Chinese Medicine is often used to treat a wide range of pain and auto-immune related conditions including osteo (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Within Chinese Medicine, Chinese herbal formulas can be used to aid patients with arthritis called (bi-syndromes) in Chinese Medicine. In a recent study, researchers from the Shanghai Guanghua Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine conducted a study evaluating the effectiveness of a particular herbal formula on bone density in RA patients.
Researchers divided 82 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis into a Chinese herbal formula treatment group and a control group that was treated with standard western pharmaceutical drugs. The Chinese herbal formula treatment group was treated with Qianggu Capsules (related to (Zhuang Gu Guan Jie Wan and Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan, among others as appropriate for the underlying TCM diagnosis). Patients were treated over 6 months.
Researchers used various blood markers such as levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), calcium, phosphorus, C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) along with bone density measurements in the spine, leg, and radius - both before and after treatment. They found significant changes in ALP levels (bone development parameter) and BMD values in all areas in the Chinese herbal formula group compared with no changes in the western medicine treatment/control group. They concluded that treatment with the herbal medicine can increase bone density in RA patients and ameliorate their osteoporosis.
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