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Natural Remedies for Tendonitis

Anyone who plays tennis or works at a job that involves repetitive motion can develop tendonitis. The fibrous tissues which connect muscle to bone are known as tendons; when these tissues become inflamed from overuse, the resulting condition is known as tendonitis. Familiar examples of tendonitis are tennis elbow and skier’s knee.

Conventional treatment includes rest and anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. Herbalist and author James A. Duke, Ph.D., states in “The Green Pharmacy” that natural remedies for tendonitis can provide effective relief.


Long before the invention of aspirin, herbalists recommended the bark of the willow tree (Salix spp.) for pain relief. Willow contains salicylic acid, an herbal form of aspirin. Willow bark’s anodyne, anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective natural remedy for tendonitis.

In “The Herb Book”, herbalist John Lust recommends 1 cup of willow bark decoction daily. Soak 1 to 3 teaspoons of willow bark in 1 cup of cold water for 2 to 5 hours. Bring to a boil, then slowly sip the unsweetened drink.


Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia) stimulates the immune system in many ways, including tissue repair. As connective tissue heals, it is vulnerable to re-injury. In “Medicinal Plants of the Desert on Canyon West”, herbalist Michael Moore explains that echinacea can protect tendons as they heal.

Moore recommends up to ½ ounce of echinacea root tincture daily until symptoms subside. Alternatively, apply echinacea ointment to the injured area and take ¼ to ½ teaspoon of tincture every few hours.


Horsetail (Equisetum arvena) contains a form of silicon which is believed to strengthen and heal connective tissue. Use this herb under the guidance of a reputable, trained practitioner, as high doses can be toxic.

John Lust recommends 1 to 1 ½ cups of horsetail decoction per day. Prepare an infusion by adding 1 heaping teaspoon of dried horsetail to ½ cup of cold water. Boil 1 minute, steep 1 minute, and strain.

Pineapple and Papaya

Pineapple (Ananas comocus) contains bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties; papaya also contains this enzyme. James Duke notes that many athletes eat pineapple before and after workouts to prevent injuries. Duke recommends preparing a fruit salad from pineapple, papaya, and turmeric, a spice which contains the anti-inflammatory compound curcumin.


Tendonitis relief is accessible and affordable. These remedies and foods are available at your local health food store or supermarket; you may already have turmeric in your spice rack. Ask your doctor about combining these natural remedies for tendonitis with prescribed conventional treatment.


“Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West”: Michael Moore; 1989.

“The Green Pharmacy”: James A. Duke, Ph.D.; 1997

“The Herb Book”: John Lust; 2001 (1974)