Christine Murray

A clinical trial of a herbal medicine for the management of osteoarthritis of the knee

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative joint disease, commonly affecting the knee in the adult population. It is characterised by the thinning of the articular cartilage, which results in pain, joint dysfunction and resultant disability. Currently, there is no known cure or intervention to stop the progression of osteoarthritis, so the management of the symptoms such as pain and inflammation is necessary. Pharmaceutical treatments such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids and corticosteroids, can be effective for pain management, however they can only be used in the short term, due to serious safety issues associated with long term use. There is a need for new and existing therapies that are safe, effective and can be used long term.

Traditional medicines derived from plants have a long history in the management of osteoarthritis and may offer a safe and effective long term therapy. Previous research at NICM Health Research Institute (NICM) has identified the three herbs; Curcuma longa (Turmeric), Boswellia serrata (Indian Frankincense) and Zingiber officinale (Ginger), that have a long traditional use in osteoarthritis, have shown promising benefits in preclinical and clinical studies, and are with good safety profiles. These three herbs have been developed into a novel standardised formulation, which will be clinically evaluated in a 12-week randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial for its safety and effectiveness in reducing pain from osteoarthritis of the knee.


Professor Dennis Chang, Emeritus Professor Alan Bensoussan, Dr Mike Armour

Funded by the NICM Health Research Institute and Blackmores Institute Scholarship Program.