By Vinod Varshney
A GenNext team of Indian scientists is quite close to zero in on an effective and side-effect free herbal drug for Rheumatoid Arthritis, for which there is today no absolute treatment available in allopathy even as more than a crore people suffer from this autoimmune disease in India alone. An auto-immune disease means body’s defence mechanism against diseases actually acts against the healthy tissues of the body.
Ankit Tanwar, 24, a Toxicologist by training and the key researcher of the team, which took up a project of the DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organisation) and Jamia Hamdard to search the most efficacious herbs for Rheumatoid Arthritis, told in an oral presentation in the Young Scientists Meet session of the ongoing Indian International Science Festival in the IIT, Delhi that they had developed for the first time in the world a mathematical model to be run with the help of computers to find the most efficacious herbs which can be used to develop a potent herbal medicine for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Tanwar claimed that the team first identified 50 potentially efficacious herbs from various countries and various parts of India and then finally shortlisted only 11 out of this.
The team with the support of the Department of Medical Elementology and Toxicology of Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), Delhi is now working to test their herbal formulation on mammalian model. The results, so far, have shown that the new product would not only prevent and cure the Rheumatoid Arthritis, but would also take care of any opportunistic infections, which accompany with the worst case scenario patients.
Common experience is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) gives a lot of suffering due to chronic inflammation, joint erosions and progressive bone loss. Since molecular mechanism of rheumatoid arthritis is not well understood, the discovery of a perfect medicine has remained elusive.
Fortunately, it is possible to detect susceptibility among people many years before the actual onset of RA. This also means that if proper drugs are available, the vulnerable person can not only manage the disease well but can also delay it for many years.
Suppressing autoimmunity by synthetic drugs like painkillers, steroids and modifier drugs, etc., is called as a revolutionary method in allopathy to check the progression of Rheumatic Arthritis and protect joints from further decay, but this leads to several toxic or unwanted effects in long term usage. Moreover, the risk of opportunistic infections is also associated due to suppressed immunity. Patients, therefore, more often than not turn to herbal medicines for relief.