Rheumatoid Arthritis- Ayurveda Treatment And Diet

by Dr. Rajesh Nair

Posted on Saturday 17th of January 2009

All rheumatic disorders are classified as 'Vata disorders' in Ayurveda. Rheumatoid arthritis which is described as "Amavata" in Ayurveda is a joint disorder which affects multiple joints a various sites. 'Ama' means toxic which is produced in the body due to weakening of digestive fire- Jataragni. This 'Ama' is then carried by 'Vayu' and travels throughout the body and accumulate in the joints, which is the seat of 'Kapha' As this process continuous, all the joints are gradually affected, which results in severe pain and swelling in the joints. When 'Pitta' also gets aggravated, it causes burning sensation around the joints.


(a) Diet - Vegetarian food to be consumed. Dairy products, sweets, oily foods, junk and fast foods, salty and sour foods, jaggery, black gram, fish, cold drinks and ice creams are to be avoided.

(b) Life style- One should avoid cold breeze and excessive wind. Warm water bath is recommended. Take a gentle walk after consumption of food.

(c) Medicines- Guggulu is the most effective drug in treating 'Amavata'. Also herbal preparations of Ashwagandha, Haritaki, Rasna, Sunthi, Pippai and Trivrut are helpful.

(d) Panchakarma Therapy - This is purification process by which toxins are eliminated from the body

Snehana: Internal and external oleation to the body / affected parts is given as a preliminary process.

Swedana: This is done by application of steam on the affected parts. It helps in reducing inflammatory conditions in the body.

Virechana: By the process of Virechana, the 'Ama' is eliminated from the body. Also the bowel is cleansed, which results in absorption and assimilation of the medicinal preparations properly.

Vasti:This is done by administration of herbal enema. It is helpful in chronic cases.

Along with treatment, physiotherapy, organized lifestyle, vegetarianism, suitable physical exercises, yoga and meditation should be practiced. Ayurvedic treatment, a holistic approach for Rheumatoid Arthritis has been designed identifying the fact that the power of mind can overcome any physical aberrations.

According to Ayurveda, a holistic way of living, Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic degenerative disease affecting the cartilages of joints can be managed by a good diet and lifestyle. It stops future deterioration of the joints and helps to rejunevate the damaged joints by normalizing the vitiated doshas.

Suggested diet and life style to treat Rheumatoid arthritis are :

Do mild weight bearing exercises regularly as they improve bone density. When certain yogasanas are done with rythming breathing techniques they increase the tissue building and improves the strengthening and stretching of the muscles around the points. Not to climb stairs or bend or squat. Walking a little distance may help. Biking, swimming or aerobic dances helps to improve the bone condition. Avoid alcohols, cigarettes, carbonated beverages. Take food that is rich in calcium like cheese, orange juice, leafy vegetables. Cereals etc. Drink milk regularly as it has vitamin D content in it. Take a lot of vitamin K rich foods such as lettuce, spinach, Brussels sprouts etc., Take care to consume only freshly cooked warm food and take hot soups of lentils, pulses and meat with ginger, black pepper and long pepper powdered sprinkled to it.. It is essential to include a moderate amount of ghee and oil in diet as it lubricates the joints. Avoid taking food that are sour, spicy, deed fried, oily, pungent, acid, dark poultry, refined sugar, femented food and also lessen the intake of salts. Also follow some basic rules of not eating wrong combination of foods, eat only up to your limit, Strictly follow the timings of your eating and do not eat in between the meals.

A modified diet and good lifestyle along with ayurvedic medicines and panchkarma will yield a great result in treating Rheumatoid arthritis.

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