RA Herb Research Promising, but Inconclusive


Use of Thunder God Vine for RA Treatment

The studies have only been conducted for short periods, so long-term safety has not been established, and all of the research projects have been conducted on very small numbers of people. Hopefully large, long-term studies will be undertaken in the near future to determine what doses of the extract are the most effective, yet safe.

Research is also needed to determine the best dose of methotrexate to use if the extract and herb are given simultaneously. The herbal extract should not be given to children who have arthritis.

In my opinion, it is too soon to recommend the use of the extract. I say this reluctantly, because I am well aware of the lack of effectiveness and serious side effects that current therapies offer.

My daughter-in-law has RA and has not responded to conventional treatment so I will be sure to follow the research about this herb. I will report my findings as they become available.

In the meantime there are some other herbs which can be safely and effectively used to relieve RA symptoms.

Types of Herbal Remedies which Relieve RA Symptoms

  • Anti-inflammatory herbs relieve swelling and promote comfort. They help to improve flexibility and support motion within joints. Wild yam, black cohosh, meadowsweet, birch, and angelica are examples of herbs that relieve inflammation.
  • Nervines promote muscle relaxation and relieve spasms. People who have RA live with a chronic condition. As a result, depression and anxiety is common. Nervines can lift the mood and relieve stress related to the condition. Black cohosh is an excellent nervine, as well as anti-inflammatory herb. Lemon balm is useful for depression. Linden, chamomile, and red clover are soothing. Valerian is a powerful nervine that can help with insomnia.
  • Topical herbal remedies are beneficial. Herbal compresses and poultices may be applied to sore and inflamed joints in order to promote comfort. Cold or warm compresses may be used. Peppermint and birch are cooling and soothing when applied topically. Black tea possesses astringent actions. In general, cold applications relieve swelling while warm ones may improve movement. You may need to experiment to see what works best for you.

Herbal remedies are a beneficial part of a comprehensive program to make living with RA easier. It is too soon to recommend the use of thunder god vine, although the research seems promising. In the meantime, other herbs may be used internally and externally to provide some support.

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Resources

Arthritis Foundation (Thunder God Vine)

NCBI (Comparison of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F Versus Sulfasalazine in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Lv Q-Z, Z. S. (2014). Comaprison of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F with methotrexate in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis.

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