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In Ayurveda , arthritis is referred to as “Amavata” or “Sandhivata.” Ayurveda considers arthritis to be caused by an imbalance in the doshas (energetic forces) in the body, particularly Vata dosha. According to Ayurveda for arthritis principles, the accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body, impaired digestion, and weakened agni (digestive fire) contribute to the development of arthritis.

In Ayurveda, “Amavata” refers to a specific type of arthritis that is characterized by the presence of “ama” (toxins) in the body. It is considered a Vata dosha disorder and is often used interchangeably with the term “Sandhivata,” which also refers to arthritis.

According to Ayurveda for arthritis, the accumulation of ama occurs due to impaired digestion and weakened agni (digestive fire). These toxins then travel through the body and get deposited in the joints, leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Aamvata – Ayurveda For Arthritis

The treatment approach for Amavata in Ayurveda focuses on removing ama from the body, balancing Vata dosha, reducing inflammation, and providing relief from pain. Here are some common strategies used in  Ayurveda for arthritis management of Amavata:

  • Digestive fire enhancement: Restoring proper digestion and improving agni is essential. This can be achieved through dietary modifications, such as avoiding heavy, oily, and processed foods, and favoring light, easily digestible meals. Digestive herbs like ginger, cumin, and fennel may be beneficial.

  • Detoxification therapies: Panchakarma treatments, including Vamana (therapeutic vomiting), Virechana (purgation), and Basti (enema), are often employed to eliminate ama and toxins from the body.

  • Herbal remedies: Ayurveda for arthritis contains several formulations containing herbs with anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties are commonly used. These may include Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Shallaki (Boswellia serrata), Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), and Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia). These herbs help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve joint mobility.

  • Lifestyle modifications as per Ayurveda for arthritis: Following a routine that supports a balanced Vata dosha is crucial. This includes maintaining regular meal timings, getting adequate rest, managing stress, and incorporating gentle exercises such as yoga and walking.

  • External therapies: Ayurvedic oils and external applications may be used to provide relief from pain and inflammation. These may include massages with herbal oils like Mahanarayan oil or applying poultices (lepa) made with specific herbs.

Common Causes Of Arthritis

According to Ayurveda for arthritis, the development of Amavata (arthritis associated with the presence of ama or toxins) is believed to be caused by several factors. Here are some of the common reasons associated with the development of Amavata in Ayurveda:

  • Weak Digestive Fire (Agni): Impaired digestion and weak agni lead to the incomplete digestion of food, resulting in the production of ama. When ama is formed, it circulates through the body and accumulates in the joints, leading to inflammation and pain.

  • Poor Diet and Lifestyle: Consuming improper food combinations, eating heavy and indigestible foods, excessive intake of cold and raw foods, and irregular eating habits can all contribute to the formation of ama. A sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, and improper sleep patterns can also contribute to the development of Amavata.

  • Suppression of Natural Urges: In Ayurveda, it is believed that suppressing natural urges like urination, defecation, and sneezing can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body, including the joints, aggravating Vata dosha and leading to Amavata. 

  • Accumulation of Emotional Toxins: Mental and emotional factors, such as stress, anxiety, and unresolved emotions, can also contribute to the formation of toxins in the body. As per Ayurveda for arthritis Emotional disturbances can disrupt the normal functioning of the body and weaken it.

  • Genetic Predisposition: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to develop certain types of arthritis, including Amavata. While genetics alone do not determine the development of the condition, they can make some individuals more susceptible to it.

Basic Medicines for Arthritis

In Ayurveda, the treatment of Amavata (arthritis associated with the presence of ama or toxins) involves a holistic approach that includes lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, detoxification therapies, and the use of herbal remedies. Here are some commonly used Ayurvedic medicines for Amavata:

  • Guggulu: Guggulu is a resin extracted from the Commiphora mukul tree and is widely used in Ayurveda for arthritis for its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. It helps reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve joint mobility. Guggulu is often prescribed in tablet or powder form.

  • Shallaki (Boswellia serrata): Shallaki, also known as Indian Frankincense, is another effective herb for managing Amavata. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help reduce joint inflammation and pain. Shallaki is available in tablet or capsule form.

  • Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata): Rasna is a herb known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It helps relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve joint flexibility. Rasna can be consumed in powdered form or used in the preparation of herbal oils.

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps in reducing stress, improving energy levels, and enhancing overall well-being. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial in managing Amavata (Ayurveda for arthritis). Ashwagandha is available in powder or capsule form.

  • Triphala: Triphala is a combination of three fruits: Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry), Haritaki (Chebulic Myrobalan), and Bibhitaki (Bahera). It has detoxifying properties and helps in the removal of toxins from the body. Triphala is commonly available in powder or tablet form.

  • Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa): Punarnava is a diuretic herb that helps in reducing swelling and inflammation in the joints. It also aids in detoxification and supports kidney functioning. Punarnava can be consumed in powdered form or as part of Ayurveda for arthritis formulations.

Treatment For Arthritis

Ayurveda aims to treat arthritis by addressing the root causes and rebalancing the doshas. The treatment approach includes the following aspects:

  • Ayurvedic herbs: Various herbs are used in Ayurvedic formulations to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve joint mobility. Some commonly used herbs include Shallaki (Boswellia serrata), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia).

  • Diet and lifestyle modifications: Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda for arthritis suggests that avoiding foods that aggravate Vata dosha, such as cold and dry foods, is recommended. Warm and cooked foods, along with spices like ginger, turmeric, and cumin, are considered beneficial. Regular exercise, yoga, and meditation can also help maintain joint flexibility and overall well-being.

  • Ayurvedic oils and external therapies in Ayurveda for arthritis: External therapies like Abhyanga (therapeutic oil massage), Pinda Sweda (bolus fomentation), and Janu Basti (medicated oil treatment for knees) may be used to reduce pain, improve circulation, and nourish the joints.

  • Panchakarma: Panchakarma therapies are detoxification procedures that help eliminate toxins from the body. These therapies may involve procedures like Vamana (therapeutic vomiting), Virechana (purgation), Basti (enema), and Nasya (nasal administration of medicated oils).