Rosehip ‘better than painkillers’ for arthritis
By Kate Devlin (19-May-2008 Telegraph, UK)

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.

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.

Rose Hips may reduce joint pain (18-December-2006)
Rose Hips may reduce joint pain and painkiller consumption and may also improve movement in patients with osteoarthritis, reported three newspapers (18 December 2006). The newspapers accurately reported the findings of a small randomised trial.
Three newspapers (1-3) reported that a Rose Hip extract may reduce pain and consumption of painkillers and improve movement in patients suffering from osteoarthritis and some other inflammatory diseases.
The reports were based on a Danish randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover trial (4) involving 94 participants with symptomatic knee or hip osteoarthritis. The trial compared 5g per day of a standardised rosehip powder with placebo. The trial concluded that the Rose Hip extract resulted in a significant reduction in pain at three weeks and a significant improvement in stiffness, movement and disease severity at three months. Painkiller consumption also decreased during treatment with Rose Hip.

Where does the evidence come from?
The research was conducted by Dr Kaj Winther and colleagues at a Copenhagen University Hospital. The study population were recruited from patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis who attended an outpatient clinic.

What were the authors’ objectives?
To determine whether a herbal remedy extracted from a subspecies of Rose Hip (Rosa Canina) might reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and consumption of rescue medication in patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis.

What was the nature of the evidence?
The evidence come from a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover trial of 94 people over 35 years suffering from symptomatic knee or hip osteoarthritis.

What interventions were examined in the research?
47 participants were treated with 5g of Rose Hip powder daily for three months and the remaining 47 participants were given the placebo. At the end of this period, the group initially receiving Rose Hip were changed to placebo and vice versa for another three months. The outcomes of interest were assessed at three weeks and three months
following the start of each treatment.

What were the findings?
At three weeks 82% of participants in treatment group reported a reduction in joint pain compared with 49% in placebo group. At three months, participants still experienced less pain in treatment group, but the difference was not statistically significant. Rose Hip also resulted in a significant reduction in stiffness, physical function and participants’ assessment of disease severity at three months following the treatment. Consumption of rescue medication also significantly decreased during treatment.

What were the authors’ conclusions?
The authors of the trial concluded that the present standardised powder extracted from a subtype of Rosa Canina can reduce the joint pain and reduce the consumption of rescue medication in patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis.

References and resources
1. Rosehips may help arthritis. Daily Telegraph, 18 December 2006, p2.
2. Rosehips: the new food to beat ageing. Daily Express, 18 December 2006, p1,8.
3. The hips that could ease arthritis. Daily Mail, 18 December 2006, p5.
4. Winther K, Apel K, Thamsborg G. A powder made from seeds and shells of a rose-hip subspecies (Rosa canina) reduces symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Scandinavian Journal.