A message shared on Facebook in Nigeria advertises a “herbal cure for athritis”, listing common foods such as grapes, lime, honey, ginger and garlic as the healing ingredients.
The post includes a link to an article on a website that calls itself “Africa’s No 1 herbal medicine shop”, which makes the same claim.
Arthritis, known as awoka, awuka and aromoleegun in the Yoruba language, is a disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is associated with ageing, while rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women and in developed countries, according to the World Health Organization.
But will this mixture cure any type of arthritis?
Treatment depends on cause
John Onuminya, professor of orthopaedics and traumatology at Ambrose Alli University in Edo state, southern Nigeria, told Africa Check there was “no scientific basis” for the remedy in the Facebook post.
“There are so many causes of arthritis, so it is impossible to claim one treatment addresses the cause,” he said. “The major complaint of those who have arthritis is pain, and there is nothing in this combination of ingredients that addresses pain.”
He said the only plausible way this combination could ease the symptoms of a patient with arthritis would be the placebo effect. This means a patient’s belief that a remedy would work reduced the pain – even though the remedy actually did nothing.
Omuninya said people with arthritis should see a doctor.
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