Joint pain or arthralgia is caused by inflammation or degeneration of tissues in one or more joints. When associated with stiffness, swelling and painful joint movement it is called arthritis. Joint pain can be a manifestation of acute febrile illnesses, trauma, excessive mechanical stress, a variety of medical conditions elsewhere in the body or a more serious form of disabling arthritis which may be infective, non-infective or degenerative. The common non-infective joint diseases with joint pain as a major symptom are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and non-specific inflammatory arthritis such as psoriatic arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks the joints producing an inflammatory synovitis that often progresses to destruction of the articular cartilage and ankylosis of the joints. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, auto-immunity plays a pivotal role in its chronicity and progression. The onset of rheumatoid arthritis in a majority of patients is insidious. Morning stiffness is its characteristic feature and before the involvement of the joints the patient may complain of tiredness, fatigue, general malaise, low grade fever, etc.
Generally the small joints of fingers or toes are initially involved, then it spreads to the wrists, elbow, shoulders, ankles and knee. The temporo-mandibular joint and sterno-clavicular joint may also be affected. As the disease progresses, the pain and swelling of the joints increases. Swelling of the proximal inter-phalangeal joint and muscular atrophy gives rise to spindled shape of the fingers. Suggestive clinical features with consistent radiological changes, high erythrocyte sedimentation rate and a positive rheumatoid factor test usually help in diagnosing the disease.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative arthritis resulting from excessive mechanical stress on a diseased or degenerated joint. It generally involves big weight-bearing joints such as the knee, hip, spine but in women it may involve the terminal joints of the fingers. The patients are frequently obese. Pain in joints initially is intermittent and appears after using the joints and is relieved by rest. With the progression of the disease, movement in the affected joints becomes increasingly limited. Crepitus are felt or heard in the affected joints. Bony outgrowth may appear on the joint margins.
Gouty arthritis is a form of arthritis which is caused by accumulation of uric acid crystals inside the joint which evokes an acute inflammatory response. It is one of the most painful joint diseases. Gouty arthritis usually strikes a single joint, most commonly the big toe, however, it can also affect the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows. Elderly males are more likely to develop gouty arthritis than women.
Psoriatic arthritis is a prototype of a group of chronic non-specific arthritis secondary to a primary immuno-inflammatory disease elsewhere like skin psoriasis. The exact causes are not yet known, but several genetic associations have been identified. Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any stage. However, on average it tends to appear about 10 years after the first signs of psoriasis. For the majority of people this is between the ages of 30 and 50, but it can also affect children. Men and women are equally affected by this condition and the arthritis symptoms may occur before any skin involvement.
Of the many drugs and preparations for arthritis documented in Ayurveda, Ajamoda powder is a simple and effective remedy. It is used internally as well as on the affected joints of the patient in the form of poultice.
Ajamoda (Apium leptophyllum) (Pers.) F.V.M. ex Benth.
Ajamoda consists of dried, aromatic fruits of Apium leptophyllum, an annual herb cultivated in the central and southern states of India. It is collected by thrashing plants on a mat and dried in shade or in drying sheds. Ajamoda is a well-known drug for rheumatism and gout. Ajamoda is one of the chief ingredients in many formulations useful in rheumatoid arthritis. Poultice of crushed fruits can also be applied to painful joints along with oral use.
Method of preparation
1. Clean the dried fruits of Ajamoda by removing the stalks, dust and other foreign matters.
2. Grind in a pulverizer or in a mortar and pestle to make a fine powder.
3. Filter through a fine sieve of mesh size 85.
4.Store in an air-tight container and consume within one year.
- Aromatic, slightly bitter yellowish-brown powder giving a sensation of warmth to the tongue.
Precautions and safety aspects
- Ajamoda powder should not be used during pregnancy and nursing mothers are advised to take it under medical supervision.
- The diuretic action of Ajamoda works by irritating the kidneys and therefore should be used with caution in cases of renal disorder.
Please follow and like us: