A traditional Chinese herbal remedy called "thunder god vine" reduces inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study. The herbal remedy is an extract of the medicinal plant known in China as “lei gong teng,” and has been used for centuries to treat a variety of inflammatory disorders.
The study compared reduction in joint swelling in people with rheumatoid arthritis who took either the herb or an anti-inflammatory drug. The 121 participants in the study were divided into two groups. One group took 60 milligrams of lei gong teng root extract three times a day, and the others 1 gram of sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), a prescription anti-inflammatory drug, twice a day.
After 24 weeks, significantly more patients who took the herbal extract reported an improvement in arthritis symptoms, compared with those taking sulfasalazine (65 percent vs. 33 percent). Improvements were experienced in joint swelling, pain and inflammation as well as overall well-being.
"This study is a reminder of the potential importance of herbs and supplements in the management of arthritis," said Dr. John H. Klippel, president of the Arthritis Foundation.
Acupuncture therapy and Chinese herbal medicine have been found to be effective at alleviating the pain and inflammation associated with all types of arthritis. Arthritis is a complex disorder that comprises several distinct conditions. Most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis. Joints naturally degenerate over time, resulting in loss of normal movement. Acupuncture can reduce the number of tender joints and decrease arthritis pain, stiffness and swelling.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) uses a multidimensional approach, treating arthritis with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, diet modification, bodywork, physical exercise, stress reduction, and supplements as necessary depending on the type of arthritis and the symptoms. Conventional and alternative treatment modalities can be used in conjunction to provide pain relief for those with otherwise intractable arthritis.
For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500.