The pain of rheumatoid arthritis is considerable. The discomfort of inflamed joints is chronic, disabling, and progressive. To manage and control the pain of this incurable condition, the medication methotrexate is sometimes used. In recent findings, a Chinese herb has been discovered to supply similar pain relief.

The herbal remedy used is called Triptergium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF). The herb is often used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat swelling and joint pain. Portions of the Triptergium wilfordii plant comprise the treatment.

Published in the BMJ, researcher Dr. Xuan Zhang of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in China, and his team, compared the results of methotrexate (MTX) and TwHF in 207 patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

The patients took part in a study comprised of three treatment groups over the course of 24 weeks. Group 1 took 12.5 mg of MTX per week. Group 2 took 20 mg of TwHF three per day. Group 3 took a combination of both substances. The study’s researchers noted that only two percent of the subjects had ever used a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) like methotrexate before.

The researchers determined how effective the treatments were by how well they reduced rheumatoid arthritis symptoms according to the ACR (American College of Rheumatology) 50 response. By that standard, effectiveness is revealed by 50% improvement in the number of painful joints, and a 50% improvement in other pain, disability and persistent disease.

At the conclusion of the study, 84 percent of the subjects had participated in the full treatment period. Of those patients, the participants in Group 3, or the the combination group, saw the best response to treatment. Patients treated with both MTX and TwHF, were recorded reaching the ACR 50 response at 77 percent.

Though the results are promising, subsequent trials will investigate long-term response to the combination of treatments, and the impact to patients after treatment concludes.

Read the full article here: Chinese herbal remedy ‘just as effective as methotrexate against arthritis’ – Medical News Today