Osteoarthritis — one of the most common forms of Arthritis — is a chronic, degenerative joint disease, which can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in any of the joints in the body, generally experienced in the morning. However, the condition mostly affects some particular joints including the joints in the hands, hips, knees, lower back, neck and spine.
The usual medications of Osteoarthritis can bring only moderate relief to affected individuals, because of which Osteoarthritis alternative treatment is becoming increasingly popular as it is natural, safe and effective.
Osteoarthritis generally affects people after the age of 45 years, though Juvenile Osteoarthritis has also been causing a lot of concern in recent times.
Osteoarthritis is characteristically a debilitating disorder which leads to reduced mobility in affected individuals, typically in their middle age, because the smooth cartilage lining breaks down and erodes over time due to stress on the joints. As a result, the cartilage cushion can no longer protect the bones which get rubbed against one another and cause intense pain and stiffness.
The exact cause the occurrence of Osteoarthritis is not known. But, it is believed that the development and progression of the condition is dependent on a number of factors. Some of these factors are inflammation, cellular disorders which lead to the unusual breakdown of cartilage, and biomechanical imbalances which excessively pressurise the joints. Whatever the cause of the disorder may be, natural treatment for Osteoarthritis can be very helpful in managing the condition.
Natural Treatment for Osteoarthritis in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Osteoarthritis is referred to as ‘Sandhivata,’ with ‘Sandhi’ meaning ‘the joint’ and ‘Vata’ implying the ‘Vata Dosha’ of the body. The disorder, therefore, develops due to increased Vata activities inside the joints (Sandhis). Vata can cause cartilage damage and reduce the Synovial fluid inside the joint capsule, because Vata is ‘dry’ in nature and absorbs the fluids from the body parts.
Osteoarthritis alternative treatment essentially revolves around the use of some potent and useful herbs, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties since olden times. This treatment is considered to be much safer as compared to some of the commonly prescribed medications and joint-replacement surgery, which can cause significant — and sometimes life-threatening — side-effects.
It is also noteworthy that research has revealed that the use of herbs, which forms natural treatment for Osteoarthritis, can effectively alleviate joint pain as well as control of inflammation, without any of the side-effects linked to conventional medications and therapies.
Some of the herbs which have time-tested properties of reducing inflammation have been listed below.
The use of Boswellia (Boswellia serrata or ‘Indian frankincense’) is considered an effective Osteoarthritis alternative treatment because of the herb’s proven anti-inflammatory capabilities. The herb can also reduce joint pain and increase the mobility of joints.
Specifically, Boswellia has the ability to block ‘leukotrienes’ and other substances, which have an adverse effect on healthy joints in Arthritis by stimulating and perpetuating inflammation.
Ginger or ‘Sonth’ (Zinger officinale) is also known to have an immense medicinal value, because of its well-known anti-inflammatory actions. The use of ginger is very beneficial for managing all types of Arthritis, especially Osteoarthritis of the knee.
Ginger is an excellent Osteoarthritis alternative herbal treatment because it can effectively reduce swelling in a natural manner. Ginger can block the ‘cyclooxygenase’ enzyme which produces inflammatory chemicals in the body, increase blood circulation, and bring heat and healing properties to the affected joints.
This yellow-coloured household spice has proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thanks to its key active component called Curcumin. Since ancient times, turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been widely used by Ayurveda practitioners for relieving pain and inflammation, and treating a number of health conditions.
For best results, turmeric should be used by Osteoarthritis patients in their daily cooking along with dried ginger or black pepper. Alternatively, turmeric can also be applied topically to get relief from joint stiffness and muscle pains.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is another useful herb for managing Osteoarthritis naturally. The herb is known for its anti-inflammatory actions, and is used in a number of Ayurvedic formulations. It is widely available in supplement form.
The use of Ashwagandha is believed to be a beneficial natural treatment for Osteoarthritis because of its ability to reduce inflammation, lower the cortisol levels, strengthen the joints/muscles, and pacify the Vata and Pitta doshas of the body.
Another amazing herb which is believed to be an excellent Osteoarthritis alternative treatment is Nirgundi (Vitex Negundo), thanks to its numerous health benefits which have been known to Ayurveda practitioners since olden days.
Nirgundi is considered a miraculous herb with remarkable properties for managing Arthritis and other painful and inflammatory conditions. In particular, the use of Nirgundi can relieve pain, work as a wonderful muscle relaxant, suppress Kapha, and manage Vata-related disorders. In general, Nirgundi is known for its properties as ‘Shothhar’ (to reduce inflammation) and ‘Vatahara’ (to pacify Vata dosha).
Guggul (Commiphora mukul) refers to the resin which is formed from the sap of the Guggul tree. Ayurveda practitioners have been using Guggul in the preparation of a number of formulations for more than two thousand years. Guggul basically contains substances which lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
The use of Guggul is beneficial for Osteoarthritis patients because the herb can bring relief from pain and swelling, manage disorders related to bones and joints, support muscle health, maintain Vata balance, and improve the immunity of the body.
Triphala comprises three extremely beneficial herbs which are known for their anti-inflammatory effects. These three herbs are: Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), and Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica).
The use of Triphala is very beneficial as Osteoarthritis alternative treatment, and has been recommended by Ayurveda practitioners since centuries for the effective management of pain and inflammation.
Conclusion: Natural treatment for Osteoarthritis can strengthen the joints and lubricate them, and also prevent further deterioration in the joints. In addition, natural treatment can also balance the body’s Vata dosha and rejuvenate the damaged cartilages which cause painful and inflammatory conditions that are commonly associated with Osteoarthritis.