Pains in the joints are very common complaints as a person advances in years. More often than not, these joint pains are due to arthritis. There are several kinds of arthritis which may occur in old age. In all these types, the indication is that the joints have become worn down with age and so they are not attacking themselves. In this manner of speaking, joint pains are an autoimmune disease, i.e. one in which the body attacks itself.
The Ayurvedic name for arthritic joint pains is Sandhi Vata. As the name suggests, it is caused by vitiation of the vata dosha in the human body. The word sandhi means ‘joint’ in Sanskrit. Ayurveda believes that Sandhi Vata can be caused due to rheumatism, infections, gout, hemophilia, trauma and even due to digestive problems which result in a buildup of ama in the body.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Joint Pains
1. Alfalfa (Medicago satina)
The alfalfa herb is very effective in the reduction of joint pains. It must be had in the form of a tea four times a day.
2. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is the herb popularly known as Winter Cherry in the west. It has several positive properties for the human system. Treating joint pains are included in that list of properties.
3. Banyan (Ficus bengalensis)
The banyan tree produces a sap much like the latex from rubber. This is used as an external application over the joints. This application relieves the pains in the joints after a few regular applications and massages.
4. Bishop’s Weed (Trachyspermum ammi)
Oil extracted from the bishop’s weed is applied locally on the affected joints to relieve pains in them.
5. Celery (Apium graveolens)
Celery can be used as an effective treatment for rheumatism and gout, both of which can cause pain in the joints. Thus, celery provides more lasting treatment from the problem. The alkaline content of celery makes it effective in treating joint pains.
6. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion is rich in magnesium, an element that is needed for the proper mineralization of the bones. Use of dandelion makes the bones stronger and protects them from pains.
7. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic is a very effective remedy for the treatment of joint pains. About five to six cloves of garlic must be eaten every morning to seek relief.
8. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is also one of the best methods in the treatment of joint pains. It must be included freely in the daily diet of the person. Tea made with ginger in it is also beneficial.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Joint Pains
Ginger and garlic are extremely good for controlling joint pains. Some people find the odor of ginger intolerable. In order to reduce the odor, the cloves of garlic could be slightly fried in butter. All bitter tastes are good for arthritis. Hence, people could consume bitter gourd and bitter drumsticks without any worry.
People with joint pains should totally steer away from all kinds of sour foods, since these can increase the vata. Constipation can aggravate the pains. Hence foods that are difficult to digest must be avoided. This also extends to protein-rich foods such as pulses. Foods must not be fried so as not to vitiate the vata further.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Joint Pains
Ayurveda prescribed different kinds of treatments for different kinds of joint pains. When a patient approaches an Ayurvedic doctor, the first thing to do is to ascertain the cause of the pain. Depending on that, the medicines are prescribed.
1. Rheumatic arthritis is known as Ama Vata in Ayurveda. It is caused due to a low digestive fire, due to which ama is retained in the body. For its treatment, first the ama is removed by fasting and purgation if needed. Then a mixture of punarnava, guggulu, galangala and garlic is administered in dosages of one gram per day. Dashamoolarishta is also prescribed in 15 milliliters quantity thrice a day for three weeks.
2. If the joint pain is due to trauma, then Vishagarbha taila is prescribed for external application over the region where the joint pain is felt. For internal administration, the patient is prescribed Rasnadi Guggulu and Guduchi tablets, which are to be taken in a quantity of 250 milligrams thrice or four times a day with water.
3. In people with age above fifty years, a type of arthritic joint pains known as osteoarthritis is observed. This is known as Ashtigata Vata in Sanskrit. For this condition, either Pravala Panchamrita or Lakshadi Guggulu is prescribed. The dosages are 125 milligrams twice a day for one month and 250 milligrams thrice a day for three months respectively.
(4) Home Remedies for Joint Pains
a. Massage the joints with a mixture of camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol before going to bed.
b. Have a glass of carrot juice early in the morning. Continue this till you find reduction in the pains, which should happen within a week.
c. Do not exercise wildly, but at the same time do not keep your joints lethargic. Perform some activity with them so as to keep them mobile.
d. Have a bath with warm water every morning. This facilitates proper blood circulation.