Bursitis: Acute or chronic inflammation of a bursa. Tendinitis:
Inflammation of the lining of the tendon sheath (tenosynovitis) and of the
enclosed tendon (tendinitis).
A bursa is a pocket of connective tissue found adjacent to a joint. Lined
by a smooth inner surface, it facilitates the gliding movements of muscles
and tendons over bony prominences. Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa which
results in pain, tenderness, stiffness and in some cases, swelling and redness.
Any bursa can be affected by the inflammatory process, but bursitis involving
the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee are most common.
Although the cause of this condition is unknown, repetitive direct pressure
over a bursa can be a predisposing factor. In particular, certain activities
or occupations are associated with specific example because of the nature
of the physical stress placed on the bursa: e.g. housemaid’s knee (kneeling),
student’s elbow (leaning). Shoulder bursitis, the commonest type, is characterized
by an aching pain localized on the outside of the top of the shoulder. Pain
is intensified by lifting and backwardly rotating the arm. Typically, there
is stiffness in the morning which diminishes with heat and routine activities.
Both tendinitis and tenosynovitis occur spontaneously or in association
with injury, work and sports activities, certain types of arthritis or infection.
As with bursitis, the shoulder is most commonly affected. The attachment
of the biceps tendon at the shoulder is especially vulnerable to this condition.
Bicipital tendinitis is manifested by aching along the biceps muscle that
radiates up to the shoulder and down to the forearm. The pain is worse with
movement. Among the other common locations for tendinitis are the elbow,
wrist, hand, knee, and ankle.
Actions indicated for the processes behind this disease:
Anti-Rheumatics often help, but the choice of appropriate
anti-rheumatic depends upon its other properties, in turn governed by the
interpretation of the patients needs.
Anti-Inflammatories will be important as the primary action for symptomatic
Anti-Spasmodics help in easing associated local muscular tension.
Circulatory Stimulants & Rubefacients contribute by increasing
local blood circulation.
Analgesics may help. However, the legal herbal analgesics do very
little in such cases. Pain relief is best achieved through the use of anti-inflammatories
Connective tissue may benefit from using herbs that strengthen it. The practitioner
must attempt to identify broader contributing factors, such as general stress.
No true specifics are described in the herbal traditions of Europe and North
One possible prescription:
Salix spp. 2 parts
Viburnum opulus 2 parts
Apium graveolens 2 parts
Zanthoxylum americanum 1 part to 5ml of tincture
taken 3 times a day
Viburnum opulus equal parts of tincture rubbed into the painful muscles
In this combination we are combining anti-rheumatics that provide
these relevant actions:
- salicylate anti-inflammatory: Salix spp.
- general anti-inflammatory: Apium graveolens
- anti-spasmodics: Lobelia inflata, Viburnum opulus, Apium
- peripheral vaso-dilator: Zanthoxylum americanum