Arthritis, Osteo

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Arthritis, Osteo


According to TCM, this condition belongs to Bi syndromes and Gu Bi syndromes. Wang Hui Min believed that the cause of osteoarthritis is blockage of energy and blood, deficient Liver and Kidney, weakness of blood, or overuse of the joints, combined with the invasion of external pathogens such as Wind, Coldness, Dampness, or Heat. According to Li Shen Yin, after middle-age, both the tendons and the bones are gradually less nourished by the Liver and Kidneys. Additionally, Cold and Wind pathogens can cause degeneration in tendons and joints.

Primary Treatments with Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Zhuang Gu Guan Jie Wan

Ingredients: Gou Ji (cibotium), Yin Yang Huo (epimedium), Du Huo (pubescent angelica root), Gu Sui Bu (drynaria), Mu Xiang (saussurea), Ji Xue Teng (milettia), Chuan Xu Duan (dipsacus), Shu Di Huang (processed rhemannia)

Clinical Application:
Sha used a combined treatment incorporating conventional calcium therapy and sexual hormone therapy to supplement this formula in treating 299 cases of osteoarthritis, reported that 270 cases showed excellent results, and 29 cases showed good results, an overall result better than that of the control group. (1)

Zhang used this formula and Fen Bi De to treat 60 cases of retrograde osteoarthritis, and reported that, after 1-3 one-month treatment cycles, 32 cases showed significant progress, 25 cases showed progress, and 3 cases showed no response. (2)

Other Treatments with Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Hu Qian Wan

Zhang Yu Shi used a formula called Hu Qian Wan containing Huang Bo (Phellodendron), Gui Ban (Tortorise Plastron), Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena), Shou Di ((Rehmannia), Chen Pi (Citrus), Bai Shao (White Peony Root), Suo Yang (Cynomorium), Gan Jiang (Ginger (Dried)). He altered the formula according to specific symptoms. He treated 18 patients for 30 days. 11 improved, 7 showed no change. (3)

Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang

Xue Zheng, et al. used modified Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang (Tuhuo & Loranthus combination), containing Du Huo (pubescent Angelica Root), Ji Sheng (Loranthus), Du Zhong (Eucommia), Qin Jiao (Gentian Root), Fu Ling (Hoelen), Fang Feng (Siler), Chuan Xiong (Cnidium), Dang Gui (Dang Gui), Gan Cao (Licorice), Shou Di (Rehmannia), Bai Shao (White Peony root), Bie Jia (tortoise Plastron), Gui Ban (Tortorise Plastron), Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis Tuber), boiling into water decoction. The patient takes it twice a day, with six days as one treatment unit. He treated 12 patients for three treatment units. All patients had received satisfactory results. (4)

Zhuang Gu Guan Jie Wan

Zhang Xue Li used the formula Zhuang Gu Guan Jie Wan, combined with the anti-inflammtory medication Feng Bi De, to treat 60 patients. All 60 patients took both herbal remedy and the medication twice a day, with one month as one treatment unit. After one to three months, 20 cases showed substantial progress (53.3%), 25 cased showed progress (51.7%) and 3 cases showed no response (5%). (5)

Topical Herbal Treatment

Shen used No.2 topical herbal formula for 66 cases. The main ingredients are Du Huo (Pubescent Angelica Root), Cao Wu ((White Aconite Root), Zao Jiao Ci (Gleditsia Spine), Dan Nan Xing (Arisaema (processed w/bile)), Jiang Huang (Curcuma), Da Huang (Rhubarb), Xu Duan (Dipsacus). All the ingredients were made into herbal paste, and applied to the affected joints. Bandaids are wrapped around the joints to enhance the absorption of the herbal paste. The herbal paste is changed every three days, with six days as one treatment unit. After six weeks, he received an effectiveness rate of 90%. (6)

Luo Dong Ya used Yang Xue Tong Bi herbal paste and also received satisfactory results. He used Du Huo (Pubescent Angelica Root), Ji Sheng (Loranthus), Cao Wu (Wild Aconite Root), Chuan Wu (Sichuan aconite Root), Ma Qian Zi (Nuxvomica Seed), Fang Feng (Siler), Rou Gui (Cinnamon Bark), Mu Xiang (Saussurea), Dang Gui (Dang Gui), Niu Xi (Achyranthes), Xue Jie (Dragon's Blood) to make into herbal paste to apply to joints. The herbal paste is replaced every five to six days, with three applications as one treatment. He treated 76 cases. 67 received substantial progress, 7 patients showed progress and 2 cases showed no effect. The effectiveness rate was 95.5%. (7)

Acupunture & Acupressure

Yang Wen He combined acupuncture with herbal formula for 47 patients. The herbal formula he used contained Shou Di (Rehmannia), Shan Zhu Yu (Cornus), Shan Yao (Dioscorea), Fu Ling (Hoelen), Niu Xi (Achyranthes), Chi Shao (Peony Red), Dang Gui (Dang Gui), Huang Qi (Astragalus Root), Mu Dan Pi (Moutan), and Ze Xie (Alisma). The acupuncture points used were E Shi, Wei Zhong (B40), Wei Yang (B39), and Chen Shan (B57). Also trigger points along the spine were used. After one to three treatment units, 11 patients received clinical recovery (23.4%). 24 cases received substantial progress (51.1%). 8 patients received progress (17.0%). 4 cases showed no response (8.5%). The effectiveness rate for this group was (95.1%). (8)

Du Chang Hua chose aauriculoacupuncture for 30 patients. After two treatment units, all patients received satisfactory results. (9)

Song Ya Guang conducted a clinical trial on 120 patients with a combination of cupping and blood-letting therapy. After five treatment-units, there was a 93% effectiveness rate. (10)

Massage and Other Treatments
Li Jian Jun treated 34 patients with a combination of massage and herbal penetration technique. He used four different types of massage therapy to the affected area. He boiled eleven different kinds of herbs into herbal syrup. He applied the herbal syrup to the affected areas of knee joints, and the herbal penetration technique was used to enhance penetration in these areas for twenty minutes a day, with ten times as one treatment unit. After three units, there was an effectiveness rate of 88.2%. (11)

Yao Rong Zhong combined massage and herbal bath therapy for 38 patients. The patients received twenty minutes of massage for three times a week and had herbal baths for twenty minutes twice a day. After three weeks, there was a 74% effectiveness rate. (12)

Huang Yong Ping used medicinal food for this condition. The food he suggested includes antler wine, eel cooked in Ren Sheng (Ginseng) and Dang Gui (Dang Gui), wine processed with Dang Gui (Dang Gui), Hong Hua (Carthamus), and Bai Shao (White Peony Root), pork rib stew, meat, eggs, and milk. (13)


  1. Sha Chun Xin, et al. Journal of Changchun College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1998;14(9):23.
  2. Zhang Xue Li, et al. Hebei Journal of Integrated Medicine. 1997;6(2):192.
  3. Zhang Yu Shi. Modified Hu Qian Wen Treating 18 Cases of Osteoarthritis. Journal of Hu Nan Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1999;15(1):31.
  4. Xue Zheng, et al. Modified Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang for the Treatment of Arthritic Pain. Journal of Chinese Medicine Research. 1999;15(4):31-32.
  5. Zhang Xue Li. Combination of Zhuang Gu Guan Jie Wan and Fen Bi De Treating Degenitive Knee Arthritics. Journal of He Bei Intergrative Medicine. 1997;6(2):192.
  6. Jiang Su Province, Wu Xi City Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Tropical Herbal treatment for 66 Patients of Knee Arthritics. Journal of Shan Dong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1999;23(6):448-449.
  7. Luo Dong Ya. The Efficacy of Yang Xue Tong Bi Paste for Knee Arthritics. Podium of Chinese Medicine. 1999;14(4):38.
  8. Yang Wen He. Combination of Acupuncture and Herbal Treatment for 47 Cases of Knee Osteoarthritis. Journal of New Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1999;31(3):8-19.
  9. Du Chang Hua. Oraculoacupuncture for the Treatment of 30 Cases of Knee Osteoarthritics. Journal of Zhe Jiang Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1999;34(4):166.
  10. Song Ya Guang. Cupping and Blood-letting Therapy for 120 Cases of Senile Osteoarthritis. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture. 1999;15(5):23-24.
  11. Li Jian Jun. Treatment of Knee Arthritis and Massage and Herbal Penetration. Orthopedic Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1999;11(1):44.
  12. Yao Long Zhong. Treatment of Massage and Herbal Bath for Knee Arthritics. Massage and Dao Ying. 1999;15(2):14.
  13. Huang Yong Ping. Medicinal Food and Osteoarthritis. Journal of Jiang Su Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1999;20(1):18-19.