Osteoarthritis and Chinese medicine: An overview of theories and evidence: Journal of Chinese Medicine

B. Hua, K. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Osteoarthritis (OA) has been treated with Chinese medicine (CM) for hundreds of years, albeit under the auspices of other clinical descriptors understood within the field of CM. This paper provides an overview of how OA is typically understood and treated within CM. OA has typically fallen under the clinical descriptor of 'bi syndrome' (painful obstruction syndrome). As theory continues to develop, however, new ideas are emerging regarding its pathogenesis that have consequences for treatment - that OA should be considered as a combination of 'wei syndrome' and bi syndrome. The therapeutic thrust of herbal medicine and acupuncture thus shifts from a focus on the Kidney zang to the Liver zang, and consequently different kinds of herbs are chosen within medicinal formulas. The majority of clinical studies into the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of knee OA have methodological shortcomings, although there is some evidence that acupuncture may be useful in alleviating pain and improving joint function. More studies that are scientifically rigorous are required in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-49
Number of pages6
JournalJ. Chin. Med.
Issue number94
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Chinese medicine
  • Osteoarthritis
  • ayurvedic drug
  • acupuncture
  • clinical effectiveness
  • clinical trial
  • evidence based medicine
  • fumigation
  • herbal medicine
  • human
  • knee osteoarthritis
  • osteoarthritis
  • pain
  • pathogenesis
  • short survey
  • theory


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