Arthritis is one of the most common ailment for which Ayurvedic help is being sought these days.
Disease Process in Arthritis
According to Ayurveda mostly pains are caused by the aggravation of vata (air) dosha. Arthritis is a condition which is caused by accumulation of ama and aggravation of vata. (Ama is a toxic by-product of improper digestion.) This ama circulates in the whole body and deposits or gets collected at the sites which are weaker. When it deposits in the joints and at the same time there is aggravation of vata, it results in a disease called amavata. This amavata is arthritis.
As described above ama and vata are the main causes, so efforts should be made to digest ama and to reduce the vata. The digestion should be improved so that no further ama is produced. Efforts should be made to relieve the pain and inflammation. This is the line of treatment according to Ayurveda.
Fasting is very beneficial for digesting the ama. The fasting be complete or partial depending on the strength of the person, season and place. Two tea spoons of lemon juice mixed in 250 ml. of warm water and a tea spoon of honey is good to take twice a day -morning and evening.
Body massage with sesame or mustard oil helps to reduce the vata and thus reduce the pain. The joints affected by pain can be massaged for longer time.
Light exercise is useful but you must know your limits: as a general rule if any exercise, including walking, causes pain after one hour, you have crossed your limit.
Liberal intake of orange juice or sweet limejuice or Vitamin C enhances the efficacy of any anti rheumatic drug, since Vitamin C can reduce skeletal pain.
Guggul is a very helpful herb for curing arthritis. If available it can be taken in one to 3 gm dose twice a day after meals with warm water.
Contra-indications: Not recommended for people with kidney disease or acute rashes.
Diet and Regimen
Foods which are easily digestible and do not make wind or gas are good. Vegetable juices and soups are good. Juices of carrot, beat root and cucumber mixed together is also beneficial. Green salad with a dressing of lemon juice and a little salt is also good. Fruits like apples, oranges, grapes and papaya can be taken. Cooked vegetables like squash, zucchini and pumpkin are good. Cooking with spices like cumin, coriander, ginger, asafetida, garlic, fennel and turmeric is also helps a lot.
Avoid eating hot, spicy and fried foods, sweets, wind forming foods like cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, okra and potatoes should be prohibited. Avoid taking too much tea, coffee, alcohol, white sugar, yogurt, chocolate and cocoa, excessive smoking, sleeping during day time, staying up late in the night and mental tensions like worry, anxiety, fear, stress and grief etc., should be given up. Regular physical exercise and every day massage with oil, once or twice a week, should form an important part of life style.
Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
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