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Herbs More Effective Than Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs

Update Date: Apr 15, 2014 05:34 PM EDT

Herbal remedies may treat rheumatoid arthritis, and may be just as good as methotrexate for treating the inflammatory disease.

New research reveals that a traditional Chinese herbal remedy used to relieve joint pain and inflammation works as well as the standard drug treatment frequently prescribed to patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

The study revealed that administering a combination of Triptergium wilfordii with methotrexate was more effective than methotrexate alone in treating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

The study involved 207 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis who were randomly assigned to one of the three groups: methotrexate 12.5 mg once a week; or TwHF 20 mg three times a day; or a combination of the two over a period of 24 weeks.

The findings revealed that 46,5 percent of patients treated with methotrexate alone achieved ACR 50, indicating a 50 percent improvement in the number of tender or swollen joints and other criteria including pain, disability, and the doctor's assessment of disease severity. However, 55 percent of those treated with Triptergium wilfordii  alone and 77 percent of those treated with both achieved ACR 50.

Previous studies reveal that an extract of the root Triptergium wilfordii showed potential to treat automimmune diseases and some cancers, according to researchers.

The findings are published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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