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August 19th, 2009
Ancient Chinese Herbal Medicine Shows Promise for Rheumatoid Arthritis

A new study is looking back to ancient Chinese herbal medicine for contemporary treatment options. The Chinese herb in question referred to as “thunder god vine,” has been shown to minimize inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

The herbal drug has been used for centuries for its healing properties and is obtained from the medicinal plant Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF), otherwise known in Chinese as “lei gong teng.”

Rheumatoid arthritis gives rise to chronic, painful joint inflammation that can, over time, result in joint impairment and loss of mobility. The study contrasted rheumatoid arthritis patients’ joint swelling in those who took the herbal treatment or an anti-inflammatory drug. Of the 121 study candidates, all had a minimum of 6 swollen joints.  Split into two groups, one took 60 milligrams of the TwHF root extract three times per day.  The second group was treated with 1 gram of a prescription, anti-inflammatory drug, sulfasalazine, twice per day.

After 24 weeks of treatment, roughly 65 percent of the participants on the herbal extract, displayed at a minimum, a 20 percent improvement in their joints; 33 percent of the participants on sulfasalazine displayed joint improvement.  These findings are based on the American College of Rheumatology criteria, a guideline for the success of arthritis therapy.

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