The modern science has classified Arthritis, Joint Pains, Rheumatism, fibromyalgia etc., all under the connective tissue disorders, where as Ayurved has dealt these under different headings such as sandhi vata, Amavata , rakta vata etc.

According to Ayurvedic principles these problems are due to Vitiated Vata (Dooshita vata). Dietary habits, lifestyle, stress, anxiety, tensions (chinta) and toxins constantly increase vata and increased vata is known for creating pain. Ayurved sees arthritis as caused by poor digestion, which in turn creates undigested food toxins (ama) spreading all over the body causing arthritis.

Ayurvedic approach to diagnosis and treatment is through doshas (Vata, pitta, kapha) and dushyas (7 tissues) .It aims to treat the underlying cause such a Vata (air humor) ,Ama ( toxins) through internal and external medication .

Apart from internal and external medication dietary habits and life style play an important role. Wrong lifestyle and wrong dietary habits have to be corrected .The way in which food (diet) is to be consumed which will be helpful in maintaining health is termed as ‘pathyam’-Path. It means a way, which leads us to health. Therefore Ayurved rightly states that unless you follow ‘pathya’ (right dietary habit) you will not get the expected benefit of herbs

  • What is osteoarthritis?
  • Will it affect me?
  • Does exercise cause osteoarthritis?
  • How would I know that I am suffering from osteoarthritis?
  • Which joints are most vulnerable?
  • What are the common investigations to be done?
  • What is the treatment of osteoarthritis?
  • How Arthritis Management Program will help my Arthritis?
  • What precautions should I take?
  • What dietary and other recommendations should I follow?

 What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease of cartilage. You have a cup of cartilage at the end of each bone. Cartilage is present in your ears and also at the tip of your nose. The ends of the bone joints, in the body, are capped with cartilage. The cartilaginous caps rub against each other with movement of the joints. Cartilage is almost like a wet rubber with the characteristics of a spring than that of a calcified bone. (According to ayurved, “shleshak kapha” which is situated in each joint facilitates its movement.).

Each joint has a normal range of motion. The joints are made to work by contraction and relaxation of muscles, attached via tendons and ligaments to surrounding bones and also to one another; opposite muscles prevent the joints from moving beyond their normal range.

Now let us think about arthritis. The word arthritis means inflammation (swelling) of the joints but in osteoarthritis the basic defect is the degeneration of cartilage through the process of inflammation. The cartilage cap begins to erode and break or even a piece of the bone may erode from its surface. At the end of the split, the degenerated cartilage destroys and exposes the end of the bone itself.

On the other hand, in rheumatoid arthritis the membrane, which surrounds the joint, gets inflamed. It may involve several joints in the body.

Will it affect me?

Osteoarthritis is very common almost every aging person gets affected with it.  Usually, after the age of 50 years it appears as stiffness and pain of joints. After the age of 60 in more than 90% cases there are X-ray evidences of osteoarthritis.

Besides pain, it can cause severe limitations of movement and physical activity. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder, it does increase with age but it can also occur in young people.

It is one of the inevitable processes of aging affecting mainly the joints, which subjects to most wear and tear. The weight bearing joints (those of legs – and spine) which are subjected to abnormal stress by faulty posture, or deformity are especially vulnerable.

Does exercise cause osteoarthritis?

As you know that osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) follows injury and excessive exercise can cause injury.  If you are already suffering from osteoarthritis, you should avoid additional injury or shock to the joints through exercise. When your knees are involved, instead of jogging you can go for other exercise such as swimming, water sports etc.

How would I know that I am suffering from osteoarthritis?

  1. Pain is the most frequent symptom of osteoarthritis. Mild pain can be controlled by mild analgesics. One of the typical features of the pain is that it aggravates with the movement and relieves with the rest.
  2. There may be some redness and slight swelling on the surface of the affected joint.  The involved joint may be tender to press.
  3. In some instances fluids accumulates and swells the joint.
  4. Stiffness is characteristically of short duration. Usually, it goes away soon after the involved joints are used. As the disease aggravates further, span of the movement gradually decreases and the joint becomes increasingly stiff and the stiffness may persist for hours.
  5. The damaged bony ends may cause deformity. The joint that are involved may produce bony spine in some instances, which can cause pressure on never or tissue structures causing pain. This deformed joint may cause abnormal movement and irritable muscle leading to muscular spasm and pain.
  6. There may be grating or cracking noise (crepitus) as the involved joint is moved.

 Which joints are the most vulnerable?

  1. Weight bearing joints are affected mostly.
  2. Finger joints – nodule on the terminal joint of finger (Heberden’s nodes) may be produced and sometimes they become red and swollen.
  3. The knees – are commonly involved. Usually both the knees get affected and there may be considerable enlarged.
  4. Hips – are also frequent site of involvement producing symptoms such as pain over the front of the joint or lower abdomen.
  5. Spine – apophysial joints of spine, cervical spine and lumbar spine are predominantly involved. Involvement of cervical spine may give rise to symptoms such as neck pain and headache; also it can put pressure on the major arteries of the brain.  When the lumbar spine is involved (particularly with disk degeneration), pressure on spinal cord may cause pain and numbness in leg.
  6. The feet and ankle joints are commonly involved.

 What are the common investigations to be done?

  • X ray – is the most valuable aid for making diagnosis.
  • Blood test – will help to rule out other forms of arthritis such as uric acid for gouty arthritis and R.A. test for rheumatoid arthritis etc.

 What is the treatment of osteoarthritis?

  1. Rest: – The pain of osteoarthritis, often increases by the motion of affected joints and relieves from resting.
  2. Exercise – It is essential to maintain your muscle strength and the body flexibility. Your involved joints should be moved through their full range of motion at least once every day.  Be sure that all your movements are slow and gentle; never exercise beyond the point of tolerance.
  3. Posture and flexibility – Good posture and flexibility will delay the loss of function of joints that are involved in osteoarthritis.
  4. Physiotherapy.
  5. Analgesic and pain killer tablets.
  6. Heat: – Heat or sudation is often helpful in relieving pain.
  7. Surgical treatment: – Sometimes the removal of cartilage fragments and repair of the structure, significantly improves the function. In some instance, joints that are severely damaged can be replaced.

 How Arthritis Management Program will help my Arthritis?

Ayurveda offers a wide range of treatment to combat the disease. If you turn towards Ayurvedic treatment at the initial stage of the disease, it will surely help you to alleviate your symptoms.

According to Ayurved, it is a disease you are likely to be attacked in the fourth decade of your life, this is the period of life when the vata dosha dominates.

Hence the treatment given for osteoarthritis is mainly vatahar (which alleviates vata dosha). But in some cases it can be associated with kapha dosha and aama (which is formed in the body by improper digestion of the food due to weak digestive power).


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  • Helps remove toxins surrounding joints and thus relives from pain.
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  • Helps decrease uric acid and act as immuno-modulator to support in rheumatoid arthritis condition.
  • Addresses swelling, redness and inflammation.



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What precautions should I take?

  1. Protect yourself from humidity.
  2. Stay active.
  3. Avoid foods, which trigger arthritis. If you notice that your condition worsens after eating certain food then avoids consumption of such foods.
  4. Bring down your weight. Being overweight can enhance damage to the joints by putting excess pressure on them.
  5. Meditate to avoid stress.
  6. Immobilize the joint that is very painful or inflamed with devices such as cervical collar, splints, slings etc.

 What dietary and other recommendations should I follow?

While describing vatavyadhi certain rules, regarding the diet and the conduct, are described in various ayurvedic texts.  Sciatica is also a vata-dominating disease.

You can follow dietary recommendations, mentioned bellow:

  1. Wheat, red rice and shasthika, can be major constituent of your diet. Add onion, garlic, ginger, radish, carrot, gourd, serpent gourd, ladies finger, pumpkin gourd, green gram, horse gram, black gram etc., in your regular diet.
  2. Fruits like pomegranate, mango, grape fruit, orange etc., can also be taken.
  3. Always drink boiled water or drink water that is processed with mushta and other drugs, which alleviates vata. Sesame oil, castor oil, gomutra, fats of various animals alleviates vata.
  4. Oil massage on body and affected part of the body, tub bath, unction and hot fomentation or sudation, poultice will reduce your pain Regular exercise and proper rest, also alleviates vata.

You can avoid the dietary stuffs mentioned below:

  1. Avoid grains, which are labeled as kshudra dhanya such as maize, varak etc.
  2. Certain pulses and cereals, which aggravate vata, are cowpeas, kidney beans, gram, peas, green peas and spiked dolichos etc. Do not consume them if you are suffering from diseases that are caused by vata.
  3. Avoid dried fish, pungent and astringent or salty food. Do not drink cold water, air chilled soft drinks, unpurified water etc.
  4. Avoid excessive exertion, awaking at night and sleeping at day, long walks, cold-water swimming, cold-water bath etc.
  5. Do not suppress your natural urges such as urine, flatus, stool, yawing, vomiting, sneezing, eructation, hunger, thirst, sleep and breathing after exertion.