Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of progressive rheumatoid disease, which
leads to the degeneration of the articular cartilage, synovium, subchondral bone, tendons, and the
surrounding ligaments.There are various treatments for knee OA, including pharmaceutical, nonpharmaceutical,
and surgical treatments. Considering the chronic nature of the disease as well as
the necessity for the long-term use of chemical medications, various side effects could occur that
include gastrointestinal bleeding, hypertension, congestive heart failure, hyperkalemia, and kidney
failure. Therefore, suitable treatments with fewer side effects should be recommended. Recent investigations
suggest increased tendency in people to use Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(CAM) for knee OA treatment.
Objective: This systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety of herbal preparations
for the treatment of OA.
Methods: The searched databases were Cochrane, Scopus, and PubMed. All the selected papers
pertained to randomized controlled trials until August 8, 2017 in English in which one or several
specific herbs had been used in knee OA treatment.
Results: We included 24 randomized trials (involving 2399 women and men). There were several
different herbal medicines used within the included trials.
Conclusion: The results show that the methods used in these trials may reduce symptoms and the
extent of NSAID consumption and enhance the quality of life. Additional trials are suggested to investigate
the safety and efficacy of herbs for the treatment of patients with OA.