Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis
However, there are some harsh realities tied to the effectiveness of natural remedies used to treat osteoarthritis. According to a February 2009 Arthritis Research Campaign report, a group of U.K. doctors was asked to review previously published study results for complementary or alternative treatments used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Doctors scored or ranked the remedies from 1 to 5 -- with 1 indicating a remedy was totally ineffective and 5 indicating the remedy worked.
More than 50 remedies that are marketed for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia were reviewed -- 40 of which were based on randomized, controlled clinical trials. Of the natural remedies used for osteoarthritis -- three of 28 had strong evidence of effectiveness. However, six of the natural remedies for osteoarthritis were given a rating of 1.
Glucosamine, a popular dietary supplement that seems to vacillate in clinical studies between being effective and ineffective -- again was found to work in some studies but not others. Glucosamine sulfate was rated 3 while glucosamine hydrochloride only was rated 1.
Safety of Natural Remedies
Safety of the natural remedies was also assessed using a red, amber or green ranking system. Red was indicative of serious side effects. There were no red warnings given to any osteoarthritis remedies. Only one red warning was associated with thunder god vine, an herbal remedy for rheumatoid arthritis. One-fourth of all remedies that were evaluated received amber classifications -- indicating significant side effects had been linked to them.
You may be drawn to the word "natural" when considering alternative treatments. You should look for true evidence of safety and effectiveness before spending your money on any of these products. Don't know where to find such evidence? Start by discussing the treatment with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to advise you.
Don't be misled by marketing hype and waste your time and money on products that will do nothing for you -- and potentially even harm you.
Various Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis Questioned. Newsday.com. 2/11/2009.
Arthritis Charity Produces First Evidence-based Report Dedicated to Complementary Medicines. Arthritis Research Campaign. February 2009.