Nonconventional Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis
The following sections describe scientific research about whether or not certain rheumatoid arthritis alternative therapies are effective and safe:
- Botanical supplements and other dietary supplements
- Thunder god vine
- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
- Fish oil
- Other botanicals, such as:
- Glucosamine and chondroitin
- Special diets
- Selected mind-body techniques.
Botanical Supplements and Other Dietary Supplements
Overall, there is not much rigorous research available on the effectiveness and safety of botanical and other supplements that people try for rheumatoid arthritis. It is also important to know that while supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a category of foods, supplements made from plants and used for medicinal purposes (sometimes referred to as herbal medicines) can have effects as powerful as those of drugs. In fact, many conventional drugs first came from plants, such as digitalis (from the foxglove plant), used to treat heart failure and heart rhythm; and paclitaxel (from the yew tree), a cancer chemotherapy drug.
It is important to be as informed as possible about the safety of any supplement you are considering or using. Some information already exists from a long history of botanical use outside conventional medicine.