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Originally published October 2 2013

Rose hips can ease your rheumatoid arthritis: Research

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Clinical research has shown that rose hip powder can significantly reduce the severity of symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

An estimated 1.5 million adults in the United States suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and often debilitating autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and even destroys the body's joints, cartilage and bone.

Rheumatoid arthritis is now commonly treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNF) and other drugs that directly target specific molecules in the immune system. But in addition to carrying potential side effects, these drugs are also incredibly expensive. It can cost as much as $16,000 to treat just a single patient for a year with anti-TNF drugs.

In contrast, one year's supply of LitoZion, a rose hip supplement proven effective in a clinical trial, costs just $390. Due to the popularity of rose hips in the treatment of osteoarthritis (more commonly referred to simply as "arthritis"), these supplements can be easily acquired from natural food and health vendors, as well as many drugstores.

The study

The most compelling support for rosehips as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment comes from a double-blind study conducted by researchers from the Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin and published in the journal Phytomedicine in 2010. The researchers randomly assigned 74 participants (mostly women) to take either 5 grams of encapsulated rose hip powder or a placebo for six months, in addition to their regular rheumatoid arthritis treatments. The participants had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for an average of more than 18 years.

According to the health assessment questionnaire completed by participants at both the beginning and end of the study, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms significantly improved in the rose hip group but worsened slightly in the placebo group. Likewise, a physicians' assessment found that symptoms improved more in the rose hip group than in the placebo group. No change was observed in the use of pain medication between the two groups.

More specifically, participants in the rose hip group experienced a 20-25 percent improvement in activity and a 40 percent decrease in the number of joints causing discomfort or pain. Placebo participants did not experience any decrease in the number of joints causing discomfort or pain.

These findings suggest that rose hip powder may be a helpful supplemental treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, the researchers concluded. Researcher Kaj Winther suggested that early treatment with rose hip powder may help delay the need for treatment with more expensive drugs.

It remains unclear why rose hips provide relief in rheumatoid arthritis, although it may have something to do with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers referred to one of rose hips' active ingredients, the fatty acid GOPO, as a "plant version of fish oil."

"I think we were all surprised to see such meaningful results," researcher Stefan Willich said. "Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most difficult conditions I'm aware of. It's a tough disease, which makes it all the more remarkable to find such beneficial effects from this remedy."

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