Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. It can occur anywhere in the body and, based on that, there are several types of arthritis. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is the common ailment of pain in the joints observed in elderly people. Other common types of arthritic ailments are rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
The word arthritis is derived from two root Greek words – arthros meaning ‘joint’ and itis meaning ‘inflammation’. Hence, arthritis literally translates as inflammation of the joints.
Arthritis is an auto-immune disease, which means, it is a disease in which the human body attacks itself. It begins in one or two joints where an acute pain is felt. This is the most miserable phase of arthritis. Over time, this pain may disappear, but it could cause permanent deformities in the bones and joints.
In all types of arthritis, the following symptoms are observed:
– The initial pains are felt as fleeting pains in the joints, which seem to be no more than a twitching pain.
– Pains alternate between various joints quickly.
– If the arthritis becomes acute, then on a particular day there is very sharp pain in a joint, and it becomes absolutely normal the next day. The next day another joint could be affected in a similar fashion.
– The pains could increase in the winter season or in cold nights.
Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Arthritis
– Alfalfa (Medicago satina)
Alfalfa makes the food residues in the body alkaline, which helps in assimilating them easily into the blood. This is effective in reducing the rheumatoid pains. Tea is made from the seeds of the alfalfa for consumption.
– Castor seeds (Ricinus communis)
The seeds of castor are beneficial in arthritic pains that are of a gouty or rheumatoid nature. The seeds are made into a poultice and applied over the affected joints.
– Celery (Apium graveolens)
The high sodium content of celery is useful in relieving the pains of arthritis. Freshly extracted juice of the celery plant must be taken for the best results.
– Garlic (Allium sativum)
The benefits of garlic in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are acknowledged all over the world. It relives the pains of arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. There are very little or no side-effects in using garlic as a remedy.
Dietary Treatments for Arthritis
Constipation can aggravate arthritic pains. Hence foods that are difficult to digest must be avoided.
The following foods must be avoided if you have continuous arthritic pains:
– Animal fats
– Fried foods
– Foods rich in carbohydrates like potatoes
– Sour foods, including curds
Taking five cloves of garlic early morning is a good diet remedy for reducing arthritic pains. Bitter vegetables have also been found to have excellent properties in the treatment of arthritis. These include bitter gourd and bitter drumsticks.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Arthritis
Mahayogaraja Guggulu is the drug of choice in arthritis. Its dosage depends on the climate. In winter season, the dosage is double of what it is in the summer. In summer the dosage is two tablets twice a day. The preferable mode of taking these tablets is on an empty stomach, and they should be taken with milk or warm water.
For bigger joints suffering from arthritis, Brihadvata chintamani is given in a dosage of 250 milligrams twice or thrice a day. If the spine also develops arthritic pains, then the dosage increased for a week; then returned back to normal. For chronic arthritis, Maharasandhi kwatha is prescribed.
Mahanarayana taila is prescribed for external application over the affected joints. The application must be done with a gently massage. In the winter months, the oil must be warmed before application for better results.
Some household remedies are known to provide relief from arthritic pains. The following are some of the more benefiting ones:-
– Applying a paste of limestone and honey on the affected joints externally provides relief.
– Mash some mustard in warm water and apply this solution on the joints. This must be done repeatedly to get results.
– Put two teaspoons of cumin into a glass of water. Bring this to a boil. When the water is still hot, soak a towel in it and foment the affected region with this towel. This will provide relief from the pain within a few hours.
– Asafetida mixed with egg yolk can be applied on the affected joints to seek immediate relief.
– Prepare a pancake from wheat flour. Roast it on one side, but leave it uncooked on the other. Then put some heated mustard oil on the uncooked side. When it is hot, tie it like a tourniquet on the affected joint, or provide fomentation with it. This provides quick relief.
– Mix some cardamom in milk. Put a pinch of turmeric in this milk. This is to be drunk every night while going to sleep. This makes the person sleep peacefully in the morning.
Simple yogic asanas and light exercise helps proper digestion of the body and also protects it from autoimmune problems. Hence, these are beneficial in arthritis.
If you have recurrent pains in the joints, then do not keep the joint covered. As far as possible, keep the joint exposed to the air. For example, if you have pain in the knee joints, then do not wear tight denim clothing; shorts would be a good idea. This will provide freer circulation of blood in the joint and reduce the pains.
By: tom alter
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