Arthritis is the inflammation and swelling of the joints. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, sexes, and races. It is more common among women and happens more frequently as we age. Common arthritis symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Symptoms come and go. They range from mild, moderate to severe. The symptoms may stay static for years but could also worsen over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities, and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs.
Based on the Arthritis Research UK report in 2017, 78% of the patients with arthritis suffer pain most of the days. Joint pain is as much a physical disability as well as mental strain as it induces stress and depression among arthritis sufferers.
With arthritis being a long-term, degenerative disease, most patients rely on conventional painkillers like NSAIDs to manage their joint pain. While these NSAIDs work efficiently to relieve joint pain, they may also cause adverse effects when taken on long-term. Based on research done by Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) in 2006, there was evidence showing a worsening decline in joint function and increased need for hip and knee replacements in osteoarthritis patients taking NSAIDs among others. Therefore, OARSI committee has advised against long-term use of NSAIDs to treat osteoarthritis.
Commiphora mukul (Indian bdellium-tree)
- More commonly known as Indian bdellium-tree.
- Native to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
- Purported to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of health conditions involving inflammations such as arthritis, eczema, and acne conditions.
Boswellia serrata (Indian olibanum)
- Also known as Indian Frankincense.
- Native to India, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula.
- Has been used for centuries in Asian and African folk medicine.
- It is commonly used for osteoarthritis (OA). Other health conditions include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), asthma, and diabetes but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng)
- Well-known as ashwagandha whereby the name “ashwagandha” describes the smell of its root mimicking the smell of a horse as the word “ashwa” means horse.
- Often used as a general tonic to boost energy and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Some evidence suggests that this herb also confers neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.
Oroxylum indicum (Indian trumpet tree)
- Oros, in greek, means mountain, and xylon means wood or tree. indicum refers to the country India, where the tree is naturally found there.
- While its fruits, seeds, leaves, and flowers are used for culinary purposes, its stem bark and root bark are used for medicinal purposes.
- Its root is known as one of the ingredients of a widely used formula known as ‘dashamoola,’ which means ‘ten roots.’
- According to studies, ‘dashamoola’ formulation exerts potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic properties which are beneficial for joint pain.
Smilax china (China root)
- Usually recognized as China root.
- This herbal root got famous in the treatment while treating the Gout of King Charles V.
- Confers several medicinal properties including reduction of swellings (anti-inflammatory), removal of pus from wounds, promotion of urine (diuretic), bringing down high body temperature, removing gas (flatulence), and clearing bowels.
Pluchea lanceolata (Rasna)
- An aromatic plant is known as “Rasna” in Ayurvedic.
- It is a pungent, heavy, anti-toxic, and a slightly bitter herb.
- Due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, this herb is well-known in indigenous systems of medicine for its therapeutic benefits in arthritis and joint pain.
- Most of us know this herb by the name “ginger”.
- Its root (rhizome) is widely used as spice and folklore medicines.
- It is used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice.
- The main bioactive component in ginger is gingerol which provides medicinal properties such as nausea, bloating problems, and inflammatory conditions.
When put together, these specially hand-picked herbs complement each other and work synergistically to address multiple pathways which are responsible for joint pain.
Prepared by: Chew Ee Wei, a HTM Pharmacist.
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