Ayurveda is the traditional holistic medicine from India and one of the oldest healing modalities, being practiced for more than 5,000 years. Its teachings follow a balanced, holistic approach to natural health. The main precept of Ayurveda promotes good health through balance of body, mind and consciousness using special herbs in combination with suggested Ayurvedic dietary and lifestyle choices. Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have attested to the effects of the Ayurvedic approach for pain relief and a reduction in overall symptoms.
Boswellia serrata has been used traditionally in Ayurveda for the chronic treatment of many inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Indian Journal of Pharmacological Sciences. They note that this potent herb possesses anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties, and acts as an internal and external stimulant as well as antiarthritic.
One of the best known traditional Indian spices, tumeric has been used for centuries to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases and is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric has been the subject of much research world-wide and has proven its efficacy as an anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic remedy. Results of an in vivo study by the University of Arizona were reported in Arthritis and Rheumatism, the Journal of the American College of Rheumatology, where it was noted that turmeric root (curcumin) prevents the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the study showed that curcumin also protects against bone loss in the joints by inhibiting enzymes that contribute to the formation of inflammatory substances in the body.
Ashwagandha is found in India and is a member of the pepper family. It’s used frequently in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of inflammatory conditions, to boost the immune system, and to reduce stress. Ashwagandha is an apdaptogen and is especially effective when used in combination with other herbs such as turmeric, to boost its action.
Ginger reduces pain and inflammation in swollen joints is used in Ayruvedic medicine for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The University of Michigan Health System notes that a combination of boswellia, turmeric, and ashwagandha, out-perform placebo for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The University of Maryland Medical Center points out how ginger acts as a Cox-2 inhibiter. Cox-2 is a chemical responsible for causing pain and inflammation throughout the body. Along with its pain-relieving properties, ginger also thins the blood, and should be used with caution by those taking other medicinal blood thinners.
Castor oil is a common Ayurvedic treatment for a variety of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. It contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds — similar to those found in steroids — that assist in the reduction of swelling, stiffness, pain and inflammation of the joints, according to Holistic Online. Make tea with a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger combined in a cup of boiling water, with 2 teaspoons castor oil to relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Consume the tea at bedtime. The castor oil may have a laxative effect.
In Ayurveda, rheumatoid arthritis is considered the Pitta type of arthritis, represented by inflammation and accompanied by hot, red joints, according to Holistic Online. Following a suggested detoxification diet is part of Ayurvedic treatment, which promotes detoxification. A simple fast, including only vegetables, juices, spices and herbs for three to five days or longer is the first step to cleansing the liver and other bodily systems. The fasting ends when the individual experiences the return of appetite, a feeling of lightness, and no discoloration or coating on the tongue.