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Herb Used in Ayurvedic Medicine May Offer Joint-Pain Relief

Want to quit the creaky knees club? You may be in luck. Research has found that Terminalia chebula, an herb commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of arthritis, gout, and paralysis, may help relieve joint pain and swelling. The double-blind study, published in the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, included 100 adults, aged 40 to 70, who had experienced joint discomfort for at least six months, but were otherwise healthy. Researchers randomly assigned the participants to one of five treatment groups for a 12 week period:

  • The first group received 500 mg of a branded extract of Terminalia chebula, called Natreon’s AyuFlex, twice daily;
  • the second group received 500 mg of AyuFlex twice daily, plus 400 micrograms of a proprietary chromium complex (PCC), which has been found to relieve joint pain in previous research, once daily;
  • the third group received 400 micrograms of the PCC once daily;
  • the fourth group received a placebo three times daily;
  • and the fifth group received 250 mg of AyuFlex twice daily.

Researchers used various standardized measurements, including the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (mWOMAC), to assess the participants’ joint pain, stiffness, and disability at four, eight, and twelve weeks. At twelve weeks, they found that:

  • All five groups experienced reductions in joint pain, stiffness, and disability compared with their measurements taken at the beginning of the study.
  • On average, the group taking 500 mg of AyuFlex twice daily experienced a 36.53% reduction in joint pain, stiffness, and disability on the mWOMAC scale, while those taking a placebo experienced a 4.52% reduction on the scale.
  • On average, the group taking 500 mg of AyuFlex twice daily plus 400 micrograms of the PCC once daily experienced a 25.18% reduction in joint pain, stiffness, and disability on the mWOMAC scale, while those taking just 400 micrograms of the PCC once daily experienced a 15.09% reduction on the scale.

These results suggest that people experiencing joint discomfort may find relief with Terminalia chebula. And while the herb is native to South Asia and Southwest China, you shouldn’t have to travel farther than the supplement aisle to find an extract or powder version. However, before you head out, remember to consult your doctor prior to adding this herb, or any new supplement, to your health regimen.

Source: Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research

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