• What's in Chinese Arthritis Medicine? - Chromatography Investigates

What's in Chinese Arthritis Medicine? - Chromatography Investigates

Feb 19 2019 Read 1432 Times

Arthritis is a m that covers several conditions. Mention wear and tear on joints and you are talking about osteoarthritis - a condition that many older people have. But there is another form of arthritis that is fairly common, and that is rheumatoid arthritis - which is an entirely different kind of beast. Both types are common around the world, and there are various treatments available. A recent paper in the journal Molecules reports on work carried out in China to investigate just what is in one of the most popular forms of complimentary treatment - traditional Chinese medicine remedy for rheumatoid arthritis.

When the immune system malfunctions

The immune system is one of the main systems keeping us all alive and well. But sometimes it can malfunction and we can succumb to a condition where our immune system turns from friend to foe. There are several autoimmune diseases including lupus and multiple sclerosis - and also rheumatoid arthritis.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), your immune system decides that the lining of your joints - the synovial lining - is a target. So, your immune system becomes active and targets the joints. This in turn causes inflammation and pain, and the joints can become stiff. Rheumatoid arthritis causes other symptoms like fatigue too. Although the cause of the inflammation is known, the root cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not. The main two elements are thought to be genetics and environmental factors, which can include diet or a virus.

Chinese medicine for RA

For some people, the side effects of the medicines they take for RA can cause unwelcome side effects. In China, people can turn to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to provide relief - and they are widely used in modern medical practice in China. One of the key formulations is known as Wen Luo Yin (WLY), a formulation recorded almost two thousand years ago. But what is in it?

Well, this is what the researchers set out to find using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry - a method often used in pharmaceutical analysis as discussed in the article, Analysis of Residual Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products in River Waters via UHPLC-MS/MS. The authors report that no method has previously been reported using these powerful techniques.

The method they developed using HPLC-MS/MS was able to quantify and identify a total of 42 compounds in WLY - including, 15 alkaloids, 10 biflavonoids and 6 phenylpropanoids. The authors report that:

These qualitative results provide essential data for the quality control and the metabolites identification of WLY. These results will also be useful for the analysis of formulae analogous to WLY.

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