health, it’s no surprise that what our children eat can be used as a form of medicine. Children with juvenile arthritis can benefit from reducing foods that are “dampening” or inflammatory, such as processed and sugary foods and dairy, while also increasing anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

The Best Chinese Herbs for Juvenile Arthritis

Many of the same Chinese herbal formulas used for adult arthritis can be used to help children’s joint pain. Let’s take a look at some of the key formulas to help children restore balance and protect their joints.

Chinese Herbs for Juvenile Arthritis

For Wind-Cold-Damp Type Arthritis: Du Huo Ji Shen Wan

Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan is a classic formula that is commonly prescribed for arthritis. This formula is warming and moving – the perfect balance for a wind-cold-damp type of pain. If your child complains of stiffness and discomfort, particularly in cold, rainy, or damp weather, this formula may help.

For Hot-Type Rheumatoid-Positive Juvenile Arthritis: Si Miao Wan

For some children, their arthritis is caused by an overactive immune response to their own joint tissue. This is rheumatoid-positive arthritis and tends to show up with redness, swelling, and sometimes fever. In this case, Si Miao Wan is a better choice. This formula uses anti-inflammatory and cooling herbs to restore balance to the body and regulate the immune system.

For Blood Stasis Juvenile Arthritis: Xiao Huo Luo Dan

Extremely painful joints, stiffness, immobility, and exhaustion can be a sign that your child is suffering from a blood stasis type of arthritis. Xiao Huo Luo Dan is a formula designed to break through stasis and restore healthy blood flow to relieve pain. It can be used for general pediatric arthritis or rheumatoid-positive juvenile arthritis.

Chinese Tea for Juvenile Arthritis

For Easy Relief: Triple Joint Relief Tea

For children who struggle swallowing pills or don’t like to take capsules, a pain-relieving tea can be a great way to support their healing. Triple Joint Relief Tea is a gentle Chinese herbal tea formula that contains joint pain-fighting herbal ingredients. It also helps calm inflammation and increase healthy circulation. Children can drink this tea as-is, or brew a cup and mix it with a healthy juice they like (a no-sugar-added apple juice would work well).

Chinese Topical Liniment for Juvenile Arthritis

For Pain Relief at the Site: Po Sum On

To stop aching joints, try a gentle massage with Po Sum On. This liniment promotes relaxation, pain relief, and comfort for both adults and children alike. Plus, children tend to love the cinnamon-like smell and warming sensation. If your child has hot-type arthritis (red, swollen, warm-to-the-touch joints), use cooling White Flower Oil instead.

Dosing Chinese Herbs for Children

Many Chinese herbal formulas are safe for children when they’re given the proper formula and the proper dose. Just like children need a smaller dose of over-the-counter medicines, they also need a smaller amount of TCM medicines. While it’s best to work with a TCM practitioner to determine your child’s optimal dosage, the chart below can help you get started:

Age Recommended Daily Dose 
2-4 years¼ – ⅓ of adult dose 
4-6 years⅓ – ⅖ of adult dose 
6-9 years ⅖ – ½ of adult dose 
9-14 years½ – ⅔ of adult dose 
14-18 years⅔ – full adult dose 

Chinese Herbs for Juvenile Arthritis: What Does the Research Say?

While most research studies focus on the benefits of Chinese herbs for adults with arthritis, there are few studies on TCM for children. Still, we can learn from the general research to better understand how Chinese herbs could help your child live free from pain.

  1. Chinese herbs have been shown to reduce inflammation.
    Chinese herbs are well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce tissue damage in the joints, moderate the immune response, and relieve pain in little ones with arthritis.
  2. Chinese herbs have been shown to reduce the damaging effects of arthritis.
    Research on the formula Si Miao Wan (Si Miao Feng) revealed that taking the formula could prevent the breakdown of collagen in the joints and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. It also showed potent anti-inflammatory benefits.

Help Your Child Overcome Arthritis Pain with Chinese Herbs

Juvenile arthritis is a complicated and often heartbreaking condition for both children and their parents. Thankfully, with the support of both cutting-edge treatments and Chinese medicine, you can help your child get relief and be a kid again. Ready to find a natural solution for your child’s pain? Shop these and other holistic formulas for pain and arthritis today!

Table of Contents

About the Author

Blog Categories

Articles Related To Best Chinese Herbs for Juvenile Arthritis

  • Few of us will get through life without a backache now and then. But what can you do when back pain takes over your hip, buttocks, and leg? You’ve got sciatica – and Chinese herbs can help. Sciatica is a specific type of back and leg pain often caused by arthritis in the spine or…

  • Think of your body like a machine. When it is nourished and healthy, it moves with ease. But over time, the body’s oil (blood and Qi) and shock absorbers (your cartilage) begin to wear down. This causes friction between the hinges, gears, and other moving parts (your bones and joints) that allow your body to…

  • Introduction Imagine waking up with stiff, swollen joints, the discomfort permeating through your body as you attempt to start your day. This is a reality for individuals grappling with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory disorder. While modern medicine has its arsenal of treatments, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a holistic, time-tested alternative. TCM, with…

  • Does waking up each day feeling energized, free from pain, and ready to embrace life to the fullest feel like an impossible dream? Unfortunately, for millions of people living with fibromyalgia, even simple daily tasks like walking, cooking, or commuting can be overwhelming exhausting, and even painful. Chinese herbs for fibromyalgia offer a glimmer of…

  • It’s summertime and the weather is heating up. That means you are probably spending more time in the sun, exercising outside, or playing sports with your friends and family. While staying active is essential to your health, all this extra activity could put you at risk for aches, pains, and even injuries. Not to worry,…