Illnesses treated at Barberyn: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Name of medical problem: Rheumatoid Arthritis  

Ayurveda name: Gambheera Vatha Raktha 

Type of illness: Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease affecting primarily the joints of the hand and feet, which become swollen and painful. If not treated in its early stages, it may result in deformity and difficulty in movement.  


Cause of illness: 

Ayurveda states that dietary factors, problems with digestion, alcohol abuse, mental stress, and obesity are some of the causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dietary factors include excessive use of sour, salty, pungent tasting food, spicy food such as chili, and oily food. Due to these causative factors,vatha dosha and pitha dosha aggravate and cause impurities in the blood. 

The toxic substances, which are absorbed in the blood, collect in hand, leg and finger joints, due to gravity. In the beginning, joints get swollen, painful and stiff. This is very prominent with the little joints in hands, legs and fingers. Redness of skin can be seen on the joint. Sometimes itching and burning sensation is experienced, and perspiration may increase or decrease. 

If not treated immediately, the muscles, ligaments, synovial membrane of the joint remain swollen, and joints become extremely painful. In the next stage, the cartilage of the joint can get damaged and calcium deposition can take place. This leads to deformity of the joint. The disease can then spread to other joints. 

Specific symptoms:

  • In the beginning, the disease affects the small joints in fingers.
  • Pain in joints. Pain is at its worst on awakening in the morning and may decrease with movement.
  • Stiffness of muscles around the joints of the finger, so that the joints tend to curve. At the beginning, stiffness is stronger in the morning and can be present for several hours.
  • Joint swelling
  • Fatigue and general malaise, increased or decreased perspiration.
  • Later stages - joint deformity, difficulty in moving the joints, muscle wasting can be seen around the joint.
  • Disease then spreads towards the wrist joints, ankle joints, elbow joints, knee joints, shoulders, hip and spine.

Ayurveda treatment of rheumatoid arthritis consists of a combination of internal and external applications of Ayurveda medicine. 

Internal treatment

  1. Thripala kawatha: is a decoction, which contains Aralu (Terminalia chebula), Bulu (Terminalia belirica), and Nelli (Phyllauthus embelica). This is given orally, two tablespoons, three times a day. The preparation has a mild laxative action and purifies the body.
  2. Chandraprabha vati: Herbal pills called Chandraprabha vati, which contains many herbs and guggulu. The dosage is two tablets, twice a day. The pills have diuretic action and purify the body.
  3. Manibadra powder is an orally taken herbal powder, which has blood purifying action. Dosage is one teaspoon, twice daily.
  4. Special freshly made herbal decoctions: The decoction contains Dummalla (Trichosanthes cucumerina), Katukarosana (Picrorrliza kurrooa), Asparagus roots (Asparagus racemosus), etc. with Eranda oil (oil obtained from seeds of the ricinus communis plant).
    After 7 days, it is changed into another decoction. These decoctions have mild laxative action, which purifies the impure blood and balances the aggravated Pitha dosha.
  5. Verechana karma (Purgation therapy) is also recommended for rheumatoid arthritis. Oral medicines are administered to induce purgation. It purifies the body and balances the pitha dosha.

External treatment

  1. Vasthi Karma or medicated enema treatment - is also used when the pain is more prominent. Depending on the stage of the disease, medicated oils or decoctions are administrated.
  2. Pinda oil: medicated oil, namely Pinda oil, is gently massaged over the affected joints. This oil is prepared with the base of sesame oil, bees wax, welmadata (Rubia cordifolia) et.al. It reduces localized pain and burning sensation and balances the Vatha and Pitha dosha.
  3. Special herbal pastes are also applied to the inflamed and affected joints. This special paste contains red sandle wood, sesame seeds, seeds of the ricinus communis (Eranda seeds) and milk. This is very good for reducing inflammation and pain.

Prospects of cure: Disease can be cured in the early stages. When there is any muscle wasting or when joint deformities have taken place already, it is very difficult to cure. Ayurveda medicine and therapies can however, bring about a reduction in symptoms and pain.