Life Extension Magazine®

Two plant extracts significantly reduced back pain

Safely Banish Back Pain

A clinical trial showed that two plant extracts significantly reduced back pain for 79% of patients in just 30 days.

By Michael Downey.

According to national survey data, 8.2% of American adults have chronic, severe back pain, and about 74.8% of those have difficulties with mobility.1

Many pain medications are associated with side effects, prompting people to seek alternative treatments.2-6

Scientists identified two plant-derived extracts that they believed could potentially reduce back pain without adverse effects.

When these extracts were combined, 79% of patients in a clinical study reported a significant reduction in back pain in just 30 days.7

These results suggest that taking these plant-derived ingredients together may deliver a drug-free improvement in back pain.

Back Pain is Widespread

Back pain can severely limit mobility and daily activities. It is the leading cause of work limitations worldwide.8

About 50%-80% of adults will experience at least one episode of back pain during their lifetime. Low back pain is most prevalent in those aged 75 years and older.8

Many people turn to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or high-dose aspirin to treat it.

But these medications can come with side effects, including increased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and liver failure.9

Others turn to cortisone injections into their back that may work temporarily, but long term usage can contribute to progression of arthritis,10 osteoporosis,10 and cartilage damage.11

Searching for a safer option, scientists evaluated several plant-derived compounds.  Two extracts emerged as promising candidates for safe resolutions of back pain.

Chinese Chastetree and Ginger

Chinese chastetree is a flowering shrub that grows in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Its scientific name is Vitex negundo.12

It is rich in phytoactives (plant-based compounds with a variety of health benefits) and has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of ailments.

In ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine) it is known for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, analgesic, and anti-rheumatic activity. Researchers noted that in ayurvedic medicine, Chinese chastetree is called "the remedy for all diseases." 13, 14

Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Southern Asia. Its root has been used in Eastern cuisine and traditional medicine for centuries.15

Ginger root contains the potent compound gingerol, known for its ability to reduce pro-inflammatory proteins. This may explain why ginger has shown promise in treating various forms of pain.15

To study the combined effect of these plants on back pain, investigators blended extracts of chastetree leaves and ginger root. This blend was then evaluated in a human trial.

Robust Pain Relief

Scientists enlisted 72 men and women, aged 18-60, who had experienced occasional back pain for under a year, with a most recent episode of back pain that lasted 7–12 weeks.7

In this clinical trial, participants were randomized to receive either a placebo or 200 mg of the chastetree-ginger extract blend twice daily.

After 30 days, among those taking the plant extract combination:7

  • 79% reported clinically meaningful improvement in lower back pain intensity versus 6% receiving placebo,
  • 76.5% reported clinically meaningful improvement in functional activity versus 30% receiving placebo, and
  • Subjects had a 40% improvement in bending flexibility versus 17% improvement in placebo subjects.

What You Need to Know

Lasting Relief for Back Pain

  • Back pain can make life miserable, but pain-relieving drugs come with serious health risks.
  • Two plant-derived extracts have demonstrated safe and significant relief of back pain.
  • In a clinical study, a blend of Chinese chastetree and ginger extracts significantly reduced back pain in 79% of patients while improving functional activity and bending flexibility.
  • Together, these two extracts may reduce back pain.

How They Work

Pre-clinical research shows that extracts of Chinese chastetree and ginger reduce factors in the body like NF-kB (nuclear factor-kappa B) and xanthin oxidase that drive persistent inflammation.16-20

For many pain sufferers, suppressing pro-inflammatory factors resolves chronic back discomforts.


Back pain can severely harm quality of life.

Chronic use of drugs commonly used to treat it are linked to serious side effects.

Seeking safer, long-term options, scientists identified two plant-derived extracts with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

In a clinical trial, a blend of Chinese chastetree and ginger extracts reduced pain intensity, increased functional activity, and bending flexibility.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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  17. Chattopadhyay P, Hazarika S, Dhiman S, et al. Vitex negundo inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 inflammatory cytokine-mediated inflammation on carrageenan-induced rat hind paw edema. Pharmacognosy Res. 2012 Jul;4(3):134-7.
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  20. Umamaheswari M, AsokKumar K, Somasundaram A, et al. Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity of some Indian medical plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Feb 12;109(3):547-51.