What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Ayurvedic treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis is possible. but before going into its detail, let’s try to understand the disease- RA. Rheumatoid Arthritis (known as Amavata in Ayurveda) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Causative Factors :
- Incompatible food and habits.
- Poor digesting capacity
- Lack of physical activities
- No exercise
- Diet includes fats in excess.
- Contaminated water
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first — particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet.
As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. In most cases, symptoms occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.
Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flares, alternate with periods of relative remission — when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Signs and Symptoms :
Rheumatoid Arthritis signs :
Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis begins with the confirmation of the diagnosis. If you have 4 or more of these, then a case of Rheumatoid Arthritis is confirmed
- Morning Stiffness around joints for more than 1 hour.
- Swelling or Stiffness around three or more joints at the same time.
- At least one area, around the hand, wrist, or finger is swollen
- Symmetric Arthritis – That is, the same part affected by Arthritis on both sides of the body
- Rheumatoid factor — Positive.
- Erythrocytic sedimentation rate (ESR) is on the higher side in acute cases.
- Total leukocyte count (TLC) and differential leukocyte count (DLC) are also high.
- X-Rays of Hands and Wrists show Signs of Damage.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms :
- Occurrence of unbearable pain with stiffness due to inflammation in joints.
- Joint pains remain moderate during the daytime and increase sharply at night once again.
- The patient often feels heaviness, lethargy, mild fever, and fatigue without effort.
Ayurvedic aspect for Rheumatoid Arthritis (Aamvata) :
According to Ayurveda–In general people with Vata Prakriti are more prone to develop joint diseases with severe pain
Mandagni (Sluggish metabolism or weak digestion) process is the chief cause in the causation of Amavata. As described above, the initial pathological changes take place at the level of the gut, i.e. in the stomach or upper part of the digestive apparatus.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis (Aamvata):
Ayurvedic treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis has specific lines of treatment. It starts with the treatment of aama:
- Shodhan chikitsa(Purification of the body)
- Shaman chikitsa (Treatment for subsiding the symptoms)
- Swedan (Fomentation)
- Katu-tikta-deepan-bitter medicines for promoting digestive power
- Virechan (Purgatives)
- Snehpana(Ingestion of uncoutous substances)
- Basti (Enema).
- Dry fomentation (using sands)
- Upanaha(Local application of unctuous substances)
- Mild purgatives, which digest ama also such as eranda saneha, drugs like Gandharva Haritki can be given.
- Basti or enema –kshar basti
- Swedanum(Fomentation)-local hot fomentation using sand, etc
- Decoction of Rasna, Guduchi, Erandamula, Devdaru, Nagar known as Rasnapanchak kwatha.
- Decoction of panchkol
- Dashmool kwatha with eranda taila.
- Panchkool churna with lukewarm water.
- Shunthi choorna with kanji as anupana.
Commonly used drugs
Churna (Mixture of grinded herbs)
- Vaishvanar churna
- Alambhusha churna
- Ajamodadi churna
- Hingwadi churna
- Shatapushpadya churna
- Aganitundi vati
- Aamvatari vati
- Chitrakadi vati
- Rason vati
- Sihnaad guggulu
- Yograj guggulu
- Vatari guggulu
- Trayodasahang guggulu
- Shunthi ghrita
1. Saindhavadya taila
- Vijay Bhairav taila
- Brihat saindhavadya taila
- Prasarani taila
- Shatapushpadi lepa
- Ahimstradi lepa
- Amavatari rasa
- Amavatari vatika
- Amavatadi vajra rasa
- Trifaladi lauha
- Panchanan rasa lauha
Panchakarma Chikitsa or Detoxification Procedures:
Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is incomplete without Panchkarma.
This is a purification procedure. By taking this Therapy Toxins are eliminated from the body. The course is as follows:
Internal and external oleation to the body / affected parts is given as a preliminary process.
This is done by application of steam on the affected parts. It helps in reducing inflammatory conditions in the body. Especially in ‘Amavata’ fomentation with a sandbag is recommended.
- Virechana Karma:
It is a type of Purgation which is induced by oral intake of herbal compound preparations. By the process of Virechana, the ‘Ama’ is eliminated from the body. Also, the bowel is cleansed, which results in proper absorption and assimilation of the medicinal preparations.
- Vasthi karma:
This is done by administration of herbal enema. It is helpful in chronic cases.
Lepa: A type of therapy wherein a paste of drug is applied to the affected part. The drug enters through Romakupa and further gets absorbed through channels leading to desired effects.
Abhyanga (Oil massage): Abhyanga can increase the fresh oxygenated blood supply to the muscles and organs, and aid the drainage of venous blood, promoting the removal of waste products from the body.
Parisheka: Pouring of warm drava (liquid) over the body from a specific height for a specific time. It has Vaatahra action and relieves tiredness and confers stability of tissues.
Upnaha: Upnaha is the application of a warm paste of roots of Vata mitigating drugs macerated with a sour liquid and added with more salts and fats, made unctuous and tied on the affected part.
Rasayana: Rasayanas play an important part in Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Pippalivardhamana Rasayana: They start with a 3 gm and increase to 18 gm with QS cow milk and
Chyavanaprasha: 5-15 gm with hot water/ milk in the morning for 1-3 months.
Common herbs used in Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in the medicines and purification procedures are–
Erand (Castor oil): Eranda taila has Vata-kapha-shamaka property which is more specifically required in the disease RA. Along with this it also has Ushna Virya and Ama Pachana properties. Ricine present in the Eranda Taila on the action of lipase enzyme gets hydrolyzed to Recionelic acid which is responsible for purgation.
Guggulu (Commiphora wightii )
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia )
Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra )
Shallaki (Boswellia serrata )
Pippali (Piper longum )
Basti like vaitarana, kshar basti is more effective in this condition.
Diet and Lifestyle changes For Rheumatoid Arthritis :
What To Eat in RA?
Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis includes not only the medicines and various procedures but also changes in our diet and lifestyle.
Increase intake of barley flour, horse gram (a type of bean), split green gram, honey, celery seeds, cumin seeds, dried ginger root powder, garlic, bitter gourd, and castor oil.
Yava – barley
Kulattha – horse gram
Shyamaka – Setaria italic
Kodrava – Paspalum scrobiculatum
Rakta shali – Red rice
Shigru – drumstick
Punarnava – Boerhavia diffusa
Karavellakam – bitter gourd
Patola – pointed gourd
Ardraka – ginger
Taptaneeram – hot water
Takra sanskrutam Lashunam – garlic processed in buttermilk
Jangala mamsa – the meat of animals living in the desert and drylands
Water processed with Panchakola churna
What To Avoid in RA?
Avoid eating fish and milk together or milk and jaggery together.
Avoid incompatible, heavy, and oily foods with dahi (curd)
Matsya – fish
Guda – jaggery
Dugdha – milk
Masha pishti – flour of black gram
Dushta neeram – contaminated water
Purva vatam – wind blowing from the east
Viruddha bhojana – mutually incompatible foods
Asatmya bhojana – foods that don’t suit us
Vegavarodham – forcibly controlling the natural body urges or reflexes
Jagaran – the habit of awakening throughout the night
Guru ahara – foods heavy to digest
Abhishyandi ahara – foods that cause blockage in cells and channels of the body
Home Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis (Aamvata):
Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is not complete without a mention of home remedies for RA.
- Castor oil. 10-15ml of castor oil with warm water or milk at night before going to bed
- Take 3 g Rason Pind (Garlic) with warm water after meals.
- At night, take 3 g of Giloya Churan and 1g of Saunth Churan with warm water.
- Oil massage after the “aam’ has been completely eradicated from the body.
- Go for absolute fasting or rely on a liquid or semi-solid diet for an entire day, depending on your strength.
- Do meditation regularly for at least 15 min. daily.
- Anulom -Vilom
- Kapalbhati pranayama
- Do morning walk regularly
Do any five regularly from below given asana-
- Pada Hastasana
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Try to live a stress-free life
- Do lifestyle and dietary changes as recommended in Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis above.
- Avoid undue pressure on joints.
- A bowel movement should be regular
- Initial treatment means less joint damage so the pain.
- The patient should increase the level of movement.
- Food rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants is good.
- Losing weight means lessening stress on the knees and hips.
- Walking is good for arthritis as it burns your calories and strengthens muscles and bones.
- Stretching exercises are beneficial for arthritis.
- Adequate sleep is good.
- Avoid control of natural urges.
- Gulgulu thikthakam
- Decoction of Shunti (Zingiber officinale) and Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris)
- Decoction of Shunti (Zingiber officinale) and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Pippalyadi Kwatha – Decoction of Pippali (Piper longum), Pippalimula (Root of Piper longum), Chavya (Piper retrofractum), Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica) and Shunti (Zingiber officinale)can be used.
2. Gutika or Vati-
- Rason Vati
- Agnitundi Vati
- Ama pachana vati,
- Kaishore Guggulu,
- Sanjivani Vati.
- Amvatari Guggulu
- Sihnad Guggulu
- Tryodashang Guggulu
- Shunthi (Ginger),
- Panchasama churnam
- Phalatrikadi Churnam
- Panchakola churnam
- Ajmodadi Churan
- etc will be more beneficial.
4. Rasa –
- Hinguleshwar rasa
- Vatagajaankush Rasa
- Samirpanga Rasa
- Mahavatvidvansan Rasa
- Mahavishgarabh tail
- Panchgun Tail
- Parsarni Tail
- Mahnarayan Tai
- Punarnava asana
- Maharasanadi Kwath
- Mahamanjishthadi Kawath
A modified diet and good lifestyle along with medicines and panchakarma will yield a great result in Ayurvedic treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis.