Polymyalgia Rheumatica – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder that causes widespread muscular aches and stiffness in the body. Common symptoms include pain and stiffness in the muscles of the hips, thighs, shoulders, upper arms and neck; fatigue; weight loss; weakness; mild fever; and anemia. Genetic and environmental factors are believed to cause an auto-immune reaction in the body, which ultimately manifests in the form of PMR. The inflammation seen in this condition is not as severe as that seen in different types of arthritis. Patients with PMR may also have another related condition called giant cell arteritis.

The Ayurvedic treatment of PMR is aimed at reducing the symptoms and treating the inflammation in the muscles. Medicines like Yograj-Guggulu, Triphala-Guggulu, Kaishor-Guggulu and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu are used to treat inflammation of the muscles. Medicines like Trayodashang-Guggulu and Vish-Tinduk-Vati can be used to reduce stiffness in the muscles. Maha-Rasnadi-Guggulu, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani, Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina) and Khurasani ova (Hyoscyamus niger) are used to control pain. Herbal medicines which can be used in this condition are: Shallaki (Boswellia serrata), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Tagar (Valeriana wallichii), Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis), Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Erandmool (Ricinus communis), Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Shalparni (Desmodium gangeticum) and Prushnaparni (Uraria picta).

Local applications on the affected areas are made using medicines like Vishgarbha oil, Mahanarayan oil, Mahamash oil and Mahasaindhav oil. This is followed by localized steam fomentation using medicines like Nirgundi-Qadha and Dashmool-Qadha. It is also important to boost the immune status of the body, more so since this condition predominantly affects the elderly. Medicines used for this purpose include Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Naagbala (Grewia hirsuta), Trivang-Bhasma, Agnitundi-Vati, Abhrak-Bhasma, Suvarna-Bhasma and Suvarna-Malini-Vasant.

With the appropriate treatment, most patients affected with PMR improve within a few weeks to a few months. It is important for individuals affected with this condition to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and avoid repetitive, strenuous work.