Rose­hips beat horse arthri­tis

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health - Thomas Stuttaford

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.

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