A Chinese herb called thunder god vine works better than a widely-prescribed pharmaceutical drug at easing rheumatoid arthritis, a new study has found.
The herb has long been used in China to treat this potentially crippling autoimmune disease, which typically strikes hand and foot joints. It is known in Mandarin as ‘lei gong teng’ and to botanists as Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F.
Extracts of the herb have already fired the interest of drug laboratories as they contain hundreds of compounds, including intriguing molecules called diterpenoids which are believed to ease inflammation and immune response.
In a study published in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Chinese researchers recruited 207 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and gave them either the herb; the drug methotrexate; or a combination of the two.
After six months, the patients were given a doctor’s assessment and were also asked if they felt…
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