By Dr Sanjoti Parekh 0412397370

Ayurveda, a holistic approach to health that was established almost 5000 years ago in India, is now spread across the globe and is identified as one of the most promising healthcare therapies for chronic conditions. It is based on a simple notion that, as humans, we have a close relationship with nature and being in harmony with the nature can help address illness and support wellbeing. Details on basic principles of Ayurveda can be found here http://ayush.gov.in/about-the-systems/ayurveda

Sesame Oil can counter Vata imbalance

According to Ayurveda, Osteoarthritis occurs due to aggravation of Vata Dosha and is known as Sandhivata (Sandhi means the joint and Vata stands for Vata Dosha). Vata is an Ayurvedic concept that symbolizes air or wind and governs all movements in the body as well as mind. The condition of Sandhivata is caused when the activities of Vata increase inside the Sandhis or joints. Because Vata is dry in nature, it absorbs the fluidity from any part of the body. It is also destructive or catabolic in nature, which is why it causes destruction of the cartilages and reduction in the Synovial Fluid inside the joint capsule. Vata in good balance is important for our bodies and helps our bodies to function at optimal levels. Ayurveda also stipulates that vata is naturally aggravated in older age and hence people with certain body types, e.g. vata body type, are more likely to get osteoarthritis in their old age. This is where Ayurveda stresses a focus on not only cure, but also prevention.

Then, if Osteoarthritis is a vata dominating condition and the qualities of vata are cold, dry and consistently moving ; it can be understood that certain dietary and other factors can be associated with Osteoarthritis: e.g.  Excessive consumption of dry, cold or stale food, exposure to severe cold and dry weather, excessive use of joints (repetitive exercise that puts strain on joints and aggravates vata), overweight-obesity and joint injury. Furthermore, once we know that Osteoarthritis is mainly a vata dominating condition which requires calming of vata and strengthening of joints, then the “why” question related to specific approaches of Ayurveda to Osteoarthritis can be easily answered. Hopefully, you are starting to see how you can help yourself by modifying your diet and lifestyle to calm down aggravated vata.

Let us give you some examples to get your thinking started based on Ayurvedic principles:

Some common home remedies that are focused on modifying diet and lifestyle according to Ayurveda are listed here:

  • Ensure that your diet is free from too dry or cold food items. E.g. eat crackers with avocado, use Ghee in your diet.
  • Ayurveda suggests that eating yoghurt is not good for joint pain. Instead make butter milk*. Butter milk not only improves appetite but has many other health benefits.
  • Drink a glass of warm water with squeezed lemon (1/2 lemon) first thing in the morning.
  • Each day have ¼ tsp ginger powder, ¼ tsp jaggary and ¼ tsp ghee mixture second thing in the morning.
  • Boil approximately 10 thin slices of ginger in 8 cups of water for 5 minutes. Drink this tea at a warm temperature throughout the day, whenever you feel like drinking tea, and discard the ginger at the end of the day.
  • Garlic# is vata calming and can be used in cooking every day.
  • Sesame seeds are great for osteoarthritis and so are linseeds.
  • Turmeric is anti-inflammatory so use a 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric everyday.
  • Choose foods that are easy to digest and warming e.g. cooked vegetables, soups, instead of salads, especially in cold weather
  • Use warm black sesame oil (for massage not cooking oil) to massage stiff and painful joints in the morning. Massage improves blood circulation and reduces inflammation and stiffness. Regular self-massage (at least 3 times a week), 10 minutes before  a warm shower helps.

Above mentioned dietary and lifestyle change is just one part of what Ayurveda can do for chronic conditions such as Osteoarthritis. Ayurvedic treatment of Osteoarthritis not only prevents further deterioration in the joints but also can help to rejuvenate damaged cartilages. Ayurveda doctors can also prescribe Vata-alleviating treatments through specific herbs and other therapies which can help in lubrication and strengthening of joints.

By Dr Sanjoti Parekh

Sanjoti is an Ayurveda doctor specialised in treatment of chronic conditions. Her education in Australia (PhD, UQ) in chronic conditions along with her doctors degree in Ayurveda has contributed towards her expert level knowledge in chronic conditions. Sanjoti is available for consultancies and please call 0412397370 for further queries.    

*Butter Milk:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp yoghurt (organic preferred)
  • 1 glass water
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of black pepper powder

Method:

  • Mix yoghurt and water and using a whisk mix it well such that it is frothy on the top.
  • Add all the other ingredients.
  • Enjoy after lunch, your main meal.

#Garlic Chutney

If you like the flavour of garlic then this can be a part of your diet regularly

Ingredients:

  • Garlic cloves (10 large ones, peeled)
  • 5 tbsp sesame seeds (dry roasted)
  • 3 tbsp linseeds (dry roasted)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Method:

Mix all the above ingredients and grind fine in a grinder. Eat 1 tsp per day with your meals.