Over the last few years, incidences of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) have grown tremendously in number. This progressive, chronic, and disabling disease spares very few. People usually opt for Ayurvedic medicines to cure them. The question that arises though is whether Ayurvedic medicines for Rheumatoid Arthritis are helpful or not? Does Ayurveda – an eternal form of medicine – have a treatment for RA? Let’s find out here!
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis, also known as RA, is an autoimmune disease that affects the entire body, both internally and externally. Generally, it’s a chronic illness and can leave the patient crippled and disabled if not treated properly.
If diagnosed with RA, the body starts experiencing swelling, pain, and inflammation in and around the joints. Not just that, but the internal body organs, such as heart, liver, kidneys and more bear the brunt too.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
During the initial stage, it may become a bit difficult to diagnose RA. But by paying proper attention to the symptoms, you can be on a watch for RA and if you experience any of them, you should immediately consult a physician.
Following are the symptoms of RA-
- Swelling, stiffness, and pain in more than one joint
- Joint deformity
- Symmetrical joint involvement
- Unsteadiness or discomfort while walking
- Loss of mobility and function
- Weight loss
One thing that you must keep in mind is that these symptoms can come and go; hence, there is a difficulty in diagnosis. Also, the patient may even experience remission when symptoms disappear or become mild. On the other hand, during a flare, these symptoms can turn out to be severe and can wreak havoc on the body.
Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Although the exact reason behind this disease is still unknown, it is apparent that it all starts from the malfunctioning of the immune system. When the immune system of a person mistakes the body’s healthy tissues to be foreign invaders, Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs. As the immune system attacks synovium, which is the joint’s smooth lining, inflammation starts occurring in the target organ or tissue.
Owing to the inflammation, synovium starts thickening. Ultimately, if neglected for an extended period of time, it can attack and damage the cartilage, which is a connective tissue that softens the ends of the bones.
The ligaments and tendons that hold the joint can stretch and weaken. Eventually, the joint loses its configuration and shape; leaving severe damage.
Apparently, there seems to be no certain age for developing Rheumatoid Arthritis. From children of 3 years to adults above 60, RA can be acquired anytime. That being said, there are still a few factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing this type of Arthritis.
You are at a higher risk if you –
- Have never given birth
- Are above 60 years of age
- Are Female
- Have certain genetic traits
- Smoke tobacco or have parents who smoked
- Are obese
Unlike other types of Arthritis, RA specifically comes with several other conditions. Thus, those who are dealing with RA are also likely to suffer from:
- Heart diseases
- High blood pressure
There is no denying the fact that severe RA can damage joints. This can lead to difficulty in performing day-to-day activities too. Moreover, there could be unpredictable flares as well, which can lead to:
- Difficulties in employment
Furthermore, there are even higher risks of developing the following more severe conditions:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
It’s a kind of nerve damage that causes irritation and compression of nerves in the wrist.
This situation leads to inflammation of the blood vessels. This can eventually scar, narrow, thicken, and weaken them, affecting the seamless flow of blood to organs and tissues; hence disrupting their functioning.
Inflammation is not restricted to joints and ligaments. Instead, it can spread into blood vessels, eyes, lungs, heart, and other parts of the body too.
Rupture of Tendon:
Inflammation in tendons can easily rupture them, specifically on the back of the fingers causing extreme pain and discomfort.
Sensitivity to Infections:
Ayurveda & Rheumatoid Arthritis:
There is no denying the fact that Ayurveda has been providing several herbs infused medicines to treat RA. There are multiple advantages to this type of medication that has been curing people for a long time. Over the last decade, Ayurveda has seen several advancements as well.
Researchers have studied the benefits of several herbs, like Ginger, Guggulu, Turmeric, and Ashwagandha for RA. Experienced and proficient doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) have also found out that Ashwagandha contains several anti-stress, immune-modulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, it can help improve RA within 3-4 weeks.
According to the Research:
Over a period of years, extensive research has been conducted on Ayurvedic treatments in context with RA. Although it is often harder to talk about a significant group of people and how they can benefit from Ayurveda, considering impacts differ from person to person; the conclusions have been showing positive results.
For instance, a study published in the International Journal of Ayurveda Research in 2011 showed that 290 people suffering from RA for more than seven years were treated successfully with Ayurveda. The result showed that even those who have severe RA showed signs of improvement, including a significant reduction in pain and swelling.
Another case report of 2015 demonstrated positive signs of Ayurvedic treatment on a 45-year old female. The treatment comprised of supplements, massage, avoiding spicy foods, eating light food items, and a castor oil fast.
A study was conducted in 2018 that included 75 adults with RA. This study concentrated on the contemporary research of Yoga and found that physical activity due to Yoga enhanced flexibility, mood, fitness, and overall health of patients.
Complete Diet Tips:
As per Ayurvedic practitioners, following specific types of dietary habits can worsen the condition of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid below-mentioned items:
- Eating spicy food
- Consuming excessively sweet or sour foods
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating food items that can result in acid reflux
- Eating raw, uncooked and overly salty food items
But the recommendations may differ from one practitioner to another or from patient to patient. For instance, some patients might be asked to avoid soups that contain rice and barley as they can add lightness to the body.
Exercise & Lifestyle:
Ayurvedic practitioners have a belief that making positive changes to the lifestyle and including healthy habits can support the treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
As per the experts of Ayurveda, an inactive lifestyle leads to inflammation and triggering of the disease. Hence, practising yoga turns out to be an integral part of Ayurveda. With yoga, one can be more active and decrease stiffness as well as pain.
Additionally, there are certain tips that practitioners ask people suffering from RA to follow, like:
- Herbal oil massage therapy to reduce stiffness and pain
- Yoga to relieve anxiety and stress
- Avoiding late-afternoon or late-night naps
- Avoiding direct contact with cold breezes
- Using hot water to drink and bathe
For people suffering from RA, flare-ups can cause extreme pain, fatigue, and mental stress. Thus, in such a situation, it’s recommended to rest as much as possible. Over-exerting on painful joints can make things worse. Also, you must make the following suggested changes to enhance your sleep:
- Practising nighttime meditation and yoga
- Going to bed early and waking up early
- Eating light dinner at least two or three hours before sleeping
- Light walks after dinner
- Avoiding day naps
- Taking a warm shower before bed
- Taking warm milk before sleeping
- Massaging the soles with warm sesame oil, wiping off after 15 minutes, and putting on socks before sleeping
Apart from everything else, there are a variety of strategies that can help you manage Rheumatoid Arthritis. The following are some of them that you can easily integrate into your life.
1. Exercise & Physical Activity:
Whenever you feel remission, or when RA symptoms are mild, try to exercise on a regular basis to enhance mobility and general health. It also strengthens the muscles around the joint. But, make sure that your joints don’t bear too much strain.
Following a stringent healthy diet can help you improve your health. Ensure that the diet contains green vegetables and fresh fruits. You can add the following food items in your diet:
- Boiled water with ginger root
- Anti-inflammatory spices
If possible, you can also consult a dietician to get a diet plan made.
3. Applying Cold or Hot Packs:
In case you have painful and tender muscles, heat may help you tremendously. So try either taking a hot bath or applying a hot pack to the swollen joint. You can also use an electric heating pad.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis at Nirogam:
At Nirogam, the primary objective is to eradicate the toxicity and side-effects caused by allopathic formulations. Our medicines not only work to ease the discomfort but also help cure the disease completely. We believe in three principles – Aahaar (Diet), Vihaar (Lifestyle), and Aushadh (Medicine).
Therefore, we use these three factors to treat those who have been dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis, even for ages now. Our experts believe in helping people embrace a more holistic and natural lifestyle. This way, with our natural remedies, we make every effort toprovide relief to those who have tender and stiff joints.
Ayurvedic Medicine for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
At Nirogam, we follow a strict 5-step remedy to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. This treatment adheres to the standards of Amavata. Here is how we do it:
1. Agni Deepana and Ama Pachana:
This method is used to enhance the digestive capacity to correct the metabolism of the body. It includes adding a habit of drinking lukewarm or hot water to your everyday schedule.
2. Ama Shodhana:
Depending upon the Basti and dosha predominance of a person, this method is used to detoxify the body from toxins.
This method includes correcting the diet plan of a patient and adding healthy food items in his/her regular diet.
4. Shamana Chikitsa:
This procedure comprises steam, massage & supplements to suppress joint inflammation & pain.
Arthronil for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
At Nirogam, our objective is to provide the best treatment to our patients. Hence, this medicine is meant to help people suffering from RA ease inflammation, joint damage, and other problems related to this disease.
Arthronil is an ideal supplement prepared with several natural herbs to make the joints flexible by decreasing the severity of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This medicine is ranked above painkillers and NSAIDs in terms of safety, owing to its pure herbal ingredients.
There are several other benefits that Arthronil carries, including:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Ability to decrease uric acid levels
- Properties to reduce stiffness and pain in joints
- Enhancement of joint mobility
- Ability to repair damaged cartilage and soft tissues of the affected area
Although it is recommended to consume one capsule twice or thrice in a day 30 minutes after a meal, you should still consult a doctor for the right dosage.
There is no denying the fact that Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic and painful condition that can leave severe damage to the body of the sufferers. Thus, anyone who experiences swelling and pain in more than two joints should straightaway consult a doctor and get the treatment started.
With adequate supervision of a competent doctor, several exercises and relevant dietary changes the disease can be cured. Also, reduced inflammation can be achieved by Ayurvedic medicines. Considering how RA can be damaging to the joints, consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner is essential.
So, if you have been dealing with RA for a long time now, trust the effectiveness of Ayurveda and get rid of all the associated problems.
Dr. Greeshma Nair, (B.A.M.S) is a Staunch believer that Ayurveda is not merely a science but lifestyle too. Her holistic approach towards diagnosis and treatment is based on the root cause of disease and gives you a three-dimensional solution to a condition that includes Ahaar (diet), Vihaar (lifestyle) and Aushadhi (medicines).