(Natural News) Diu Le Bang, an herbal treatment used in folk medicine for relieving swelling and pain, can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers from the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine. In their study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers looked at the effects of the medicine in treating mice with adjuvant-induced joint arthritis.
“Alternative therapies are popular among people with RA [rheumatoid arthritis], and herbal products are receiving increasing public interest,” the researchers wrote in their report. “However, to the best of our knowledge, there was no report about the anti-arthritic activity of [Diu Le Bang].”
In traditional Chinese medicine, Diu Le Bang comes from the dried roots of the nappy tree (Claoxylon indicum Hassk.), which is native to southern China, the Indian subcontinent, and the Malay Peninsula. The leaves of the tree are eaten as vegetables and can be used as a laxative or a part of an anti-asthma treatment that is applied to the chest. In China, Diu Le Bang has long been used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, a joint disease which causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and impaired function in the affected area. In this study, researchers evaluated the anti-arthritic potential of ethanol extract of C. indicum on mice with adjuvant-induced joint arthritis (AIA) – which closely mimics the effects of human rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers used a solution called complete Freund’s adjuvant, which was injected into the right hind paw of the mice at the beginning of the study. After a week, the adjuvant was then injected in the base of the tail. They were then randomly assigned to three groups: the control and two groups that will receive the ethanol extract of C. indicum – at 0.4 and 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg), respectively. The mice were studied based using arthritic scores, hind paws edema and spleen index, and histological examinations. Biomarkers, such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), were collected in the knee joints for further tests.
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The findings revealed that the ethanol extract of C. indicum used in the study reported no toxicity and was “well-tolerated” by the animals. The animals that were treated with the ethanol extract, in particular, had suppressed the increase of their arthritis score and edema index. It also protected the animals from any changes in their body that are caused by rheumatoid arthritis. They also found reduced levels of malondialdehyde, a marker for oxidative stress, which meant that the extract protected the cells and prevented damage due to oxidation. The ethanol extract of C. indicum also decreased biomarkers for inflammation such as IL-1β and TNF-α expression in arthritic joints.
“CIE [ethanol extract of C. indicum] effectively suppressed the pathological development, and possessed a substantial anti-arthritic activity in AIA mice,” researchers concluded. “These beneficial effects were related to immunodepressive effects and the downregulation of inflammatory mediators, including IL-1β and TNF-α.”
Researchers also suggested further studies on the mechanisms of action and active principles of Diu Le Bang. (Related: Chinese Medicine increasingly recognized as safe, effective system of medicine by Western doctors.)
How TCM treats arthritis
Arthritis, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is a condition that occurs when the flow of Qi and Blood are blocked. This makes it difficult for the two to pass through the energy pathways of the body. Many factors contribute to the blockage, such as when wind, cold, and dampness invade the body: These enter the muscles, tendons, and joints and cause stiffness and pain.
Once a TCM practitioner determines the type of arthritis that a patient has, they will use various techniques to address it. Some methods include:
- Herbal remedies – Royal jelly, papaya, and black soybeans are generally used to deal with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Acupuncture – This is done to manage the pain caused by arthritis. In this method, needles are placed at vital points in the meridians to restore the flow of Blood and Qi.
- Acupressure – A method suitable for people who prefer less invasive techniques, acupressure uses a TCM practitioner’s fingers instead of needles in the meridians.
- Qigong exercises – Many qigong exercises are available to relieve a person of rheumatoid arthritis. These include Tai Qi Quan and Eight Brocade exercises, which help remove obstructions and ease the pain. In some cases, a qigong massage can improve the flow of Qi and reduce pain.
Learn more natural treatments for arthritis by following ChineseMedicine.news today.