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No scientific evidence bay leaves and cloves treat joint pain

Remedy for recurring joint pains,” reads the headline of a Facebook post shared in Nigeria in November 2020.

The post claims a mixture of bay leaves and cloves is a solution to joint pain. It advises steeping the spices in hot water, to be drunk as a tea twice daily.

Bay leaves come from the sweet bay tree, which grows slowly in warm climates. The plant is grown for ornamental use and used in cooking. 

The clove tree is a tropical tree of the Myrtaceae family. Its small reddish-brown flower buds, known as cloves, are used as a spice.

But can this combination be used to treat joint pain?

Not scientifically proven

Discomfort, aches and soreness in the body’s joints have multiple causes, but one of the most common is arthritis

Joint pain can usually not be eliminated, but it can be managed using topical pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.

“In medical practice, we prefer the use of scientifically tested and proven remedies,” Basden Onwubere, a professor of medicine at the faculty of medical sciences at the University of Nigeria, told Africa Check.

“Naturally obtained substances may be harmless, but the medical effects need to be subjected to scientific routines,” Onwubere said.

Ikpeme Ikpeme, a professor of orthopaedics and trauma surgery at the University of Calabar in southeastern Nigeria, also told Africa Check he had come across no research related to the claim about bay leaves and cloves. He added that it should be disregarded.

“Visit a doctor if you have a health challenge,” Ikpeme said.

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