Here are the results from last week’s poll.
- Devil's Claw Secondary Tuber: Traditionally used to help treat inflammation of the joints. (62%, 91 Votes)
- Reastatica: Homeopathic preparation used in the treatment of disorders of the nervous and phlegmatic systems. (38%, 56 Votes)Loading ...
The correct answer is Devil’s Claw Secondary Tuber, Natural Health Product Number 80000219. We decided to start off easy on Health Canada, and picked an herbal preparation that’s actually known to do something. Devil’s Claw is a plant native to South Africa, with tubers shaped like elongated sweet potatoes; it gets its colourful name from hooks on its fruit that help spread seeds by attaching themselves to animals. According to Health Canada’s monograph, it’s used to stimulate the appetite and relieve both digestive disorders and osteoarthritis, though only this last claim is made by its vendor. And for arthritis, it likely does have some efficacy, according to a recent systematic review which looked at several natural arthritis remedies. In fact, it appears to act primarily as a COX-2 inhibitor like Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra.
So should we score one for Health Canada? I’m not so sure. First, there have been problems with some COX-2 inhibitors, notably Vioxx, which was pulled from the market due to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. This despite years of staged trials and government approvals, none of which has Devil’s Claw been subject to. While there’s no known reason to tar Devil’s Claw with that brush, it does make it doubly disconcerting that the Health Canada monograph doesn’t list any contraindications or adverse reactions. The product information page does list a few, but they seem pretty incomplete compared to those of prescription COX-2 inhibitors, e.g. Celebrex’s lists here and here, respectively.
Such is the Catch-22 of natural remedies: only remedies without active ingredients can (possibly) be risk-free. If they work, they’re pharmaceuticals, and if they’re pharmaceuticals they have risks. Personally, I’d much rather have those risks be known so I can discuss them with my physician.
Now, for this week’s question. And remember, the real product “has been assessed by Health Canada and has been found to be safe, effective and of high quality under its recommended conditions of use.”
- Hepa's Wort: Ayurvedic remedy for liver imbalances. (69%, 68 Votes)
- Vomitusheel: Homeopathic preparation to help treat nausea and vomiting. (31%, 30 Votes)Loading ...
Answers next week…naturally!