The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Review: Herbal medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis

    Researchers at Victoria University, in Melbourne, Australia reviewed the evidence.

    But not everyone agrees with their conclusions.

    First, the details.

    • 20 studies of 14 herbal medicines were reviewed.
    • Data from 7 studies of oils from borage, blackcurrant, and evening primrose containing gamma linolenic acid were used in a meta-analysis.

    And, the results.

    • Gamma linolenic acid
      • 1400 mg/day or higher showed benefit in alleviating rheumatic complaints,
      • Lower doses (approximately 500 mg) were ineffective.
    • Tripterygium wilfordii (thunder god vine)
      • 3 studies vs placebo showed favorable results.
      • Serious side effects occurred in 1 study.
      • In a follow-up study, all side effects were mild to moderate and resolved after treatment stopped, but time to resolution was variable.
    • Phytodolor N (a standardized extract of populus tremula)
      • 2 studies vs placebo were of limited use because of poor study design.
    • Other herbals
      • Evidence of effectiveness was insufficient to recommend or discourage their use.

    The bottom line?
    The evidence among herbals favors gamma linolenic acid or Tripterygium wilfordii extract. The science doesn’t support other herbals, according to the authors.

    Another broader review of herbals for arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions was published several months ago.

    A complete review of Phytodolor by Prof. Ernst is here and here. He concluded, it “is effective treatment for musculoskeletal pain.”

    11/27/09 20:05 JR

    Leave a Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.