Arthritis is a chronic destructive disorder which damages the joints as well as surrounding tissues. It causes bones to rub against each other, pain, swelling, stiffness, & loss of movement. It massively affects the quality of life.
Arthritis is one of the most familiar forms of rheumatic disease in the world. It is commonly seen in middle-aged and older people. It causes disability and deformity and hence, is a severe medical problem.
Arthritis mainly affects hands, weight-bearing joints like hips, feet, back & especially knee joint. Arthritis of knee joint contributes to 80% of the total cases of arthritis.
As per Ayurveda, Arthritis is caused by improper digestion and metabolism. Thus, unprocessed metabolic products (ama) are formed, which is no less than a toxin. Arthritis has involvement of all three doshas, but primarily vata dosha.
What is Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis?
Ayurveda treatment aims to cure the symptoms of arthritis rather than temporarily relieving it. For this, it is necessary to alleviate aggravated vata dosha and eliminate as well as correct the ama (toxin) formation.
For this, Ayurveda advises several measures and regimens.
Ayurvedic palliative treatment for Arthritis
Ayurvedic herbs and herbal drugs are used specifically for the alleviation of vata to prevent and control arthritis.
Dry ginger, Garlic, Guggulu gum, Chinese flower plant, Indian groundsel, poison nut, Indian privet, Castor, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Winter cherry are the herbs mostly used in the treatment of arthritis.
Some of these herbs could be easily added to your daily diet while it is best to consume powder or decoction of other herbs.
Compound formulations of these herbs like Yogaraja Guggulu, Panchatikta Ghrita Guggulu, Rasonadi Vati, Agnitundi Vati, Prasarini Leha, Rasnadi Kwatha, Dashamula Kwatha, Eranda paka are commonly prescribed medicines in arthritis.
Ayurvedic purificatory treatment for Arthritis
For the elimination of toxins causing arthritis, purification procedures like Pancakarma are employed. It is a specialized therapeutic approach of Ayurveda for body detoxification. These procedures help a lot in relieving the pain & swelling.
The physician chooses cleansing procedures as per the severity of arthritis and your body strength.
- Snehana (oleation therapy) is done with medicated oils. Oils such as Mahanarayan oil, Dashamula oil, Nirgundi oil, Vishagarbha oil, Mahamasha oil, Saindhavadi oil are very effective
- Internal consumption of oils and fats is one of the best ways to pacify vata dosha and strengthen the joints. In arthritis, Guggultikta Ghrita, Panchatikta Ghrita, Lashunadya ghrita is taken with rock salt.
- Swedana i.e., medicated hot fomentation especially ‘Patra pinda swedana’ is applied either to the affected area or to the full-body after oleation therapy
- Local application of herbal pastes like Dashanga Lepa, Eranda Patra Kalka, which can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
What is the recommended Ayurvedic diet for arthritis?
A person with arthritis has low digestive power, and hence, there are certain dietary restrictions in Ayurveda. Arthritis can be improved to some extent by a proper Ayurvedic dietary regime.
- People with arthritis are mostly suffering from constipation, which is one of the leading causes of deposition of toxins in joints. Therefore, clearing bowels is necessary. You can use laxatives like castor oil and fiber-rich diets to pass bowels smoothly
- Laxatives will eliminate toxins to some extent. But to check the further production of metabolic waste, fasting is an ideal way. Here, fasting means taking light & easy to digest liquid foods like soups, gruels, fruit & vegetable juices
Strictly avoid using curd and yogurt. They obstruct the channels of circulation in the body.
- Curd and yogurt should be avoided. If you still want to use them then churn it well with one-half quantity of water. Use only this buttermilk if not sour and that also in a small amount
- Avoid all sour eatables like pickles, tamarind, and vinegar as they promote the retention of metabolic waste products in body which aggravates arthritis. However, you can take pomegranate and Indian gooseberry (Amalaki)
- Avoid the use of hot spices and chilies as they cause indigestion. It is better to use mild spices like ginger, garlic, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, asafoetida as they maintain healthy digestion as well as pacifies vata dosha
- Pulses/Lentils aggravate vata dosha, but occasionally, you can take split green lentil. It is least harmful among all lentils
- Stay away from fat-rich, fried foods, meat, eggs, and fish as much as possible. They are difficult to digest and produces metabolic wastes
- Eat fiber-rich vegetables like cucumber, bitter gourd, drumstick, cabbage, eggplant, spinach, capsicum, pointed squash, zucchini, and broccoli. Especially avoid okra, jackfruit, pumpkin, colocasia
- Rice is not suitable for arthritis, but you can use wheat, barley, maize
- Drink plenty of water. It helps in lubrication of joints
What are the recommended Yoga postures for arthritis?
Physical exercise is vital in arthritic patients. It reduces pain as well as helps in maintaining weight. But remember; do not put much strain on your joints. Start with walking, mild running, jumping, or mild aerobic exercises.
Recommended read – Yoga & Ayurveda – Find the Sublime Connection
Yoga, the sister science of Ayurveda, can help in reducing the rigidity, pain, stiffness, and swelling of joints. You can practice following yoga postures without putting much strain on your joints and as per your strength:
- Ardha-matsyendra asana
- Bhujanga asana
- Chakra asana
- Danda asana
- Dhanur asana
- Matsya asana
- Padma asana
- Shalabha asana
Do’s and Don’t in Arthritis
|Take a healthy and nutritious diet.||Fasting for long and heavy, fried, & sour foods|
|Regularly take a brisk walk of 30 minutes, exercise as per your body strength and maintain weight||Prolonged standing, jerky movements, twisting of the leg, lifting heavy weights, & over-exertion|
|Maintain a healthy habit of timely meals and sleep||Waking up late night and suppressing natural urges|
|Get enough rest, meditate to reduce stress, massage regularly to reduce pain, & protect an injured joint from any further damage||Injury to joints, excessive worry, exposure to cold wind|
Not everyone with arthritis develops its symptoms. Only a third of arthritic patients get a severe pain and other symptoms.
If fatigue, physical & emotional stress, constipation, insufficient rest & improper nutrition have been a part of your daily life since a long time, then these warning signs indicate the approach of a joint disorder.
So, do not neglect these regular signals of your body. Start taking care of your health and make room for exercise, rest, and a balanced diet. The mantra: Eat well, sleep well, and exercise well can surely save you from arthritis.