Why learn to live with it, when there is an alternative? Modern medicine has not identified a cause or a cure for arthritis. Arthritis is a dreaded diagnosis, indicating a life of pain, progressive crippling and drugs. Yet most cases of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis will respond well to Herbal Medicine and lifestyle changes. Many patients report that the commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do not provide enough pain relief. Indeed some patients are in so much pain that their GPs suggest taking steroids.

What is the conventional treatment?

Conventional drugs give symptomatic treatment of the pain and inflammation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the mainstay of the conventional treatment. These drugs act by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) which produces the biochemicals, which help to cause inflammation. Because this activity often causes the side-effects of stomach erosion and bleeding, sometimes leading to death by hemorrhage, a more selective class of COX inhibitors was developed. The aim of COX-2 inhibitors was that the anti-inflammatory activity would remain the same but the undesirable side effects would be minimized. This goal was not achieved. In 2004 we witnessed the withdrawal from sale of Vioxx (rofecoxib) one of the main COX-2 anti-inflammatory drugs, due to increased cardiac deaths.dbol canada A case-control study of more than 9000 people aged 25 to 100 who had suffered their first ever heart attack was published in 2005 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). This study raised serious concerns regarding the long-term safety of all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some of the most commonly used NSAIDs are in fact more likely to cause heart attacks than Vioxx. A significantly increased risk of heart attack was observed for:

  • Diclofenac: a 55% increase
  • Ibuprofen: a 24% increase
  • Naproxen: a 27% increase

What is the herbal treatment?

Traditional Herbal Medicine is now being under-pinned by scientific investigation, which is discovering exactly what the active chemical constituents of a medicinal plant are and how they interact with the human body’s biochemistry. Herbal Medicine provides gentle, safe and effective treatment largely avoiding unwanted side-effects, when prescribed by a qualified Medical Herbalist, who has clinical and diagnostic skills at degree level along with expertise in plant chemistry (phytochemistry).There are no standard one-size-fits-all prescriptions. Instead, tailor-made prescriptions are formulated to meet each patients unique needs. Medicines are dispensed from the Medical Herbalist’s own dispensary, using medicine authorised by the Department of Health’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and licensed under the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicine. There are several very effective anti-inflammatory herbs. One such herb is Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), which is native to southern and eastern Africa. In pharmacologic research in 2006 it was concluded that clinical trials support Harpagophytum procumbens as a beneficial treatment for the alleviation of pain and improvement of mobility in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.atients can expect initial results after 4-6 weeks and more permanent results with extended treatment. Dietary and lifestyle changes also help in the management of arthritis. The clinical efficacy of Herbal Medicine in pain management has already been demonstrated in clinical trials. It has a superior safety and efficacy profile compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Can drugs be taken alongside Herbal Medicine?

A Medical Herbalist understands any contraindications and drug interactions, which can so easily be overlooked in self-medication. A word of caution, when buying over-the-counter herbal remedies. Make sure the correct part of the part of the plant is used (the part with the active chemical constituents) as many times the wrong part is used, which has no therapeutic effect at all. So don’t waste money on poor products!The use of anti-inflammatory Herbal Medicine is inappropriate, when there is already a prescription of anti-inflammatory conventional medication, unless the intention is to withdraw the conventional medication in stages with the consent of your doctor.

So why learn to live with it, when there is an effective and safe alternative?

For more information go to:

Deborah Grant Herbal Medicine

Medicine4Animals – Medicine for Pets [http://www.medicine4animals.com]

Deborah Grant BSc(Hons)Herb.Med. is a Consultant Medical Herbalist with diagnostic and clinical training at degree level. She is fully insured and follows a strict Code of Conduct. Deborah treats the underlying cause of the problem as well as the symptoms and has experience in treating a wide range of conditions (see website for details). She attains a high rate of clinical success.

Every prescription is tailored to meet each patients unique needs. This approach gets the best results. She has a practice at the renowned Hale Clinic in Regents Park, London, which was opened by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1988, and a practice in Canary Wharf, London.

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