Ayurveda Q&A: Pain relieving ayurvedic herbs

Dr Gowthaman, Medical Director, Dr Gowthaman’s Ayurveda Panchakarma Center, Chennai, answers readers’ questions on Ayurveda. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Tuesday.

This week’s answers:

1. Good Day Dr. I am suffering from 3/4 ligament tear for which the doctor has recommended laproscopic surgery. As I dont want to undergo any surgery, Now its almost 3months, I still have swelling which often is more or less. Please advise what can be done. Please provide me your contact address.
Pam Juliet

Hi Pam Juliet,

Ayurveda and physiotherapy exercises especially Tai Chi can help you better. Ayurveda has specialized therapies like pizichil, followed by ela kizhi and Navara Kizhi can help you heal the ligaments and bring back normalcy in no time.

a. Abhyanga: Involves a full body massage with Ayurveda oil for 45 minutes. The oil is selected after understanding the patient’s body nature, the season, and disease condition, if any. The number of strokes and pressure vary with the condition of the individual. Benefits: Its rhythmic motion helps to relieve joints and muscles from stiffness and makes all body movements free. This treatment increases blood circulation, which in turn encourages quick removal of metabolic wastes and toxins. Indications: It is used in cases of anxiety, fatigue, circulatory disorders, rheumatism, arthritis, backache and injuries. It prevents wrinkles, helps in treatment of spondylosis, sleep disorders, paralysis, improves physical consistency, induces sound sleep, increase a general sense of well being and life span.

b. Pizhichil: Pizhichil, which literally means squeezing, a cloth dipped in warm medicated oil is squeezed over the patient’s body. The patient should be made to adopt the seven standard positions so that no area of the body is left uncovered. Benefits include Relieves body pain and muscle spasms, Helps preserve and promote optimum health, Helps in the healing of fractured bones, Increases immunity and prolongs life span, Promotes development of muscles, Improves skin complexion, Anti aging and rejuvenating, Ensures better blood circulation, Alleviates the burning sensation in the body, A soothing and relaxing procedure, Prescribed in clinical conditions like Paraplegia, Hemiplegia and other degenerative conditions. This treatment is very useful for rheumatic diseases, arthritis, paralysis, sexual weakness, neurological disorders, blood pressure, nervous weakness, diabetes, blood pressure, fits, convulsions, paralysis and helps to arrest the aging process. It is very effective in asthma and even in tuberculosis in early stages.

c. Navara Kizhi: It involves fomentation of the body with bolus of cooked rice. The rice is first cooked with milk and herbal decoction. Four boluses are made of the cooked rice and are tied up in linen bags. This therapy is done in seven standard positions. This is a strengthening fomentation employed in all kinds of neurological disorders, rheumatism, arthritis congenital deformity of the limbs, dislocation of bones and joints etc. Benefits Strengthens the body, Rejuvenates the tissues, Improves muscle tone, Improves blood supply by cleansing the channels of circulation, Effective in curing diseases of the nervous system and others such as chronic rheumatism, osteoarthritis, gout, emaciation of muscles, numbness and diseases caused by vitiation of blood, Makes the body strong and sturdy, Nourishes the body and increases immunity, Promotes sharpness of vision and functions of other sense organs Slows down aging, premature graying of hair, baldness, appearance of wrinkles over the body, Gives softness to the body by improving the health of the skin.

d. Ela Kizhi/ Podi Kizhi: Leaves & powders of medicinal herbs are fried in medicated oil and applied over the body in rhythmic massage. Good for arthritic conditions, lumbago, cervical spondylosis, frozen shoulder, sciatica, pain and stiffness of joints, post paralytic spasm, other spastic and inflammatory conditions etc. Benefits includes relieves pain, numbness and edema, controls vitiated Vata, improves peripheral blood supply, cures diseases like arthritis, paralysis and convulsions, stimulates the nerve endings, treatment for Spondlitis and Sports injuries

e. Janu Vasti: Lukewarm Ayurvedic / herbal oils are poured into a artificial bridge created around the affected area (Knee, Lower back, Neck etc). The healing properties of herbal oils used for this massage enriches the blood and builds and maintains strong muscle and connective tissues. Loosens stiff joints, helps to cure cervical spondlitis, neck pain, paralysis and numbness of hands, Stimulates and nourishes nerves relieving pain and numbness, This treatment is very effective in treating different conditions of the knee joints like arthritis, degenerative conditions etc.

f. Pichu: A thick layer of cotton soaked with warm medicated oil is applied over the affected area. The oil is recycled periodically to make it warm. Very effective for degenerative and painful problems like back pain, Osteo-arthritis, Spondlitis, injuries, etc. Recommended for Neurological disorders like Paralysis, facial palsy etc.

h. Vasti: This is a treatment in which prescribed medicated oils, decoctions, herbal preparations, extracts are applied through the rectum. Good for arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, numbness and constant constipation, degenerative, neurological problems, chronic back pain, infertility, sciatica, obesity, digestive disorders, ulcer. It purifies the body, maintains health and longevity.

Herbs good for strengthening the joint: Ayurveda herbs good for pain

1. Guggulu (Commiphora mukul – gum) : It is the most effect herb used in the Ayurvedic treatment of arthritis. Guggulu has strong rejuvenating, purifying, medicinal and healing qualities. Guggulu is perhaps used more than any other herb in Ayurveda. Guggulu increases the white blood cell count, dis-infects secretions in the body. Guggulu has been used extensively for similar health disorders such as rheumatism, gout and lumbago.

2. Rasna (Vanda roxburghii): The root of the plant is found Effective in inflammations, rheumatic disorders, osteoarthritis and allied disorders.

3. Garlic (Allium sativum) : Garlic has been demonstrated as effective for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and as an anti-infection agent. It has more recently been found to be effective against rheumatoid arthritis. It may used singularly or in combination with the usual medications.

4. Indian Gooseberry (Emblica Officinalis) : To treat rheumatism a teaspoon of the powder of the dry fruit mixed with 2 teaspoons of Jaggery can be taken twice daily for a month.

5. Indian Aloe (Aloe vera): Indian aloe is useful in lumbago, sciatica, gout and rheumatism. The pulp of one leaf is taken daily for relief.

Diet: Avoid curd & all sour items pulses (except moong dal), rice, meat, fish, white bread, sugar, refined cereals, fried foods, tea or coffee, potato & lemon juice. Celery seeds, bitter gourd are highly beneficial.

I am practicing at Chennai. For appointments please call 044 – 42187226 / 044 – 2481 2453

2. Hi Doctor, Got your reference on Sify site. I am badly affected with MELASMA on both of my cheeks, from last 2 years. I dont know how it develeoped, but got worse with time as I tried to cure it through several medicinal treatments (which includes cosmetic treatments like Peel off, Laser etc). I have wasted time, money and most importantly my skin color during the course of the time.
Request you to if you can help me with Ayurvedic treatment of the same
Amit Kumar Sinha

Hi Amit Kumar Sinha,

Ayurveda, as a holistic medicine addresses this problem both from inside and outside. Ayurveda explains as the facial beauty is the reflection of physical, mental and spiritual well being. Hence, Ayurveda recommends the traditional detoxification therapies followed by rejuvenation therapies for this condition.

As a pacification therapy, Ayurveda recommends a special eight fold therapy for a period of 28-40 days for complete cure. This facial therapies helps improves the blood circulation in the skin which in turn detox and rejuvenate itself. Even though the results are slow, it yields better results than any other chemical or Modern medicine based creams

1. Gentle application of fresh aloe vera juice followed by warm water wash: Modern researchers do accept it as aloe vera contains mucilaginous polysaccharides which has a significant result on lightening the dark spots. Ayurveda recommends this application on face should be a gently one and to be done for 15 minutes.
2. Application of Orange skin fresh or powder mixed with milk – It is very good skin exfoliator which can lighten the skin discolorations in no time. Gentle application followed by warm water wash after 30 minutes
3. Application of turmeric powder mixed with warm milk – 5 tablespoon of turmeric powder mixed with 10 tablespoon of milk and applied all over the face followed by warm massage for 20 minutes helps followed by warm water wash
4. Almond paste with honey as pack for 15 minutes followed by warm water wash after 15 minutes
5. Application of fresh lemon juice with gentle massage followed by warm water wash after 10 minutes
6. Onion seed paste application followed by warm water wash after 15 minutes
7. Thulasi leave paste pack followed by warm water wash after 15 minutes
8. Finally 10 minutes pack with Thriphala choornam for 10 minutes followed by warm water wash (Ayurveda recommends using Thriphala Kashayam for face wash helps both in prevention and cure, Ayurveda also recommends 1 tablespoon of Thriphala choornam at bed time with warm water also helps in healing)

Home remedies for melasma

a. Vinegar: Dilute vinegar equally with water, and use to cleanse and rinse your face. Allow to air dry to seal in moisture. Or, use the vinegar/water mixture in place of an astringent or toner. Vinegar is chemically acetic acid, and is capable of whitening and brightening, as well as making skin smoother and more radiant. It has also long been used for a skin softener. Apple cider or other natural vinegars are recommended, though some people use distilled white vinegar.
b. Onion Juice: To get onion juice, you can finely chop up an onion, or blend it, and squeeze the juice through a cheese cloth. Mix with equal part apple cider vinegar, apply twice daily with a cotton ball and watch for results over the next several weeks. Alternatively, you can cut a slice of onion, dip it in vinegar, and apply it to the pigmentation.
c. Lemon Juice: Applying the juice of a fresh lemon to the pigmentation has a similar effect to the onion remedy – it is acidic and can safely peel off the top layer of skin, causing spots to fade.
d. Onion, vinegar and lemon juice are excellent home remedies to relieve you of age spots, Melasma, pigmentation and discoloration. I found this treatment quite effective for lightening over several weeks – what I didn’t like was the onion smell. Though it was great in a pinch, I didn’t want to have stinky hands and face for life, so I learned of many more natural remedies to combat my Melasma.

Ayurveda diet for Melasma

Avoiding the following food items helps in prevention and healing of Melasma

a. Tamarind
b. Spicy, salty foods and drinks
c. Garlic and Green chillies
d. Brinjal
e. Curd (Yoghurt)
f. Buffalo milk products
g. Alcohol and alcoholic products
h. Sugarcane
i. Eggs
j. Fish
k. Chicken
l. Avoid exercise in hot heat, exposure to hot sun, birth control pills and long time hormonal therapies

3. Is plantar fascitis permanently cured? I’m 29 suffering from severe pain in the heels early in the mornings when I wake up and also after long sittings or standings. And also pain in the inner side of both the legs below knees when I jog/run? No problem when walking. Don’t know is this problem called plantar fascitis or not? But can it be permanently cured? If I neglect will it turn into sever problem in future?Awaiting your response
Dharani Kumar

Hi Dharani Kumar,

Yes, Ayurveda therapies and physical exercises can help. Ayurveda therapies like Podikizhi, Ela Kizhi etc can improve the blood circulation and heal the problem. Don’t ignore it as winter is approaching and the cool climate can increase pain and stiffness. Please consult an Ayurveda physician as early as possible.

4. Hi Doctor, I need your help. I am suffering from severe eczema for the last 4months. I did not have it before. It is very itchy. It is leaving scabs on my skin. This is really making me uncomfortable.

Rani Moodley, Durban, South Africa

Hi Rani,

Eczema is the specialty of Ayurveda. Ayurveda medicines and therapies, strict non fat and vegetarian diet, therapeutic blood purifying herbs can bring back the normalcy in no time. Eczema usually related to Diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol problems. Please check the blood circulation, consult a vascular surgeon as early as possible.

Ayurveda has specialized therapies like Takra Dhara, Sekam, pichu and Lepa for Eczema. Depends on the nature of the Eczema any one of these or combination of all above administered one after one.

Ayurveda medicines like Maha Thiktakam Kashayam tablets – 3 numbers, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner with warm water, Gandhaka Bhasma (7) – 250 mg with milk twice daily after food, Arogya varidini vatika – 2 tablets thrice daily after food with warm water helps.

Protection tips – When not suffering from fever, sinus headache, nasal congestion, asthma, cough – people should ensure that they have complete oil bath twice a month. Ayurvedic Abhyanga is the right therapy which can maintain the skin texture. It has all the ingredients of a complete oil bath. The choice of medicated oil, duration, frequency will be determined by an Ayurvedic doctor who can understand the skin nature and associated factors like weather etc.

Minimize stress and manage it with positive coping techniques – In Ayurvedic sense, digestion and metabolism are at best in winter. Hence, except for people with increased blood cholesterol and cardiac illness, ghee is recommended along with the first few bolus of rice intake or ghee processed foods in warm state are good for health.

Avoid deep fried, spicy non-vegetarian recipes – Avoid use of body shampoo, soaps that can further dry up the skin. More importantly never use new face creams, soaps which are marketed as cosmetic remedies. Your skin care gets complete only by internal medicine usage.
We will discuss in detail about the above said common skin diseases of winter in the upcoming issues.

5. I am Prashant , 33 years residing in Indore MP. In January I was traced with Diabetes , I am taking Glynase M F Since then and My Blood sugar level is ranging between 105 to 110 on Fasting and 115-117 post meal. Some days back I felt some sensation in my toung and inside the mouth and I approached my Doctor who took my blood pressure and found it at 170/100. He suggested me take Blood pressure pills for the same, also suggested me to take Mythalyecobalmin Tablet that work for Diabetic neuropathy.
After taking the medicines for 8-9 days I got my cholesterol checked and found that the following results :
Total Cholestrol 177
HDL : 36
LDL : 113
My Blood pressure with medication of almost 15 days is still at 140/100.
Please suggest the ayurvedic medicine for lowering Blood pressure and cholesterol in view of Diabetes. Also please suggest if I can take these medicines with my Allopathic medicines which I am taking currently.
With best regards


Hi Prashant,

I suggest you to take a holistic approach than the specific disease based approach. In Ayurveda, we understand the causes and address the conditions with Ayurveda therapies, diet and Yoga. Specifically for your condition i recommend Tai Chi and Yoga mix. This will improve the health condition and Prevents the complications of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Please check your renal functions once in 3 months as both Hypertension and diabetes can harm the kidneys. Intake of 3 liters of water, vegetarian meals, planned exercises can make you healthy faster.

Ayurveda medicines like Vita Noni capsules and Lopac – 2 tablets thrice daily 30 minutes before food with warm water and Siva gutika 1 tablet thrice daily after food with warm water, Avipattikara Choornam tablets – 3 tablets at bed time with warm water helps you.

Visit a nearby Ayurveda center and take Abhyanga with Dhanvantharam Thailam which can improve the blood circulation all over the body hence prevents the complications of Diabetes like Diabetic Neuropathy etc.

6. Am a 41 year old lady. been suffering from alopecia more than 10yrs now. tried homeopathy, allopathy but no remedy. it settles for sometime but come back again. past one month i have been having severe hairloss. please help
Vani Sunil

Hi Vani Sunil,

Ayurveda therapies and improving anti oxidants can help. Check your Thyroid and Vitamin D functions. Both could be the underlying causes for these troubles. Improving the water intake and adding good amount of greens, fresh vegetables and fruits can bring back the normalcy faster.

Amla powder 50 gm + 1 egg white + 5 ml of fresh lemon juice – applied as a pack followed by warm water wash after 15-30 minutes helps a lot. Its a very effective external remedy for Alopecia.

Ayurveda medicines like Sudarshanam Choornam tablets and Vita Noni capsules, 2 each, before food with warm water and Loham (101) – 250 mg thrice daily after food can help.

External application of Narashima Thailam on scalp and using Keshmani shampoo for wash improves the hair growth and prevents the hair fall.

7. I am a female aged 42.I live in chennai .I have been suffering from constipation two days before and a week ..after periods..sinceclose to four years …

..I also have pain before the start of periods…and pain in the right hip and it clearly indicates presence of gas becoz it is spasmic….and clearly tightness of muscles is felt .. I drink a lot of water but still i am not able to empty stools fully especially during this period of few days before periods and week after periods ..It makes me mentally tired ….i have been taking 20 trpic MF tablets during each period since four years as per Drs suggestion..dr said it will reduce heavy bleaading and also will reduce the pain..I think it is effective ..and ther is not much disturbing side effects in long usage ..
I dont want to loose my uterus ..becoz I hav e seen few of my friends suffering from some problem or other after uterust removal..also none in my family have had removal … 1.periods are regular ….once in 25-28 days ..heavy bleeding on second day ..2.seems like irritable bowel syndrom before and after periods and lot of gas 3poor digestion ..I am not having a good digestion at all ..though i feel hunger . I am not able to digest certain type of foods .like bread.., wheat chapati , etc., .and it is clearly showing to me after i eat them becoz i feel full ness and bloating 4.ultra sound scan report says *adenomyosis*and enlarged uterus….ovaries normal .
I wish to try Ayurveda medicines ..Please do reply


You are experiencing the pre menopausal syndrome. Ayurveda can help you. You may have to do some life style changes to improve this condition. For example walking 20-30 minutes a day, warm water bath, etc. can improve your condition.

Indian Asparagus roots are the very effective remedy for your condition. 100 ml of milk + 200 ml of water + 5 gm of Indian Asparagus powder – all mixed boiled together and reduced to 100 ml – Filtered and taken once a day in empty stomach with pinch of a clove powder improves all your complaints.

Ayurveda herbal combination of Maha Thiktakam Kashayam – 15 ml + 45 ml of warm water + 250 mg of Kalyanaka Kshara + 3 gm of Sukumaram gritam – 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner can improve your condition.

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