Guest: Stephen Eddey
Guest Bio: Stephen is currently completing a PhD in Nutritional Medicine. He’s also the principal and CEO of Health School Australia, also known as the International College of Complementary Medicine, where he oversees seminar programs, core structures, and college administration.
Segment Overview: Stephen Eddey helps us explore arthritis in this segment as he shares his knowledge and experiences relating to this topic. Contrary to what people assume that this affects people in their 40s, there are various types of arthritis and may affect those in their early 20s. Listen to know more.
Health Professional Radio
Katherine: Thank you for joining us today. Today our guest is Stephen Eddey. Stephen is currently completing a PhD in Nutritional Medicine. He’s also the principal and CEO of Health School Australia, also known as the International College of Complementary Medicine, where he oversees seminar programs, core structures, and college administration. Welcome to our show, Stephen.
Stephen Eddey: It’s a pleasure to be here.
Katherine: Today’s topic is quite an interesting one. It’s to do with arthritis and the rosehip revolution.
Stephen: It’s actually a fantastic product for arthritis.
Katherine: Yes. I was reading that one in five Australians experience chronic pain on a regular basis that is arthritis-related. Also, a staggering amount of Australians, actually 3.85 million, are suffering from arthritis. If the trends continue as they are, by 2050, 7 million Australians will suffer from some form of arthritis. That’s quite a staggering number.
Stephen: It’s a devastating number, because not only is arthritis causing a lot of pain, it’s causing a lot of loss of quality of life. There are a lot of people who suffer arthritis that just simply can’t get on and do what they want to do. They can’t run or walk. They’re always in pain. It’s an awful condition that I know too well, because I’m a former sufferer of arthritis myself.
Katherine: That’s very interesting that you say former, and we’ll get into that very shortly. But firstly, before we go on, I think a lot of people know what arthritis is, but just in case some of our listeners don’t know, what is arthritis?
Stephen: Great question. It’s actually, arthritis, as the name suggests, is “arthro,” meaning joints, and “-itis,” means inflammation of the joint. A lot of people know that, but there are a lot of different types of arthritis. Now, the most common one is osteoarthritis, where the joints have a low-grade, chronic inflammatory response going on there, which causes the cartilage to basically be eaten away by the immune system. They used to think of it as the cartilage is just worn out.
But that’s not the case. It’s actually where there’s a chronic inflammatory process going on that slowly destroys the joints and destroys the cartilage. The other very common type of arthritis is one called rheumatoid arthritis, and that’s where the synovial fluid becomes very inflamed and causes massive pain in the joints and causes massive disfigurement, typically in the hands. You see it in a lot of elderly where they’ve got nodules on their hands and fingers, such as Keith Richards, for example. Famous people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Katherine: I’m glad you mentioned about age, because I think people associate arthritis with maybe more mature patients. But very young people can also get arthritis. Is that correct?
Stephen: Absolutely. There is a condition called juvenile arthritis, which obviously happens in kids. But yours truly, at the age of 20, developed a serious arthritis, ended up in hospital with it, actually. I wasn’t old then. I’m 44 now, though. But yes. Actually, arthritis is associated with old age because typically, as we get older, our hormone levels decline. Our hormones keep a lid on our immune system and keep it regulated.
As we lose that regulation, our immune system becomes a bit aberrant, and we tend to get arthritis, along with many, many other factors associated with aging.
Katherine: Right. I hope you don’t mind, but it seems like you have some experience with arthritis. You’ve mentioned it. If it’s okay with you, can you tell our listeners a little bit about how you overcame it? Also, what made you… well, firstly, it probably got you interested in the career that you’re now working in, but can you tell us a bit about your experience?
Stephen: Absolutely. I woke up one morning in my 20s, and Sunday morning, incredibly painful lower back. I had a little bit of pain the day before, but just was awful pain. I thought, “What’s going on here?” Obviously you were surfing the day before, so the age of 20, I think I’ve hurt my back surfing, which, I can’t remember doing that, but I thought I would be all right. Then, of course, Monday, the pain didn’t go away. By the end of the week, I was in so much pain that I was actually admitted to hospital.
I spent about six weeks in total in hospital, and they diagnosed me with a condition called ankylosing spondylitis. There’s a word that I can’t really spell. But basically, I’d never heard of that before, of course. At the age of 20, I was in hospital, and I had it for about six years, of chronic pain. I was taking all the drugs, seeing all the specialists, and that was all wonderful and it was keeping a lid on the pain, but the pain was still there.
Then I went to see one of these crazy naturopathy people, and they told me to change my diet, and got me on some herbs. Lo and behold, three or four weeks later, the pain subsided, and I have not had pain since. It’s gone.
Katherine: Great. Changing to rosehip now, was that something that you took then? Was that 20 years ago, or is this a new discovery?
Stephen: I wish. Well, rosehip’s been used for many, many years. But at the time, it wasn’t used very well for arthritis. If it was around back then when I was in this thing, I would’ve loved to have taken it, because I was saying ever since then, rosehip has had a wonderful, positive effect on all sorts of people with rheumatoid, osteoarthritis. It’s just a great product. Because unlike the drug that I was taking back then, which was Indocin—I was on massive doses of that—this has minimal side effects.
There’s been none noted. The great thing about that is it’s very, very safe, has a very, very good safety profile, and you can take it with other medications, it’s been shown. It’s a great product. More importantly than anything, there’s over 30 scientific studies showing its effectiveness. There’s lots of studies showing the effectiveness of rosehip for arthritis.
Katherine: Before we go on, some people might not know what rosehip is, actually. Do you want to explain what it is?
Stephen: Sure. Very simply, it’s a plant that contains…it’s basically a herb. But when you dry it and process it in a special way, it actually forms this stuff called GOPO, which is galactolipids. They’re the anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. The way that the herb works, it’s not just an anti-inflammatory like aspirin or non-steroid anti-inflammatories are. It actually works to discourage the immune system attacking the joints in the first place.
That’s what’s the wonderful action of rosehip. It actually stops the destruction of the joints or retards the destruction of the joints, and that’s a wonderful mechanism of action of how rosehip works.
Katherine: Right. Thanks for explaining that, because I think some people have seen rosehip products out in the market, such as jams and teas, and it’s a good source of vitamin C as well.
Stephen: It’s healthy for you. There’s no two ways about it. People use it for all that stuff. But you need to get the one with GOPO. That’s the one for arthritis. The other ones taste good on your toast and all that, but you want the one with GOPO to reduce the arthritis, and that’s what you’ve got to look for when you’re looking for rosehip product.
Katherine: You mentioned this a little bit before, but there has been quite a few clinical studies all around the world. For example, there’s one study in the United Kingdom. They found that when their patients used rosehip powder, it improved knee mobility, and also, it may even prevent damage to the knee cartilage. Now, an interesting word there is “prevention” as well. For some people, maybe they’re more of a high-risk group, perhaps athletes, for example. Is taking rosehip as a precautionary herb advisable?
Stephen: Absolutely. That’s what I do. My arthritis is gone and I’m an athlete these days. Goodness me, that’s a big stretch. But for example, a couple of weeks ago, I ran the Gold Coast Marathon, which I wouldn’t have believed I could run a marathon when I had crippling arthritis in my knees and spine, when I had ankylosing spondylitis. I don’t even think of it these days, but I just take five rosehip capsules every day because there’s no side effects. It’s very healthy for you anyway. It’s full of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamin C, all that sort of stuff.
It’s a good one to take what we call prophylactically. Now, you wouldn’t take a drug prophylactically because of the side effects. But because rosehip has minimal side effects, none that are harmful—it’s actually quite a healthy thing for you to take—then you know what? It’s a great thing to take for people who are at risk of getting arthritis or may be just at the start of their arthritis, having just a few aches and pains in the morning. They’re getting up and they’re not as loose as they used to be, and they’re a bit stiff all over. This would be the perfect thing for them.
Katherine: Right. Another study that was done actually at RMIT University by Professor Marc Cohen. He says that when he was doing some of their clinical trials, two-thirds of the men who took the rosehip powder experienced an improvement. More than 90% recorded improvements to the knee extension. Now, 90% is a very good success rate, actually.
Stephen: Absolutely. I’m surprised not 100%. But you know what, 90% is absolutely excellent. Knees are massive, massive problems for middle-aged men. As a middle-aged man myself—44, if you call that middle-aged, I don’t know—we typically are overweight. We typically aren’t healthy, and we typically have sore knees. It’d all be wonderful if we didn’t have that in the first place, but we do. It’s very important to take this to prevent that, because then, these middle-aged men with their sore knees and excuses why they can’t exercise now all of a sudden have one less excuse.
They can actually get up and do some exercise, which is what it’s all about.
Katherine: Before people run out and buy everything rosehip related, who should they consult, and how can people safely use this rosehip powder?
Stephen: Rosehip powder has a very good safety profile. However, whenever you’re taking a new natural medicine, it’s always good to speak to your healthcare professional before you take any natural medicine, if you have any doubt. Or go to the pharmacy where you can get this stuff from, and speak to the pharmacist there, if you’re on a medication. As I said, there’s not much evidence to show that it’s a problem, but it’s always good to consult with a healthcare professional.
Katherine: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, and for all the information on the rosehip powder and its effects with pain management with arthritis. Thank you very much, Stephen.
Stephen: Oh, it’s my pleasure.