What is Osteoarthritis and how its treated by Ayurveda?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition of the joints in which the cartilage cushioning the ends of the bones gradually loses its elasticity and wears away. Without the protective cartilage, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing stiffness, inflammation, and loss of movement. Osteoarthritis treatment therapies with current conventional medicine typically focuses on pain reduction and control of inflammation; however, these approaches have no effect on the natural course of the disease.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis worldwide, with symptoms ranging from minor discomfort to debilitation. It can occur in any of the body’s joints but most often develops in the hands and weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips, and spine (usually in the neck or lower back). For people coping with advanced osteoarthritis, the effects are not only physical but also emotional as pain and decreasing mobility can limit the ability to work, participate in daily activities with friends and family, and enjoy life.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Researchers have identified several factors involved in the development and course of Osteoarthritis. Some of these factors include inflammation, biomechanical imbalances that put stress on the joints, and cellular disorders that lead to the abnormal breakdown of cartilage. It is important that the approach we use in treating Osteoarthritis. address as many of these factors as possible.
Ayurvedic Approaches to Osteoarthritis
Ayurveda uses to treat osteoarthritis and other disorders: Ayurvedic herbal treatments, Meditation & yoga.
Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments
Ayurveda offers many herbal treatments for the treatment of Osteoarthritis.. These plants have documented anti-inflammatory properties without the side effects of commonly prescribed medications. Ayurveda offers “safe and effective treatment alternatives” for Osteoarthritis.
Turmeric : Turmeric is a spice commonly used in home cooking. It is also used both orally and topically in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, many of which are related to inflammation. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to inhibit key inflammation-producing enzymes (lipo-oxygenase, cyclo-oxygenase, and phospholipase A2), thus disrupting the inflammatory cascade at three different stages.
Ashwagandha : Another Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), has known anti-inflammatory effects. In a study shows that, the extract of this herb was found to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory molecules (TNF-alpha and two interleukin subtypes. In one study, the anti-inflammatory effect of ashwagandha was comparable to taking the steroid hydrocortisone.
Ginger: The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger (Zinziber officinale) have also been documented. Ginger works as an anti-inflammatory by interfering with an enzyme (cyclooxygenase) that produces inflammatory chemicals in the body. There is some data showing that ginger has a moderate beneficial effect on OA of the knee. Further research is needed to determine the extent of ginger’s effectiveness in treating OA.
Triphala: The Ayurvedic herb triphala has been used in India for thousands of years for treatment of osteoarthritis. Triphala is a formulary that consists of three herbs (amalaki, haritaki, and bibhitaki). Preliminary studies show that the herbs in triphala have anti-inflammatory effects.
Guggulu: In addition, the herb guggulu (Commiphora guggul) has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of the enzyme NFKB, which regulates the body’s inflammatory response. There are several studies that show decreased inflammation and joint swelling after administration of extracts of guggulu resin.
Shatavari: Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is an Ayurvedic herb that is considered to have a soothing, cooling, and lubricating influence on the body. Studies have found that it has an inhibitory effect on chemicals that create inflammation in the body, such as TNF-alpha, and IL-1B.
Boswellia :There is evidence that the Ayurvedic herb Boswellia Serrata , also called Indian frankincense, alleviates joint pain and inflammation. Boswellia blocks an enzyme (5-lipoxygenase) that plays a major role in the formation of chemicals called leukotrienes, which stimulate and perpetuate inflammation. Researchers have found that people with osteoarthritis who took boswellia along with ashwagandha, turmeric, and zinc reported less joint pain and increased mobility and strength.
The Benefits of Meditation & Yoga :
Mind-body practices such as meditation& Yoga have value as part of a treatment regimen for chronic pain caused by a variety of conditions. Although to date there are no studies specifically done on the effects of meditation on osteoarthritis, several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can be useful in the treatment of pain syndromes.
Ayurveda has many therapies to offer in the treatment of osteoarthritis. These include yoga, meditation, and the appropriate use of herbal therapies. These modalities offer their benefits without the significant risks associated with conventional medical treatments. By treating the underlying imbalances and by integrating body, mind, and spirit, we can develop a better connection to Self and a better sense of health and happiness.j
Dr. Radha Priya is a practitioner of the ancient Indian System of medicine- Ayurveda. She is accomplished in the science of diagnosis using Nadi Pariksha which she learnt under the guidance of several Himalayan Gurus. She also combinates personalized medicines based on the diagnosis.
She is an invited speaker at National Ayurveda Seminar in Bangalore and at another meeting in Bellary. Her paper on Nadi Pariksha won the best paper award at an International Seminar. She is passionate about promoting Ayurveda and to this end has been teaching Nadi Pariksha to interested students for the last 3 years Administering Swarna Prashana to students in Govt schools. She was called up for a guest lecture at AVP academy- Coimbatore to teach Brazil Ayurveda students. , to know more pls visit Brahmi Vaidyalaya or call at 8892902456