Rheumatoid Arthritis Ayurvedic Treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune (body’s immune system attacks its own cells) inflammatory disease affecting the joints. In some people, the disease attacks other bodily systems like lungs, heart, blood vessels, eyes etc. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Signs and Symptoms

If the disease is confined to joints only, the person experiences pain, swelling, redness and tenderness (pain on touching the part) over the joints; morning stiffness (stiffened joints in the morning after getting up from sleep, or after taking rest); fever; reduced hunger and lethargy. Smaller joints (eg: fingers) are affected first, and they bigger joints are also involved. The symptoms develop on both sides of body equally (eg: fingers on both hands, both shoulders etc). Later on, the disease affects other body parts like heart, lungs, blood vessels, skin etc. There is intermittent periods of remission and relapse for the disease. Gradually, joint deformities (change in shape) develop which make the person difficult to perform day to day activities. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Ayurvedic Analysis

The vitiated rakta first obstructs the pathway of vata and then vitiate it. Rakta is further gets vitiated by the dushta vata leading to vatashonita. Later, the vitiated rakta and vata together attack other dhatu (tissues). Vatashonita develops in two stages- Utthana (acute) and Gambheera (chronic). Utthana stage often involves twak (skin) and mamsa (muscle tissue), while Gambheera stage involves all the other tissues in body. The disease may sometimes start as Gambheera stage. 

The main symptoms of Utthana stage are itching and pain over the joints, skin discolouration and burning sensation, and those of the Gambheera stage are severe pain, swelling, bumps over the joints of fingers/ toes, joint deformities and disabilities like limping. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causative Factors (Ayurveda)

Rakta dhatu vitiates by excessive consumption of vidahi (food that produces acidity/ burning sensation during or after digestion)/ viruddha ((incompatible food)/ asruk dushana (that which causes vitiation of rakta dhatu) foods, irregular sleep patterns, delicate body, sedentary habit, trauma or accumulation of mala in body. Vata is aggravated by its own vitiating factors like over consumption of cold food. The disease often starts from toes or fingers and then spread to bigger joints. 

Individuals who are accustomed to luxury lifestyles, sedentary habit and those having delicate body are prone to develop vatashonita

Possible Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease

Rheumatoid nodules over the joints, recurrent infections, heart disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoporosis, dryness of mouth and eyes, and lung disease are the common complications of chronic/ untreated rheumatoid arthritis. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

There may be associated heart/ lung/ kidney disorders with rheumatoid arthritis. Also consider other diseases (like hypertension, diabetes), before starting treatment as they may interfere with the action of therapies. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Management with Ayurveda Treatment

The management of vatashonita is based on the state of dosha, stage of disease, the presence of ama (dosha in immature stage), lifestyle, occupation, prakruthi, place of residence etc. Suitable internal medicines are given. The treatment procedures include, rukshana (if ama is present), snehana (internal/ external/ both) like abhyanga, snehapana; swedana (mild), virechana (purgation therapy), vasthi (enema with suitable drug), raktamoksha (blood-letting) and lepana (external application of pasted medicines). For associated stress or other psychological issues, yoga, meditation or psychotherapy are provided. 


Take more unpolished rice, green vegetables, leafy vegetables, sweet tasting fruits and water during treatment. 


Mild to moderate exercise are recommended as rest will increase the inflammation. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Preventive Aspects in Ayurveda

Reduce the intake of sour, salt, pungent food; vinegar; very hot food; curd; buttermilk; peas etc. Avoid over-eating, skipping of meals, day sleep, keeping awake at night, stress and excessive anger/ sorrow. Quit smoking and reduce the consumption of alcohol. Exercise regularly. Avoid travelling for long distances frequently, especially with legs hanging down. 

Importance of Diet

Wise selection of food articles is important to achieve fast recovery. Consumption of food items that worsen the symptoms/ disease should be avoided. 


The patient should avoid spicy food, very hot food/ drinks, alcohol, smoking, sedentary habit, day sleep, stress and long journey (especially on two-wheeler). Exercise regularly.

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