Chinese folk medicine shows potential in treating rheumatoid arthritis
07/06/2018 // Edsel Cook // Views

An animal model constructed by Chinese researchers demonstrated that the ethanol extract of a traditional medicinal plant could alleviate adjuvant-induced joint arthritis in mice. They reported that Claoxylon indicum showed potential as a treatment method for rheumatoid arthritis in humans.

The study was supported by the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. The results were published in the scientific journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • C. indicum sees wide use in southern China as a folk medicine that reduces pain caused by swelling. It used to treat foot edema, lumbocrural pain, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • To test the anti-arthritic efficacy of C. indicum extract, researchers injected complete Freund’s adjuvant into the right hind paws of mice. The injection caused the animals to develop arthritis. Some of the mice were then given different doses of C. indicum extract.
  • They analyzed the severity of the arthritis using several methods. The researchers collected serum samples and measured alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. They also performed standard immunohistochemical analyses of knee joint tissues.
  • Administering 0.4 and 0.8 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of C. indicum extract suppressed the inflammation in the joints of mice that suffered from adjuvant-induced arthritis. The extract reduced swelling in the paw, hyperplasia of lymphatic tissues, and hyperplasia of the synovial membrane.
  • Furthermore, the extract lowered the levels of MDA and ALP in the blood. It also downregulated the expression of IL-1β and TNF-α in the mice's arthritic joints.

The full text is available online.

The researchers believe that the extract of C. indicum possessed immunodepressant qualities and the ability to regulate cytokines. This made C. indicum a possible therapy method for rheumatoid arthritis.

Journal reference

Chen Y, Wang QW, Zuo J, Chen JW, Li X. ANTI-ARTHRITIC ACTIVITY OF ETHANOL EXTRACT OF CLAOXYLON INDICUM ON FREUND’S COMPLETE ADJUVANT-INDUCED ARTHRITIS IN MICE. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1500-7.

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