Osgood-Schlatter Disease
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Amy
Posted on: October 5, 1999

My fourteen year old brother was just told by his doctor in the past year that he had Osgood-Schlatter disease. They’ve been giving him anti-inflammatories and pain pills. They told him to quit football and sports which were his passion. I’m afraid eventually they will suggest surgery. He is very depressed and I think he takes too much of the pain killers. There has to be another way! Do you know of any herbs that will help?

Osgood-Schlatter disease is inflammation of part of the leg bone at the knee (the tibial tubercle), thought to be caused by excessive physical trauma to the area while the bones are still in growth phase. It results in pain, swelling and tenderness. It usually resolves in a number of weeks or months with avoidance of sport, excessive exercise and especially deep knee bending. Surgical procedures are rarely required.

You should be able to find herbal formulas at a health food or herbal store that amy be used internally or externally to relieve pain and inflammation. They may include some of the following herbs.

Herbal anti-inflammatories include:

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): an oil may be rubbed in externally and an alcoholic tincture can be taken internally, to reduce pain and inflammation.

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita): is relaxing and anti-inflammatory. It can be taken as a tea or tincture.

Arnica (Arnica montana) may be taken internally as a homeopathic preparation or externally as a cream to decrease inflammation. Caution: Arnica is toxic internally other than the homeopathic preparation. Externally it must not be applied to areas where the skin is broken.

Herbs that have an aspirin-like effect to decrease inflammation are birch, white or black willow bark, Wintergreen and Meadowsweet. All contain salicylates, from which aspirin was derived. Because the salicylates are buffered with other constituents that naturally occur in these herbs, they do not cause the side effects caused by aspirin-type products.

Herbs that have steroid-like action to decrease inflammation are Ginseng, Black Cohosh, Licorice and Wild Yam.

Herbal pain relievers include:

Feverfew (Tanecetum parthenium) is also anti-inflammatory and helps to improve blood circulation. It can be taken as fresh leaves (2 or 3 a day), or a 125 mg tablet or capsule or an alcohlic tincture made from fresh leaves (10 drops, three times a day).

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) provides temporary pain relief. It can be taken as a tincture, half a teaspoon three times a day.

A cream or lotion that can be applied externally to relieve pain may include Camphor, Menthol, Oil of Wintergreen or methyl salicylate and Eucalyptus oil.

Hot baths with stimulating herbs such as Rosemary and Thyme will increase the blood circulation to the area to speed healing. 60 grams of the dried herbs can be added to a litre of boiling water, steeped for 15 minutes, strained, then added to the bath tub.

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