rheumatoid arthritis

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

It is a type of arthritis that affects the joints and sometimes more than the joints in one’s body. It happens when the autoimmune, which usually protects body from bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks the joints.

It causes inflammation in the joints and makes it difficult in the movement of joints. It also causes pain in the joints and the muscles connected to the joints. There is a tissue called Synovium, which is connected to the bone from the inside, swells when one is affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

When it is not checked and treated in the right time, it affects the cartilage (elastic tissue that is found in the end of bone joints), which makes the movements of joints very painful and restricts full movement. Over a period of time, there is a loss of cartilage and the gap between bones becomes less. This leads to loose or unstable joints, which causes deformity and swelling. Once deformity occurs, it cannot be cured. So, once a person is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, aggressive treatment is required to stop further damage.

Also early diagnosis will help to start treatment at the early stages.


Diagnosing RA (rheumatoid arthritis) is not easy and cannot be diagnosed with just one blood test. You practitioner will check for swelling, redness, muscle strength and reflexes. Usually pain starts from the smaller joints, joints in the toes and fingers.

A blood test will be required to check the C reactive protein, which will point to swelling or inflammation in the joints. Blood test will also be done to check for anti-bodies. X-ray, ultra sound and MRI also might be done to check the severity of the swelling.


The symptoms usually vary from person to person. One person might have all the below mentioned symptoms or few of these.

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Stiff muscles and joints
  • Difficulty and pain in movement after certain period of inactivity
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Deformity in joints


RA also affects skin, eyes, kidneys, heart, lungs, nervous system, bone marrow, blood vessels and other body parts.

Natural remedies to treat rheumatoid arthritis

Regular physical exercise


Regular exercise and physical activity helps to strengthen muscle and tissues in the joints. Walking, gentle swimming or aerobics will help to keep you physically active and strengthen muscles. Try not to strain and workout the joints that is already strained.

Practicing yoga and simple stretches will help to relax the joints and help to reduce pain.

Consuming anti-inflammatory foods


There are many natural ingredients or foods that help to reduce swelling.


Including these mentioned herbs in your daily food will help you reduce inflammation and swelling naturally.

External application

  • Hot and cold compress

Hot compress and cold compress are popular remedies to treat any type of swelling and pain. Regular application of hot or cold compress will help to soothe the strained muscles and relax the joints.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. When it is combined with warm castor oil and applied on the swelling, it helps to relax the muscles and reduce the swelling. It also visibly reduces the redness.


Caesalpinia Bonduc (Kalachikai)


Kalachikai is a bean that is extracted from the shell. It has many medicinal properties that help to treat many health ailments. They are anti-inflammatory by nature and reduces swelling/inflammation when consumed on a regular basis. This is a recipe that explains how to use kalachikai to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This extracted bean also treats general body pain and joint pain.

Apart from treating RA, kalachikai is popular in treating PCOS in women.

Vegetable and fruits


Consuming large portions of fruits and vegetables help to improve the general health and stamina. Consuming green leafy vegetables will add vitamins and minerals for a healthy body. Colored vegetables contain beta-carotene that are rich in antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation.

Mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D. When consumed regularly, it helps to increase Vitamin D in body, which leads to increased absorption of Calcium. Green tea also helps in reducing inflammation in the joints. Fruits help to add nutrition and keeps the body light and active.

Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out toxins quickly from the body and prevents gout attacks.



Consuming fish oil and plant oils – primrose, borage, black currant, tulsi, helps to improve fatty acids in the body which reduces the stiffness and pain in joints. Herbal oils can be applied externally on the affected area for better relief.

As a word of advice, before you start any of the remedies, first check with your doctor and diagnose the issue. As the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are similar to other health issues, proper diagnosis is important. Based on the severity of the disease, you doctor will prescribe medicines to ease out the pain and swelling. Along with the medicines, you can follow all above mentioned home remedies.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.