Rosehip could be more effective than painkillers at easing the pain of arthritis sufferers, scientists claim. By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent, The Telegraph Last Updated: 1:02AM BST 19 May 2008
The pain-relieving properties of rosehip, which has previously been linked to reduced inflammation in osteoarthritis, have been suggested for decades. Now scientists have found that powder made from a wild variety of rosehip, Rosa canina, is better at reducing pain in patients than paracetamol.
It is hoped that the fruit of the plant could bring relief to the more than two million sufferers of osteoarthritis in Britain, many of whom suffer acute pain.
A review of studies, published in the medical journal, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, looked at the effect of the powder on more than 300 patients who were given different pain-relieving medications for an average of three months.
They found that rosehip was almost three times more effective than standard paracetamol at relieving pain. It was also almost 40 per cent more effective than another common therapy, the drug glucosamine.
Rosehip powder also did not have the side-effects associated with other pain medications, including constipation and drowsiness.
The team which conducted the study, led by Dr Robin Christensen, of the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, believes the powder works by also tackling the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.
Dr Kaj Winther, an inflammation specialist at the Frederiksberg Hospital, said: “This is very exciting news for arthritis sufferers. Some of the main advantages of taking an alternative medication such as rosehip to reduce pain are that, firstly, it is readily available over the counter and, secondly, unlike traditional painkillers, it does not produce unpleasant side-effects.”
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint in the body, although it is most common in the hands, knees, hips and spine. The disease is caused by the slow deterioration of the joint over many years and tends to run in families.