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Herbal medicine for Arthritis and Rheumatism

Author: Dr Deepak Acharya, Garima Sancheti, Dr Anshu Shrivastava and Dr Sanjay Pawar

Published: 2009-06-22 : (Rev. 2016-06-13)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Traditional Indian herbal formulation given to treat Arthritis and Rheumatism using herbs from India.

Main Digest

Traditional medicines of Gonds and Bharias - Herbal medicine for Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Central India is rich in forest and tribal culture. Gonds are among one of the biggest tribal population in this region. Bharia community resides only in Betul district and in Patalkot valley of Chhindwara district, Central India. Here life-supporting facilities are lacking. Tribals are dependent upon plant resources for their livelihood including the native therapy for health care. This treatment is based on plants.

Tribals in Patalkot depend upon the plant resources for their livelihood because of the weak economy. Bhumkas (Local healers) and few older people know the system of healing. Such knowledge, which is verbalized and is limited only to them, may be erased in near future. Considering these facts, It is aimed to document folklore medicines used for the treatment of various disorders. The current series of articles deals with the traditional healing processes among tribes. Here we discuss about the herbal formulation given to treat Arthritis and Rheumatism. Authors have extensively surveyed the Patalkot valley and documented indigenous knowledge. These herbal formulations are yet to be validated. Kindly consult your family doctor before applying any formulation.

Combination of herbs viz., Piper longum , Solanum virginianum, Withania somnifera, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica, Curcuma zedoaria , Emblica officinalis, Ricinus communis

Drug Preparation: Piper longum fruits (1 tbsp), Solanum virginianum whole plant (1 tbsp), Withania somnifera roots (1 tbsp), Terminalia chebula fruits (1 tbsp), Terminalia bellirica fruits (1 tbsp), Curcuma zedoaria roots (1 tbsp), Emblica officinalis fruits (1 tbsp), Ricinus communis roots (1 tbsp).

Dosage: One teaspoonful powder should be given to the patient, twice a day (morning and evening, one hour before meals) with water or honey or ginger juice.

Plant Profiles:

1. Piper longumLinn. (Indian Long pepper)

Hindi- Pipal, Pipli, Piplamul; Bengali- Piplamor; Marathi- Pimpli; Gujarat- Pipli; Telugu- Pippuloo; Tamil- Tippali; Pippili, Sirumulam, Kandan Tippili; Malayalam-Tippali, Pippali, Aamgadhi

A slender aromatic climber with perennial woody roots occurring in the hotter parts of India, from Central Himalayas to Assam, Khasi and Mikir hills, lower hills of Bengal, and evergreen forests of western ghats from Konkan to Travancore: it has been recorded also from Car Nicobar Islands. Stems creeping; jointed; young shoots downy; leaves 5-9 cm. long, 3-5 cm. wide, ovate, cordate with broad rounded lobes at base, subacute, entire, glabrous; spikes cylindrical pedunculate, male larger and slender, female 1.3-2.5 cm. long and 4-5 mm. diam.; fruits ovoid, yellowish orange, sunk in fleshy spike (WOA. 1997).

2 . Solanum virginiaum L. Solanum xanthocarpum Schrad & Wendle, S. surattense Burm. f. (Yellow berried, Nightshade)

Hindi- Kateli; Sanskrit-Kantkari, Duhusparsha, Nidigdhika

A very prickly perennial herb, somewhat woody at base. Stem: much branched, clothed with dense, stellate and tomentose hairs when young; prickles compressed, straight, glabrous, shining, often 1-3 cm long. Leaves: ovate or elliptic, sinuate or sub pinnatifid, obtuse or sub acute, stellately hairy on both sides, armed on the midrib and often on the nerves with long yellow sharp prickles; petiole long, stellately hairy and prickly. Flowers: in cymes or some times reduced as solitary; calyx tube short, globose; lobes linear-lanceolate, acute, densely hairy and prickly; corolla purple; lobes deltoid, acute, hairy outside; filament long, glabrous; ovary ovoid, glabrous. Fruit: berry yellow, green-blotched and surrounded by enlarged calyx. Seeds: glabrous (WOA. 1997).

3. Withania somnifera Dunal (Ashwagandha)

Sanskrit- Ashwagandha, Turangi-gandha; Hindi- Punir, Asgandh; Bengali- Ashvaganda; Marathi- Askandha tilli; Gujarati- Ghodakun, Ghoda, Asoda, Asan; Telugu- Pulivendram, Panneru-gadda, Panneru; Tamil- Amukkura, Amkulang, Amukkuram-kilangu, Amulang-kalung, Aswagandhi; Kannada- Viremaddlinagadde, Pannaeru, Aswagandhi, Kiremallinagida, Punjabi- Asgand, Isgand; Trade--Aswagandha.

An erect, evergreen, tomentose shrub, 30-150 cm. high, found throughout the drier parts of India in waste places and on bunds; also cultivated to a limited extent for the medicinal roots. Roots stout fleshy, whitish brown; leaves simple ovate, glabrous, those in the floral region smaller and opposite; flowers inconspicuous, greenish or lurid-yellow, in axillary, umbellate cymes; berries small, globose, orange-red when mature, enclosed in the persistent calyx; seeds yellow, reniform (WOA, 1997).

4. Terminalia chebulaRetz.; C. B. Clarke (Fl. Br. Ind.) in part (Chebulic Myrobalan)

Hindi- Harra; Bengali- Haritaki; Marathi- Hirda; Gujarati- Hardo; Telugu- Karakkai; Tamil-Kadukkai; Oriya- Haridra; Punjabi- Har, Harar; Assamia- Silikha

A tree 15-24 m. in height and 1.5-2.4 m. in girth, with a cylindrical bole of 4-9 m., a rounded crown and spreading branches, found throughout the greater parts of India. Bark dark-brown, often longitudinally cracked, exfoliating in woody scales; leaves ovate or elliptic with a pair of large glands at the top of the petiole; flowers yellowish white, in terminal spikes; drupes ellipsoidal, obovoid or ovoid, yellow to orange-brown, sometimes tinged with red or black and hard when ripe, 3-5 cm. long, become 5-ribbed on drying; seeds hard, pale yellow (WOA. 1997).

5. Terminalia bellirica Roxb. (Belliric myrobalan).

Hindi- Bahera; Bengali- Bhairah; Marathi- Beheda; Telugu & Tamil- Tani; Malyalam- Thani; Oriya- Bhara; Trade- Belliric myrobalan, Bahera.

A handsome tree, with characteristic bark, up to 40 m high and a girth of 1.8-3 m. Stems straight, frequently buttressed when large. Leaves broadly elliptic, clustered towards the ends of branches. Flowers in solitary, simple, axillary spikes. Fruits globular, 1.3-2 cm in diam., obscurely 5-angled (WOA, 1997).

6. Curcuma zedoariaRosc. (Zedoary)

Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada & Gujarati- Kachura; Tamil- Kichili-kizhanghu; Telugu- Kachoram; Malayalam- Pula-kizhanna.

A species growing wild in eastern Himalayas and in the moist deciduous forests of the coastal tract of Kanara. It is a native of north east India and is widely cultivated in many parts of India, Ceylon and China (WOA, 1997).

7 . Emblica officinalisGaertn. syn. Phyllanthus emblica Linn. (Emblic Myrobalan, Indian Goosberry)

Sanskrit-Adiphala, Dhatri, Amalaka; Hindi- Amla, Amlika, Aonla; Bengali- Akla, Amlaki; Gujarati- Amali, Ambala; Telugu- Amalakamu, Usirikai; Tamil- Nelli; Kannada-Amalaka, Nelli; Malayalam- Nelli.

A small or medium-sized deciduous tree with smooth, greenish grey, exfoliating bark. Leaves feathery with small narrowly oblong, pinnately arranged leaflets. Fruits depressed globose, 1/2 to 1 inch in diam., fleshy and obscurely 6-lobed, containing 6 trigonous seeds. The tree is common in the mixed deciduous forests of India ascending to 4,500 ft. on the hills. It is often cultivated in gardens and homeyards. A type bearing comparatively larger fruits than the wild plant is known in cultivation (WOA. 1997).

8 . Ricinus communisL. (Castor, Castor Seed)

Hindi & Marathi- Erandi; Bengali- Bheranda; Gujarati- Diveligo; Tamil- Amanakku, Kottai Muthu; Telugu- Amudamuchettu; Kannada- Haralu; Malayalam- Avanakku.

An annual or perennial bush or occasionally a soft-wooded small tree up to 6 m. or more, found nearly throughout India, mostly under cultivation up to an elevation of 2,000 m. Leaves green or reddish, 30-60 cm. in diam., palmately 5-11 lobed, lobes serrate and petioles with conspicuous glands; flowers monoecious, in spikes 30-60 cm. long, with the staminate flowers on the lower and the pistillate flowers on the upper part of the axis; fruit a capsule covered with soft spine-like processes and dehiscing into three 2-valved cocci; seeds oblong, smooth, variously colored, mottled, varying much in size (WOA. 1997).


WOA. 1997. Wealth of Asia (AHEAD).

About the Authors:

Dr Deepak Acharya: He is the Director of a herbal formulation company in Ahmedabad, India. He has been documenting ethnobotanical knowledge of tribals of Central and Western India. He has written 30 research papers in National and International journals of repute. He writes popular articles for web and magazines. Meet him on his homepage or contact via email on

Ms Garima Sancheti: She is a research scholar, working in the field of Radiation and Cancer Biology from Department of Zoology (University of Rajasthan, India). She has to her credit various research papers in scientific journals as well as articles on web. Contact her on

Dr Anshu Shrivastava: He is a Botanist and PhD from BSI- Jodhpur, currently working as Research Associate in SRISTI- Ahmedabad. He can be contacted on

Dr Sanjay Pawar: He is a botanist in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. Contact him on

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