Rheumatoid arthritis is described as “Amavata” in Ayurveda. The word ‘Ama’ means undigested, toxic or unwholesome product, which is produced in the body due to weakening of digestive fire. This ‘Ama’ is then carried by vitiated ‘Vata’ and travels throughout the body and accumulates in the joints, which is the seat of ‘Kapha’ (one of the three bodily humors (tridosha) i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha). As this process continues, all the joints are gradually affected, which results in severe pain and swelling in the joints. Here, pain is due to vitiated “Vata” swelling due to affected Kapha When ‘Pitta’ also gets aggravated, it causes burning sensation around the joints.
Ayurvedic management of Rheumatoid Arthritis
In Ayurveda, Rheumatoid Arthritis is treated by the following measures,
a. Ahara or Diet:
One should take old rice, butter milk, wet ginger, garlic, wheat, bitter gourd and horse gram in his diet.
Avoid consumption of dairy products, sweets, oily foods, junk and fast foods, salty and sour foods, jaggery, black gram, fish, cold drinks and ice creams.
b. Vihara or Life Style
One should avoid cold breeze and excessive wind. Bathing with cold water should be strictly avoided. Warm water bath is recommended. It is also advisable to take a gentle walk after consumption of food. Also it is good to avoid water intake immediately after consuming food.
c. Aushadhi or Drugs
Guggulu(Comiphora mukul) is the most effective drug in treating ‘Amavata’. Also herbal preparations of Ashwagandha(Withania somnifera), Rasna(Pluchea lanceolata), Sunthi(Ginger)/ Pippai(Long peper), Gokshura(Tribulus terrestris) and Trivrut(Operculina terpethum) are helpful in Amavata’. Administration of caster oil is also very effective in this disease. The above-mentioned drugs should be taken after consulting a qualified Ayurvedic Physician.
Herbs useful Rheumatoid Arthritis are Gokshura(Tribulus terrestris) and Shunthi(Zingiber officinalis) .
Ayurvedic management of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Panchakarma
Panchakarma Therapy is purification process. By taking this therapy the body toxins are eliminated from the body. For treating ‘Amavata’ the following processes in Panchakarma are followed.
Clinical experiences have shown that Ayurveda has a lot to contribute in treating the patients of Rheumatoid arthritis. The ayurveda suggests that arthritis is caused primarily by an excess of ama and lack of agni. This canbe caused by poor digestion and a weakened colon, resulting in the accumulation of undigested food and the buildup of waste matter. Poor digestion allows toxins to accumulate in the body, and problems with the colon allow the toxins to reach the joints.So, the way to treat arthritis is to stimulate the digestive fire (agni) and to suppress the ama.