Ayurvedic Remedies For Childhood Arthritis
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Childhood Arthritis or Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a form of arthritis in children. It causes joint swelling or inflammation and joint stiffness. This type of arthritis affects children below 17 years of age. Juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disease. That means the immune system, which normally protects the body from foreign substances like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks your body. It is called idiopathic because no exact cause is known. Studies show that juvenile arthritis may be related to genetics, certain infections, and environmental triggers. This damage can make it difficult for the child to do everyday things like walk or dress, and it can result in disability.
According to Ayurveda, aggravated or imbalanced Vata, Kapha dosha, and accumulation of Ama are responsible for joint pains. In Ayurveda, Childhood Arthritis is defined under the Vyadhi Ama Vata. Ama Vata is caused as a result of the production of ama or toxins that lead to pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion. It occurs due to malfunctioning of the immune system. Some types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause serious complications, such as growth problems, joint damage, and eye inflammation. Treatment focuses on controlling pain and inflammation, improving function, and preventing damages.
There are five types of juvenile arthritis:
- Systemic arthritis
Systemic arthritis is also called Still's disease and it can affect the entire body or involve many systems of the body. The symptoms are high fever, joint aches, and a rash. It usually starts when a child is between 5 and 10 years old and affects boys and girls equally. .
Oligoarthritis is defined as arthritis affecting two to four joints during the first six months of disease. The joints most commonly affected are the knee, ankle, and wrist. Oligoarthritis can affect the eye most often the iris. This is known as uveitis, iridocyclitis, or iritis. This type of arthritis is more common in girls than in boys, and many children will outgrow this disease by the time they become adults.
Polyarthritis is a term used when at least five joints are affected with arthritis. Several diseases ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to infectious diseases can lead to polyarthritis. It is also called polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. This type of arthritis can affect the joints in the jaw and neck. This type is also more common in girls than in boys and more closely resembles the adult form.
- Psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects children who have both arthritis and the skin disorder psoriasis. Most children develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis; Children with this type of arthritis often have pitted fingernails.
- Enthesitis-related arthritis
Enthesitis-related juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a subtype of juvenile idiopathic arthritis that is characterized by both arthritis and inflammation of an enthesitis site (the point at which a ligament, tendon, or joint capsule attaches to the bone).
Different Types of juvenile arthritis or Childhood Arthritis are Systemic arthritis, Oligoarthritis, Polyarthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, and Enthesitis-related arthritis.
Symptoms may differ depending on the type of arthritis. Symptoms of juvenile arthritis may include:
- Pain, swelling, and tenderness in the joints.
- Weight loss.
- Blurred vision.
- Joint Stiffness, especially in the morning.
- Limping. .
- Eye redness or eye pain. .
- Persistent fever. .
The exact causes of juvenile arthritis are still unknown. But some factors that lead to Childhood Arthritis are:
- An autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks its cells and tissues. .
- Genetic mutations cause the immune system to act abnormally and attack its cells.
- An environmental trigger, such as a virus or a bacterial infection.
Ayurvedic Treatment For Childhood Arthritis
Ayurveda is a holistic approach that aims to pacify Vata and Ama Pachana. The main treatments are:
Shodhana is a purification therapy. The aggravated Doshas from the body that will get expelled out in this procedure. The different Shodhana Therapies are
Generally Snehana or Oleation is done with medicated ghee processed with milk and bitter medicines. Bahya Snehana (External Oleation) and Abhyantara Snehana (Internal Oleation) are the two primary types of Snehana. During Abhyantara Snehana, the patient is given special herbal preparations to ingest regularly. Medicated oil massages are given to the disease-affected and surrounding areas of the body for Bahya Snehana. Both are aimed at channelizing and collecting the toxins within the body.
In Lepa, Paste made of suitable medicines is applied over areas of pain, discoloration, edema, or burning. When the paste gets dried itself, it will be removed.
Abhyangam is an Ayurvedic oil massage technique that incorporates Marma therapy. Ayurvedic oil massage simultaneously stimulates and relaxes the body. The circulatory and lymphatic systems, as well as the sweat and sebaceous glands, are stimulated. Tense muscles relax, stiff joints loosen, and nerves are soothed with this abhyanga ayurvedic massage. The massage lubricates and moisturizes the skin while exfoliating dead skin cells. The combination of an Ayurvedic Oil Massage and a herbal steam bath is effective in getting rid of toxins and restoring the biochemical balance of the body.
In this treatment, pouring of herbal decoctions, medicated milk is useful, especially when a patient is suffering from a burning sensation or throbbing pain.
Vasti means Medicated or retention enemas. Medicated enema with medicated oils/ghee and Ksheera Basti (containing medicated milk) are useful to treat childhood Arthritis.
Vamana is a procedure in which Doshas (waste products or toxins) are eliminated through the oral route or mouth. This treatment is done for the aggravated Kapha dosha, which dislodges the toxins mainly from the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. This therapy is done for preventive and curative purposes.
Virechana is one of the Panchakarma therapies wherein purgation is induced by drugs and it specifically aims at the elimination of excessive Pitta Dosha from the body. Flushes out toxins and excess mucus from the small intestine, thus helping in improving digestion. It also enables fat digestion, thus helping in weight loss.
In the process of Nasyam, medicines are given in the form of nasal drops. It can be oil or any herb extract which pacifies Vata.
Shamana Chikitsa is performed after the completion of detoxification, or Shodhana Therapy. Shamana Chikitsa works on the root cause of disease and helps in eliminating it. In this Ayurvedic therapy, natural herbs and Ayurvedic natural spices are used. Natural herbs provide essential nutrition to body cells and prevent cell malnourishment. It helps in blood purification and prevents the transport of toxins to skin cells. These treatments help eliminate accumulated Doshas and Ama out of the body and to regain strength.
The different Ayurvedic treatments for Childhood Arthritis are Shamana Therapy and Shodhana Therapy. Shodhana Therapies are Snehana, Lepa, Abhyangam, Parishek, Vasti, Vamana, Virechanam, and Nasya.
A. Pathya Ahara
Some of the recommended foods by Ayurveda are:
- Warm water infused with Pippali, Pippalimula, Chavya, Chitraka, Shunthi in small quantities at a time helps in digestion and digestion of Aama.
- Consume Barley, horse gram, Kodo millet, and the red variety of rice. They are light and easy to digest. .
- Included food contains polyphenols, catechins, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin E, and low molecular weight compounds such as Green leafy vegetables and fruits. These constituents have antioxidant, fibrinolytic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Consume Vegetables, especially with bitter tastes like bitter melon, Neem, Patola or luffa, Gokharu, etc.
- Add Spices like ginger, turmeric, and garlic to the diet. These spices have antimicrobial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in enhancing Agni properties.
B. Apathy Ahara or Foods You Should Avoid
- Avoid Cold and impure water.
- Limit the use of Lentils like Urad and heavy foods.
- Vegetables like Arabi or colocasia antiquorum and Indian spinach should be avoided.
- Avoid Fish and seafood.
Various Ayurvedic herbal preparations used in the management of Childhood Arthritis are mentioned below:
Dashamoola is a traditional formulation made from the roots of 10 ayurvedic plants together. It helps to cure the imbalances of the Vata dosha in the body. This formulation is known to help remove Ama (toxins) from the deep channels in the body. It also acts as an antioxidant, helping to boost the immune system.
Rasna is an herb mentioned in Ayurveda for treating pain, indigestion, gout, cough, and general debility. This herb is used to pacify vitiated Vata dosha in the body and is very beneficial for curing various Vata disorders. .
- Eranda (Ricinus communis)
Eranda is one of the most widely used and readily available herbs in Ayurvedic treatments. The plant is commonly known as the Castor plant. It is still widely used herbal medicine in Vata Vyadhi.
- Bala (Sida cordifolia)
This herb is used to increase the strength of the body. It is widely used in different Ayurveda medicines and oils to improve the strength of bones, muscles, and joints. Thus it effectively treats childhood Arthritis.
- Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
In Ayurveda, Shatavari is considered a general health tonic to improve vitality. According to practitioners of Ayurveda, Shatavari possesses cooling, calming properties that can help to soothe and balance Vata and pitta doshas. It enhances reproductive and digestive health and also has rejuvenating and nourishing effects.
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
Guduchi is known for its detoxifying and rejuvenation qualities, making it a powerful herb to treat all three doshas. Giloy has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties that can help treat symptoms of arthritis. .
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
It is used for treating illnesses like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, stress, arthritic diseases, and cancer. Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system. .
- Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris)
Gokshura has various health benefits. It helps to reduce inflammation related to arthritis and provides pain relief.
The herbs used for the treatment of Childhood Arthritis are Dashmoola, Rasna, Eranda, Bala, Shatavari, Guduchi, Ashwagandha, and Gokshura.
Various oils used are:
- Panchakola Ghrita.
- Rasnadi Ghrita.
- Ashwagandha Ghrita.
- Castor oil.
- Dhanvantari Thailam. .
- Narayana Thailam.
The above-mentioned information related to Childhood Arthritis is taken from various Ayurvedic resources. Always take the advice of an Ayurvedic doctor before starting herbs and herbal medicines for the treatment.