The Ayurvedic Approach to Healthy Joints (part 2)
Date Posted:10 January 2011
In part one of this article we looked Vata-Related Joint Problems, here we examine the second type, Ama-Related Joint Problems.
2: Ama-Related Joint Problem
This second type of joint problem is really a problem of ama (digestive toxins) in the joints, and is characterized by a heavy, stiff feeling. Sometimes a bout of cold, humid weather can trigger these symptoms. That is the first stage. If nothing is done to dissolve the ama and it sits in the joints for a long time, eventually the ama converts to amavisha, an even more toxic form of ama that is more irritating and reactive in nature. Amavisha causes the joint to become inflamed, swollen, and painful. In this kind of environment, ama also mixes with the natural lubricating fluids in the joint governed by Shleshaka Kapha, forming an extremely sticky, toxic substance known as Shleshma. Shleshma restricts mobility and disturbs circulation in the joint. If the ama, amavisha and Shleshma stay in the joints unattended to for a long time, eventually the structure of the joints and the bone itself becomes damaged. Once these morphological changes happen to the joint and bone, it becomes extremely difficult to correct.
Foods and Lifestyle Habits to Reduce Ama
An ama-reducing diet is made up of warm, light, dryer foods that are easy to digest. Nourishing soups and warm, freshly cooked grains and vegetables prepared with Stimulating Spice Mix and spices to stimulate digestion are the mainstays of the ama-reducing diet. To keep your digestion working properly, avoid day sleep, and go to bed early so you can rise before 6: 00 a.m. Exercise for half an hour every day, and choose a type of exercise that you enjoy. A brisk walk is ideal for most people, along with yogasana stretches, although if you have more Kapha dosha you may need more vigorous exercise to stay in balance. You'll feel lighter and more energetic just by making these simple changes in your routine. A very effective way to purify the joints is to drink lots of ama pachana water (water infused with ama-reducing spices).
Ama Pachana Water Recipe:
- boil two quarts of water and put it in a thermos flask.
- two to three thin slices of fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. fennel
- 2 black peppercorns
- 2 leaves of mint
- Let it steep
Drink this water throughout the day for a very purifying effect. It also helps to eat an apple cooked with prunes and figs each morning for breakfast. You can also cook your foods with an ama pachana spice mixture.
Ama Pachana Spice Recipe:
To prepare this, mix:
- 2 parts turmeric
- 6 parts cumin
- 1 part ajowan
- 2 parts fenugreek
- 1 part black pepper
- 6 parts fennel
Stimulating Spice Mix a is also a good spice mixture for reducing ama.
Herbs that Heal
If a person has a high amount of toxic ama building up in the joints, he or she may need to take Elim-Tox or Elim-Tox-O to remove ama faster. Choose Elim-Tox-O if you have more Pitta, otherwise the Elim-Tox formula. You could take two tablets morning and evening along with the Joint Soothe tablets and the Joint Soothe II Oil
On stiff joints, gently apply Joint Soothe II Oil, an ayurvedic oil designed to lubricate the joints, eliminate impurities, and deliver vital nutrients to the joints. Joint Soothe II Oil is a highly complex formula that takes many days to prepare and contains two traditional oil formulas for strengthening the joints. One of these oil formulas, Mahanarayana Oil, a blend of sesame oil, milk, and 56 herbs, is praised in the ayurvedic texts for its effectiveness in increasing circulation around the joints.
Another herbal blend included in Joint Soothe II Oil is known as Vishagarabh Oil, a sharp, heating, penetrating oil that penetrates the surface layers of the skin to target ama in the joints and liquefy the impurities. Once liquefied, ama can be internally eliminated by taking the Joint Soothe tablets. So these two products work together to effectively penetrate, dissolve, and eliminate ama and to lubricate the joints to restore their natural balance.
Again, prevention is key. It takes a great amount of effort to get rid of ama that has circulated throughout the body and settled in the joints. So once you start taking care of your joint problem by reducing ama, you should be very careful not to accumulate ama in future. Examine your tongue in the morning-it should not be coated. If you are eating right, you should not carry any post-lunch fatigue. If you feel even a little stiffness or heaviness in your joints, you should start following all of these recommendations immediately to prevent ama from accumulating.
This is truly a case of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.