June 24, 2009

A little-known arthritis treatment also lowers cholesterol

If your cholesterol levels remain stubbornly high, or you just can't make the lifestyle changes, consider some tree bark. Tree bark?

I'm talking about a Chinese herb made from the tree bark phellodendron amurense. Researchers recently combined the particular tree bark with citrus peel and gave it to patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. They were hoping to find a pain remedy.

Instead, they found a combination that's quite beneficial for blood lipids, blood pressure, and fasting glucose levels.

In the study, the researchers gave each of the participants a combination of the herbs called NP 06-1 (two capsules per day) or a placebo. The group taking the herbs had significant reductions in triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. They also saw a rise in HDL cholesterol and a fall in blood pressure compared to the placebo group.

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In overweight subjects, fasting blood glucose levels decreased, compared to subjects taking the placebo. All of the subjects who took the herbs lost weight, with the overweight subjects losing an average 5% of their body weight after just eight weeks of supplementation.

I love it when science stumbles onto nature's healing powers. The researchers knew the combination was good for osteoarthritis. They wanted to evaluate just how effective it is. What they found is great news for you. An osteoarthritis treatment that also helps lower your vascular risk and may even help you lose weight.

Phellodendron amurense is available on the Internet and at some health food stores. But it can be tough to find. And you may not find it mixed with citrus peel (a known cholesterol fighter). If you have trouble finding the combination, check with your oriental medical doctor or an integrative physician who uses oriental medicine. They should be able to mix it for you.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

Nutr J, 2008; 7: 16

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