Ayurvedic Remedies for Arthritis

Ayurveda can be used to relieve arthritis pain and inflammation by addressing the vata dosha, diet, exercise as well as using beneficial herbs and spices.

Ayurvedic Causes of Arthritis

Ayurveda sees the aggravation of vata dosha as the main cause of arthritis. The build up of the toxic ama (by-product of improper digestion) circulates around the body and can accumulate in the joints that aggravates vata and results in arthritis. Excessive exercise, bone fractures, not enough sleep, stress and exposure to cold aggravate vata.

Diet and Ayurveda

Ayurvedic treatments for arthritis advise people to eat simple foods and avoid hot, oily and fried foods. Burning up accumulated toxins in the body can be achieved by reviving the digestive fire. Other points to be kept in mind while planning a diet for arthritic patients are:

  • Avoid meat, fish, yogurt, curds, sweets, pulses, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, okra and pumpkin.
  • Eating pomegranates and gooseberries is beneficial as vitamin C can reduce skeletal pain.
  • Wheat, maize, buckwheat and barley are a good substitute for rice. Beverages that must be limited include tea, coffee, alcohol and cocoa.
  • The use of spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, fennel, coriander, cinnamon and cloves is very beneficial.
  • Fasting for short periods is beneficial for digesting the ama, and meals should be taken regularly.

Ayurvedic Remedies for Arthritis

Treatments for arthritis aim to improve digestion to eliminate ama, soothe vata, relieve any pain and inflammation. Habits such as smoking, sleeping during the day, stress and other negative emotions should be eliminated. Regular physical exercise, oil massages and meditation have a real positive effect on arthritis, and the following herbs are advocated in Ayurveda:

  • Horse-chestnut (Bankhor or Pangar in India). The paste of the bark of the Horse-chestnut tree is high in aescin and has ant-inflammatory properties. It used to treat joint pain and oil extracted from the seeds is used topically to soothe muscular pain.
  • Turmeric is beneficial for arthritis and can be used internally and topically on painful inflamed areas of the body.
  • Licorice is an effective anti-inflammatory and can be consumed to treat joint pain.
  • Celery contains more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds and the seeds help to decrease arthritic pain and rheumatism.
  • Hog weed (Punarnava in India). Studies have found that the alcoholic extract of Hog weed roots and leaves have potent anti-inflammatory properties. The oil can be applied externally and a hot poultice of the root is also effective on arthritic pain.
  • Boswellia (Salai Guggul in India). Boswellia supports normal joint function and flexibility of the body- it has been found to be as effective as non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs without side effects of irritating the stomach.

The symptoms of arthritis can be treated using anti-inflammatory herbs, light exercise and diet as advised by Ayurveda. Read about the Yogic Diet to bring the body and mind into balance and Vastu and Ayurveda Tips for Health to create an environment for optimal health.