se than osteo-arthritis.
A total of 89, mostly female patients with an average age of 57 were recruited, all seriously affected by RA which they had suffered for more than 18 years. Of these, 74 stayed in the trial for the full six months.
Thirty-three were randomly assigned to a group taking LitoZin on top of their regular medication. The remaining 41 were given a "dummy" capsule containing no active ingredients.
The patients were asked to fill in standard questionnaires used to assess pain, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks such as dressing, washing, opening doors, and cutting meat.
After six months, activity levels improved by 20 to 25 percent for those taking LitoZin. The number of joints causing them pain and discomfort fell by 40 percent, but did not change for patients treated conventionally without the rose-hip supplement.
Generally, the overall tenderness of painful joints was significantly reduced in patients given the supplement, and quality of life greatly improved.
Stefan Willich, from the Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin, who co-led the study, said: "I think we were all surprised to see such meaningful results. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most difficult medical conditions I'm aware of. It's a tough disease, which makes it all the more remarkable to find such beneficial effects from this natural remedy.
"We would like to see larger long-term trials, perhaps of several hundred patients. If these studies confirm what we have found, then I think we could be talking about clinical guidelines."
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