Rheumatoid Arthritis and How an Ayurveda Approach Can Help

Rheumatoid Arthritis (known as Amavata in Ayurveda) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation in the joints. It can also cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints, and in other organs in the body.

Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body’s tissues are mistakenly attacked by their own immune system. People with autoimmune diseases have antibodies in their blood that target their own body tissues. Whereas, they can be associated with inflammation.

Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, Rheumatoid Arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. 

rheumatoid arthritis

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis 

There are a number of causes related to rheumatoid arthritis. Here are a few from an Ayurvedic and allopathic point of view;

  • Increased intake of indigestible, heavy and incompatible foods. This can include;
  • having food at improper times
  • indigestion
  • intake of milk and milk products, especially yogurt
  • intake of meat of aquatic animals
  • lack of physical activity or exercise after having fatty foods 
  • suffering a past trauma that has stayed with you mentally, ie. sudden unexpected loss of a loved one, sudden loss of income, abuse of any kind, etc.
  • smoking
  • obesity 

According to Ayurveda, Ama is described as the toxins produced in the body due to imbalance in body metabolism. These toxins circulate in the whole body and is accumulated in the weaker joints. Thus, this triggers the immune system leading to joint inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis accounts for 15% of the total rheumatic disorders. It is found that this is more common in women. The disease is more prevalent in cold and damp conditions. Thus, climate can play a factor for sure. 

Common Symptoms 

Symptoms can vary between people, but some common ones that people experience are;

  • Thirst
  • Swelling
  • Indigestion
  • Lethargy
  • Pain and stiffness in the body
  • Heaviness in the body
  • Sometimes lack of appetite
  • Pain and stiffness in the joints of the hands

What is important to keep in mind is that finding out the cause of these symptoms is critical in treating it effectively. Too often, in traditional medicine (despite great intentions), symptoms are treated with a band-aid approach via nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, this will only result in the condition or disease to return. When we are able to reach the root of the ailment, we can work to prevent it, manage it and deter it from returning. 

  • Agnimandya – Low level of digestive fire due to unhealthy food habits. Having very heavy food, left over stale food, junk, deep fried or frozen and processed food. Overeating or eating before previous meal is digested, eating food at irregular times, late night dinner, snacking, etc. 
  • Viruddha ahara (Incorrect Diet) – Consuming foods that have opposite qualities at a time. For example: Drinking ice cold water while having hot meals.
  • Viruddha vihara (Improper lifestyle) – Doing activities which are opposite in nature.
    Example: Taking a cold shower immediately after exposure to hot sun.
  • Avyayama (Lack of Exercise) – Sedentary lifestyle. 
  • Ati Vyayama – Over physical exertion leading to joints breaking down.
  • Manasika Karanas – Mental stress or emotional disturbance

Can Ayurveda Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The simple answer is, yes.

The world is waking up to Ayurveda. Over the last decade we have seen a lot of everyday advancements in this field. A lot of research is being carried upon in herbs like Turmeric, Guggulu, Ginger, and Ashwagandha.

In 2015, India’s premier medical institute AIIMS, found certain Ayurvedic formulations effective in treating RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). The study was conducted on 125 RA patients. The doctors at AIIMS said that Ashwagandha, specifically, had anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and immuno-modulatory properties which could improve the symptoms in 3-4 weeks in RA patients.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet Plan 

You might be asking yourself, how can your diet help when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, to summarize the key ways β€” here is a list of the more common ways diet can help; 

  • Prevent worsening of joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Avoid worsening of gastrointestinal health.
  • Avoid β€˜Ama’ formation – a state of impaired digestion and metabolism, which is the main cause for Rheumatoid arthritis, according to Ayurveda.
  • Remove imbalance of Kapha and Vata, which in turn worsen stiffening, pain and inflammation.

Foods you Should Add to your Diet to Help Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Whole Grains

Grains like rice (black, brown or red), red variety rice (Rakta shali) or red rice which can be found in health food stores, barley (Yava ) and millets (kodo or fox millet) are good foods for Rheumatoid arthiritis. These foods are light and easy to digest. 


Legumes in particular like chickpeas are good for Rheumatoid arthritis. For other legume ideas and recipes β€” feel free to contact us at Ki’s Kitchen for a list of foods that may serve you best. 

Lukewarm Water

Drink lukewarm water or water boiled with ginger root. This will help in digestion and the removal of toxins. Alternatively, regular drinking of hot water helps to bring lightness to the joints and improve flexibility in those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

rheumatoid arthritis

Fruits And Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables and fruits contain a variety of polyphenols, bioflavonoids, catechins, carotenoids, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin E, and low molecular weight compounds. These  have antioxidant, fibrinolytic and anti-inflammatory characteristics.

In addition, fruits like berries; strawberries, tart cherries, red raspberries, avocados and watermelon are also beneficial foods for rheumatoid arthritis.


Spices to add to your kitchen are ginger, turmeric black pepper, Ceylon or Saigon cinnamon, thyme and garlic, which help in preventing arthritic changes of the bones. They not only add flavour to your food but also have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties besides their digestion promoting impact.


Taste the Difference, Feel the Difference. 


Overall a disciplined approach to life is a must for rheumatoid arthritis patients. In rheumatoid arthritis, Ayurveda suggests a few diet restrictions.

Lastly, avoiding certain types of food (such as processed meats, red meat, cow’s A1 dairy, trans fats, deep fried foods, grocery baked goods) goes a long way in helping the improvement of joints. Since Rheumatoid disease is a chronic disease, long term diet restriction is needed.

Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it!

Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcome!  If you know someone who is suffering, please introduce them to us so we can help.

I look forward to connecting with you next time!

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From our kitchen to yours,

Love + Joy




  1. Amit Singh on June 27, 2018 at 3:00 am

    You have well define your blog.Information shared is useful.