Rheumatoid Arthritis


Rheumatoid Arthritis (Aamvata) is a condition that has been a subject of significant interest in the realm of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. In this article, we will delve into the Ayurvedic perspective on Rheumatoid Arthritis, exploring its diagnosis, causes, and holistic treatments that have been time-tested for centuries.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a completely different condition from osteoarthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, every major joint in the body gets affected one by one. It can occur in middle age too. This condition begins with subtle symptoms like warmth in the body. Many people tend to ignore these early signs, and over time, the disease becomes more noticeable. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition with a long history.

Understanding Ayurveda

A. Concept of Dosha and Aam:

In Ayurveda, the concept of doshas is crucial in understanding conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, known as “Aamvata.” There are three dosha present in our body which regulate normal functioning of all organs and structures inside the body. These are Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha. According to Ayurvedic principles, rheumatoid arthritis is believed to be caused by an imbalance of the Vata dosha. The Vata dosha, responsible for movement and flexibility, becomes imbalanced, contributing to the inflammatory nature of rheumatoid arthritis.

In Ayurveda, the concept of “Aam” holds significance in understanding rheumatoid arthritis. Aam refers to the accumulation of undigested or improperly processed substances in the body, leading to the formation of toxins. In the context of rheumatoid arthritis, Aam is considered a contributing factor to the development and progression of the condition. In the context of Aamvata, the aggravated Vata combines with Ama and circulates in the body, affecting the joints and leading to symptoms such as pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

B. Role of Digestive fire (Agni):

According to Ayurveda, the role of the digestive fire, known as “Agni,” is crucial in understanding rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Agni represents the body’s digestive capacity and metabolic fire, responsible for breaking down and assimilating nutrients from the food we consume. The health of Agni is considered paramount in Ayurveda, as it directly influences overall well-being.

In the context of rheumatoid arthritis, a weakened or impaired Agni is believed to contribute to the accumulation of undigested substances, leading to the formation of toxins (Ama). The presence of Ama, when combined with aggravated doshas, particularly Vata, can result in inflammatory conditions such as RA.

Ayurvedic principles highlight the importance of maintaining robust Agni to ensure proper digestion and prevent the creation of Ama. Improving Agni involves adopting dietary practices that support digestion, choosing foods appropriate for one’s constitution (Prakriti), and following a lifestyle that promotes digestive health.

III. Ayurvedic Explanation of Aamvata

A. Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis: 

According to Ayurveda, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is believed to be influenced by various factors related to digestion, lifestyle, and dietary habits. The causes of RA in Ayurveda are as follows:

1. Low Digestive Power/Hunger: 
  • Impaired digestive power or low hunger is considered a predisposing factor for RA in Ayurveda. When digestion is weakened, it can lead to the accumulation of undigested substances (Ama), contributing to inflammatory conditions.
2. Frequent Intake of Viruddha Food: 
  • Consuming incompatible food combinations, known as Viruddha food, is considered detrimental. Such combinations can disrupt digestion and metabolism, potentially leading to the formation of Ama and aggravation of doshas.
3. Excess and Wrong Exercise: 
  • Engaging in excessive or incorrect physical activities and movements is identified as a factor contributing to RA. Improper exercise can disturb the balance of doshas and impact joint health.
4. Exercise after Eating Oily Food: 
  • Exercising immediately after consuming oily or heavy foods is discouraged in Ayurveda. This combination is believed to hamper digestion and contribute to the accumulation of Ama in the body.
5. Digestive power or hunger may reduce due to the following factors:
  • Frequent FastingRegular or excessive fasting can weaken the digestive fire, leading to imbalances in the body.
  • Excessive EatingOvereating, beyond the capacity of digestion, is considered a causative factor for reduced digestive power.
  • Continued Consumption of Incompatible FoodsConsistent intake of foods that do not suit one’s body type (Prakruti) or are cold and dry can diminish digestive strength.
  • Frequent Eating HabitsIrregular and inconsistent eating habits can disrupt the natural rhythm of digestion, potentially contributing to Ama formation.
  • Wrong Panchakarma and HabitsIncorrectly performed Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification procedures) and other habits can adversely affect digestive health and contribute to the development of RA.
  • Unhealthy Habits like Drinking Water on an Empty StomachCertain habits, such as drinking water on an empty stomach or consuming hot water with honey, are considered unfavorable and may impact digestion negatively.

B. Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

1. Early Stage:

According to Ayurveda, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has a prolonged progression, exhibiting early signs before the manifestation of the main disease. Recognizing and treating these prodromal signs can significantly reduce the impact of the disease. The early signs, occurring about 6 months to 2 years before major symptoms, include:

  • Heaviness in BodyIndividuals may experience a sense of heaviness in the body, indicating an imbalance.
  • Fatigue Even After RestPersistent fatigue, even after adequate rest, is a common prodromal sign of RA.
  • FeverLow-grade fever may be present as an early indication of the developing condition.
  • Muscle Spasm and PainMuscular discomfort, spasms, and mild pain may precede the more severe symptoms.
  • Reduced Intake of FoodA decrease in appetite or reduced intake of food can be an early sign of the impending disease.
  • Irritation to Excess Sound and LightHeightened sensitivity to excessive sound and light may be observed during this phase.
  • Irregular Sleep and Excess DreamsDisturbed sleep patterns, along with an increase in vivid dreams, may be early indicators.
  • Foul Smelling FecesChanges in bowel habits, such as foul-smelling feces, may be associated with the prodromal stage.
  • Digestive Disorders like Constipation: Digestive disturbances, including constipation, can be part of the early signs of RA.
  • Increased Urination & SweatingChanges in urinary frequency and increased sweating may be noticed during this period.
  • Body AcheGeneralized body ache may be present, hinting at the onset of the disease.
  • Excessive ThirstUnexplained excessive thirst can be an early symptom during the prodromal stage.
  • Feeling of Emptiness in Some Body PartsSensations of emptiness or hollowness in certain body parts may be reported.

2. Late Stage: 

When the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms become more pronounced:
  • Pains and Swelling in JointsSevere pain and swelling in various joints, including the hands, feet, head, ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders.
  • Severe Low HungerA marked decrease in appetite may be observed, indicating a more advanced stage.
  • Increased Hardness of AbdomenThe abdomen may become notably harder, reflecting the severity of the condition.
  • Disturbed Sleep: Ongoing disturbances in sleep patterns, along with other symptoms, are indicative of progressed RA.

C. Process Behind Formation of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

According to Ayurvedic perception, the occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is intricately linked to the state of Agni, or digestive power. When Agni is robust, the likelihood of developing this disease diminishes. The fundamental requirement for RA is a diminished digestive power. The sequence begins with an individual having low hunger or weakened digestive power. Subsequently, the digestive system fails to properly digest food, resulting in undigested or partially digested food. The body begins to absorb nutrients from this incompletely processed food, forming a substance known as Aam. This Aam accumulates in the body. Simultaneously, due to excessive and improper exercises or work, the Vaat dosha increases. The combination of Vaat and Aam then travels through the body, facilitated by the movement of Vaat dosha. This amalgamation shifts from one joint to another over time, leading to pain and stiffness that relocate according to the movement of Aam and Vaat. Ultimately, this process culminates in the manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis. 

Ayurvedic Treatment of RA

A. Herbal remedies: 

Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through a combination of herbal medicines. These Ayurvedic formulations aim to address the underlying imbalances in the body, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms associated with RA. Some commonly used Ayurvedic medicines for rheumatoid arthritis include:

  1. AshwagandhaKnown for its anti-inflammatory properties, Ashwagandha helps in reducing joint pain and stiffness associated with RA.
  2. GuggulGuggul is renowned for its anti-arthritic effects. It helps in managing inflammation and supports joint health.
  3. TurmericCurcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It aids in alleviating pain and swelling in RA.
  4. Triphala GugguluThis Ayurvedic formulation combines Guggul with Triphala, promoting detoxification and supporting joint health.
  5. BoswelliaBoswellia exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial in reducing joint pain and improving mobility.
  6. GiloyGiloy has immunomodulatory effects, helping to regulate the immune system and manage autoimmune conditions like RA.

B. Ayurvedic Therapies

Ayurveda provides a range of therapies aimed at managing and alleviating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These therapies are designed to restore balance to the body, reduce inflammation, and enhance overall well-being. Some key Ayurvedic therapies for RA include:
  1. PanchakarmaPanchakarma, a comprehensive detoxification therapy, involves various cleansing procedures to eliminate toxins (Ama) from the body. This can help in reducing inflammation and promoting joint health.
  2. Abhyanga (Oil Massage): Regular oil massage with herbal oils, such as Mahanarayan oil, can improve joint flexibility, reduce stiffness, and provide relief from pain associated with RA.
  3. Swedana (Herbal Steam Therapy)Swedana involves exposing the body to herbal steam, which helps in relaxing muscles, improving circulation, and reducing joint stiffness in RA.
  4. Basti (Enema Therapy)Basti is a therapeutic enema using herbal decoctions or oils. It is beneficial in pacifying Vata dosha, reducing inflammation, and promoting joint health.
  5. Nasya (Nasal Administration)Nasya involves the application of medicated oils or herbal preparations through the nasal passage. It is believed to have a positive impact on joint health and immune function in RA.
  6. Lepa (Herbal Paste Application)External application of herbal pastes, known as Lepa, can be beneficial in reducing swelling and inflammation in affected joints.
  7. Dhanyamla Dhara (Medicated Fermented Liquid Pouring)This therapy involves pouring medicated fermented liquid over the affected joints, providing relief from pain and inflammation.

V. Preventive Measures for Aamvata

A. Dietary modification: 

Ayurvedic dietary modifications for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) focus on reducing inflammation, balancing doshas, and supporting overall joint health. Here are some general dietary guidelines for individuals with RA:

  • Anti-Inflammatory FoodsEmphasize foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, and green leafy vegetables. These can help mitigate inflammation in the joints.
  • Warm and Light FoodsFavor warm, light, and easily digestible foods. Avoid heavy, cold, and oily foods, as they may exacerbate Vata and contribute to joint discomfort.
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter): Include moderate amounts of ghee in your diet. Ghee is believed to have lubricating properties that can benefit joint health.
  • Whole GrainsChoose whole grains like quinoa, millet, and amaranth over refined grains. Whole grains provide fiber and nutrients without causing digestive issues.
  • Fresh Fruits and VegetablesIncorporate a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Berries, citrus fruits, and colorful vegetables are beneficial.
  • Lean ProteinsOpt for lean protein sources such as fish, tofu, legumes, and lean poultry. Protein is essential for muscle health and can aid in the repair of joint tissues.
  • Herbal TeasDrink herbal teas with anti-inflammatory properties, such as ginger tea or turmeric tea. These can support digestion and reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid NightshadesSome individuals with RA find relief by avoiding nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, and bell peppers, as these may contribute to inflammation in some cases.
  • Probiotic-Rich FoodsInclude probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables to support gut health. A healthy gut is linked to reduced inflammation.
  • Limit Processed Foods: Reduce the intake of processed and refined foods, as they may contain additives and preservatives that could exacerbate inflammation.

B. Lifestyle Modification

Ayurvedic lifestyle modifications for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) focus on balancing doshas, improving overall well-being, and managing stress. Here are some Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendations for individuals with RA:
  • Regular ExerciseEngage in gentle and regular exercise, such as yoga or walking. Avoid strenuous activities that may strain the joints. Exercise helps improve flexibility and strengthens the muscles around the joints.
  • Maintain a RoutineEstablish a daily routine that includes regular waking and sleeping times. Consistency in daily habits helps balance Vata dosha, which is often associated with joint disorders.
  • Adequate RestEnsure sufficient rest and sleep. Allow the body to rejuvenate and repair during the nighttime hours. Quality sleep is crucial for managing inflammation and supporting overall health.
  • Stress ManagementPractice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness. Chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms of RA, and managing stress is integral to Ayurvedic lifestyle principles.
  • Warmth and ComfortKeep the body warm and comfortable. Cold and damp conditions can aggravate Vata dosha, leading to increased joint discomfort. Use warm clothing and blankets as needed.
  • Joint ProtectionTake measures to protect the joints during daily activities. Use assistive devices or techniques to reduce strain on the affected joints.
  • Avoid OverexertionBe mindful of physical activities to prevent overexertion. Balance rest and activity to avoid excessive strain on the joints.
  • Maintain Emotional Well-beingCultivate positive emotions and maintain emotional balance. Emotional well-being is closely linked to overall health, and Ayurveda emphasizes the mind-body connection.
  • Seasonal AdjustmentsAdjust lifestyle habits according to seasonal changes. Adapting to the seasons helps harmonize the body with its environment and prevents aggravation of doshas.

C. Yoga for Healthy Mind and Body

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can benefit from specific yoga asanas (poses) that are gentle, promote flexibility, and focus on strengthening without putting excessive strain on the joints. Here are some yoga poses that may be suitable for individuals with RA:
  • TadasanaA foundational pose that helps improve posture, balance, and awareness of body alignment.
  • VrikshasanaA standing pose that enhances balance and strengthens the legs without putting excessive stress on the joints.
  • MarjarasanaA gentle flowing sequence that helps improve spinal flexibility and mobility.
  • BalasanaA resting pose that stretches the back, shoulders, and hips, promoting relaxation and flexibility.
  • Setu BandhasanaA gentle backbend that strengthens the legs, buttocks, and lower back while being adaptable to individual comfort.
  • BhujangasanaA backbend that promotes flexibility in the spine and strengthens the muscles along the back.
  • Adho Mukha SvanasanaA full-body stretch that engages the arms, shoulders, and legs while promoting overall flexibility.
  • Virabhadrasana IA standing pose that strengthens the legs, hips, and core while encouraging balance.
  • Virabhadrasana IIA pose that opens the hips and strengthens the legs, promoting stability and endurance.
  • MatsyasanaA gentle backbend that opens the chest and throat, providing relief to the shoulders and neck.


Ayurveda has shown promising results in managing Rheumatoid Arthritis by addressing the root causes and promoting overall well-being.

Collaborative efforts between Ayurveda and modern medicine are increasingly recognized for providing comprehensive care for individuals with Aamvata.

Ayurvedic dietary recommendations aim to balance doshas, and individuals with Aamvata may benefit from personalized dietary changes.

The timeline for results varies from person to person, and Ayurvedic treatments focus on long-term well-being rather than quick fixes.

For additional information and resources, you can explore reputable Ayurvedic centers and consult experienced practitioners.

Uniqueness of our therapies  

At Arogya Mandir – Shri Siddhanath Ayurvedic Hospital, Miraj, we delve deeply into the ayurvedic examination of each patient. Utilizing noninvasive Ayurvedic diagnostic tools such as Ashtavidha Parikshan and Nadi Parikshan, we precisely determine the pathogenesis of the disease and then prescribe therapies tailored to the specific condition. This approach leads to expedited results.

Our therapies boast the following distinctive features:
– Tranquil and hygienic therapy rooms staffed with trained therapists in a positive environment.
– Selection of appropriate massage oil based on the patient’s Prakruti and the condition of the disease.
– Complimentary Prakruti and Dhatu Sarata examinations before the commencement of therapies.
– Authenticated procedures for each therapy.
– Judicious use of herbal medicines and instruments during the therapy sessions.
– Specialized rooms equipped with all facilities for inpatient care.

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