Arthritis is considered to be an auto-immune disorder. In ayurveda, it is supposed to be a disease caused by toxins. Rasa dhatu is produced by proper digestion of food. Depending on the person’s lifestyle, mental state, and diet one of the three dosha or humors (vat, pitta or kapha) becomes imbalanced. That particular imbalanced dosha slows down the digestive fire and affects the proper digestion of Rasa. If this rasa is not digested, then it is not converted into dhatu like blood, flesh etc. This undigested rasa is called aam (mucous) and is toxic by nature. This mucous circulates in the whole body through the vat. According to ayurveda, these toxins are the main cause of arthritis. When the colon weakens due to the effect of the undigested dhatu, it pushes the toxins out. These toxins get accumulated around the joints and bone tissues. This cause stiffness and pain which in turn is the main symptom of arthritis.
In the advanced stages of arthritis, there is inflammation in the hip, knee, ankle, lower back, elbow and wrist.
If arthritis is due to vat imbalance, joints crack and pop. They become dry and are not swollen as they may be if excess vat is not the cause. There is variable, migrating, throbbing and cutting pain the skin often becomes scaly or dry and the joints turn stiff or creaky. It becomes difficult for the patient to move and in most of the cases bone deformation occurs. In this condition, heat is the only remedy for the pain caused by arthritis.
Arthritis caused by pitta imbalance is characterized by inflammation. The joint becomes swollen and is painful even without movement. It often looks red and feels hot to the touch. There may be sweating, loose bowel movement and/or irritability. The patient may suffer from inflammation, swelling and burning sensation in joints apart from fever. He is relieved when the joints are exposed to the cold. In case of arthritis caused by kapha disorder even though the joints become stiff and swollen one feels cold and clammy rather than hot. A little movement and light exercise tends to relieve the pain. This type of arthritis is relieved by heat and aggravated by cold and damp weather. Joint swelling, edema, dull, localized, or heaving pain, aching oily skin, chest congestion or mucus in the stool are its main symptoms.
Ayurveda attempts to remove the ama from the joint and bring it back to the colon, and then to eliminate it. To do this, we need to keep the colon clean. It is best to determine the type of arthritis and manage it with the remedies recommended for the specific type. If one doesn’t know whether the arthritis is of vat, pitta, or kapha type, one teaspoon of triphala at night with 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water is sufficient.
Toxins are burned up by increasing the intensity of the digestive fire, either through short fasts (strictly under the observation of a qualified practitioner) or by eating hot spicy herbs like dry ginger. If one is severely debilitated, pregnant or elderly, fasting is not recommended. If there is inflammation or fever, hot spicy herbs are contraindicated.
Apart from dried ginger, bitter gourd, red rice, seasoned barley, warm water, garlic marinated in butter milk, water boiled with herbs, and nutritional supplements are also used to remove toxins. Curd, butter milk, jaggery, sesame, urad. Damp, oily heavy, moist or mucus forming foods were to be avoided until the toxins are cleared up.
In addition to the general treatment, Vat-type arthritis responds well to a three- to five-day detoxification diet. This diet includes warm, heavy and moist foods that give strength. For detoxification, Haritiki powder is useful. Small doses of guggul, as prescribed by the physician, coupled up with localized application of Mahanarayan oil are very beneficial for the patient.
For Pitta arthritis, amalki powder in adequate doses is very crucial. Anti pitta diet and fasting for short periods under the guidance of a qualified physician benefits a lot. Herbs like guggul, aloe, saffffron, chaparral, nirgundi, musta etc. are good for this kind of arthritis. Swelling and pain can be removed temporarily by the local application of cool castor oil, sandalwood paste and ice pack.
The anti-pitta diet consists of cool, slightly dry, and heavy foods.
For kapha induced arthritis Ayurveda recommends general techniques for increasing the intensity of the digestive fire (Agni) or metabolism in order to burn up the toxins that are harming the body. Bibbitiki powder with warm water can be used to detoxify such patients.
Hot, spicy foods and herbs, including galangal and cayenne are frequently used to cure this type of arthritis.
Enemas and other means of cleaning the colon are often used to help detoxify the body.
Various oils may be applied to the skin in order to help the body clear toxins relieve pain and restore mobility.
Mahanarayan oil improves flexibility and removes pain. It is mixed with sesame oil (1:1) and applied to the painful areas. This oil also breaks up blockages and begins to heal locally. After oil application, warm heat, yoga, bath, or mild exercise further improves this situation.
Narayan oil is good for muscle and joint pain, lower body circulation, and reversing imbalances caused by aging.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the joints of the little finger of the hand or foot degenerate. The shape of these joints becomes conical due to inflammation and they become stiff especially in the morning. Gradually this inflammation spreads to the wrist, elbow and shoulders. Other problems caused by rheumatoid arthritis are weakness, weight loss, fever, anemia, increased heart rate, muscular swelling, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, tingling in hands etc.
Avipattikar churna is the standard medicine for rheumatoid arthritis. Complete bed rest is advisable for the patients in the advanced stage of this disease.
Heat Therapy is also prescribed for the patients of rheumatoid arthritis. For this purpose,
The patient may be asked to sit in a sauna, or may have steam applied directly to the afflicted areas. Apart from this, soaking the affected joint in hot and cold water alternatively is also helpful in relieving the pain.
A variety of herbs and spices are used in ayurveda to treat this disease. These are often applied externally or ingested. These are believed to cleanse the body internally and to relieve pain and stiffness. Mint, ephedrine, golden seal, gentian, nirgundi, eucalyptus leaves, prasarini, quassia, coptis, scute, philodendron, aloe, guggul, du huo, ligusticum, Siberian ginseng, myrrh, and yucca are some of the herbs used.
Diet for these patients should be protein-rich. Light food, milk, and fruit juice should be included in the diet.
OSTEO - ARTHRITIS
With advancing age, the cartilages of joints and cynovial membrane also degenerate. By the degeneration of these cartilages of joints, the ends of bones free each other front to front directly and after continuous friction enlarge in size and become solid and hard. So degeneration of cartilages and bones remains continuously. After a long time, cynovial membrane also becomes enlarged and fibrosed. Only degeneration is found in this disease
Degeneration and stiffness of joint, after awakening from sleep, the joint becomes stiff, but after some time, during movements and motion, it relaxes. Climbing up the stairs is less painful than the climbing down the stairs. Pain in one hip joint leads patient to limping.
Treatment- weight reduction is very crucial for the successful treatment of this disease. Practice of lotus pose (padmasan).massage and sweat therapy on affected joint, light massage, light exercise and use of hard bed.