Rheumatoid arthritis—or RA—is a progressive autoimmune disease that affects about 1.3 million Americans. Can simple lemon juice provide relief?
The usual treatment for RA is NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, while they can provide some relief, they can’t help the underlying condition, nor slow down its progress. In addition, the use of NSAIDS can have side effects in the long term, and even result in toxicity and other more serious serious issues.
That’s why it’s important to find new therapies, and hopefully those from natural sources, where those long term side effects won’t come into play. A study published in 2014 in The Journal of Basic & Applied Zoology looked at the use of lemon fruit peel, hot peppers, and the leaf extracts of both lemons and peppers, using mice as test subjects.
ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) and CRP (C-Reactive Protein) are two measures typically tested to diagnose the presence of RA, as elevated levels indicate inflammation. As the test ran its course, the arthritic mice treated with lemon fruit peel, ESR and CRP levels “were found to be significantly reduced.”
Why was that?
The authors of the paper cited the flavonoids in lemon peel, including flavanones, flavones and flavonols. Those flavonoids have been found to have significant protective properties that are noted in the paper, including antioxidant protection, and regulation of various enzymes and other molecules that are known to be involved in the inflammatory response.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses dried peel from citrus fruits to treat indigestion and respiratory inflammation, which the paper notes is entirely in line with the study’s findings. From the paper’s conclusion:
The pathological examination demonstrated that lemon fruit extract showed the maximal prevention of articular cartilage degeneration, inflammatory cells’ infiltration in joint cavity, synovial hyperplasia and pannus formation in arthritis mice.
Naturally, the study needs to be confirmed in human subjects before it can be taken as a guideline in treatment, but the potential is exciting.