Raynaud’s disease is a condition which causes narrowing of the arteries, leading to numbness and coolness in the fingers, toes, tip of the nose and ears. This condition is more common in colder climates; and women are more likely to have Raynaud’s disease than men. While the cause of this condition is unknown, it is believed that blood vessels over-react to cold temperatures and stress and go into spasms, thereby causing the symptoms. Primary Raynaud’s, without any underlying medical condition, is called Raynaud’s disease. Secondary Raynaud’s is due to some other problem like scleroderma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, repetitive trauma, smoking, injuries and medications.
The Ayurvedic treatment of Raynaud’s disease is aimed at reducing the number and severity of attacks, preventing tissue damage and treating any underlying condition. To prevent the spasm of the arteries, medicines from the ‘Rakta-Prasaadak’ category are used in this condition. These include Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Chopchini (Smilax china), Suranjaan (Colchicum luteum)), Mundi (Sphaeranthus indicus), Khadeer (Acacia catechu), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Mahamanjishthadi Qadha, Saarivasav, Arogya-Vardhini, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu and Kaishor-Guggulu.
To prevent an over-reaction of the blood-vessels to stress, medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Vacha (Acorus calamus) and Sarpagandha (Raulwofia serpentina) are used. From this category of medicines, the herb Mandukparni (Centella asiatica) deserves special mention, since it not only reduces stress, but also improves blood circulation in the extremities, thereby reducing spasm, and preventing or healing ulcers.
Treatment of the underlying condition in secondary Raynaud’s condition is equally important, in order to reduce symptoms and prevent further complications; however, in such cases, more prolonged treatment needs to be given. It is important for all people with Raynaud’s disease to adopt suitable life-style changes, and avoid known precipitating factors.