Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis. Joint pain, swelling and inflammation, in addition to the symptoms of psoriasis, are characteristic of this condition which has a tendency to show alternating periods of exacerbation and remissions. Both diseases are auto immune disorders, in which the immune system of the body turns on itself and starts affecting healthy tissue. Genetics, environment and a tumor necrosis factor appear to play a positive role in psoriatic arthritis. This condition is seen more often in the age from 30 to 50.
The Ayurvedic treatment of psoriatic arthritis is aimed at treating the symptoms of both diseases and correcting the immune dysfunction in the body. For pain and swelling in the joints, medicines like Yograj-Guggulu, Triphala-Guggulu, Kaishor-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Vish-Tinduk-Vati, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Dashmoolarishta and Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) are used. Local treatment includes local application of medicines and medicated steam fomentation. Vishgarbha oil, Mahanarayan oil and Mahasaindhav oil are used for local application on the affected joints. This is followed by a procedure called ‘Naadi-Sweda’, in which the steam of decoctions of Nirgundi-Qadha and Dashmool-Qadha is directed at the swollen and painful joints.
Once pain and swelling in the joints has been controlled, further treatment is directed towards controlling both the arthritis as well as psoriasis. Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Trayodashang-Guggulu and Kaishor-Guggulu are medicines which are equally effective in both arthritis as well as skin conditions like psoriasis. In addition, other medicines are used to treat psoriasis such as Arogya-Vardhini, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Khadeerarishta, Gandhak-Rasayan, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus) and Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa).
Both arthritis and psoriasis are precipitated by stress. In order to control this, medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Sarpagandha (Raulwofia serpentina) and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) are used. In addition, both diseases are caused by a disturbed immune system. To improve the immune status of the body, medicines like Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Parpati, Suvarna-Raj-Vangeshwar-Ras, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba) and Bala (Sida cordifolia) are used.
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to adapt to this condition. Regular exercise and stress management are also very important. Yogic asanas and pranayam can help to keep the mind and body fit and healthy. Some ‘Panchkarma’ procedures like blood-letting can also help in the management of this condition.