Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes that line the joints and causes inflammation. There’s no cure for this chronic condition, and the drugs used to control symptoms—serious pain, swelling and even bone loss—can have side effects ranging from nausea to anemia to liver damage. So what can alternative treatments do? While natural remedies usually can’t take the place of conventional meds, they can help you reduce the dosage or frequency of these drugs to the point where side effects aren’t a problem, says David Leopold, M.D., of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, in La Jolla, Calif. Here are the most effective and best-studied ways to alleviate RA symptoms—naturally.