Ayurveda and Arthritis

Depending on a person’s lifestyle, diet, and emotional pattern, either vata, pitta, or kapha  goes out of balance. Then that particular dosha slows down agni (digestive fire), resulting in the toxic, sticky by-product of inadequate digestion known as ama.

Vata, the main active dosha, brings the ama into the colon, and from there it travels through the system and lodges in the bone tissue and in the joints, giving rise to the stiffness and pain characteristic of arthritis.

Ayurveda attempts to remove the ama from the joints and bring it back to the colon, and then to eliminate it. To do this, we need to keep the colon clean. Triphala is the most commonly prescribed herb for cleansing the colon, or the combination of Triphala & Guggul. Ayurveda recommends general techniques for increasing the intensity of the digestive fire (agni) in order to burn up the toxins that are harming the body. This can be done with dietary changes, such as adding more spices to the diet, such as turmeric, chilis, pepper, cardamom and cloves when cooking- but also taking the herbal extractions such as Turmeric, and Boswellia can be very effective in reduction of pain and swelling, and ease of movement, while Ashwagandha can help with balancing the doshas and relieving stress.

Various oils may be applied to the skin in order to help the body clear toxins, relieve pain and restore mobility. Two oils in particular have been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years- these are Maha Vishgarbha oil and Mahanarayan oil. They are both formulations of many herbs usually mixed in a base of sesame oil. Massaging the painful areas can improve flexibility, stiffness, muscle fatigue, body circulation and can help with pain This oil also breaks up blockages and begins to heal locally. After oil application, warm heat, yoga, bath, or mild exercise further improves this situation.

Tattva’s Herbs also carries a muscle & joint care oil that works well for the pain associated with not just arthritis, but also painful joints due to injury, overuse, or muscle tension due to stress.