Chinese MedicineRheumatoid Diseases

Chinese herbs Ganoderma lucidum and San Miao San to treat rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers from several hospitals in Hong Kong and Chongqing China evaluated the combined use of 2 traditional Chinese medicines as complementary treatment in patients who were getting only partial relief taking western disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

First, the details.

  • 65 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis despite taking western medicines were randomly assigned to take G. lucidum (4 gm) plus San Miao San (2.4 gm) daily (TCM) or placebo.
  • They continued to take their disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
  • Treatments lasted 24 weeks.

And, the results.

  • 89% completed the study.
  • 15% in the TCM group compared with 9% in the placebo group achieved ACR20 ? a significant difference.
  • Pain score and patient’s global score improved significantly only in the TCM group.
  • There were no changes in lab values.
  • 13 patients reported 22 episodes (14 in placebo group and 8 in TCM group) of mild adverse effects.

Components in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR20) definition of improvement.

  • 20% improvement in tender joint count, AND
  • 20% improvement in swollen joint count, AND
  • 20% improvement in 3/5 other core set items: based on physician, patient, and lab study results

The bottom line?
Accordingly, the authors concluded, “G. lucidum and San Miao San may have analgesic effects for patients with active rheumatoid arthritis, and were generally safe and well tolerated. However, no significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or immunomodulating effects could be demonstrated.”

12/2/07 14:51 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.