2007 Volume 41 Issue 1 Pages 12-17
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology and is mainly characterized by the progressive erosion of cartilage leading to chronic polyarthritis and joint distortion. Although the exact pathogenesis of the disease has yet not been elucidated, however, studies suggest that cellular proliferation of synoviocytes result in pannus formation which damages the cartilage and bone. Recent reports also support the role of free radicals in its pathogenesis. Apart from the conventional treatment strategies using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease modifying antirheumatic drugs and glucocorticoids, newer and safer drugs are continuously being searched, as long term usage of these drugs have resulted in adverse effects. Alternative medicine provides another approach for treatment of RA and currently a number of medicinal plants are under scientific evaluation to develop a novel drug. There is a dire need to investigate the complete therapeutic potential and adverse effects, if any, of these herbals for providing newer and safer treatment options with minimum side effects. In this review we have tried to explore various Indian ancient Ayurvedic, Unani and Tibbi, as also some Chinese and Korean, herbals for their potential to treat RA.