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J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Aug;76(3):285-91.

Antioxidant potential of two polyherbal. preparations used in Ayurveda for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

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Department of Biochemistry & Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, 6 Talagolla Road, Ragama, Sri Lanka.


Reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) are together with prostanoids, leukotrienes and proteases, believed to be the mediators of inflammation and responsible for the pathogenesis of tissue destruction in RA. Antioxidant (AO) activity is one of the mechanisms by which many conventional drugs used in day to day treatment of RA alleviate the painful symptoms associated with this disease. An investigation has been carried out to compare the antioxidant potentials of two polyherbal formulations, Maharasnadhi quathar (MRQ) and Weldehi choornaya (WC), used by Ayurvedic medical practitioners in Sri-Lanka for the treatment of RA patients. AO potentials of these preparations were assessed by their effects in RA patients on: (a) activities of the AO enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and catalase; (b) lipid peroxidation (as estimated by thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS) generation); and (c) concentrations of serum iron and haemoglobin (Hb), and the total iron binding capacity (TIBC). The overall results of the study demonstrate that MRQ has much greater AO potential than WC. Thus, on treatment with MRQ for 3 months, the initial activities of plasma SOD, GPX and catalase, were enhanced by 44.6, 39.8 and 25.2%, respectively. There was no significant improvement in any of these enzyme activities in patients treated with WC for the same time period as MRQ. Although the extent of lipid peroxidation in plasma of RA patients could be decreased by both drug preparations, the reduction mediated in 3 months by MRQ (34%) was markedly greater than that due to WC (21.8%). The total serum iron and Hb concentrations and TIBC in the RA patients included in the study could be significantly improved by treatment with MRQ but not by WC. Thus, at the end of 3 months treatment with MRQ, concentrations of the total serum iron and Hb, and the TIBC of patients improved by 26.8, 24.8 and 16.1%, respectively. Possible reasons for differences in the AO potentials of MRQ and WC are discussed.

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