Rosehips beat horse arthritis
ROSEHIPS are showing themselves to be another traditional medicine with a legitimate role, this time in treating arthritis. Professor Kaj Winther, of the University of Copenhagen, recently described at a meeting in Barcelona of Eular, the European League against Rheumatoid Arthritis, the efficacy of a rosehip preparation, LitoZin, in treating arthritis in trotting horses.
Winther is a biochemist, a farmer and a trotting-race enthusiast. LitoZin, a standardised rosehip preparation made from dogrose hips and their seeds, has already been shown to have some efficacy in human beings.
Winther started giving it to trotting horses. After a time he noticed their joints became less inflamed and swollen, and their gait improved — as did their temperament.
Rosehips and their seeds contain an antioxidant that has an anti-inflammatory effect. It has been shown that reduced inflammation in human joints can be confirmed by a decreased level of C-reactive protein in the patient’s blood. This protein is a marker for the amount of inflammation that a person — or horse — is suffering. Winther’s guard dog also responded to LitoZin, and his department in Copenhagen now plans to run a trial with dogs.
The effectiveness of LitoZin is likely to stem from GOPO, a fatty acid. Rose hips also contain vitamins A, B1, 2 and 3, vitamin K, flavonoids, polyphenols, volatile oils and tannins.
The original double-blind randomised Danish trial tested LitoZin on patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, whereas the professor’s horses and dogs had osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affected an estimated 491,000 Australians in 2004-05, although this figure is based on patients’ self-reports rather than expert diagnoses. More than half of those affected (57 per cent) were women. It destroys cartilage in the joints and later damages bone, causing pain, inflammation and swelling. It also creates flu-type symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is the slow destruction of the joint by wear and tear. It tends to run in families and is more likely to affect any joint subjected to excessive exercise.
LitoZin can be used as a supplement to standard anti-arthritic treatments. Rheumatoid arthritis is usually treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and, if these are ineffective, disease-modifying drugs such as methotrexate. There is also a new group of disease-modifying drugs known as the biologics.