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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001 Jul;40(7):779-93.

Herbal medicines for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic review.

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Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Studies, University of Exeter, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK.



Limitations in the conventional medical management of osteoarthritis indicate a real need for safe and effective treatment of osteoarthritis patients. Herbal medicines may provide a solution to this problem. The aim of this article was to review systematically all randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of herbal medicines in the treatment of osteoarthritis.


Computerized literature searches were carried out on five electronic databases. Trial data were extracted in a standardized, predefined manner and assessed independently.


Twelve trials and two systematic reviews fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The authors found promising evidence for the effective use of some herbal preparations in the treatment of osteoarthritis. In addition, evidence suggesting that some herbal preparations reduce consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was found. The reviewed herbal medicines appear relatively safe.


Some herbal medicines may offer a much-needed alternative for patients with osteoarthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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