7 Ayurvedic Herbs to Help Fight Arthritis Joint Pain
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Sep 14, 2020
Winter may be a festive season for many, but it’s also a time that some of us dread. After all, joint pain tends to increase in frequency and severity when the temperature drops. This is particularly problematic for individuals who suffer from chronic joint pain or arthritic diseases like osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. While staying warm and avoiding dry cold air outdoors may be the best advice, this is often inadequate. Fortunately, there is more that you can do to prevent or at least reduce the severity of joint pain.
Ayurvedic herbal remedies for arthritis are extremely effective at preventing and relieving joint pain, which makes them winter essentials. These herbs can be used in both oral medications and topical applications. We’ll take a look at some of the best choices.
7 Ayurvedic Herbs for Arthritis Relief
Despite its efficacy for joint pain, nirgundi remains one of Ayurved’s best kept secrets. The herb remains relatively unknown in the west, but it has attracted the interest of researchers in recent years. Its rich therapeutic profile is attributed to the presence of terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids, organic fatty acids, and oils present in the herb. The primary use in Ayurved is for pain relief, particularly for the joints.
The herb is primarily used as an oil, which is then massaged into the joints for quick relief. It has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects, reducing joint pain and protecting against joint degeneration.
One of the most valued Ayurvedic ingredients, guggulu is actually the gum resin of the mukul tree, which is itself an important medicinal herb. Traditionally, the ingredient has been used to treat obesity, heart disease, inflammatory disorders, and most importantly arthritic disease. Guggulu is regarded as effective for arthritis because of its potent anti-inflammatory effects. This traditional application of guggulu in Ayurvedic medicines for arthritis is supported by some modern research.
In one study, researchers found that knee osteoarthritis treatment with guggulu reduced pain and swelling in the knees, thereby improving mobility. Similarly, another study found that regular guggulu supplementation allowed patients to increase their walking distance.
Shallaki as an ingredient actually refers to the gum resin of the herb. It has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, primarily as a treatment for osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis. It can be administered both orally and topically, but is most effective as an oral medication. The ingredient is proven to reduce joint pain by lowering inflammatory markers and reducing swelling. This reduces dependence on NSAIDs and other pharmaceutical drugs, while also improving joint mobility.
Eucalyptus is the perfect herb for almost any winter woe whether you’re battling respiratory ailments or joint pain. Its heating energy pacifies vata and strengthens pitta. This improves circulation and metabolism, while reducing any internal chills. As a treatment for arthritis joint pain, eucalyptus is mainly used as in massage oils and balms to provide quick relief.
Most of eucalyptus benefits are linked to tannins and antioxidants that exert anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. With its warming action, eucalyptus strengthens the joints, while it also reduces inflammation and swelling that can otherwise restrict mobility.
Ajwain is well known to most of us as it is also an Indian culinary ingredient. If you suffer from joint pain, however, it would be a good idea to also acquaint yourself with its role Ayurved. Referred to in the west as caraway seeds, ajwain is not really a seed, but is a dried fruit pod. More important than its classification is the rich nutraceutical profile of ajwain, which can also help in the treatment of arthritis.
In addition to containing protein, carbs, fiber, and minerals, ajwain is rich in organic compounds that exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. For some quick relief, just add a teaspoon of ajwain to a basin of warm water for a soak. This should provide some relief within ten minutes.
Ginger is another popular seasoning and flavoring ingredient, but most Indians also recognize its therapeutic value. We use it in almost every home remedy, whether dealing with colds and coughs or indigestion. A large reason for the efficacy of ginger is its strong anti-inflammatory properties. This effect is so powerful that studies suggest it may work as a safe alternative to NSAID drugs. This makes it a viable treatment for arthritis.
A 2016 review specifically pointed to the potential role of ginger as a source of pharmaceuticals to help manage arthritis symptoms and restrict bone degeneration. When looking for Ayurvedic arthritis medicines for arthritis, look for products that include ginger or sunth (dried ginger).
Another herb that remains popular in every Indian kitchen, turmeric or haldi or haridra has long been prized for its medicinal value in Ayurved. In fact, most of us still turn to haldi as a remedy for respiratory infections, as well as for wound healing. Its health benefits are linked to its main bioactive compound – curcumin. This compound also exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that can relieve and protect against arthritic pain and joint degeneration.
Turmeric is great choice as it can be easily added to most dishes and can also be found in some of the most effective Ayurvedic medications for joint pain. Just try to have turmeric in combination with pepper as this aids curcumin absorption.
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