Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes swelling, weakness, stiffness and loss of function in joints (Deformity). It affects any joint, but common in smaller joints. Rheumatoid is all about the lining of joints getting inflamed. Women are more prone to it more than men. They might suffer from it between 25-55.

Rheumatoid arthritis in Ayurveda is called as “Ama vata”. Ayurveda describes in detail about the disease process (etio-pathology) and its treatment methods. The treatment methods include internal medication as well as external treatments which is known as abhyanga. This is a form of Ayurvedic rejuvenation treatment , swedam (fomentation) etc.

In Ayurveda it is mentioned as,

” Sa Kashtaha Sarvarogaanaam yadaa prakupito Bhavet |
Hastha paada shiro gulpha trika jaanu uru sandhishu ||
Karoti sarujam shopham yatra doshaha prapadyate |
Sa desho rujate atyatham vyaviddha iva vrishchkaihi || ”

It infers that Rheumatoid arthritis is quite painful and a chronic disease. It makes joints of legs, hands, ankle, knee, hip and elbow joints inflamed and the pain caused is likened to a scorpion sting.

The causative factors

According to Modern medicine the exact cause is not yet known, whereas, according to Ayurveda the cause is well explained. The disease is mainly due to the formation of “AMA”. Gradually, ‘AMA’ spreads all over the body through various srotas (Channels) and obstructs the channels which in turn reduce the flow of nourishment to the body tissues. Due to which the immune levels and appetite reduce in the body. The main reasons for the formation of AMA in the body are, consumption of opposite foods, persevered foods, food items cooked one day before, poor digestive fire, sedentary life styles and imbalance in the DOSHAS (Humors).

Signs and Symptoms

According to Modern Medicine, multiple joints are inflamed, usually in a symmetrical way that affects both sides of the body. Both the hands and wrists are also affected. It hampers your day to day life as opening the doors and other tasks that require joints to move. It becomes quite painful for the joints. This happens because ‘Synovium’ (the lining tissue) is inflamed. Synovium becomes thick with inflammation.The small joints of the feet are the commonly involved parts in the body; especially the muscle and joint stiffness are usually most notable in the morning and after periods of inactivity.According to Ayurveda the signs and symptoms include such as,

Manya prishta kati jaanu trika sandheenvikunchayan |
Sashabdaha srastagaatrashcha aamavaataha sauchyate || ”

This means the joints of neck ( manya ), back ( prishta ), hip ( kati ), knee ( jaanu ), sacral region ( trika ) and other joints get inflamed. The joint movements are followed by sounds which is not normal. Also known as Amavata, this disease weakens the body and affects day to day life . Systemic symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis Include,

Angamarda aruchi trishna aalasyam gouravam jwaraha |
Apaakaha shoonataangaanam amavatasya laxanam ||

This means “the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:-

  • Pain felt in body ( angamarda )
  • Aversion to food (aruchi )
  • Thirst ( trishna )
  • Lethargy ( aalasya )
  • Fever ( jwara )
  • Indigestion or bad stomach( apaaka )
  • Weakness ( shoonata )

Ayurvedic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The treatment involves with both external and internal medicines. The main treatment is done to reduce the AMA by stimulating the digestive fire. Appetizers and carminatives mentioned in Ayurveda as well as Vata pacifying drugs are highly essential in reducing the pain and intensity of Rheumatoid Arthritis. The external treatments such as abhyanga with rooksha swedam are highly beneficial.

Ayurvedic tips for prevention

  • Avoid consuming fish, curds, milk, urad dal and food that causes constipation.
  • Eat drum sticks, horse gram, bitter gourd, ginger.
  • Use hot water to drink and to take bath.
  • Do not get exposed to cold breeze.
  • Empty your bowels daily without fail.
  • Do not control natural urges.
  • Avoid staying up until late night and afternoon naps.