Herbal Attack on Arthritis


Herbal Attack on Arthritis

Arthritis and joint pain can strike at any age

I have become aware of the medicinal plant, Artemisia annua recently. It has come to my attention lately…enough times to push me into doing some research on this medicinal plant. As a herbalist and an osteoarthritis sufferer, I came across this article below. It jumped out at me and I felt compelled to share it. I have tried just about every alternative remedy to change the course of my arthritis without success. Artemisia sounds so promising that I’m willing to try one more.

Arthritis and joint pain are not ailments reserved for the elderly. In fact, arthritis is a very common condition that affects more than 50 million adults and a surprising 300,000 children. Arthritis simply refers to the inflammation of the joints and comes in more than 100 different types.  According to mayoclinic.com, the signs of arthritis may include: pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and a decreased range of motion.

What are the most common types of arthritis?

Although there are over a hundred different recorded types of arthritis, there are only three commonly known types. These can be put into three major categories:

Inflammatory Arthritis –  this happens when the body’s defense system starts to attack its own tissues instead of fighting off germs, viruses and other foreign substances.  This then leads to pain, stiffness and joint damage.  One of the most common forms of this type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – is systemic in nature and affects the entire body.  It can either be mild with minor symptoms and far less risk of developing misshapen joints, or it can be chronic which is more painful and does result in misshapen joints. It can also last a lifetime with just short periods of remission.

Degenerative or mechanical arthritis – is a group of conditions where the main problem is damage to the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. It is commonly known as osteoarthritis and generally affects older people. The parts of the body where osteoarthritis commonly appears are those that are heavily used, such as hips and knees.


Herbal Attack on Arthritis

Excerpts from an article written by Rosemary McLennan in 2012

A malaria treatment that unexpectedly improved the lives of people in Papua New Guinea who also had arthritis has been turned into a nutritional supplement by a New Zealand company.

The people were being treated with an extract from the herb artemisia annua which is effective against all strains of malaria, including those resistant to quinine derivatives.

Those who also had arthritis began to report to their doctor an improvement in joint movements and swelling. The doctor suggested a New Zealand trial by people with arthritis.

It took place in 2010 and 2011 and produced impressive results for 70 per cent of the participants.

Upper Hutt business developer Garrick Wells owns a supercritical CO2 extraction facility in Lower Hutt which processes artemisia imported from Tanzania…considered the best place in the world to grow it.  Mr Wells, has a background in the wood processing industry and his facility produces an extract that is 100 per cent pure with 98 per cent of the components of the plant remaining in the synergistic balance nature designed.

According to Mr Wells, scientific papers have suggested that artemisia helps arthritis by suppressing inflammatory and autoimmune aspects of the condition. In a 2008 trial in China scientists found the joints of animals who had induced arthritis significantly improved after they were given artemisia.

Turangi nurse Claire Birsse, 73, had suffered from arthritis for 27 years and had tried everything orthodox and complementary medicine had to offer. Her joints continued to swell and she suffered constant pain and disability. Within four months on the artemisia extract, she became free from pain. She now uses stairs, does household chores with ease and has returned to university.

Another arthritis sufferer was facing knee replacement surgery when he started taking the extract. Three months later he resumed his regular daily activities and no longer considers knee surgery.

Despite the success stories, Mr Wells says the supplement Arthrem will be ineffective for about 30 per cent of people. Those people, who have purchased his supplement are promised a refund. The product, initially being called Benefit Arthritis is made under the Dietary Supplements Regulations 1985.

What research has been done on Artemisia annua?

Western medicine has seen a lot of potential in Artemisia annua, enough reason for certain groups to pursue research on its efficacy in helping arthritic patients. Some of these studies are:

Immunoquantitative analysis of artemisinin from Artemisia annua using polyclonal antibodies

Biosynthesis of artemisinic acid in Artemisia annua 

Component composition of essential oil from Artemisia annua and A. scoparia 

These studies are evidence of the increasing interest in this herb and its many uses to aid and complement traditional medicine.

It is available online at: