Osteoarthritis: Phytotherapeutics

Herbal antirheumatic drugs

Herbal preparations can be used for supportive, analgesic (pain-relieving) therapy. Application is mainly:

  • Nettle herb – analgesic and anti-rheumatic effects; dosage: 50-100 g nettle porridge per day.
  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) – e.g. borage oil, evening primrose oil; gamma-linolenic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory (anti-inflammatory) effects via prostaglandin metabolism; dosage: > 1,400 mg/d
  • Rosehip powder – lipophilic active ingredients with potential analgesic effects such as inhibition of COX, elastase, cytokines, as well as antioxidant effects. Dosage: 10 g/d; due toDue to lipophilicity (“fat-loving”), an intake interval of at least 2 hours must be observed when combining with other drugs.
  • Ginger – due toIngredients of ginger that act as inhibitors (inhibitors) of cyclooxygenase (COX-2). Furthermore, the plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting lipoxygenase, as well as inhibit the expression of TNFα. Ginger provided pain relief and improved mobility. The daily dose of ginger ranged from 500-1,000 mg.
  • Devil’s claw root – contains iridoids; these act via inhibition of COX-2, lipooxygenases, cytokines, elastase and antioxidant effects. The analgesic effect is mild. Dosage: 50 mg/d harpagoside.
  • Willow bark (lat. salix alba) – due tocontent of salicin, which is converted to salicylic acid in the body. It acts via inhibition of COX-1 and -2, lipoxygenases, hyaluronidase and cytokines, which explains the analgesic (“painkilling”) effect. Dosage: 120 (-720) mg/d salicin.

Ointments for external use

Ointments are distinguished between agents that promote blood circulation and anti-inflammatory analgesics (painkillers):

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, that is, anti-inflammatory drugs without cortisol, are used for this purpose. The ointments provide local (topical) relief of discomfort.
  • Circulation-promoting agents lead to increased blood flow and thus to a warming of the anointed region, which is perceived by many patients as pleasant. In addition to increased blood flow also occurs analgesia (pain relief).

Some active ingredients that promote blood circulation include:

  • Capsaicinoids – pungent substances from peppers and cayenne pepper.
  • Nicotinic acid esters
  • Essential oils