Effective Natural Treatments for Bursitis Relief

| Modified on Mar 17, 2024
Natural Remedies for Bursitis

Bursitis, a progressively worsening condition, often leads sufferers to mistakenly try to "work through" the pain. This approach usually exacerbates the condition. However, there are a variety of natural remedies available for alleviating bursitis pain in the hip, shoulder, and knee, including topical applications, internal remedies, and supplements.

Understanding Bursitis

Bursitis arises from inflammation in the bursa, the fluid-filled sacs near major joints designed to reduce friction. This inflammation is often caused by overuse of muscles or joints. Common symptoms include joint stiffness, increased pain with movement or pressure, and visible swelling or redness.

Repetitive motions or positions frequently trigger bursitis and are common in the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, heel, or base of the big toe. It is associated with baseball pitching, heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, and extensive kneeling.

Natural Remedies for Bursitis

While bursitis is frequently resolved without intervention, certain cases may require medical attention. However, natural remedies play a significant role in pain relief and treatment. Key treatments include castor oil, ginger, and white willow bark.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is renowned for its wide range of health benefits, and it's particularly celebrated as a leading natural remedy for bursitis on Earth Clinic. ACV is rich in acetic acid and contains various nutrients such as vitamins B and C. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent choice for reducing the inflammation and pain associated with bursitis.

Oral Consumption: Another approach involves oral consumption. Mix one to two tablespoons of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drink this mixture once or twice daily. This can help to reduce inflammation from within the body. Adding honey can improve the taste and add its own anti-inflammatory benefits.

Castor Oil

Castor oil is known for its effectiveness in treating bursitis. It offers pain relief and reduces inflammation due to its unique chemical composition. For application, soak a washcloth in 5-10 ML of castor oil and place it on the affected area. Enhance the treatment's effectiveness by applying external heat, such as a heating pad or heated towels, directly over the cloth. This method helps the healing components of castor oil penetrate deeply into the body tissues, offering relief from inflammation and pain.


Ginger is a powerful natural remedy known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains compounds that help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. For bursitis treatment, it's recommended to take two 500mg capsules of powdered ginger once or twice a day. This regular intake can provide significant relief from the discomfort and pain associated with bursitis.

White Willow Bark

White willow bark is another effective natural treatment for bursitis. It contains salicin, a compound similar to the main ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid. This similarity means that white willow bark can help reduce inflammation and treat pain effectively. The recommended dosage is 500mg of the extract, taken once or twice daily.


DMSO, derived from wood pulp, addresses inflammation effectively. Apply a 70% solution to the affected area, gradually reducing application frequency.


Turmeric supplements, rich in the active compound curcumin, provide powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Curcumin is known for reducing inflammation throughout the body, making it an effective natural remedy for bursitis. Regular intake of turmeric supplements can help alleviate the inflammation and discomfort associated with bursitis. The recommended dosage varies, but starting with a standardized curcumin extract, often around 500mg daily, can be beneficial.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil supplements, are another effective remedy for reducing joint inflammation. These fatty acids decrease the production of substances that contribute to inflammation in the body. For those suffering from bursitis, incorporating omega-3 fatty acid supplements into their diet can help reduce the inflammation and pain associated with the condition. The suggested dosage for omega-3 fatty acids typically ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily.


Bromelain, an enzyme extracted from pineapple stems, reduces swelling and pain. It works by breaking down proteins that can cause inflammation and swelling. Bromelain can be a beneficial supplement for bursitis patients to reduce the discomfort and inflammation associated with the condition. The recommended dosage of bromelain for treating bursitis usually ranges from 250 to 500 mg thrice daily between meals.

Keep reading to learn how Earth Clinic readers treated bursitis naturally, how long they took to heal, and which remedies worked best for them!

ACV, Molasses, Ginger, Castor Oil Packs

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Sandra (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) on 06/16/2015

I've had left hip bursitis (very painful) since March 2015 and the doctors have not helped at all. 2 different doctors, 2 MRI's, 1 x-ray and a lot of another pills including pain pills that only take the edge off and it is going worse. So last night I did the castor oil pack and took the ACV with Blackstrap molasses and I also used them both today and the pain is 70% better. I also bought fresh ginger root, peeled it, cut it into chunks and put it in a gallon water jug and drink it a few times a day. I will continue this and I will definitely keep everyone undated on my progress. So far so good.

Replied by Sandra
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Today I went running and I'm not feeling any pain, I highly suggest this remedy to anyone who is suffering with bursitis.


Replied by Diane
(Opa Locka, Fla)

Can you pls text me the exact measurement for all remedies & do you continue to feel better? God Bless.

Replied by Sandra
(Pittsburgh, Pa)

Hi Diane, I used 2 Tbsp. of Organic Apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbsp. of Blackstrap Molasses every morning and I felt better in 4 days. I also did a castor oil pack which I took a old face towel put castor oil on it and placed it directly on my hip and placed a plastic bag over the towel and put a heating pad on top for 40 minutes each night for a week. I cut fresh ginger root and put it in a pitcher of water in the frig and drank it a few times a days but I always did that one. I still take the ACV and Blackstrap daily and I have not had any pain. I hope this answers your questions, you can reach out to me anytime. Let me know if it works for you. God bless you as well.

Alternating Heat/Ice Therapy

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Javagenie (Central, Vt) on 05/11/2010

This cure worked for me and I hope I can help someone else. The method is called alternating heat/ice therapy. I suffered for 2 weeks with this awful pain in my right shoulder. I was finally told by a friend what it was. I had never even heard of bursitis before. He said he had it once and the dr gave him a shot of cortisone. After doing some research, I was not going to a Dr. for that. But, on the 3rd week, I could not rotate my shoulder enough to get dressed. I tried heat and cold packs. It hurt so much I was taking 800mg ibuprofen 6 times a day. That's every 4hrs. on the dot. It would wake me up at night when I needed another dose.

Finally i read about this alternating heat and cold therapy. Apparently there are a lot of different ways to do it. Basically, you place ice on the affected area for 10min. and then switch to heat for 5min. You keep alternating back and forth for an hour or even longer if you want. The idea is to create a pump within your joint/muscles. Cold pushes blood out and heat pulls it in. Allowing the infection inflmation to be pumped right out of the joint. This made sense to me. So, I got started.

I honestly didn't keep track of time... when it felt like it was aching from too much cold (5-10min.) I would swap to heat until it felt nice and relaxed. Then switch back to cold. Important thing to remember: always end with cold. You want to remove the inflamation at the end. I used ice packs wrapped in towels and an electric heating pad. I would do this for up to 2hrs a night watching tv or reading before bed. Every morning it felt better... so, I kept doing it. After 4-5days, my shoulder was almost completely healed. I had some minor pain when over extending the range of motion. Like reaching high above my head (eg. reaching for a dish on the top shelf). But, within a few days that was gone. I suffered miserably for 3 weeks... and in only a few days this relieved it. I'm sure it would've only taken 1 or 2 treatements to cure this if I started sooner. Anyway, It's been about a month, and no pain still.

Can you imagine how powerful this technique would be with the right herbal remedies? Combining this with a natural antibiotic/anti-inflamatory would be great. Unfortunately, I had no idea what to take so heat/ice was all i used.

Replied by Rainman
(Central, Vt, Usa)

I would like to add to my post after thinking back. I must admit that I was also taking some other things that could've possibly helped my speedy recovery. The 2 that stick out are VCO (vigin coconut oil) and I was also taking OoO (oil of oregano). The oil of oregano was for infection I had in my tooth and the VCO was just because I started OP (oil pulling) with it and really loved the taste.

Perhaps I was getting the full benefits once I started to get the blood flowing to the joint? Just thought I should mention in-case someone wants to give those a try as well.

Replied by Samantha
(Lexington, Nebraska)

I have bursitis in my right hip. I was extremely happy to find easy home remedies for this, although, there were no time lines for using any of these treatments. I would like to know how long to use ACV, MOM, or the potato steeping, do you just do it until you feel better, is there a time line, is it based on the individual??? I hope someone can help with these questions.


(Pittsburgh, PA)

I don't even know if this is what I have, this is the 4th thing I found that it could be, I just know the pain is God awful and when I stand for longer (or walk) than 30 seconds I get this almost BONE BREAKING pain from my ankle, up the side of my leg, my thigh to my hip.

It quite literally hurts so bad that I've imagined not being able to sit down in a chair and every bone in my leg breaking because it hurts so bad. Never had this before but have had Sciatica issues.

What is "MOM" treatment?

Also, I heard that potatoes had a lot of acids and therefore were bad during inflammatory episodes (no matter the issue) so how does potato steeping work?

- I don't think it's a hip alignment, self-tested, my iliac crest is not "crooked" and seems to be aligned.

- This does not feel like any Sciatica I have ever had and I once was unable to WALK due to it.

- I don't think it's dislocated hip I think I wouldn't be able to walk at all if that were the case. I've had dislocated knees and wanted to pass out from the pain.

IDK what else it could be.

Replied by Caroline
(Ventura, California)

This sounds good and makes sense. Thank you for taking the time to post. I'm doing the ice pack now and then a heating pad. Wondering if I need to add gentle stretches. Taking VCO, MSM, vitamin C, cayenne, fish oil, acidophilus, and drinking lots of water.

Apple Cider Vinegar

12 User Reviews
5 star (11) 
4 star (1) 

Posted by Willie S. (Witbank Mpumalanga, South Africa) on 08/09/2017

I had Bursitis in my right elbow it was the size of a golf ball,

I drank 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey in water.

Once in the morning and once before bedtime and in 10 days the ball under my elbow was gone. For the 10 days I was taking this mixture I did rub the ball under my elbow for 20 seconds twice a day. No oil was used.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Helena (Toronto) on 06/30/2015

ACV definitely worked for me. I have bursitis in my left shoulder could not sleep at nights. Tried different rubs not much relief. However started taking ACV with water in the morning and night and did see a dramatic change. Can do some yoga and the shoulder is almost back to normal. I also find that the ACV is working for weight loss as well which is an added bonus!

Replied by Edye
(Sarasota, Fl)

How much ACV should I take per day? I have bursitis in my right hip and have had it since December. Thank you for any recommendations .

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Eulalio (Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland) on 02/16/2013

I have no history of bursitis or anything like it, although I have a right shoulder ball and socket joint that has always been able to dislocate, so maybe some structural problems there.

Anyway, a couple months back I started practicing kung fu and qi gong more intensively than in the past (like 2 hours a day). Right shoulder started getting sore enough so I couldn't lie on it at night (turns out to be a standard sign of bursitis).

Finally one day it started getting really inflamed and the pain just getting worse. Worst pain I ever experienced for a solid week. Couldn't even move the arm. Excruciating. Aspirin helped the most among over-the-counter pills. Couldn't even wait the 4 hours between doses.

Anyway, accurately verified diagnosis as bursitis online and found this site. Got a bottle of apple cider vinegar and started taking a spoonful in water 3 times a day. Wasn't sure at first whether it was helping or my body was just following its natural course of healing.

After a few weeks, inflammation was down to maybe 25% of the original and I was doing light exercise again. Cut the vinegar treatment down to once a day and improvement seemed to stop. So, after a week I went back to 3 times again and improvement picked up again.

It's now 6 weeks since it all started and I'm able to sleep on the arm again, and am working out again, although much more carefully. I try to avoid exercises that rotate the arm in a 360 degree circle as this causes a "click" in the tendons that I think may be most responsible for irritating the area.

My bottom line is that I'm pretty sure the vinegar is doing something, so I'm going to continue it perhaps indefinitely.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Amrita (Mississauga, Ontario) on 02/01/2013

Am in my 20s & had knee pain a few months back & had much trouble folding my knees, especially while taking the stairs or folding the joints.

After an X-ray & Ultrasound my doctor said it was bursitis, might be due to some shock or trauma from falling down or sports, although I couldnot recollect any. Could have been just due wrong position I slept that might have twisted the tissues causing inflammation which was internal but apparently not visible externally but caused much trouble in my daily life & I panicked a lot. Although 2 weeks of medication : VIMOVO seemed to have controlled it still, I felt the pain during walking & other activites. Also standing for sometime like cooking kind of aggravated it.

I didnt want to depend on medicine as I did a bit of research and found that the medicine is quiet strong & not good for intestine as well.

So I came to earthclinic & found people talking about it. Many suggested Apple Cider Vinegar as a cure. So I thought lets try it the natural way. I ordered ACV (Bragg or Filsinger both are equally good) and blackstrap molasses.

From then I mix 2 Tablespoon of ACV & 1 Tspoon of molass in a glass of lukewarm water & drink it first thing in the morning around half an hr before before having any breakfast. I noticed my pain gradually went away which had not completely disappeared even with strong dose of Vimovo.

Also it seems to have given me immunity to cold, coz Canadian Winter is chilly & temp is below -10 many a times, and I came to Canada recently on business for a year, not much used to winter.

Also mix honey with ACV if I run out of blackstrap molass, seems to be good.

So thanks to every one who is discussing their experiences in earth clinic, and I hope mine also helps some one too.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Bob (Olney, Md) on 08/21/2012

I had hip bursitis for three years. It only hurt when lying down... It didn't matter if I lay on my right side or left side, or with a pillow between my legs. Twice I had cortisone injections, with limited and shortlived relief. Twice I took steriod packs which gave me no more than a week of relief. After coming to this site I began a regiment of 2T ACV, 1T blackstrap molassses, 1t modified citrus pectic. In four days the pain was gone. I've continued this daily for ten months and the pain has not come back. Before I started this I also had lower back pain. Often! Lots of Aleve or Excedrin. But, now I seldom ever get the back pain and when I do it's because I overexerted myself. Fortunately, this pain and stiffness also goes away in a day or two.

Note! It hasn't gotten rid of my grey hair, but, so what. I'm pain free.

Replied by Luanne
(Suffolk, Va)

For Bob from Olney MD. The ACV and molasses is no problem for me but how do you take the modified citrus pectin? I've had bursitis in both hips for well over a year now. I've had 3 injections in each side which provide good relief but only for a couple of weeks. I've been taking Naproxen daily just to take the edge off, but it doesn't take the pain away and I'm really sick of not sleeping because the pain wakes me up. I'm willing to try anything and I came upon this website when I was searching for home remedies for bursitis. I've already bought the citrus pectin but the texture is very off putting. I've tried mixing it in orange juice... That was disgusting because there lots of clumps of the pectin. I saw on another website that someone said to mix it into applesauce. That was a little better but it took so long to smash all of the clumps against the side of the bowl that I ended up still having quite a few of them when I ate the applesauce. Today I put the pectin into the blender with my smoothie and that works the best... It had a weird taste but no lumps and that was definitely the best option so far. I don't make smoothies every day though so I'm hoping to find another way to take it without the awful clumps. Any suggestions you might have would be appreciated!

Replied by Bob From Md
(Rockville, Md)

Luanne, the clumps are a problem, and smoothie is your best bet. There are various brands of citrus pectin and the most expensive one does dissolve quicker... Just drop a scoop in a couple of ounces of warm water and let it sit for awhile. Then add it to your juice.

The formula is still working for me. Plus, I give it to my 12 1/2 year old dog and it has done wonders for her arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Kelley (Houston, Texas, Usa) on 06/16/2012

I am new to the page, just wanted to say thank you so much that it exists, I have been in pain with hip bursitis for several years and can't take advil pain pills etc, and besides all it does is mask the pain, doesn't cure anything. It had gotten so bad that it would actually even wake me from sleep - Now on to the good part - I followed the advice on this page, got the apple cider vinegar, took a couple of table spoons before bed, also drank lots of water with the baking soda and lemon. Was in a lot of pain before I went to bed, but amazingly this morning I have very little bursitis pain (usually I wake up in an extreme amount of pain) although I do still have a lot of muscular pain, (this is the 1st day) I can't believe how quickly this has made a difference.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Stephen (Birzebbugia, Malta) on 05/18/2010

Bursitis cured with ACV. I am over 50 and had a bad fall, landed on my elbow. It swelled and thought it would go away, it didn't. Three months after I started putting ACV on it, and it remained the same.

Then I soaked a piece of cloth in ACV, kept it on the swell with an elbow support sleeve, almost day & night, and after one day it went down by 15%. I also was careful not to hit it again. On 2nd and 3rd day, down by 75%. That ugly swell has gone and hoping for a complete healing.

Replied by Rueth

Remember the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill? Well he bandaged his head with vinegar and brown paper...this has been used for decades! I had tendonitis of the wrist once and soaked a bandage in AVC, bandaged my wrist and put cling film on it all to stop dripping everywhere. I left it a few hours...you have to be careful this stuff burns your skin...and it worked like magic. That was years ago! I'm here now with knee bursitis and going to try the same treatment 👍

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Dinah (PA, CA) on 01/05/2006

Hi, just needed to write to say I suffered from "bursitis" in the hip for a year and a half. Every doctor said the same thing: vicodin for the pain, advil for the inflammation, and prescription muscle relaxers for the accompanying muscle cramps, and several rounds of physical therapy. I certainly couldn't function on the medications, and only seemed to get temporarily, mildly better. I stumbled suddenly had a craving for sauerkraut, if you can believe it, and borscht and homemade salad dressings-all foods that I usually don't like. I am not exaggerating when I say I slept my first night pain free, and started doing the vinegar and honey concoction and simply can't believe I feel so good, so fast! I did increase my water intact, too, to aid in cleansing my body of whatever it had, too. I just used Heinz and Sue Bee and all that pain from mid-back to knees are gone. I even did yoga today which I love but was told it was irritating the bursas-"try swimming." How can I swim while taking vicodin and muscle relaxers?!?!?

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Georgiana (USA)

My father had just retired. A very active man all his life, he found himself suffering with bursitis in the shoulder joints. After taking honey and cider vinegar twice am and eve. for approx two weeks he felt relief and better mobility. After 30 days he could do windmills with both arms. He was so grateful. Thanks for the site, love the generosity and sharing.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cathy (North Carolina)

I have been suffering for 2 years with bursitis and osteoarthritis in my hip. I have been on all kinds of medications for this, and it feels better as long as I don't stop my meds. I have been in so much pain that I could not hardly walk. I started taking ACV for 2 days now and my legs are not even hurting. I have so much more energy than I had before. This is so much better than medications.

Replied by Denise Enright
(Laguna Niguel, California /USA)

Hi, I too have discovered the health benefits of ACV( Organic's ACV - which you can find at most supermarkets). I take it for joint pain, and if I have an acid stomach- or feel bloated--yes, acid on acid nutrilizes. Also, to get to sleep I drink a cup about a 1/2 before bed and read a good book. I don't think you need to have the honey, unless you want it sweet or for a sore throat,or chest congestion- add lemon juice and honey. I take 2 TBSPS in in 8 to 12 oz of hot water and sip slowly-for best results. God Bless

Replied by Liz
(Beverly Hills, California)

just fyi... vinegar is a base. a base plus an acid neutralize. just fyi.

Replied by Fartknockingmachine
(Here, Over There)

Just an FYI for your FYI... ACV is definitely an acid. It although has Malic acid in it as well, which is a constructive acid. It does though have an alkaline effect on the body.. Check out it's ash content - alkaline.

Replied by Boxcar
(Midwest Usa)

Nope, vinegar has acetic acid. It is an acid.

It helps with acid stomach because the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is activated by acid in the stomach: higher acid -> tighter seal on LES which blocks the acid from rising into the esophagus.

Some people claim that it is metabolised as a base during digestion. I have absolutely no idea whether that is factual or not.

Replied by Brett

No, in fact, vinegar is acidic, but metabolizes down to base compounds/elements. The reason vinegar helps with acid indigestion is because heartburn is often caused by too LOW of acid in the stomach (which inhibits gastric emptying)...by adding acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc) the Ph of the stomach becomes more acidic and the pyloric valve can open and allow stomach to empty. Food too long in the stomach starts to become gaseous and puts pressure on the cardiac sphincter to the esophagus causing it to open and allow acidic fluid into the throat causing heartburn symptoms...basic A&P.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Blackstrap Molasses, Baking Soda

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Debi (Moreno Valley, California) on 06/20/2013

Bursitis and Heel Spurs: I started trying Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) & Blackstrap Molasses (BSM) (warm water, 1TB ACV + 1 ts BSM) and it was less than a week before my limping started getting better & hip stopped hurting 24/7. As usual I wasn't consistent and then I was also diagnosed with 2 heel spurs and after 2 weeks of that I got a gout attack in the other foot (2nd one in two years). I'm back on the ACV and the BSM + 1 ts of Baking Soda. I read that somewhere too. I do the ACV in the BS and let the foam die down, then add the BSM and then the very warm water. I actually am going to start doing one before bed too. I get up in the morning and do oil pulling first for 20-30 min, then the ACV/BSM, then a bit later I do 24 oz of water with lemon and ginger. I hope these details help. I wish when people post they'd just put how much and when they take what ever they take. Thanks to everyone for their sharing ;-)

B Complex

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mjve04 (Beachside, Fl) on 08/04/2017

I've had bursitis in my hip (occasionally knee or shoulder) since I was 11 or 12. The one thing I've seen really help is a vitamin supplement. I get a sustained release Super B and take it daily as long as I do, I have no problems with the bursitis. If I run out or forget it for a few days, pain starts. Also, if I increase my activity level significantly, I need to increase the Super B for a few days.

Let me know if this helps. It's worked well for me for 50+ years.

Replied by Michael
(New Zealand)


Would your sustained release, Super Vitamin B tablet work for Tendonitis as well as Bursitis do you think?

It would be interesting to know which of the B vitamins is responsible for doing this but I suspect that they all need to work synergistically to accomplish healing anyway.

Thanks for the info.

Cheers, Michael

Blackstrap Molasses

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Frankie (Franklin, Louisiana) on 08/10/2007

I am new to using BSM...4 weeks ago had an MRI which showed I had a torn meniscus in the right knee, along with arthritis. Orth doctor said at this time, there is no need for surgery. He recommended I take 500mg of calcium a day to help heal the knee and help the bones. This got me very down because I am very active. I was not going to wait around so a friend in Ca. said how BSM was good for tons of things. I found Earth Clinic and I referred to it several times. I LOVE to research and research. Living in Louisiana, we have many sugar cane mills. I found thru friends a gallon of BSM from the mill. And OH YES.....it is nasty. BUT, every morning I take a Tablespoon right down....no time to play with mixing it in anything. I have been taking BSM for 3 weeks now. This I have noticed and right away. Although active, I was tired everyday......everyday. I ate right but was still tired....NOT ANYMORE......trust me on this one.....I saw the surgeron last week and he commented on how the leg was easy to move and how I was coming along so well. He commented on how I was very up beat and was even losing weight....for some reason I am not hungry all the time. I need to lose some weight to help the knees and I feel that the BSM has come to my rescue....We all know that it takes time for many remedies or meds. to help in various health issues. As I have researched on BSM, it can only benefit you and not harm. My husband began to take it daily also. He has been dealing with hip pain for the last 3 years..bursitus...in the last 3 weeks he has seen a difference. He also has more energy. I will keep you informed of our progress

Replied by Julie
(Cockermouth, Cumbria, England)

If you don't like the taste of Blackstrap molasses then I really recommend taking it in porridge with milk. My kids, aged 8,6,3,1 all love it and request it. Also, I recommend substituting golden syrup or treacle with BSM if you are doing any baking. I often put a spoonful into whatever I'm baking and it gives a lovely richness to stews and casseroles.

1 2 3 4