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Research on Chinese medicine and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Last updated: 29 March, 2018
by Steven Clavey, Traditional Chinese Gynaecology

Efficacy and Safety of GuiZhi-ShaoYao-ZhiMu Decoction for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.

When compared to placebo, the Guizhi Shaoyao Zhimu Decoction treatment was found to be three to six times more effective than standard Western drugs for some symptoms … The Traditional Chinese Medicine, GSZD, may have equal or superior effectiveness and safety for treating RA compared to Western RA drugs.

Journal Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2017 Oct.23 (10):756-770.

Daily JW, Zhang T et al.

OBJECTIVES: GuiZhi-ShaoYao-ZhiMu decoction (GSZD), a traditional Chinese herbal medication for the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has a long history of use and modern scientific research support for efficacy, but the studies have not been systematically evaluated. Therefore, this study systematically reviewed the efficacy of GSZD using the available human clinical trials and conducted a meta-analysis.

METHODS: The available databases were searched using proper languages of English, Korean, and Chinese. The key terms used for searching were “GSZD,” “Cassia Twig,” “Guizhi,” “Paeonia lactiflora,” “Shaoyao,” “Anemarrhena Rhizome,” “Zhimu,” “rheumatoid arthritis,” “randomized,” “controlled trial,” and “clinical trial.” Randomized clinical trials (RCTs) using GSZD were included in the review and meta-analysis. According to heterogeneity, odds ratio and confidence intervals in the pooled RCTs were assessed by a fixed or random model in meta-analysis. Risk of bias was evaluated for all included studies.

RESULTS: Thirteen RCTs met the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. All studies evaluated the efficacy of GSZD for treating RA, but the herbal formulations varied since some studies added herbs to the basic GSZD formulation. However, all formulations contained the essential herbs: Guizhi, Shaoyao, and Zhimu. Each RCT included an experimental group (GSZD with or without Western-style medicine) and a control group (either standard Western-style medicines or placebo). When compared to placebo, the GSZD treatment was found to be three to six times more effective than standard Western drugs for some symptoms. Furthermore, only two studies reported any adverse events associated with the GSZD group, whereas several reported serious adverse events in the control groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The Traditional Chinese Medicine, GSZD, may have equal or superior effectiveness and safety for treating RA compared to Western RA drugs. It should be considered a viable alternative to Western medicine. However, more long-term research is needed in larger patient groups to better establish its safety and efficacy.

 

How the formula mentioned above might work (two studies):

Guizhi-Shaoyao-Zhimu decoction attenuates rheumatoid arthritis partially by reversing inflammation-immune system imbalance.

Guo Q, Mao X, Zhang Y, Meng S, Xi Y, Ding Y, Zhang X, Dai Y, Liu X, Wang C, Li Y, Lin N.

Journal of Translational Medicine. 2016 Jun 8;14(1):165.

BACKGROUND:

Guizhi-Shaoyao-Zhimu decoction (GSZD) has been extensively used for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) therapy. Marked therapeutic efficacy of GSZD acting on RA has been demonstrated in several long-term clinical trials without any significant side effects. However, its pharmacological mechanisms remain unclear due to a lack of appropriate scientific methodology.

METHODS:

GSZD’s mechanisms of action were investigated using an integrative approach that combined drug target prediction, network analysis, and experimental validation.

RESULTS:

A total of 77 putative targets were identified for 165 assessed chemical components of GSZD. After calculating the topological features of the nodes and edges in the created drug-target network, we identified a candidate GSZD-targeted signal axis that contained interactions between two putative GSZD targets [histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and heat shock protein 90 kDa alpha, class A member 1 (HSP90AA1)] and three known RA-related targets [NFKB2; inhibitor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells, kinase beta (IKBKB); and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)]. This signal axis could connect different functional modules that are significantly associated with various RA-related signaling pathways, including T/B cell receptor, Toll-like receptor, NF-kappa B and TNF pathways, as well as osteoclast differentiation. Furthermore, the therapeutic effects and putative molecular mechanisms of GSZD’s actions on RA were experimentally validated in vitro and in vivo.

CONCLUSIONS:

GSZD may partially attenuate RA by reversing inflammation-immune system imbalance and regulating the HDAC1-HSP90AA1-NFKB2-IKBKB-TNF-α signaling axis.

 

Deciphering the Potential Pharmaceutical Mechanism of Chinese Traditional Medicine (Gui-Zhi-Shao-Yao-Zhi-Mu) on Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Gui-Zhi-Shao-Yao-Zhi-Mu (GSZ) decoction is a traditional Chinese medicine formula commonly used for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) … Our result indicated that GSZ disrupted the RA disease dysfunction modules and restored homeostasis in the human body.

Huang L, Lv Q, Xie D, Shi T Wen C.

Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 3;6:22602.

Gui-Zhi-Shao-Yao-Zhi-Mu (GSZ) decoction is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formula commonly used for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The therapeutic effect of GSZ for RA treatment is supported by our clinical retrospective study. To uncover the potential mechanism underlying GSZ formula, we identified 1,327 targets of 673 compounds from 9 herbs that involve in Fc epsilon RI signaling pathway and regulation of immunoglobulin production. Comparison between formula targets with 79 RA drug targets and 675 RA disease genes showed that formula targets covered 31.6% RA drug targets and 19.9% RA disease genes. Formula specific targets presented expression patterns highly similar to the disease genes and drug targets based on the expression profiles of RA samples. Investigation of 10 inferred gene clusters from expression profiles with a target association network revealed that formula specific targets directly or indirectly interacted with disease genes that were essential for immune related biological processes (e.g. inflammatory responses, treatment response of rheumatoid arthritis, etc.). Our result indicated that GSZ disrupted the RA disease dysfunction modules and restored homeostasis in the human body. The systemic approach to infer therapeutic mechanisms of GSZ for RA treatment provides a new insight in the understanding of this TCM formula.

 

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