Copaiba is a substance found in leguminous trees from South America. The oil, often used by consumers, is taken from these trees. Every day, patients are searching for new and natural treatments. Still, despite promotions, natural treatments can be controversial. It is important to make an informed decision. It is risky to try new treatments, especially if you don’t know how they will affect you. The last thing a patient wants is more negative side effects.
What impact can this substance have for rheumatoid arthritis? Have there been direct studies relating to rheumatoid arthritis? More people are using copaiba oil as a treatment method. This has become a topic of debate recently, as patients and researchers investigate its potential benefits. Let’s explore the facts to see if copaiba oil could be a treatment option for you.
History and uses
Use of this resin has been going on for a couple centuries. As stated earlier, the stimulant oleoresin is obtained from the trunk of South American leguminous trees. Found in the Amazon, natives of Brazil used it as medicine. Currently, most of the supply originates and is exported from Brazil. Europeans even brought it back from the new world. This substance has many commercial uses, including soap and biodiesel. It also was traditionally used as a medicine by locals. The conditions it has been used to treat bronchitis, hemorrhoids, chronic cystitis, and chronic diarrhea. Even in the US, it was used as a diuretic, laxative, and disinfectant. Its long history can be seen by some as anecdotal evidence of positive benefits. In fact, many people claim this substance is a great pain reliever. If you are suffering from the pain often associated with rheumatoid arthritis, this chemical may sound like a lucrative option.
To understand any potential benefits, let’s explore the scientific background of the chemical. Where does the oil come from? This oil is extracted from the sap or resin produced from the tree. A small amount can create a lot of product. As a result, creating a medicine from this substance would be easy, from a supply standpoint. Its chemical composition is a class of terpene hydrocarbons. Phytochemicals play a large role in the chemical composition of copaiba. These phytochemicals include caryophyllene, coipaiferic, calamenene, hardwickic, and kaurenoic acids. Most likely, you are not familiar with these chemicals, but they are important. Caryophyllene is known to be an anti-inflammatory agent.
This oil is one of the strongest sources of Caryophyllene. This chemical is of particular interest to RA patients. The unique advantage of this substance is that several of these chemicals are only available in copaiba. Interest in copaiba has boomed, making it a popular item for those suffering from inflammation and pain.
For a long time, people have boasted of the medical benefits of copaiba. Some people claim that this substance has analgesic properties. Fervent devotees of the substance have reported several positive effects. These range from reducing pain, loosening muscles, and even easing the discomfort of headaches and migraines. These are all common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. There may be some merit to these claims. People have used this substance topically or as a supplement. It is hard to take someone’s claims as hard evidence. Many of the people on the internet making these claims are also looking to sell the product. Consider the source and whether the information is valid or a sales gimmick.
In recent times, using copaiba oil has become popular. Many people suffer from different forms of arthritis. This makes having another option, especially one that occurs in nature, lucrative and enticing. Traditionally, the treatment for these disorders included nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs for pain. This was in conjunction with cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors. Often, these medications caused adverse effects. The effects were gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attacks, and stroke. These symptoms are uncomfortable and relatively nasty. If you are experiencing these side effects, you would want to try other options.
Copaiba is a natural substance that lacks these side effects, while still claiming to mitigate the pain. However, this is a new treatment method. Limited research has been conducted so far. Researchers have stated that more trials are needed, especially clinical and randomized ones. Primary treatments in case reports have shown progress. In medical studies, rats are often tested with a substance first. In the case of copaiba, there have been some studies conducted with rats. So far, the evidence has been positive. However, humans differ from rats physiologically. In some medical studies, the results from animal studies were replicated in human studies. In others, researchers were not able to replicate the results. While the results are promising, there is not enough evidence from them to conclude about human impacts definitively.
There is one more angle to consider. Most of the studies completed have been conducted on the anti-inflammatory properties of copaiba. There has not been a lot of studies directly on those with rheumatoid arthritis. Since every disease is different, this should be taken into consideration. Medical researchers and scientists are a bit hesitant to name this as a treatment option since most of the information is from anecdotes or small studies.
Does it work?
So, what do you need to know about this treatment? Researchers have found insufficient evidence of the benefits or harm from the oil. The next step in research after randomized trials would be to compare the results against traditional treatments. This might take a while longer, as medical trials can go on for years. On the internet, you will find many people who will make a lot of claims about this substance. They might even cite a study or two.
Consider that there is mostly anecdotal evidence available. For the most part, the jury is still out on its ability to be an anti-inflammatory medical treatment. Whether you want to try it, is up to you. There is a chance it may work, but you could be wasting your money or time. On the flip side, this substance does not have a lot of side effects. If you try it, it is somewhat low risk. There are lots of natural remedies out there. These include lavender oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil and many other choices. Like copaiba, many of the natural options need more clinical research done on them. You could do research and compare this substance against other alternatives.
The bottom line
New results in the field of medical alternatives are emerging every day. Many new studies are showing promise. Copaiba is one alternative that has been highly discussed as an anti-inflammatory agent. Results are still preliminary and it may take a while to get a definitive consensus from the medical community. Consider if this alternative is worth trying for you and your needs. Talk to your doctor or other medical professionals if you have concerns about your current medications. Be wary of any vendor that makes grandiose medical claims about treatment options. They might have a seed of truth, but most likely are trying to sell you the product. The same strategy should apply to other natural treatments on the market. Many of these have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a medicine.
Castro, C. V., Arssufi, A. P., Lameira, O. A., Bersani, C. A., Sá, A. B., Bracht, L., . . . Comar, J. F. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Actions of Copaiba Oil Are Related to Liver Cell Modifications in Arthritic Rats. Retrieved July 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28322470
Florida Atlantic University. "Copaiba: Silver bullet or snake oil?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170606101417.htm>.
Taylor, L. (2012, December 28). Tropical Plant Database. Retrieved July 20, 2017, from http://www.rain-tree.com/copaiba.htm#.WXCVXojyvDc