Ashwagandha and Rheumatoid Arthritis
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition that damages the lining of joints. People with RA typically experience joint swelling, discomfort, and stiffness. The inflammation that comes with the disease can lead to other symptoms like fatigue, poor appetite, and fevers.
What Therapies do People with Rheumatoid Arthritis Use to Get Relief
People with RA may be recommended to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to slow RA progression.
About 60-90% of people with arthritis also try Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) to find relief from joint discomfort and chronic inflammation. Common CAM therapies include acupuncture, yoga, massage, and herbal supplements. Some CAM therapies are based on ancient practices, like Ayurvedic Medicine.
Ashwagandha and Arthritis
Two supplements commonly used in Ayurvedic Medicine for RA, ashwagandha and Sidh Makardhwaj, were put to the test by researchers in India to see if they reduce discomfort in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The experimental group took 5 grams of ashwagandha twice per day for three weeks. After that, they were instructed to take 100 milligrams of Sidh Makardhwaj once per day for four weeks. After both phases of the study were completed, there was a statistically significant improvement in tender joints, swollen joints, and a patient self-assessed disability index score relative to initial scores measured before participants started the herbal supplements.
While the results of this unique study are promising, it’s crucial to note that Sidh Makardhwaj contains mercury, a heavy metal that is toxic to humans. For this reason, most medical professionals do not consider it safe to consume.
The good news is that ashwagandha is considered much safer for humans. It’s best to check with your doctor to see if the medications and supplements you are currently taking do not interact with ashwagandha ahead of time to avoid any accidental side effects.
Based on how the study mentioned above was designed, it’s hard to know if people would experience similar improvements in joint discomfort if they were to take ashwagandha alone. More research on ashwagandha supplementation is needed to determine if it’s effective in decreasing symptoms associated with RA.
Is it Worth Trying Ashwagandha for Arthritis?
If your medical doctor considers it safe to add ashwagandha to your medicine and supplement plan, it could be worth a try. Ashwagandha is considered to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects, which have the potential to be helpful for people struggling with RA and other types of arthritis.
People who experience chronic inflammation may be interested in our Recovery formula. It’s a unique combination of anti-inflammatory botanicals like ashwagandha, turmeric, and CBD. Our mission is to help people get back to the activities they love with less discomfort thanks to the help of powerful, natural ingredients.
Written by Katie Mednick MBA, RDN
Katie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is passionate about helping people who struggle with chronic inflammation and pain feel better.