How to manage rheumatoid arthritis with ayurveda?

In rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of joints or lining of internal organs are inflamed. This disease may be chronic (lasts for a long time) or may flare up intermittently.

The inflammation of lining of joints causes swelling, pain, redness, stiffness and warmth in the affected region. The cells of the inflammed lining release enzymes which may harm the related bone and cartilage. This process may cause deformity of joint, pain and may restrict joint movements.

In ayurveda, there is very detailed description about rheumatoid arthritis or “Ama vata”.   ‘The pain in the affected joints  resembles the pain of  a scorpion’s  sting,’ it is said.

Causes of rheumatoid arthritis

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known. But immunologists have discovered that rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disease. Some may have a tendency to inherit this disease.

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is very well explained in ayurveda. It is caused by the formation of  ‘ama’,  (a toxin that is produced by imbalanced body fire). The toxin ama is carried by imbalanced vata (one of the three energetic forces) and reaches the kapha (one of the three energetic forces) dominated places like joints, stomach, chest, brain, etc.

This toxin becomes sticky due to imbalanced doshas and blocks the vital channels which nourish the body.

The sticky toxin, ama not only affects the joints but also spreads all over the body. The  channels (like arteries, intercellular spaces, pores in cells, etc. are called srotas) which allow nutrients to flow through and nourish body tissues and cells get partially blocked. This leads to a decreased supply of nutrients to body tissues and cells. Thus, the  immunity of the body gets lowered, the appetite reduces and the body becomes weak due to insufficient nourishment of body tissues.

The ama which gets harbored in joints acts like a foreign substance and triggers the immune system. This leads to inflammation of linings of joints.

Formation of ama

Opposite foods, opposite lifestyles, lowered body fire, sedentary work, physical over exertion with a lot of joint movements  cause indigestion, imbalance of doshas and formation of ama.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis


1. Inflammation of joints

2. Stiffness

3. Swelling

4. Difficulty in moving

5. Pain

6. Usually starts in the hands and feet (wrist and hand joints)

7. Can also affect neck, shoulders, knees, hips and ankles

8. Some times affects the same joints of both sides of body

9. Rheumatoid nodules

10. Chronic RA may cause damage to the affected joints


1. Fever

2. Loss of energy

3. Loss of appetite

4. Weakness

5. General fatigue (early symptom)

6. Other boy organs may be affected

According to Ayurveda, the systemic symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are:

1. Body pain

2. Distaste to food

3. Thirst

4. Malaise

5. Fever

6. Indigestion

7. Weakness

Tips to reduce pain in joints:

1. Weight reduction

2. Exercise well moving all your joints

3. Take a warm shower everyday

Ayurveda tips to reduce pain:

1. Avoid curds, fish, milk, urad dal, jaggery, and constipating food

2. Consume horse gram, ginger, bitter gourd, drum sticks

3. Remove the sprouts (which will be present inside garlic cloves) of garlic by splitting; soak garlic in buttermilk overnight. The next morning, wash the garlic with plain water and grind to a thin paste. Consume half a teaspoon of this paste with warm water every morning on an empty stomach.

4. Always use hot water to bathe and to drink

5. Avoid cold breeze

6. Do not consume opposite foods

7. Empty bowels regularly

8. Do not control natural urges

9. Avoid late nights and afternoon naps

The Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

The line of treatment involves the following steps:

1. Avoiding the formation of ama by increasing the body fire

2. Expelling the already formed ama

3. Reduction of inflammation in joints.

4. Rejuvenating the affected joints and body (by providing natural calcium supplement)

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