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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 211-217
Original Article

Tibetan Medicated-Bath Therapy May Improve Adjuvant Arthritis in Rat

1Department of Anatomy, Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1 Yanagido, Gifu, 501-1194, Japan
2Chubu Gakuin University Faculty of Rehabilitation, Gifu 501-3993, Japan
3Nursing Course, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu 501-1194, Japan
4Heisei College of Medical Technology, 182 Kurono, Gifu, 501-1131, Japan

Received 20 February 2007; Accepted 6 June 2007

Copyright © 2009 Huayue Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tibetan medicated-bath therapy has been applied to patients with rheumatoid arthritis for centuries. However, the detailed action mechanism of Tibetan medicated-bath therapy on the morphology and function of joints remains unknown. We designed our investigation to evaluate the efficacy of Tibetan medicated-bath therapy on adjuvant arthritis (AA) of rats in comparison with water-bath and dexamethasone administration. AA was induced by intradermal injection of Mycobacterium butyricum suspended in sterile mineral oil. The control animals were similarly injected with sterile vehicle. Eight days after injection, rats were treated with fresh-water bath, Tibetan medicated-bath (40°C, 15 min) or intramuscular injection with dexamethasone for 21 consecutive days after which we evaluated the severity of arthritis visually and microscopically and measured serum interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels. While arthritis did not significantly change after water-bath treatment, the Tibetan medicated-bath and dexamethasone groups showed diminished joint swelling and alleviation of, inflammatory cell infiltration and the destruction of bone and cartilage. Serum IL-6 and TNF-α levels significantly decreased. Our results demonstrated that Tibetan medicated-bath therapy exerted a reliable effect on rat adjuvant arthritis, which may be involved in the inflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and TNF-α. Our data provide evidence for clinical use of Tibetan-medicated bath therapy for arthritis patients.