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Rheumatism or Rheumatic disorder is a non-specific term for medical problems affecting the heart, bones, joints, kidney, skin and lung. The study of, and therapeutic interventions in, such disorders is called rheumatology. more...

Gastroesophageal reflux...
Rasmussen's encephalitis
Raynaud's phenomenon
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Regional enteritis
Reiter's Syndrome
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Renal calculi
Renal cell carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma
Renal failure
Renal osteodystrophy
Renal tubular acidosis
Repetitive strain injury
Respiratory acidosis
Restless legs syndrome
Retinitis pigmentosa
Retrolental fibroplasia
Retroperitoneal fibrosis
Rett syndrome
Reye's syndrome
Rh disease
Rheumatic fever
Rheumatoid arthritis
Rift Valley fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Romano-Ward syndrome
Roseola infantum
Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome
Rumination disorder

The term "rheumatism" is still used in colloquial speech and historical contexts, but is no longer frequently used in medical or technical literature; it would be fair to say that there is no longer any recognized disorder called, simply, "rheumatism". The traditional term covers such a range of different problems that to ascribe symptoms to "rheumatism" is not to say very much: arthritis and rheumatism between them cover at least 200 different conditions.

A vast number of traditional herbal remedies were recommended for "rheumatism". Modern medicine, both conventional and complementary, recognises that the different rheumatic disorders have different causes (and several of them have multiple causes) and require different kinds of treatment. Most sources dealing with rheumatism tend to focus on arthritis. However "non-articular rheumatism", also known as "regional pain syndrome" or "soft tissue rheumatism" can cause just as much discomfort and difficulty.

The major rheumatic disorders currently recognised include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rheumatic heart disease (Rheumatic fever)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Capsulitis
  • Bursitis
  • Rheumatic fever.

Although these disorders probably have little in common in terms of their epidemiology, they do share two characteristics: they cause chronic (though often intermittent) pain, and they are difficult to treat. They are also, collectively, very common. The very long list of supposed herbal remedies for rheumatism no doubt reflects the intractable nature of the problems it involves, and so, perhaps, does the fact that are no fewer than six patron saints for sufferers from rheumatism: Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Saint Colman, Saint James the Greater, Saint Killian, Saint Servatus, and Saint Totnan.

Initial therapy of the major rheumatological diseases is with paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), members of which are ibuprofen and diclofenac. Often, stronger analgesics are required.


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Black cohosh: if you are going through menopause, take this root with you
From Better Nutrition, 10/1/05 by Amber D. Ackerson

HERB: Black cohosh

AKA: Cimicifuga racemosa, black snakeroot, rattleroot, bugbane, bugwort and squawroot

BIRTHPLACE: Root and rhizome

WHAT IT DOES BEST: Black cohosh is most widely known for its use in relieving menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes.

THE BACKGROUND: Historically, Native Americans used it for a wide variety of conditions, including rheumatism, sore throat, asthma, bronchitis and general fatigue; early American settlers used it in tonics for "female complaints."

RECENT FINDINGS: Significant improvements in symptoms of menopause--including night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and insomnia--have been reported in a number of studies, which mostly used standardized black cohosh extract (BCE). These findings were supported by a large human trial published in the May 2005 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, which found that standardized BCE is effective in reducing hot flashes during early menopause.

WHAT'S THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT? The main actives identified so far are collectively known as triterpene glycosides.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: At recommended dosages, some women experience upset stomachs, weight gain and dizziness. At high dosages, lowered blood pressure, limb pain and vomiting can occur.

IS IT SAFE TO TAKE WHILE PREGNANT? Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use black cohosh.

ARE THERE ANY DRUG INTERACTIONS? If taking heart disease or blood pressure medications, consult with your doctor before using.

WHICH TYPE AND HOW MUCH: Black cohosh is available as a standardized extract in capsules or tablets, as dry extract in capsules or tablets and as a tincture.

Standardized BCE provides 1mg of triterpene glycosides per 40mg capsule or tablet. (Dry extracts are liquid alcohol extracts that have been dried. Tinctures are liquid alcohol extracts.)

* Standardized extract: 1-2 capsules or tablets twice daily with meals, or as directed.

* Solid (dry) extract: 250mg three times daily, or as directed.

* Tincture (liquid alcohol extract): 2-4ml daily, or as directed.

Black cohosh should not be taken longer than six months at a time.

SOURCE NATURALS' BLACK COHOSH might just be what is needed to help reduce hot flashes.

SUNDOWN's BLACK COHOSH WHOLE HERB capsules can be a good source of BCE.

WAKUNAGA's ESTRO LOGIC blends black cohosh with astragalus, chastetree berry, sage, wild yam and motherwort to aid hormone regulation.

HERB PHARM's BLACK COHOSH TINCTURE can be easily added to your coffee, tea, juice or water.

JARROW FORMULAS' WOMEN'S MIDLIFE EASE includes phytoestrogens to promote hormone balance during menopause.

Amber D. Ackerson, ND

COPYRIGHT 2005 PRIMEDIA Intertec, a PRIMEDIA Company. All Rights Reserved.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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