Osteoarthritis and the use of Scutellaria and Acacia catechu

Research shows that a combination of 2 plants Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect on osteoarthritis and other chronic joint complaints. Osteoarthritis is the most common of all joint diseases. Osteoarthritis is still called a wear and tear or aging condition by many, including doctors. Rheumatoid arthritis is then called ‘inflammatory rheumatism’ or ‘true rheumatism’, while osteoarthritis is referred to as ‘wear and tear rheumatism’. This often leads to professional advice that one should just learn to live with it. In international literature, osteoarthritis is often referred to as osteoarthritis. The ending -itis indicates that there is indeed an inflammation.
Osteoarthritis is a slow loss of joint cartilage. The rate at which the cartilage disappears varies per patient and per joint. In addition, the disease process is characterized by enhanced metabolism in the underlying bone. Joint inflammation occurs due to irritation of the joint membrane, the synovial membrane. Patients suffer from pain, stiffness and finally loss of function.

Scutellaria baicalensis

Scutellaria baicalensis, also known as skullcap, belongs to the Lamiaceae family. This plant grows in Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Russia, on sunny slopes, on dry sandy soil. The dried root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years to treat fever, hypertension, cough, urinary tract problems, inflammation, allergies, hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis (hot and thirsty). In ‘the British Herbal Pharmacopeia’, Scutellaria baicalensis, Baical skullcap is indicated as a sedative.
The extract of the root of Scutellaria baicalensis used here contains 82.2% baicalin and also contains other so-called free B-ring flavonoids: wogonin-7-OG-glucuronide, oroxylin A 7-OG-glucuronide and baicalein. Baicalein is also formed from baicalin by the intestinal flora

Acacia catechu

Acacia catechu, called Catechu tree in Dutch, is part of the Fabaceae (leguminous) family. This thorny tree, which can grow up to 15 meters high, is found in Asia, China, India, and the Indian Ocean region. It is also called Catechu, Cachou or Black Cutch. The bark contains strong antioxidants with astringent, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimycotic qualities. The bark extract is used for sore throat and diarrhea. Heartwood extract is used as a colorant, tanning agent and preservative. The main component in the bark and heartwood extract is Catechin, with a small amount of the catechin enantiomer epicatechin and other flavans.

Acacia and Scutellaria work together against osteoarthritis

A combination preparation Sculacia was investigated by Burnett et al 2007 in an inflammation model in mice. Others (Levy et al 2007) compared the effectiveness and side effects of Sculacia with those of Naproxen in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
In the latter study (Levy et al 2007), 103 patients with grade 2-3 osteoarthritis of the knee received 500 mg Sculacia or 500 mg Naproxen twice a day for 4 weeks in a double-blind comparative study. As parameters for effectiveness, the WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) score and VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) for discomfort and global response were completed by the patients, and the VAS for global response was completed by the physicians. Sculacia and Naproxen appeared to be equally effective in improving the complaints after 4 weeks. They also proved to be equally safe in this short period of 4 weeks. However, the Naproxen group showed a stronger trend towards developing edema and non-specific complaints of the musculoskeletal system.


Scutellaria and Acacia catechu appear to be as effective in reducing symptoms of moderate osteoarthritis of the knee as Naproxen, while it does not appear to have the known side effects of Naproven. In fact, millions of people all over the world have used the extracts of these plants without any problems for generations.

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