Gout, gouty arthritis or ‘Vata Rakta’ is marked by painful inflammatory joints, as well as systemic adverse effects on the body. According to Ayurveda, the ancient natural medicine of India, there are three types of gout with varying signs and symptoms. You can can have a better quality of life if you can follow the diet and lifestyle factors recommended below, as well as receive assistance from a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
In Ayurveda ‘gouty arthritis’ is known as ‘Vata Rakta’. The word ‘Vata Rakta’ is composed of two words: Vata (Vata Dosha) and Rakta (blood). When aggravated, Vata is obstructed by the aggravated Rakta, and this obstructed Vata in turn vitiates Rakta. This pathological state is known as Vatarakta or gout or gouty arthritis.
Types of Gout Or Gouty Arthritis
According to Ayurveda, there are three types of gout.
1. Superficial Vata Rakta 2. Deep Seated Vata Rakta 3. Vata Rakta that affectsthe superficial and deep tissues simultaneously
Furthermore, gout has been classified into eight types according to the dosha or particular imbalance involved. Do you know your dosha or Ayurvedic body type? Take the free quiz here!
Vata dominated Vata Rakta
Pitta dominated Vata Rakta
Rakta (blood tissue) dominated Vata Rakta (Rakta, although a tissue, is considered a Dosha here as its vitiation is a causative factor behind the precipitation of Vata Rakta in general, and this type of Vata Rakta in particular, where symptoms of vitiation of blood are more than that of Vata)
Kapha dominated Vata Rakta
Vata-Pitta dominated Vata Rakta
Vata-Kapha dominated Vata Rakta
Kapha-Pitta dominated Vata Rakta
Sannipata (where all three dosha are involved) Vata Rakta
Causes of Gout Or Gouty Arthritis
The following causes, which aggravate the dosha involved as per the type of Vata Rakta, have been recognized.
Blood Vitiating Causes
Over-indulgence in foods which are salty, sour, pungent, alkaline, fatty, very hot or uncooked
Consuming meat of animals or birds of aquatic and marshy regions, and dried meat
Excessive intake of eatables like radish, cowpea, leafy vegetables; grains like sesame, horse gram, black grain, cowpea or black eyed pea and other foods like those that are fermented, mutton and yogurt
Sleeping during the day and/or staying awake at night
Excessive exposure to hot climate and sun
The above mentioned foods and activities will produce Vata Rakta, especially in those who are very timid or delicate, have a sweet tooth (enjoy eating sugary foods, wheat, potatoes, grains, milk etc), have a lethargic lifestyle and are not used to walking or exercising. In people with such lifestyles, the blood tissue can get vitiated over a period of time.
Vata Vitiating Causes
Eating astringent, bitter and pungent tastes in food
Excessive swimming, jumping, and excessive sexual intercourse
Suppression of the natural urges
An over-indulgence in grief
Eating foods which are incompatible with your dosha or constitution
Do you know your dosha or Ayurvedic body type? Take the free quiz here!
Signs And Symptoms Of Gout Or Gouty Arthritis
The signs and symptoms of gout (gouty arthritis, ‘vata rakta’) depends upon the dosha which is involved.
IfVatais the dominant dosha, the following symptoms can appear.
Severe pain (pulsating or pricking)
Swollen joints which appear dry and blackish. The swelling will increase or decrease often.
Contractures of the fingers
Stiffness and severe pain
Loss of function of joints
Dislike for cold
The involved limbs can’t bear even the slightest touch (hyperaesthesia). A sort of pricking, piercing pain (like pins or needles) is experienced and the limbs can become withered. Atrophy and loss of sensibility to touch can occur.
IfPittais dominant, the involved joints can become extremely red, hot, soft, swollen, and characterized by a sort of indescribable burning sensation.
If Rakta is affected profoundly, the swelling will cause severe (pricking) pain, become coppery red in color, and neither oil or dry massage will be able to bring relief. Itching and exudation can also occur.
IfKaphais dominant, the skin can be rigid, greasy, ‘heavy’, and can experience a loss of sensation and slight pain. The involved limbs become swollen and numb. The swelling assumes a whitish hue, feels cold to the touch, and is accompanied by excessive itching.
If two or three doshas are involved, there will be a combination of the above symptoms. The limbs exhibit symptoms that are respectively peculiar to all the three preceding types
How To Distinguish The Three Types Of Gout
Superficial Vata Rakta
In the superficial type of Vata Rakta, the following symptoms exist.
Contraction of the skin
Pricking and/or pulsating pain
Deformity of joints
Coppery, blackish or red colored skin
Deep Seated Vata Rakta
In the deep seated type of Vata Rakta, these symptoms exist.
Hard swelling with deep seated pain
Coppery red colored skin
Pricking and/or pulsating pain
Swelling that is converted into ulcers
Third Type Of Vata Rakta
In the third type of Vata Rakta, one experiences the following.
A burning sensation
The vitiated Vata affecting the joints, bones and bone marrow, causes cutting pain and contractures of the bones and joints.
Many conditions have been thought to have the same pathology as Vata Rakta, but describing them is out of the scope of this article.
Gout Without Drugs
Consult your health care provider or qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for proper care. Take our free online health assessment to connect with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
In the beginning, oleation therapy, where medicated ghee is given internally, is recommended.
Thereafter, purgation therapy with unctuous ingredients like castor oil or other medicated oils is given. If the person has an oily disposition already, then herbal powders like Triphala with warm water is given.
Self administered herbal enema therapies
If Vata is dominant, fomentation and oil massage is advised. However, if the limbs already experience burning, fomentation should be avoided and instead cooling herbal packs should be applied.
In Kapha dominated Vata Rakta, intermittent fasting under supervision can be initiated.
Things to avoid if you’re suffering from Vata Rakta.
Sleeping during day time
Exposure to heat
Eating pungent, spicy, heavy to digest, salty and sour foods
Intake of sesame and yogurt
Alcohol in any form
Cereals (e.g. 1-year old barley, wheat, wild rice, rice)
Turkey or chicken soup, chickpeas, green mung beans, and asparagus with added ghee.
Milk of cow, buffalo and goat
DISCLAIMER:Nothing in this document may be viewed as the diagnosis or treatment of any medical disease whatsoever. The contents of this document are the opinions of the author based on his/her learning and experience. This document is meant only for educational purposes. The Ayurveda Experience is not liable or responsible for the suggestions made herein. Please consult your primary care physician before implementing any change in your diet or lifestyle.