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The use of natural remedies to treat osteoarthritis

  • Tan, Boon Hooi ;
  • Ong, Chin Eng
  • Received : 2015.08.12
  • Accepted : 2016.02.15
  • Published : 2016.02.28

Abstract

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading medical condition for which patients use alternative treatments including the natural remedies. The aim of this review is to describe the dietary supplements and herbal remedies most commonly used in patients with osteoarthritis with an emphasis on the efficacy and safety of these natural remedies. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, two of the molecular building blocks found in articular cartilage, are the most commonly used remedies in OA treatment. Most clinical researches suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin show efficacy in reducing or improving symptoms and their ability to arrest progression of the disease or regenerate damaged cartilage. Patented formulations of both remedies are recommended by several therapeutic guidelines for use as first line background OA treatment. Reliable evidence that the combination is more effective than either agent alone is however still lacking. Several other herbs or remedies are promoted for treating osteoarthritis such as S-adenosylmethionine, methylsulfonylmethane, Harpagophytum procumbens (devil's claw), Curcuma longa (turmeric), Zingiber officinale (ginger), and capsaicin but there is no reliable evidence on long-term efficacy or safety. The clinical usefulness of these remedies is therefore rather limited currently.

Keywords

osteoarthritis;natural remedies;glucosamine;chondroitin;herbs

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