Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic progressive and disabling autoimmune disease that causes inflammation (swelling) and pain in the joints, the tissue around the joints, joint deformity and other organs. The RA has been described as Amavata in Ayurveda, in which the vitiated Vata and Ama afflicts the lining of the joints, causing Shula (pain) & Shotha(swelling).
The treatment module for Amavata includes Shamana (conservative) and Shodhana (biological purification of the body) Chikitsa. Depending upon the stages (acute / chronic) and Doshas involved, many measures are advised such as Langhana (a method of depletion of body tissues), Deepana (increase digestive fire), and Pachana (digestion of food) for accumulated Ama (digestion of undigested material); Snehapana (oleation), Swedana (fomentation), Virechana (purgation) and Basti (enema therapy) for elimination of Doshas from body.
Further the drugs used in management of Amavata should possess Katu (pungent) and Tikta (bitter) Rasa (taste); Ushna (hot in potency), Laghu (easily digestible) and Tikshna (penetrating property through tissues) qualities which are Vata-Kapha Dosha Hara and Amapachaka.
The important Pathya Ahara (dietetics) includes-
Dhanya (cereals): Purana/Shasti Shali (rice), and Yava (Barley).
Pulses: Chanaka (Bengal gram), Kalaya (Pisum sativum), Kulattha (horse gram), Kodrava (Paspalum scrobiculatum L.).
Shaka (vegetables): Shigru (drum stick), Ardraka (ginger), Rasona (garlic), Karavellaka (bitter guard), Patola (pointed guard), Vastuka (ridged guard), Mulaka (radish)
Liquids: Boiled water, Panchakola Siddha Jala.
Cow products: Takra (butter milk) and cow’s urine.
Apathya / Contraindicated foods and activities
Food - Guru Ahara (heavy to digest), Viruddha Ahara (incompatible diet), Dadhi (curd), fish, raw sugar, Masha (black gram), Kalushita Jala (contaminated water).
Activities - Purva Disha Vayu - expose to eastern direction wind, Vegadharana - suppression of natural urges. Atichankramana - excessive walking.
Dr. Shashidhar H. Doddamani