A new study has found that the herbs used to treat pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis, arthritis and other conditions are also being used to boost immune function.
A study published in the British Journal of Osteoarthrology found that herbal treatments, including herbal extracts and herbal teas, were helping to boost immunity, boosting production of natural killer cells and slowing the progression of the autoimmune disease chronic fatigue syndrome.
The study, led by Dr. G.J. Caughey, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Sheffield and an osteopath, found that patients treated with herbal medicines had higher levels of a natural killer cell that helps fight infection and inflammation, and that these herbs also helped with inflammation and pain.
The researchers said the results may help patients with chronic fatigue.
“In this study, we looked at whether herbal medicines can help patients who are currently receiving anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, to control their pain, and how these natural killer and anti-oxidant effects might be maintained, without the use of drugs or other treatments,” Dr. Caughhey told ABC News.
“Our findings suggest that herbal medicines could be beneficial in the management of chronic fatigue symptoms.”
Dr. Cughhey said the findings also support the idea that some herbal treatments have been used to improve immune function and reduce the inflammatory response.
“The study was carried out to determine whether herbs can modulate the immune system in a similar way to drugs and/or other treatments for autoimmune diseases,” he said.
“We also looked at the effect of a single treatment on chronic fatigue patients’ pain, as well as their response to different treatments.”
These findings provide further support for the idea of the efficacy of herbs and other natural remedies for the management and prevention of chronic disease.
“Dr Caughhee said it was clear that many natural remedies had been used in recent years to improve health, but he did not know how many people were taking them for medicinal purposes.”
One of the interesting questions that we need to ask is, why is the use and development of these natural remedies so important in the health and wellbeing of people?” he said, adding that the study should be looked at by other researchers.”
Many people are using natural remedies to help with pain, fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, osteoarchitectonic arthritis and arthritis.
“There is a lot of research that is going on that suggests they can be useful for a variety of different conditions, but we still don’t know the mechanisms of how these therapies are being used and how the effectiveness is being maintained.”
But it is clear that the health benefits of natural remedies are very important.”ABC News’ John Mccabe contributed to this report.