Home > Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements > Herbs for Arthritis, Colds and Crohn’s Disease

Herbs for Arthritis, Colds and Crohn’s Disease

February 8, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Old herbs may not be able to learn new tricks, but humans can certainly learn new tricks about old herbs. Over the past few months, there’s been an impressive string of studies published about various herbal remedies. Some of the data supports traditional uses of these botanical agents. But I’ve also discovered a few wild cards in the medical literature. The result of my research will be a three day expose on the latest and greatest information about the modern use of medicinal herbs.

In September I wrote a piece about Andographis paniculata (AP) and its potential in combating viral infections such as the common cold and flu. A study that will appear in the March issue of the journal Phytomedicine strengthens the case for this exotic remedy. 223 men and women with “uncomplicated upper respiratory infections” participated in a trial that examined the effects of 200 mg per day of AP (KalmCold) or a placebo. The scientists conducting the 5 day study utilized a Visual Analog Scale to quantify the symptom scores among the volunteers.

  • Both the KalmCold and placebo groups reported feeling progressively better by day 3 of the illness.
  • Those receiving the placebo noted no change or a worsening of symptoms from days 3-5.
  • The KalmCold volunteers experienced a “decreasing trend” of symptoms during that same period.
  • The symptoms monitored included cough, earache, expectoration, fatigue, fever, headache, nasal discharge and sleep disturbance.

Only a few minor side effects were documented with no significant differences found between KalmCold and the placebo. The authors of the trial concluded that the Andographis paniculata extract was 2.1 times more effective than the placebo in “reducing symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection”. (1)

Crohn’s disease is a serious inflammatory condition that affects the digestive tract. Conventional treatment typically involves the use of powerful medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and immune system suppressants. These very same drugs sometimes bring about equally potent adverse reactions. But new evidence suggests that a natural alternative may be growing in a field or garden near you. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) was recently shown to suppress the levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), a cytokine/protein which has been linked to intestinal damage. 10 patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) were recently given 750 mg of wormwood three times a day for 6 weeks. An additional 10 CD patients were randomly selected to serve as a comparison group. Both sets of patients continued to receive standard care during the trial. TNF-a levels were measured at the start, middle and end of the study. Other measures relating to quality of life (Hamilton’s Depression Scale) and symptoms severity (Crohn’s Disease Activity Index) were also recorded.

  • A dramatic drop in TNF-a, from 24.5 pg/ml to 8.0 pg/ml, was detected in the wormwood treated patients by the 6 week mark.
  • A significant decline in symptoms was noted based on the results of a Crohn’s Disease Activity Index (CDAI).
  • The participants began the study with a CDAI score of 275 and ended at 175. Eight of the ten wormwood patients were categorized as having a “remission of symptoms”.
  • An interesting side note is that the herbal intervention also improved mood scores according to changes in the volunteers’ Hamilton’s Depression Scale.

The 10 person non-wormwood, control group was much less likely to benefit from conventional treatment alone. By comparison, they only saw a 4.6 pg/ml decline in TNF-a, a 52 point drop on their CDAI scores and 2 cases of remission. (2)

The Conventional Treatment of Crohn’s Disease
Source: Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Oct 1;26(7):987-1003. (link)

Most people outside of Africa primarily think of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) as the source of a rich “butter” that can work wonders for dry and irritated skin. However, new research from “Down Under” may considerably broaden the appeal of the humble shea seed. Scientists from Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia recently enrolled 89 patients with osteoarthritis in a study that investigated the efficacy of a “triterpene-rich extract” of shea seed vs. a placebo. The results of the 15 week trial revealed that the shea seed extract reduced inflammation (TNF-a levels) by 23.9% and collagen breakdown (CTX-II) by 28.7%. Osteocalcin levels also dropped by 9.2% which indicates a bone-sparing effect. The combination of these three factors suggest that shea seed extract has “multiple beneficial activities consistent with slowing the disease process” in patients with osteoarthritis. (3)

In day two of this three-part series, I’ll be reviewing the most current data available regarding Astragalus membranaceus, Hibiscus sabdariffa and Rhodiola rosea. The topics at hand will include the natural management of hypertension, seasonal allergies and smoking cessation. I hope you’ll join me tomorrow for that information and a whole lot more.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!

JP

Bookmark and Share


Related Posts:

Tags: , ,
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements

6 Comments & Updates to “Herbs for Arthritis, Colds and Crohn’s Disease”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Morning JP :-)

    good news: joined the dentist today, everything ok :-) thank good!

    great article JP and it will be a great and interesting week. Looking for the astragalus news :-)

    Greetings
    Nina K.

  2. JP Says:

    Good day and thank you, Nina! :)

    Good news about the dentist! That’s always a relief!

    The astragalus info. is coming later today … :)

    Be well!

    JP

  3. JP Says:

    Update 04/21/15:

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2296/16/24

    BMC Fam Pract. 2015 Feb 25;16(1):24.

    The effectiveness of high dose zinc acetate lozenges on various common cold symptoms: a meta-analysis.

    BACKGROUND: A previous meta-analysis found that high dose zinc acetate lozenges reduced the duration of common colds by 42%, whereas low zinc doses had no effect. Lozenges are dissolved in the pharyngeal region, thus there might be some difference in the effect of zinc lozenges on the duration of respiratory symptoms in the pharyngeal region compared with the nasal region. The objective of this study was to determine whether zinc acetate lozenges have different effects on the duration of common cold symptoms originating from different anatomical regions.

    METHODS: We analyzed three randomized trials on zinc acetate lozenges for the common cold administering zinc in doses of 80-92 mg/day. All three trials reported the effect of zinc on seven respiratory symptoms, and three systemic symptoms. We pooled the effects of zinc lozenges for each symptom and calculated point estimates and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

    RESULTS: Zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of nasal discharge by 34% (95% CI: 17% to 51%), nasal congestion by 37% (15% to 58%), sneezing by 22% (-1% to 45%), scratchy throat by 33% (8% to 59%), sore throat by 18% (-10% to 46%), hoarseness by 43% (3% to 83%), and cough by 46% (28% to 64%). Zinc lozenges shortened the duration of muscle ache by 54% (18% to 89%), but there was no difference in the duration of headache and fever.

    CONCLUSIONS: The effect of zinc acetate lozenges on cold symptoms may be associated with the local availability of zinc from the lozenges, with the levels being highest in the pharyngeal region. However our findings indicate that the effects of zinc ions are not limited to the pharyngeal region. There is no indication that the effect of zinc lozenges on nasal symptoms is less than the effect on the symptoms of the pharyngeal region, which is more exposed to released zinc ions. Given that the adverse effects of zinc in the three trials were minor, zinc acetate lozenges releasing zinc ions at doses of about 80 mg/day may be a useful treatment for the common cold, started within 24 hours, for a time period of less than two weeks.

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Updated 11/10/15:

    http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/11/05/ije.dyv301.abstract

    Int J Epidemiol. 2015 Nov 5.

    Zinc intake and risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis: a prospective cohort study.

    BACKGROUND: Diet plays a role in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Dietary zinc may influence risk of disease through effects on autophagy, innate and adaptive immune response and maintenance of the intestinal barrier.

    METHODS: We analysed data from 170 776 women from the Nurses Health Study I and Nurses Health Study II, who were followed for 26 years. Zinc intake was assessed using semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaires administered every 4 years. Incident CD and UC were ascertained by medical record review. Cox proportional hazards models adjusting for potential confounders determined the independent association between zinc intake and incident disease.

    RESULTS: Over 3 317 550 person-years (p-y) of follow-up, we identified 269 incident cases of CD and 338 incident cases of UC. Zinc intake ranged from 9 mg/day in the lowest quintile to 27 mg/day in the highest quintile. Compared with women with the lowest quintile of intake, the multivariate hazard ratios (HR) for CD were 0.92 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.65 – 1.29) for women in the second quintile of intake, 0.60 (95% CI, 0.40 – 0.89) for the third quintile, 0.57 (95% CI, 0.38 – 0.86) for fourth quintile and 0.74 (95% CI, 0.50 – 1.10) for the highest quintile (Ptrend = 0.003). The association was stronger for dietary zinc (HR 0.63, 95% CI, 0.43 – 0.93, comparing extreme quintiles) than for zinc intake from supplements. Neither dietary nor supplemental zinc modified risk of UC.

    CONCLUSIONS: In two large prospective cohorts of women, intake of zinc was inversely associated with risk of CD but not UC.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Updated 07/18/16:

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0159288

    PLoS One. 2016 Jul 14;11(7):e0159288.

    Effect of the Medicinal Agaricus blazei Murill-Based Mushroom Extract, AndoSanTM, on Symptoms, Fatigue and Quality of Life in Patients with Crohn’s Disease in a Randomized Single-Blinded Placebo Controlled Study.

    BACKGROUND: Ingestion of AndoSanTM, based on the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill, has previously shown an anti-inflammatory effect through reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines in healthy individuals and patients with Crohn’s disease (CD). In this randomized single-blinded placebo-controlled study we examined whether intake of AndoSanTM also resulted in clinical effects.

    METHODS AND FINDINGS: 50 patients with symptomatic CD were randomized for oral daily consumption of AndoSanTM or placebo for a 21-day experimental period, in this per-protocol study. Patients reported validated scores for symptoms, fatigue and health related quality of life (HRQoL) at days 0, 14 and 21. Fecal calprotectin and general blood parameters were also analyzed. In the AndoSanTM group (n = 25) symptoms improved from baseline (day 0) to days 14 and 21, with respective mean scores (95% CI) of 5.52 (4.64-6.40), 4.48 (3.69-5.27) and 4.08 (3.22-4.94) (p<0,001). We found significant improvements in symptom score for both genders in the AndoSanTM group, and no significant changes in the placebo (n = 25) group. There were however no significant differences between the groups (p = 0.106), although a marginal effect in symptom score for men (p = 0.054). There were comparable improvements in physical, mental and total fatigue for both groups. HRQoL versus baseline were at day 21 improved for bodily pain and vitality in the AndoSanTM group and for vitality and social functioning in the placebo group. No crucial changes in general blood samples and fecal calprotectin were detected.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results from this single-blinded randomized clinical trial shows significant improvement on symptoms, for both genders, in the AndoSanTM group, but no significant differences between the study groups. The results on fatigue, HRQoL, fecal calprotectin and blood samples were quite similar compared with placebo. The patients did not report any harms or unintended effects of AndoSanTM. CD patients with mild to moderate symptoms may have beneficiary effects of AndoSanTM as a safe supplement in addition to conventional medication.

    Be well!

    JP

  6. JP Says:

    Updated 11/21/16:

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0159288

    PLoS One. 2016 Jul 14;11(7):e0159288.

    Effect of the Medicinal Agaricus blazei Murill-Based Mushroom Extract, AndoSanTM, on Symptoms, Fatigue and Quality of Life in Patients with Crohn’s Disease in a Randomized Single-Blinded Placebo Controlled Study.

    BACKGROUND: Ingestion of AndoSanTM, based on the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill, has previously shown an anti-inflammatory effect through reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines in healthy individuals and patients with Crohn’s disease (CD). In this randomized single-blinded placebo-controlled study we examined whether intake of AndoSanTM also resulted in clinical effects.

    METHODS AND FINDINGS: 50 patients with symptomatic CD were randomized for oral daily consumption of AndoSanTM or placebo for a 21-day experimental period, in this per-protocol study. Patients reported validated scores for symptoms, fatigue and health related quality of life (HRQoL) at days 0, 14 and 21. Fecal calprotectin and general blood parameters were also analyzed. In the AndoSanTM group (n = 25) symptoms improved from baseline (day 0) to days 14 and 21, with respective mean scores (95% CI) of 5.52 (4.64-6.40), 4.48 (3.69-5.27) and 4.08 (3.22-4.94) (p<0,001). We found significant improvements in symptom score for both genders in the AndoSanTM group, and no significant changes in the placebo (n = 25) group. There were however no significant differences between the groups (p = 0.106), although a marginal effect in symptom score for men (p = 0.054). There were comparable improvements in physical, mental and total fatigue for both groups. HRQoL versus baseline were at day 21 improved for bodily pain and vitality in the AndoSanTM group and for vitality and social functioning in the placebo group. No crucial changes in general blood samples and fecal calprotectin were detected.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results from this single-blinded randomized clinical trial shows significant improvement on symptoms, for both genders, in the AndoSanTM group, but no significant differences between the study groups. The results on fatigue, HRQoL, fecal calprotectin and blood samples were quite similar compared with placebo. The patients did not report any harms or unintended effects of AndoSanTM. CD patients with mild to moderate symptoms may have beneficiary effects of AndoSanTM as a safe supplement in addition to conventional medication.

    Be well!

    JP

Leave a Comment




*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam word