Rosehips may provide an effective alternative treatment for sufferers of crippling rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new research by scientists in Germany and Denmark.
Severely affected patients already being treated with conventional drugs experienced significant improvement after taking capsules of rosehip powder for six months, a pilot study showed.
Experts now want to conduct more extensive trials, which could form the basis of new clinical guidelines.
Scientists said the rosehip remedy, called LitoZin, may in future help reduce spending by health-care services on expensive new rheumatoid arthritis drugs.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a painful and debilitating autoimmune disease, which affects millions of people worldwide.
It occurs when the immune system attacks the joints, causing swelling and damage to cartilage and bone.
Traditional treatments, such as the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) methotrexate, have only limited effectiveness.
Newer medicines, including TNF Alpha inhibitors and the latest "smart" drugs targeting different parts of the immune system, are now becoming available, but are so costly it is questionable how many patients will receive them.
Treating just one patient with anti-TNF drugs, which act on a particular signalling molecule, costs up to $25,000 a year.
LitoZin, made from processed ground rosehips, is already widely used by patients with osteo-arthritis, a less serious condition caused by general wear and tear of the joints.
One month's supply of the supplement retails over-the-counter for less than $30.
The new research was prompted by RA sufferers who claimed they had also been helped by the product.
Scientists who conducted the trial in Copenhagen and Berlin said they were surprised by the results, since RA is a far more serious and challenging diseaPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
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