IS AYURVEDIC TREATMENT EFFECTIVE FOR ARTHRITIS?
What scares most of us as we grow older are the limitations of the progressive disabilities we develop along the way – as well as their associated pains. Progressive joint diseases that slow down and hinder our lifestyles are collectively called arthritis. The degeneration leads to the joints becoming inflamed, hardened and swollen, thereby restricting movement and causing pain and disabilities.
Thought there are a host of types of arthritis, the two major types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis with the main difference between them being that the former is due to wear-and-tear while the latter is due to a chronic autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks itself. The disease may involve inflammation of the knees, hips, lower back, neck, jaw, finger joints or even some internal tissues.
Fortunately, the 5000-year-old ancient science of ayurveda has an answer to this problem too. Though many are of skeptical of the unknown, billions of people have been keeping their faith in ayurvedic treatments over numerous generations; in the current scenario, it gains more importance as this form of therapy has no side-effects as well its efficacy in healing a myriad of issues ranging from the common cold, down to virulent cancers.
Over the last decade, ayurvedic treatments have been garnering greater attention globally because of their holistic approach towards treatment using natural remedies and herbal medicines. The treatment usually involves a personalized ayurvedic diet and life styles based on the mind-body constitution called prakriti along with a detoxification regime and herbal medicines to activate and strengthen the body’s appropriate healing response. In many studies, ayurvedic treatment has been seen to outperform conventional treatment for certain disease conditions.
India’s premier medical institute, AIIMS, in a scientific study for validating traditional therapies, found that some ayurvedic formulations were quite effective in treating irreversible disease conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating disease that causes irreversible joint damage. They found that ‘Ashwagandha’ powder which is derived from a plant, along with ‘Sidh Makardhwaj’ which is a herbal formulation with some mineral ingredients, was very effective in providing relief from painful swollen joints as well as promoting mobility. They found that Ashwagandha contains anti-inflammatory, anti-stress as well as immuno-modulatory properties, all of which help in improving joint function in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
Some common foods have also been found to provoke RA symptoms and include in the decreasing order: corn, wheat, pork, oranges, milk, oats, rye, eggs, beef, coffee, cheese, tomatoes, peanuts, butter, lamb, lemon and soya, with corn and wheat believed to be the worst culprits. On the other hand, fish and fish oil, ginger (5gm three times a day), turmeric (curcumin) and garlic are all useful. Other beneficial foods include raw potato juice, raw bitter gourd juice, celery seed extract, etc.
Foods and ayurvedic herbs are therefore very useful in controlling the outcomes of arthritis pain in a gentle, natural way, free of side-effects!