Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether a herbal remedy made from a subspecies of rose-hip (Rosa canina) might reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and consumption of rescue medication in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.
Methods: Ninety-four patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee were enrolled in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover trial. Forty-seven patients were given 5 g of the herbal remedy daily for a period of 3 months and the remaining patients were given a similar amount of placebo. The group initially treated with placebo was then changed to rose-hip and vice versa for another 3-month period. Upon inclusion and after 3 weeks and 3 months of each treatment period, pain, stiffness, disability, and global severity of the disease were scored on a Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) questionnaire. After 3 weeks of treatment, patients, if possible, were allowed to reduce their consumption of 'rescue medication'. Data were analysed on the basis of intention to treat.
Results: Rose-hip resulted in a significant reduction in WOMAC pain (p<0.014) as compared to placebo, when testing after 3 weeks of treatment. The consumption of 'rescue medication' significantly declined as a result of active treatment (p<0.027). WOMAC disability, stiffness, and global assessment of severity of the disease were not altered by 3 weeks but decreased significantly (p<0.018, p<0.038, and p<0.035, respectively) after 3 months of treatment.
Conclusion: The data suggest that the present herbal remedy can alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce the consumption of 'rescue medication'.