Rheumatoid Arthritis (known as Amavata in Ayurveda) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It can also cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints, as well as in other organs in the body. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body’s tissues are mistakenly attacked by their own immune system. Patients with autoimmune diseases have antibodies in their blood that target their own body tissues, where they can be associated with inflammation. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, Rheumatoid Arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.
Increased intake of indigestible, heavy and incompatible foods; having food at improper times; indigestion; intake of milk and milk products, especially yogurt; intake of meat of aquatic animals; lack of physical activity or doing exercise after having fatty foods are some of the common causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Pain and stiffness in the body
- Heaviness in the body
- Sometimes lack of appetite
- Pain and stiffness in the joints of the hands
Ayurvedic Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
Improper food habits and sedentary lifestyle can lead to impairment of digestive fire, formation of ama (toxin) and vitiation of Vata (air). When a person indulges in Vata-aggravating diet and lifestyle, then this aggravated Vata circulates ama in the channels of the body and deposits it in the joints, causing Amavata.
Ayurvedic treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis starts with pacification of Vata and elimination of toxins from the body. Herbal medicines are administered to improve the digestive fire and prevent further formation of ama. Panchakarma massage therapies are quite useful in subsiding pain in Arthritic patients.
Langhana is line of treatment; it can be gain by fasting or giving light food like green gram soup or gruel.
With this rukshana can be achieved by some procedures like application of sudation by sand pottali (Valuka sweda), salt pottali or powder pottalis.
If pitta is involved in the disease, this rukshana can be done with dhanyamla dhara or dashmoola kashaya dhara to get better effect.
Externally lepas (paste) can be apply to reduce pain and inflammation like
Kottamchukkadi Churanam : kapha dominance,
Jadamayadi Churanam : pitta Rakta dominance,
Shunthi+Gomutra lepa: swelling and pain, vata, kapha predominance.
Upanaha prepared with gomutra, buttermilk and dhanyamla can be apply to painful and swollen part.
Decoctions like Amrutottaram, Rasna-panchak, Gulguluthikthakam can be used.
Gulika like Ama pachana vati, Kaishore Guggulu, Sanjivani vati.
Powders like shunthi (Ginger), Vaishwanar, guduchi etc will be more beneficial.
Basti like vaitarana, kshar basti is more effective in this condition.
Decoctions like Rasnasaptakam, Manjishthadi, Kokilakshadi can be used.
Gulika like Yogaraja, Kaishore Guggulu, Simhanad guggulu.
Powders like Rasayana, guduchi etc will be more beneficial.
Virechana: In this condition Acharyas have also mentioned that at first the patient should undergo Virechana after unction with unctuous or rough mild purgatives. Virechana is explained in the management of Vatarakta as a prime treatment modality. It cleans the Dhatu by doing purification of body. Virechana drug due to its Ushna, Tikshna, Sukshma Guna reaches to heart by the virtue of their potency and thereby circulates all over the body. They liquefy the morbid Dosha and bring them up to the Amashaya from here the morbid factors through anal canal route are expelled out leading to Virechana. It has direct effect on Agnisthana and thus also helpful in increasing Agni. In disease RA, Srotorodha is present which is clear due to the property of Srotovishyandana of Virechana drugs. Virechana also help in normalizing the Pratiloma Gati of Vata thus release the general symptoms. Thus, Virechana help in breaking the Samprapti of disease
Vasti: Regarding Vasti, Acharyas have opined that there is no treatment of Vatarakta equal to Vasti. Because of its vast field of therapeutic action, it has also been recognized as a complete therapy. Vasti is not merely the enema, rather it is a highly complex, sophisticated and systemic therapy having wider range of therapeutic actions and indications. It is considered as a prime treatment modality for Vata Dosha. Since Vitiated Vata is involved in the pathology of Vatarakta, vasti karma has been explained as the main treatment modality.
Different types of vasti can be used in RA and it is found to be very effective like Ksheera vasti, Yapana vasti, Yoga vasti etc.
Besides, Classical texts also reveal the treatment according to the type of Vatarakta i.e the external type (Uttana Vatarakta ) should be treated with Lepa, Abhyanga, Parisheka, Upnaha, while the deep one (Gambhira vatarakta) should be treated with Virechana, Asthapana, Shamana Snehapana.
Lepa: A type of therapy wherein paste of drug is applied to the affected part. Drug enters through Romakupa and further gets absorbed through channels leading to desired effects.
Abhyangam (Oil massage): Abhyangam 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. By increasing the flow of lymphatic material, waste removal is also aided and white blood cell production is increased, boosting one’s natural immunity. It also influences the equilibrium in the nervous system. It helps in alleviating rheumatic disorders. It improves flexibility, softness and firmness of the skin and for long life. It is the most ancient method used to remove muscular fatigue and pain.
Parisheka: Pouring of warm drava (liquid) over the body from a specific height for a specific time. It has Vatahara action and relieves tiredness and confers stability of tissues.
Upnaha: Upnaha is the application of 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: Pippalivardhamana Rasayana: They start with 3 gm increase till 18 gm with QS cow milk and Chyavanaprasha: 5-15 gm with hot water/ milk in morning for 1-3 months.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- 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.
- Avoid eating fish and milk together or milk and jaggery together.
- Avoid incompatible, heavy, and oily foods.
- Avoid an improper diet and lifestyle, such as waking up late in the night, suppressing natural urges of the body, and getting direct exposure to cold winds.
- Go for absolute fasting or rely on a liquid or semi-solid diet for an entire day, depending on your strength. You can follow this with hot fomentation (application of moist heat). This can be done by soaking cloth in warm water and giving a compress over the affected parts or steam bath or taking a bath with lukewarm water. These are the best methods of digesting ama.
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