New herbal joint health blend debuts promising functional benefits

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - Sarin Parkasa
©Getty Images - Sarin Parkasa

Related tags botanical extracts Ayurveda Herbal medicinal products Herbal dietary supplements

A new herbal formula for joint health has debuted on the market to compete with old category standbys glucosamine and chondroitin. The Indian/American company behind it says its vegan positioning and clinical backing sets it apart.

Called Karallief Easy Climb, the product is a combination of extracts of several herbal ingredients common to India: Cardiospermum halicacabum​, Vitex negundo, Boswellia serrata, Bambusa arundinacea, Citrus sinensis ​and Curcuma longa​. 

Constituents standardized to specific components

The Cardiospermum halicacabum ​(also known as Balloon vine) fraction is an extract of the aerial parts of the plant, which the company says has been standardized for a combination of hydroxy flavone derivatives along with saponins and triterpenoids. The Vitex negundo ​(Chinese chaste tree) component is similarly an aerial parts extract standardized for iridoid glycosides along with saponins and flavonoids. The Boswellia ​serrata portion is an extract of the gum exudate of the tree, while an extract of Bambusa arundinacea​ (Indian thorny bamboo) was included for its natural silica content.  ​ Fruit peels of Citrus sinensis ​were extracted and standardized for bioflavonoids while the rhizomes of Curcuma longa ​were extracted and standardized for water soluble saponin glycosides. 

The combination provides a vegan product that works better than most common joint health supplement formulas, claims company CEO Krishna Rajendran.  Rajendran grew up in the family’s herbal ingredient supply business in Bengaluru, India and then came to the United States to study for an MBA at Harvard University.  Rajendran then subsequently opened a sister US company with its headquarters in Cambridge, MA.

Karallief supplies a number of branded condition specific herbal blends and a long list of single component herbal extracts and whole botanical ingredients.  Now, with its new blend, Rajendran said he believes the company is poised to upend the joint health category.

“We have been working on this blend for more than six years,” ​Rajendran told NutraIngredients-USA.

“Joint discomfort is something that almost everyone experiences at some time in their life.  You could say that movement controls your happiness in a big way,” ​he said.

Herbs chose for synergistic benefits

Rajendran said there have been some issues with the common joint health ingredients.  Glucosamine and chondroitin have a mixed history on the research side, and efficacious dosages require consumers to take large pills. In addition, glucosamine is commonly extracted from prawn shells, making such a product off limit for strict vegetarians as well as raising allergy concerns, Rajendran said.

“We wanted a product which was entirely plant based.  We also didn’t want a single ingredient product. We really wanted to work on the synergy angle and that’s what took so much time,”​ he said.

To test the product’s efficaciousness, the company conducted a clinical trial which was run at a prominent hospital in Bengaluru.

The trial, published in the International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology​, recruited 120 healthy patients suffering from mild to moderate osteoarthritis and divided them into three groups:  One using the Easy Climb product, a second group that used a product that contained the Easy Climb constituents with a low dose of glucosamine, and a placebo.  Rajendran said the glucosamine was included because many consumers and potential customers are still looking for this ingredient and his company wanted to see if it was possible to have it still be effective at a lower dose by combining it with teh support of the synergistic herbal blend.

Blend showed improvements in functional measures

The study found that some subjective measures of pain and stiffness improved across all three groups.  But they noted that a big placebo effect is often observed in joint health studies when looking at these measures.  It’s in the functional measurements where the proof is found in the pudding, teh authors said.

“Both supplements resulted in an improvement in the 30 second chair stand test results, WOMAC pain scores, knee flexion, and joint space width as measured by X-ray, as compared to the placebo,”​ they concluded.

“Of course this is a traditional product and these ingredients have been used for hundreds of years but we are also trying to bring a very rigorous scientific approach,”​ Rajendran said.

Source: International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology
Assessment of safety and efficacy of Karallief Easy Climb, an herbal extract blend for supporting joint health: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial
Authors: Rajendran K, et al.

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