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Chikungunya is a viral infection that is spreads through the bite of Aedes egypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The early symptoms of chikungunya include fever, headaches and arthralgia (joint pain), especially in ankle, elbow, wrist and knee joint. In fact, joint pain is one of the characteristic symptoms of this infection due to which Chikungunya virus is categorised as an arthritic virus. Joint pain might become severe in the mornings and on movement. People diagnosed with chikungunya also experience sore throat, conjunctivitis, loss of appetite, photophobia (sensitivity to light) and swollen lymph glands.

Chikungunya is not mentioned in Ayurvedic literature. However, the symptoms of vata-kapha fevers and vata-pitta fevers are similar to the symptoms observed in chikungunya. Ayurveda mentions herbs like guduchi (heart-leaved moonseed), ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), amalaki (Indian gooseberry) and yashtimadhu (mulethi) along with herbal formulations of trailokyachintamani, tribhuvankirti and amrutarishta to provide relief from the symptoms of chikungunya and improve overall health.

Ayurvedic therapies of Abhyanga (oil massage) and Rasayana (rejuvenation) are used to reduce joint pain and rejuvenate the body. Having mudga (green gram) soup and tandoola pej (boiled rice water) is found to be helpful in people with chikungunya as they provide strength to the body. Tulsi (holy basil), nimba (neem), vacha (calamus) and other herbs can help control mosquito population and prevent the spread of chikungunya.

  1. Ayurvedic view of chikungunya
  2. Ayurvedic treatment for chikungunya
  3. Ayurvedic herbs and medicines for chikungunya
  4. Dietary and lifestyle changes for chikungunya patient as per ayurveda
  5. How effective are ayurvedic medicines and treatments for chikungunya
  6. Side effects and risks of ayurvedic medicine and treatments for chikungunya
  7. Takeaway
Doctors for Ayurvedic medicine, treatment and remedies for Chikungunya

According to Ayurveda, chikungunya is not a life-threatening condition. It is a viral infection, which is treated using medicinal herbs to achieve vector control, symptom modification and for improving overall health. Herbs with jwarahara (fever-reducing), kasahara (anti-tussive), vedanahara (analgesic), atisarahara (anti-diarrhoeal) and kushtaghna (skin disease–curing) properties are used to manage chikungunya. They improve resistance to the disease, promote early recovery and provide strength to the body.

Sandhishula (joint pain) is a major symptom of chikungunya that lasts for many days after other the other symptoms subside. Other symptoms include chills, fever, nausea, fatigue and sleeplessness along with the constitutional symptoms of heaviness and loss in appetite. Ayurveda recommends dhupana or fumigation with herbs in your home to prevent mosquito bites. The rakshoghna (antimicrobial properties) of herbs make them useful for protection against bacterial and viral infections.

  • Abhyanga
    • The procedure of abhyanga includes the application of medicated oils on the sensitive points of the body.
    • Abhyanga stimulates the lymphatic system, thus improving immunity.
    • This procedure hydrates the skin and helps reduce fatigue and stress. It promotes strength and creates a balance between the electrochemicals in the body.
    • Abhyanga is an excellent method to treat insomnia and improve vision. It also increases longivity.
    • Abhyanga procedure is done 1 to 2 hours after a meal. You may be asked to perform exercises or yoga asanas after abhyanga therapy to induce sweating. This helps expel toxins from the body.
    • In case of chikungunya, abhyanga is performed with tailas (oils) such as vishagarbha or samvahan with mild pressure on the joints to achieve pain relief. Tapasweda (fomentation) is performed after abhyanga therapy.
    • Infrared light, valukkapotli (poultice filled with sand) or warm water is used for swedana (sudation or sweat therapy) after the abhyanga procedure is completed.
  • Rasayana
    • Rasayana therapy aims at improving the spirituality, lifestyle and diet of a person along with healing and preventing diseases.
    • The therapy has a rejuvenating effect on the neurological, immunological, psychological and endocrine systems, which helps in rebuilding healthy tissues and reversing ageing. It also harmonises body functions.
    • For those diagnosed with chikungunya, rasayana therapy stimulates immune function, which, in turn, helps improve their resistance against diseases.
  • Lepas
    • Lepas are medicinal plasters that are prepared using various Ayurvedic ingredients. They are primarily used to reduce inflammatory swellings.
    • Ingredients used for preparing lepas differ according to the purpose for which they are required. Ayurveda has used lepas for cosmetic and dosha-reducing purposes. Lepas are also used for poison removal.
    • They are helpful in reducing pain, ulcers, bleeding and itching. Lepas also help improve blood circulation and cleanse the skin.
    • Lepaguti or the green-coloured lepa of vatsanabha (Indian aconite), shyonak (broken bones tree), and dhatura (devil’s snare) leaves is effective in people with chikungunya.

Ayurvedic herbs for chikungunya

  • Ashwagandha
    • Ashwagandha acts on the respiratory, nervous and reproductive systems.
    • Its nervine (soothes nerves), anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating properties make it beneficial in improving pain in chikungunya patients.
    • Ashwagandha stimulates the immune system. Therefore, it increases body’s resistance to against infections.
    • This herb is also effective in treating other health problems like fatigue, energy loss, skin diseases, insomnia, swollen glands and paralysis.
    • Ashwagandha is prescribed as a general health–promoting herb to people diagnosed with chikungunya.
    • You can take ashwagandha in the form of a powder with ghee (clarified butter), herbal wine, decoctions or as per your physician’s direction.
  • Guduchi
    • According to Ayurveda, guduchi is beneficial for improving immunity irrespective of the dosha predominance.
    • Guduchi promotes ojas (vital essence of life) and helps eliminate excess pitta from the body.
    • It is useful in treating dysentery, indigestion, fevers, tuberculosis, jaundice, piles, cancer and constipation. It also helps in improving the symptoms of chikungunya.
    • You can take guduchi in the form of powder, extracts or as per your physician’s direction.
  • Yashtimadhu
    • Yashtimadhu is a sweet-tasting herb, which acts on the respiratory, digestive, and excretory systems.
    • The herb has tonic, anti-inflammatory, laxative (regulates bowel movements) and rejuvenating properties.
    • It is known to be useful in treating acidity and is also helpful in the treatment of sore throat, ulcers, muscle spasms, bronchitis and cold.
    • Yashtimadhu eliminates excess kapha from lungs and stomach.
    • It is given to improve the overall health in people diagnosed with chikungunya
    • You can take yashtimadhu in the form of a powder with ghee, decoction, milk decoction or as per your physician’s direction.
  • Amalaki
    • Amalaki has astringent (constricts body tissues), rejuvenating, tonic, nutritive and aphrodisiac (improves libido) properties. It is a rich source of vitamin C.
    • It improves ojas in the body and is useful in the treatment of bleeding disorders, mental disorders, palpitations and liver conditions.
    • Amalaki cleanses intestines, reduces inflammation and provides strength to the teeth.
    • In case of chikunguniya, amlaki helps to improve the overall health of the individual. You can take amalaki in the form of a sweet preparation, decoction, powder or as per your physician’s direction.
  • Manjishtha (Indian madder)
    • Manjishtha has astringent, anti-tumour and diuretic properties. It acts on the circulatory and female reproductive systems.
    • According to Ayurveda, manjishtha is the best herb for blood purification.
    • It is useful in treating cancers, regulating the function of liver, spleen, pancreas and destroying gallbladder stones and kidney stones.
    • Manjishtha reduces joint pain and acts as a symptom modifier in people diagnosed with chikungunya.
    • You can take this herb in the form of a powder, paste, decoction, or as per your physician’s direction.

Ayurvedic medicines for chikungunya

  • Trailokyachintamani
    • The Ayurvedic formulation of trailokyachintamani is prepared using parad (mercury), gandhak (brimstone), parad bhasma (calcined preparation of mercury), tamra bhasma (calcined preparation of copper), suvarna bhasma (calcined preparation of gold), haritala (yellow orpiment) and other herbo-mineral ingredients.
    • These ingredients are mixed with ginger juice, jambir (lemon) juice or a decoction of the root of chitraka (leadwort).
    • Trailokyachintamani is used for treating conditions such as sandhivata (osteoarthritis), rajyakshma (tuberculosis), hridroga (heart disease) and parshvashula (pain in the flanks).
    • This medicine helps improve strength in people with chikungunya. It is typically given after the administration of suvarna kalpa.
  • Tribhuvankirti
    • Tribhuvankirti is prepared using hingula (cinnabar), pippali moola (long pepper root), trikatu (a combination of the three acrids – pippali [long pepper], shunthi [dried ginger] and maricha [black pepper]), tankana (borax) and vatsanabha.
    • This herb preparation is mixed with ginger juice, tulsi juice or a mixture of gold and dhatura juice.
    • It is used to treat alasaka (suppression of stool and flatus with pain in the abdomen), fever, pratishyaya (common cold), and headache.
    • Tribhuvankirti is effective in reducing fever, strotorodh (obstruction in the body channels), and samta (a state in which ama [toxins] collect in the body), symptoms marking the initial stages of chikungunya.
  • Amrutarishta
    • Amrutarishta is a herbal formulation made with 23 ingredients including jaggery, katuki (kutki), dashamoola (10 roots), musta (nutgrass), senna, guduchi, ativisha (Indian atees) and other herbs.
    • It is used to treat indigestion, flu and fever.
    • This medicine is given along with guduchi kalpa to alleviate the excruciating joint pain in people diagnosed with chikungunya.
  • Sanjivani vati
    • Sanjivani vati is a herbal formulation prepared from shunthi (dried ginger), pippali, vacha, vatsanabha, bhallataka (Indian nut tree), haritaki (chebulic myrobalan) and other herbs, which are then formulated into a vati (tablet).
    • Goumutra (cow’s urine) is used as an adjuvant or binder in this tablet.
    • Sanjivani vati helps treat atisara (diarrhoea), visuchika (cholera) and kaphaja shula (pain caused due to vitiated kapha).
    • This medicine is mainly used for its vishahara (antidote for poisons) and amajeerna (indigestion caused by ama)–curing properties. It is also beneficial in reducing fever in people with chikungunya.

As treatments vary according to numerous factors and an individual’s prakriti (constitution), consult a qualified Ayurvedic doctor for the appropriate medications and treatments for your specific complaints.

Do’s

  • A liquid diet should be followed until the fever persists.
  • Once the fever subsides, you can start taking green gram soup, tandoola pej along with the liquid diet.
  • Have kulattha yush (horse gram soup) every day to reduce joint pain and swelling and to get rid of samta. This soup is even more effective when mixed with garlic.
  • Eat cereals like jowar, bajra, rice and wheat.
  • Use turmeric and ginger generously in meals.
  • Take preventive measures against mosquito bites.
  • Maintain good hygiene in your home.
  • Always eat freshly prepared homemade foods.
  • Drink plenty of lukewarm water.

Don’ts

  • Do not consume fermented foods like bread, dosa, idli or dhokla.
  • Do not eat stale or contaminated foods.
  • Do not eat curd and other abhishyandi (blockage-causing) food items.
  • Do not have cold beverages and drinks.
  • Do not eat fried, guru (heavy) and vidahi (pungent) foods.
  • Do not visit disease-prevalent places.
  • Do not eat foods from unhygienic places.

A study was conducted in The Central Research Institute for Panchakarma, to test the efficiency of ayurvedic treatment on chikungunya patients. The patients reported weakness, joint swelling and pain, headache, fever and skin rashes. The study group was given tribhuvankirti rasa along with three other Ayurvedic formulations for a period of 15 days. Marked improvement was reported in all the patients after the completion of the treatment.

In another study, 600 people, including both the confirmed and probable cases of chikungunya, were given sanjivani vati and guduchi for 4 weeks. They were asked to drink garlic and dried ginger juice along with performing yoga asanas regularly. Spicy foods, curd, oil and cold drinks were restricted. According to the reports of this study, most of the patients achieved relief from the painful and stiff joints. Ayurvedic treatment was found to better than conventional NSAID medications.

Ayurvedic medicines are safe and devoid of side effects when used under the guidance of an experienced doctor. However, not all treatments and medicines suit every individual alike. Following are some pointers that are taken into consideration, before suggesting a specific treatment for chikungunya to an individual:

  • People with congestion should not consume ashwagandha.
  • People with pitta doshas may experience diarrhoea after taking amalaki.
  • Manjishtha may aggravate vata in the body and cause severe chills.

Chikungunya is a viral infection that is caused due to mosquito bites. Taking preventive measures such as using mosquito repellents, wearing clothes that fully cover the body, and fumigating the house using herbs, is the best way to prevent mosquito bites and hence chikungunya.

Ayurvedic treatment of chikungunya comprises of oil massage and rejuvenating therapies to reduce joint pain and swelling, one of the most prevalent symptoms of chikungunya. Herbs and medicine combinations aim at reducing symptoms of chikungunya, improving overall health and enhancing the immune system to fight against the disease.

Making dietary changes like eating healthy and fresh foods and avoiding stale and contaminated foods promotes a speedy recovery.

Dr. Gurpreet Virmani

Dr. Gurpreet Virmani

Ayurveda
1 Years of Experience

Dr. Sunil Kilaniya

Dr. Sunil Kilaniya

Ayurveda
3 Years of Experience

Dr. Tanushri Yeole

Dr. Tanushri Yeole

Ayurveda

Dr. Verender Singh Chaudhary

Dr. Verender Singh Chaudhary

Ayurveda
3 Years of Experience

References

  1. Khagen Basumatary et al. A STUDY OF THE CONTRIBUTION ON SHALYA TANTRA WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO CHARAK SAMHITA. An International Journal of Research in AYUSH and Allied Systems; , Assam
  2. A Govt of Kerala. Abhayarishtam. oushadhi; [Internet]
  3. KLE Ayurveda Hospital and Medical Research Centre. Kayachikitsa. Karnataka; [Internet]
  4. Centre Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha. MANAGEMENT OF CHIKUNGUNYA THROUGH AYURVEDA AND SIDDHA . Department of AYUSH Ministry of Health and Family Welfare ; New Delhi
  5. Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia. The Authoritative Guide to Ayurvedic Medicine; [Internet]

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