Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder characterized by pain, swelling, and loss of function in the joints. The condition affects as many as 2 percent of people worldwide and is two to three times more common in women than in men. Findings from a new study demonstrate that garlic alleviates clinical symptoms and inflammatory markers associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Garlic is a bulbous plant used in cooking and traditional medicine practices. It exerts antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. The primary bioactive compound in garlic, allicin, is widely recognized for its capacity to lower blood pressure, prevent atherosclerosis, reduce serum cholesterol and triglycerides, inhibit platelet aggregation, and increase fibrinolytic activity (breaking down blood clots).
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involved 70 women (average age, 51 years) who had rheumatoid arthritis. Half of the women took 1,000 milligrams of garlic daily for eight weeks, and the other half took a placebo. The authors assessed the women’s clinical symptoms, fatigue, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were determined.
At the end of the study, the women who took garlic showed marked improvements in their clinical symptoms, pain intensity, tender joint count, and fatigue, and their serum levels of CRP and TNF-alpha decreased. Their swollen joint count decreased as well, but not in the placebo group.
These findings demonstrate that garlic improves clinical symptoms and modulates inflammatory markers associated with rheumatoid arthritis and may be useful as an adjunct therapy in treating the condition.