Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of Joints that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in affected joints. Unlike the common arthritis, it is an autoimmune disease, that is, our own immune system mistakenly attacks our healthy cells as in infections, wounds, and foreign objects. In addition to joints, it can also affect other body organs like eyes, heart, lungs etc.
In Ayurveda, RA is called as AMAVATA, where AMA means toxic particles evolved from improper digestion and assimilation. The AMA is, then, emulsified with Vata and gets spread on whole body and localized on joints, hearts, lungs and other parts of body. Our defence mechanism treats the AMA as a foreign body and forms the antibodies in order to fight. But, when it combines with AMA, it acts as an abnormal immune complex which leads to inflammatory changes and contribute to disease process.
Gender: Developing RA is 2 to 3 times more common in women.
Heredity: People may be affected if they have a history of RA in their families. Age: Although rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age, it likely to develop between the ages of 25 and 55.
Coffee and Cigarettes: Some studies have suggested that Smokers are also more at risk for developing RA Diet Habit: According to Ayurveda, it is the main risk factor for developing RA. Untimely and improper diet habit may leads to alteration in digestive power which is responsible for production of AMA.
Signs and symptoms:
• Involvement of symmetrical joints, morning stiffness, pain and swelling in joints, first involvement of small joints of finger and toes, nodules, deformity are the signs and symptoms of classical RA.
• Stiffness: Reduced mobility or movement of the affected joints. It is prominently seen early in the morning.
• Swelling: The area around the affected joint is swollen and puffy.
• Pain: in Ayurveda, the pain is described as the pain just like scorpion bite. • Nodules: These are hard bumps that appear on or near the join, may develop in nearly one-third of people who have rheumatoid arthritis. They often are found in the pressure points in the body like elbows. • Joint Deformity: In classical and chronic RA, joint deformity like anterior subluxation of metacarpo-phalengeal joint, ulnar deviation, swan neck deformities etc are seen.
Anorexia, loss of weight, lethargy, fever, depression, anemia, myolgia, pericarditis, cardiomyopathy, pleurisy, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.
Diet and Life Style modifications.
Patient digestive power is week. So he/she should take easily digestible, light and compatible food mixing with stomachic and digestive herbs like dry ginger, long piper, leadwort, garlic, cinnamon and cloves Amavata patient's diet should include leaves of Patola, Vastuka, Goshura etc. should take old rice, garlic, bitter gourd and horse gram in his/her diet.
Avoid consumption of curd, milk, buttermilk, fish, jaggery, oily foods, junk and fast foods, salty and sour foods, black gram, cold drinks.
• always use hot water to bathe • Avoid cold breeze and excessive wind.
• Empty bowels regularly. • Do not control natural urges. • Avoid late nights and afternoon naps.
Should take fomentation through warm sand particles packed in a piece of contton.
The aim of drug therapy is increasing the digestive power, removing of toxic or detoxification, correcting the immune response, relief from pain and swelling and minimizing the deformity.
1. Ama-Pachan or Anti-toxic Drugs
These medicines avoid the formation of toxin by enhancing digestive and assimilative power. a) Panchkola Qwath
b) Amavatari Rasa
c) Agnitundi Wati
d) Chitrakadi Wati e) Rasonadi Wati
2. Rog Pratirakshytmak or Immunomodulators:
As RA is an autoimmune disease, these medicines are prescribed to correct and enhance the immunity.
c) Amrita Guggulu
3. Bedanahar or Anti-inflammatory and Anti-Rheumatic Drugs.
These medicines are effective in pain and inflammation. They help to slowdown the disease progression.
a) Yograj Guggulu
b) Maha Yograj Guggulu
c) Sinhanad Guggulu
Panchakarma or Detoxification Therapy:
Panchkarma is used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease and improper diet habit. Ayurveda says that imbalanced doshas create waste matter. This waste matter is called Ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul smelling, sticky, noxious, substance that needs to be evacuated from the body as thoroughly as possible. Panchakarma permanently eliminates these toxins from the body, allowing healing and restoration of the tissues, channels, digestion and mental functions.
Yoga keeps the body free from impurities that are accumulated inside our body due to our bad food habit, wrong behavior and other external agents. In Ayurveda, various yogic practices are used for keeping equilibrium between the body, mind, and self, in order to establish health and harmony.
A new pathological research has demonstrated that herbal medicine can lead to unwanted deaths, especially in people who consume too much of their natural remedies, or who combine such substances with prescription medication. University of Adelaide forensic pathologist Professor Roger Byard underlines the fact that many herbal chemicals have very toxic compounds inside, which can kill an adult on their own when taken in excessive quantities, or when combined with other chemicals from other drugs.
Naturopaths agree that there are dangers in herbal medicines for people who self-diagnose and then ''treat'' themselves with off-the-shelf products. However, they say the industry is generally well regulated.
The problem is compounded when herbs are contaminated, poorly processed or replaced with a cheaper alternative.
"These substances may cause serious illnesses, exacerbate pre-existing health problems or result in death, particularly if taken in excess or injected rather than ingested."
"Herbal medicines are frequently mixed with standard drugs, presumably to make them more effective. This can also have devastating results," Byard says.
Many common herbs could cause severe side effects when used with conventional medicine, such as negating the effect of blood-thinning agent warfarin or making epileptic seizures more frequent.
Ginkgo and garlic also increase the risk of bleeding with anticoagulants and certain herbal remedies such as Borage Oil and Evening Primrose Oil lower the seizure threshold in epileptics, said a university release.
''I'm not saying don't take them - herbal medicine is a time-honoured practice with real benefits,'' Professor Byard said. ''But you should talk to your doctor and work it out together.''
On a newly done research, Dr Shyam Mani Adhikari pointed out that there is no laboratory facility or well established mechanism for standardization and monitoring so far in Nepal to assure and control the quality of such medicines, many questions are raised regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of these medicines. Hence, substandard Ayurvedic medicines also might have been brought to the market which not only defames Ayurvedic physicians and decreases faith to the Ayurveda but also creates a risk of public health hazards.
He recommended that it requires very urgent and serious multi-dimensional attempts by concerned authorities and other stakeholders to manage and regulate this situation.
The benefits of marijuana in tempering or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's disease have been challenged in a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Current Alzheimer Research, could lower expectations about the benefits of medical marijuana in combating various cognitive diseases and help redirect future research to more promising therapeutics.
Previous studies using animal models showed that HU210, a synthetic form of the compounds found in marijuana, reduced the toxicity of plaques and promoted the growth of new neurons. Those studies used rats carrying amyloid protein, the toxin that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims.
The new study, led by Dr. Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and a professor of psychiatry in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, was the first to test those findings using mice carrying human genetic mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease -- widely considered to be a more accurate model for the disease in humans.
"As scientists, we begin every study hoping to be able to confirm beneficial effects of potential therapies, and we hoped to confirm this for the use of medical marijuana in treating Alzheimer's disease," says Song, a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC and VCH Research Institute and Director of Townsend Family Laboratories at UBC.
"But we didn't see any benefit at all. Instead, our study pointed to some detrimental effects."
Over a period of several weeks, some of the Alzheimer's-afflicted mice were given varying doses of HU210 -- also known as cannabinoids -- which is 100 to 800 times more potent than the marijuana compounds. Their memory was then tested.
The mice treated with HU210 did no better than untreated mice, with those given low doses of HU210 performing the worst. The researchers also found that HU210-treated mice had just as much plaque formation and the same density of neurons as the control group. The group given higher doses actually had fewer brain cells.
"Our study shows that HU210 has no biological or behavioural effect on the established Alzheimer's disease model," says Song, the Jack Brown and Family Professor and Chair in Alzheimer's Disease. "More studies should be done before we place much hope in marijuana's benefits for Alzheimer's patients."