Ayurvedic Treatment for Arthritis: Can It Help You?

Written by Nishant Garund
Medically Reviewed by Dr.Varuni Agarwal

Dr. Varuni Agarwal is an esteemed Ayurvedic physician specializing in
diagnosing diseases through Ayurvedic dosha imbalances and providing personalized treatments. She focuses on ahara (diet) and vihara (lifestyle) to manage and heal various ailments.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Arthritis: Can It Help You?

Arthritis, a condition causing joint pain and inflammation, affects millions worldwide. While conventional medicine offers treatment options, many seek natural alternatives. Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of holistic healing, provides a unique approach to arthritis treatment in Ayurveda.

Understanding Arthritis Through the Ayurvedic Lens

Ayurveda views arthritis as an imbalance in the body's three doshas: Vata (air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth and water). Depending on the dominant dosha, the ayurvedic treatment for arthritis differ.

A qualified Ayurvedic practitioner will diagnose the doshic imbalance and recommend a personalized treatment plan for arthritis treatment in Ayurveda.

Unveiling the Power of Ayurvedic Herbs for Arthritis

Ayurveda boasts of herbal remedies known for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Here are some commonly used herbs for arthritis treatment:

  • Shallaki: Shallaki, also known as Boswellia Serrata, is a herb prized in Ayurvedic medicine for its joint health benefits. It's believed to work by strengthening joints from within, reducing pain and swelling, and ultimately improving mobility. Shallaki is available in various forms, including capsules containing the powdered herb and essential oil for topical application.
  • Turmeric: Curcumin, the powerful active ingredient in turmeric, emerges as the key player behind its anti-inflammatory properties. It achieves this by hindering the production of inflammatory molecules within the body. This reduction in inflammation may help slow cartilage breakdown, a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, curcumin's potential to modulate pain signals offers further relief for those experiencing discomfort.
  • Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb helps manage stress, a known trigger for arthritis flare-ups.
  • Guggulu: This herbal preparation helps reduce inflammation and improve joint mobility.

Always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before consuming any herbal remedies, especially if you are taking prescribed medications and to have the best ayurvedic treatment for arthritis. 

Dietary Modifications: Fueling Your Body for Healing

In Ayurveda, food is considered medicine. A balanced diet tailored to your specific dosha imbalance is crucial for managing arthritis. Here are some general dietary recommendations:

  • Favour anti-inflammatory foods: Include turmeric, ginger, garlic, leafy greens, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish in your diet.
  • Limit inflammatory foods: Reduce intake of processed foods, refined sugars, red meat, and dairy (if you have Kapha dominance).
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps flush toxins and supports healthy joints.

Further, certain dietary habits are believed to aggravate rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms which should be avoided. These include:

  • Excessive indulgence: Alcohol, salt, spicy foods, and overly sweet or sour dishes are seen as imbalancing and potentially inflammatory.
  • Raw and difficult-to-digest foods: Uncooked vegetables and meals that strain digestion can worsen inflammation.
  • Acidic foods: Foods that trigger acid reflux may contribute to joint discomfort.

Therefore, it is recommended:

  • Light and easily digestible meals: Soups made with barley and rice are seen as calming and nourishing for the digestive system.
  • Gradual dietary reintroduction: After a period of cleansing (sometimes involving a castor oil fast for deeper purification), foods are slowly reintroduced to identify sensitivities and create a personalized, anti-inflammatory diet.

Other treatment options

Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis pain also includes natural therapies that promote relaxation and improve joint function. Here are some popular options:

Temperature Therapy:

  • Heat: By promoting blood circulation and flexibility, heat therapy allows for easier movement. Options include warm baths, heating pads, hot water bottles, and paraffin wax treatments. Caution: Avoid hot tubs or saunas if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.
  • Cold: Cold therapy reduces swelling and pain by constricting blood vessels and numbing nerves. Apply ice packs, cold compresses, or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel for up to 20 minutes. Caution: Use both hot and cold therapies with care to prevent skin damage.

Massage Therapy:

Moderate-pressure massage offers a range of benefits for arthritis sufferers. It can:

  • Improve joint mobility
  • Ease pain and tension
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Promote better sleep

Important Note: Consult your doctor before getting a massage, especially if you have a flare-up, sensitive joints, or a history of blood clots.


This practice utilizes essential oils to induce positive physical and mental changes. Essential oils can be used in baths, diluted in massage oil, or inhaled through a diffuser. The aromatic properties can help:

  • Reduce pain and anxiety
  • Increase energy levels
  • Promote relaxation

Safe Use of Essential Oils:

When applying essential oils like lavender, ginger and more topically, always dilute them with a carrier oil like jojoba. Before full application, perform a skin patch test by rubbing a diluted amount on your forearm and waiting 24-48 hours to ensure no irritation occurs.

CBD Oil for Arthritis: Exploring the Potential

While not traditionally part of Ayurvedic medicine, cannabidiol (CBD) oil has gained interest for its potential to manage arthritis pain. While anecdotal evidence suggests some people with arthritis experience pain relief, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety after using CBD, its effectiveness remains under investigation. Similar to any medication, individual responses to CBD can vary, with some not experiencing any improvement in symptoms.

Safety Considerations:

Research on CBD safety for arthritis is ongoing. While moderate doses haven't raised major safety concerns yet, CBD can potentially interact with some arthritis medications. It's crucial to discuss CBD use with your doctor, especially if you take:

  • Corticosteroids (prednisone)
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
  • NSAIDs (naproxen, celecoxib)
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Certain antidepressants (amitriptyline, citalopram, fluoxetine, mirtazapine, paroxetine, sertraline)
  • Fibromyalgia medications (gabapentin, pregabalin)

Important Note: It is crucial to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before starting any new treatment, including CBD oil. They can assess your individual needs and advise on the most suitable approach for managing your arthritis.


Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis offers a holistic approach to managing symptoms and promoting overall well-being. By incorporating dietary adjustments, herbal remedies, and lifestyle practices, Ayurveda empowers you to take an active role in your journey towards better joint health. If you're looking for a complementary approach alongside conventional medicine, or simply seeking natural ways to manage your arthritis, exploring Ayurvedic principles is a valuable step.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What are the benefits of Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis?

Ayurveda focuses on balancing the body's doshas (vital energies) to promote healing. It can help manage pain, stiffness, and inflammation, and improve joint mobility. Additionally, Ayurveda emphasizes dietary changes and lifestyle practices that contribute to overall well-being and potentially slow disease progression.

2. Is Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis safe for everyone?

Ayurveda generally uses natural herbs and practices. However, consulting a qualified Ayurvedic doctor is crucial to ensure a safe and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific health conditions and medications.

3. Is Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis beneficial?

Ayurveda focuses on managing symptoms and promoting overall well-being. While it may not offer a complete cure for arthritis, it can significantly improve your quality of life and potentially slow down the progression of the disease.

4. What is the fastest way to treat arthritis? 

Unfortunately, there's no single "fastest" way to treat arthritis. Arthritis is a chronic condition, and the most effective approach usually involves a combination of strategies including pain management through pain relievers, therapies and lifestyle modifications. 

5. Can you live with arthritis without treatment? 

While it's technically possible to live with arthritis without treatment, it's not generally recommended due to the potential consequences. Exploring treatment options with a doctor can significantly improve your quality of life and help you manage your condition effectively.


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