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Inflammation-fighting plant extract may offer pain relief to arthritis sufferers

Posted on July 29, 2009, 9:44 a.m. in Arthritis Inflammation Medications

Dr. Peter Rohdewald and his colleagues from the University of Munster in Germany conducted a study on 100 Slovakian adults with mild knee arthritis. Participants were randomly assigned to take either 150 milligrams of pine bark extract or a placebo every day for three months. Patients in both study groups were allowed to keep taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other medications they'd been prescribed for their arthritis. Every two weeks, the researchers assessed the patients' symptoms.

The scientists found that those individuals given the pine bark extract for three months reported a gradual improvement in their pain, while those given a placebo reported no improvement. The difference between the two groups became clear at about the one-month mark. Moreover, they discovered that once the patients stopped taking the extract, which is marketed under the brand-name Pycnogenol, they continued to have relief from the pain for an additional two weeks. “This lasting benefit is not something that is seen with NSAIDs, the mainstay of arthritis treatment,” says the study's senior author, Dr. Peter Rohdewald, who explains that the herbal extract appears to work as a potent anti-inflammatory within the joints.

Dr. Rohdewald also noted that over 33 percent of the extract supplement users were able to cut down on their NSAID use, while few placebo patients -- just 8 percent -- were able to do the same. Their findings, together with the results of two previous clinical trials, Rohdewald says, provide sufficient evidence that for people with milder knee arthritis, it's worth giving Pycnogenol a try. However, he cautions, that they should speak with their doctors first. "I always recommend that patients communicate with their physicians about what they are taking in addition to the prescribed medication."

Study results have been reported in the journal Phytotherapy Research.

News Release: Pine bark extract may reduce knee arthritis pain http://www.chiroeco.com/chiropractic/news/6057/45/Pine-bark-extract-may-reduce-knee-arthritis-pain/

  

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