A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Yucca: Can it relieve arthritis pain?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arthritis/AN01107
- With Mayo Clinic internist
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.read biographyclose window
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Brent Bauer, M.D., is board certified in internal medicine. He is a consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine and director of the Department of Internal Medicine's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Bauer, a native of Madison, Wis., is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School and a graduate of Mayo Medical School.
He serves on the editorial board of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter and is medical editor for EmbodyHealth Newsletter. He has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1992, first practicing at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., before joining Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., in 1996.
Dr. Bauer's principal research focus is the scientific evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies that patients and consumers are using with increasing frequency. He has authored several book chapters and papers on this topic, and is the medical editor of the "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine." Dr. Bauer also spearheaded collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Gaiam in the creation of a series of 10 DVDs (Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions). These DVDs address common health problems (for example, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure) with integrative medicine approaches that empower people to take charge of their health. His work is at the forefront of the emerging field of integrative medicine which combines the best of conventional medicine with the best of evidence-based complementary therapies.
Dr. Bauer has served on the NIH-NCCAM study section and is currently collaborating on over 20 studies being conducted at Mayo Clinic evaluating CAM therapies ranging from acupuncture to valerian. He is also a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; the American Federation for Medical Research; the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and other professional organizations.
- 'Degenerative changes' in the spine: Is this arthritis?
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Can it affect the eyes?
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Can it affect the lungs?
Treatments and drugs (6)
- Arthritis pain medications: Do they raise blood pressure?
- Botox injections: Can they relieve arthritis pain?
- After a flood, are food and medicine safe to use?
- see all in Treatments and drugs
Lifestyle and home remedies (5)
- Water exercise: Does pool temperature matter?
- MSM for arthritis pain: Is it safe?
- Isometric exercises: Good for strength training?
- see all in Lifestyle and home remedies
Alternative medicine (3)
- Yucca: Can it relieve arthritis pain?
- Mangosteen juice: Can it relieve arthritis pain?
- Glucosamine: Does it protect cartilage in osteoarthritis?
Yucca: Can it relieve arthritis pain?
Can yucca relieve arthritis pain?
from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Yucca — a group of 30 species of shrub-like plants that grow mainly in dry regions of North America — is an ingredient in many dietary supplements that claim to promote joint health. Bark from the main stem (rhizome) of the Mohave yucca (Y. schidigera) is a common source of the yucca in these products.
Parts of various yucca plants have been used for centuries in traditional Native American medicine. But the only direct evidence that yucca relieves joint pain comes from a single study published in the 1970s and never validated in later publications.
Since then, scientists have isolated several yucca compounds that may turn out to have medicinal value. In the laboratory, some of these compounds display properties similar to those of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat joint pain.
What these yucca-derived chemicals do in the test tube, however, is likely to be quite different from what they do in the human body. Scientific studies have validated many alternative and complementary therapies for arthritis, but yucca is not one of them.Next question
Mangosteen juice: Can it relieve arthritis pain?
- Classification report for Yucca L. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services Plants Database. http://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=profile&symbol=YUCCA&display=31. Accessed June 14, 2011.
- Yucca. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed June 6, 2011.
- Wenzig EW, et al. Influence of phenolic constituents from yucca schidigera bark on arachidonate metabolism in vitro. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2008;56:8885.
- Cheeke PR, et al. Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects of yucca schidigera: A review. Journal of Inflammation. 2006;3:6.
- Rathee P, et al. Mechanism of action of flavonoids as anti-inflammatory agents: A review. Inflammation & Allergy — Drug Targets. 2009;8:229.
- Bingham R, et al. Yucca plant saponin in the management of arthritis. Journal of Applied Nutrition. 1975;27:45.