Managing Rheumatoid arthritis
Patients of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should understand that this disease usually runs a typical course of natural relapses and remissions. Patients of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should understand
that this disease usually runs a typical course of natural relapses and remissions. Many of its symptoms,
including pain and stiffness, periodically vanish even without any significant treatment. But relapses and
flare-up episodes continue to occur with or without any known reason and timetable.
Due to the loss of cartilage and wasting of supportive muscles, a small percentage of chronic or more severe cases of RA start showing up signs of bony deformities and permanent stiffness of the joints. To effectively manage the complexities of this disease, there is need for enormous skill and expertise on the part of the physician. As a rule, the first step of the treatment should be aimed at neutralising the aggravated “ama”. This includes adopting medicines and applying certain procedures which in ayurveda have been described as “langhana chikitsa”. Some important points of the classic ayurvedic treatment are briefly given below.
Guggul has been rightly known as nature’s shield against arthritis. There are many preparations of it, but taking a combination of half-to-one gm of the famous Yograj Guggul along with two gm of Panchkol Churna twice a day for two-to-three weeks is quite helpful in controlling the flare-up phase of the disease. Panchkol Churna is a combination of five herbs — pippali, pipplamool, chavya, chitraka and sonth, all crushed in equal parts.Simultaneous use of Agnitundi Vati, Sanjivani Vati or Tribhuvan Keerti Rasa brings faster relief from many other acute symptoms.
After pain and inflammation reduce, the second stage of treatment meant for clearing the toxins from the body begins. This is achieved by administering Rasnasaptak Qwath for at least seven days with 20 ml of castor oil asan additive. A very light and easily digestible diet is recommended during this phase. Gold preparations or other higher medicines like Brihad Vata Chintamani Rasa and Rasa Raja Rasa are recommended only in the third phase of the treatment. Various Guggul preparations like Sinhnad
Guggul , Rasnadi Guggul and Amvatari Rasa are also very effective at this stage.
To stop the re-accumulation of “ama”, regularly taking Vaishwanar Churna in a daily dose of three gm is quite helpful. It can be made at home by crushing together ajwain and rock salt 50 gm each, ajmoda 75 gm, sonth 100 gm and peel of hararh 300 gm. In an acute phase, ayurvedic texts recommend applying of dry fomentation of hot sand bags also. Various oil massages like that of
Mahanarayani Tailam and the panchkarma therapies should only be applied in settled cases or when “ama” has subsided. Mahayograj Guggul is an acclaimed medicine for the chronic cases of this disease.
Ayurveda recommends specific dietary regime and lifestyle modifications for the patients of RA. By shunning heavy fried, stale and sticky food they should opt for light and easily digestible diet with ginger, hing, sonth, garlic, black pepper and jeera as additives. Taking of warm water by boiling a pinch of crushed ginger in it helps to keep the formation of “ama” under control.
Excessive use of eatables like milk preparations and non-vegetarian food, bakery items, incompatible food, cold or icy desserts and frequent intake of rice (in the north- western part of India) should be avoided. Patients of RA should adopt a balanced daily routine and should also avoid all factors which they know are the reasons for the disease.
Caution: Ancient sages propounded ayurveda for the benefit of mankind. This is a totally transparent medical system which does not facilitate secret cures or magical remedies. There are incidents when under the garb of ayurvedic treatment, innocent patients of RA are administered certain “medicines” which are sprinkled with steroids or other pain killers. To avoid such situations when not only ayurveda gets a bad name but the patient also puts his health to great risk — always insist on getting a prescription.