Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)
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Introduction

 

Chikungunya has become the biggest scare in the world currently. After the epidemics of dengue and SARS, now chikungunya has grabbed the attention of people of the world. In some parts of the world, chikungunya is also called as Chicken Guinea, though this is a misnomer as chikungunya has nothing to do with chicken. Chicken Guinea is just an Anglicization of the word chikungunya.

The word chikungunya is etymologically rooted in the Makonde language of Tanzania, where it means ‘that which bends up’. This name is because of the painful symptoms which cause the patient’s joints to curve in an upwards position. The origins of chikungunya can be traced to 1952 in central Africa from where it has become rampant in Asia currently. The disease manifests itself as an epidemic, and if uncontrolled, it might turn into a pandemic.

The latest epidemic of chikungunya is currently going on in South India. The heavy floods in South India in the monsoon region have been responsible for the widespread outbreak of the disease. Southern states of India such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been the most drastically hit. A lot of research is going on in India with respect to chikungunya, in both the allopathic and the Ayurvedic fields. Most people have found Ayurveda to be a solution for chikungunya.

The condition known as sandhi jwara in Sanskrit has the similar symptoms to chikungunya. Sandhi jwara literally means ‘pain in joints’ and this is one of the primary aspects of chikungunya. For this reason, chikungunya can be equated with sandhi jwara.

Definition of Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

 

Chikungunya is a viral disease that is very similar in symptoms and etiology to the more popular disease, dengue fever. The virus responsible for chikungunya is alphavirus, which belongs to the togoviridae family. This virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. Only a specific type of mosquito is a vector, i.e. carrier for chikungunya. This is the aedes aegypti mosquito, which is active only in the daytime. The aedes aegypti mosquito is the same mosquito that is responsible for the transmission of dengue fever among humans. The condition of chikungunya is generally not fatal, and it can be remedied within five to seven days with proper treatment. The basic characteristic of the disease is a fever along with an arthritic-type of pain in the joints (which has given it its Sanskrit name).

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Causes of Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted through the agency of mosquitoes. The responsible chikungunya virus is the alphavirus, which is carried by the aedes aegypti breed of mosquito. Hence, after malaria, filaria and dengue, chikungunya has become one more reason to exterminate mosquitoes.

The prime method of spread of chikungunya is through stagnated water. The aedes aegypti mosquito lays its eggs only in stagnated water. This explains why there is a widespread outbreak of chikungunya in India currently, which has just recovered from heavy floods in July-August.

Ayurveda treats chikungunya as a vata dosha disorder. Vata is the air element of our body, which is represented by the air that we breathe; the dissolved gases in our blood, etc. A healthy person has a proper balance of the vata dosha with the other two doshas, viz. pitta dosha and kapha dosha. But when the vata dosha is vitiated, then disease conditions may set in. Chikungunya is one of such diseases, which are caused due to an alleviation of the vata dosha.

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Symptoms of Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

Chikungunya symptoms begin almost immediately after the viral infection. Some of the symptoms are:-

  • Fever with very high temperature
  • Acute pain all over the body
  • Sharp pain in the joints accompanied by swelling
  • Severe headache
  • Profuse rashes
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Loss of taste in the tongue
  • Mouth ulcers

The fever of chikungunya normally comes back to normal within two to three days, but the other symptoms persist for over a week or more. The fever is quite different from normal fever since it is accompanied by chills and feelings of nausea and vomiting.

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Complications due to Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

In almost all the chikungunya deaths reported till date, the chikungunya virus itself has not been responsible for any of the deaths. The chikungunya virus has the potential to destroy the resistance system of the body, due to which any underlying medical condition is exacerbated. It is this complication that causes the death of the patient.

Chikungunya could have complications in people who are elderly. As their bodily resistances are already weak, an onset of chikungunya in them could cause cerebral problems like dementia and paralysis and kidney disorders. Similarly, chikungunya is more fatal in children than in adults. The reason is that children are not able to pinpoint the symptoms exactly and it may be late before the disease is actually diagnosed in them.

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Transmission of Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

Chikungunya is a highly infectious disease through the agency of the aedes aegypti mosquito. If this mosquito bites an infected person, then the virus gets transferred into its body. The virus does not infect the mosquito itself; but on the contrary, the mosquito helps the mosquito to become stronger within its body. Now when the mosquito bites a healthy person, the strengthened virus is now transferred into the body of the healthy person. Thus the healthy person gets affected.

The mosquito that acts as the carrier of the virus is active only in the daytime. It normally bites people during either dawn or dusk. Hence this is the prime time when the chikungunya virus is transmitted into the bodies of healthy people.

The aedes aegypti mosquito is quite area-bound. In fact, the mosquito does not leave its natural habitat, i.e. the stagnant water in which it breeds, by more than a few meters. Thus, chikungunya is transmitted into the nearby habitat first.

Chikungunya spreads so quickly that it may turn into an epidemic. Since the year 2004, there have been epidemics of chikungunya in different parts of Southwest Asia. If there is an epidemic of chikungunya going around, it is necessary to take precautions in order to protect oneself.

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Prevention of Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

There are several methods for preventing chikungunya. The following guidelines must be strictly followed in case chikungunya is in the air:-

  • All stagnant water must be treated and removed. Stagnant water is where the infecting mosquito aedes aegypti breeds.
  • Use insect repellants such as DEET or promythrin in the vicinity in case there is an outspread of chikungunya.
  • It is necessary to wear long pants and long sleeves in case you are planning to visit some area that is dirty or secluded. Even people who are already suffering from chikungunya must wear full clothes in order to prevent mosquitoes from biting them and further infecting more people.
  • The doors and windows of the houses must be kept closed, especially in the dawn and dusk periods. This is the feeding period of the aedes aegypti mosquito.

The aedes aegypti mosquito, considered as the prime culprit of causing the disease, is actually a localized insect. In its whole lifetime, it does not travel even a quarter of a kilometer. Hence, it is not the mosquito that is the cause of the epidemic. Chikungunya becomes an epidemic through people who travel from an affected area to an unaffected area. For this reason, it is very necessary to regulate travelers, especially those who are emigrating from a place that has several cases of chikungunya.

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Diet for Preventing Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

Chikungunya is considered to be primarily a vata dosha disorder. For this reason, the diet that is prescribed for a person with the ailment is a vata pacifying diet. The following tips must be kept in mind:-

  • There must be a good proportion of fluids in the diet in the form of soups, gravies, dals, etc. This will take care of dehydration that occurs in some people with chikungunya.
  • A normal diet can be had, but it must be easily digestible, and preferably vegetarian. Green leafy vegetables are the better choice.
  • Oil must not be used as it could aggravate coughs.
  • Fruits must be had, but avoid cold fruits such as oranges, sweet limes, watermelons, etc. Apples and plantains are the best fruits to have during chikungunya.
  • Tea and coffee must be avoided as long as the fever lasts.

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Chikungunya (Sandhi Jwara)

There is no drug prescribed for chikungunya from the World Health Organization until now. Doctors are using aspirin, ibuprofen, combiflam, paracetamol, etc. to reduce the pains and the fever, but there is no universally acceptable treatment in allopathic medicine yet. Some people are benefited by some medication, while others are not. Some chikungunya people get healed on their own after a few days. Hence, medical science is not trusted enough where chikungunya is concerned.

This has led many people with chikungunya to turn to Ayurveda for seeking out treatment. Ayurveda also may not be able to treat the condition of chikungunya completely, but it provides the necessary resistance for the body to combat with the disease.

There are certain Ayurvedic herbs that have a potential to reduce the symptoms of chikungunya. The following is a list of some such herbs with their action on the human body:-

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action on the Human Body

Angoor

All belonging to the family Viticeae

Grapes

Grapes are taken along with some cow’s milk in order to obtain relief from some of the severe chikungunya symptoms. The grapes must be dry and seedless.

Gaajar

Daucus carota

Carrot

Carrots eaten either raw or in the form of salads are beneficial in increasing the resistance of people suffering from chikungunya and in protecting them from major complications.

Tulsi

Ocimum sanctum

Sacred Basil

Tulsi leaves are used for chikungunya patients as they are effective in reducing the fever.

The following Ayurvedic preparations have been found to be effective against the symptoms of chikungunya:-

  • Sudarshan choorna Two tablespoons of this choorna must be taken per day.
  • Yogiraj guggulu Two tablets per day are to be taken.

Here it is important to mention that there is currently a debate going on about the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicines in the treatment of chikungunya, for which no other form of treatment has been found yet. Almost all Ayurveda exponents are of the opinion that chikungunya may not be treated by Ayurveda alone, but the herbs are effective in allaying some of the severe symptoms of the condition.

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Comment Script

Comments

very infomative article
#1 - sudha rana - 11/27/2008 - 18:39
Nice description and very useful
#2 - sheena - 12/12/2008 - 00:02
very useful information
#3 - keerthi - 08/21/2009 - 01:48
Very nice and useful information. please update as and when new information receives
#4 - BG DHAR - 09/21/2009 - 01:33
Very useful and accurate information. My mother has got chikengunya and we tried allopathy first, the pain reduced upon taking tablets but it is not a cure and it resurfaces again. Continously eating the prescribed painkillers will have a lot of side effects hence we have moved on to Ayurveda. I pray that she feels better now. Hope Ayurveda reduces the pain. I have always trusted Ayurveda and have been mystified with this ancient science. We received this great knowledge from the ancients sages & scripts.
#5 - Praveen - 10/14/2009 - 10:44
Very nice and perfect solutions.thank u for this
#6 - Kylash - 10/17/2009 - 02:51
Very useful and educative information. People suffering from Chicken Gunya can be benefited by trying the above herbs.
#7 - K.V.Rao, - 10/22/2009 - 02:02
This disease is now gradually spreading in Madurai district. People are suffering and medical agencies are giving medicines.But it is highly insufficient since there is no previntive measures. Mosquitoes are happily breeding due to the favourable season i.e., good monsoon and adequate stagnant water all around and with out any effort to control them by people and local administration.
#8 - muneeswaran - 11/21/2009 - 09:26
I am just recovering from this peculiar disease.Along with paracetamol, ayurvedic medicines are a must to make the suffering bearable.
#9 - sudha - 01/04/2010 - 05:36
you have mentioned that allopathic doctors are prescribing aspirin, but it is an absolute contraindication in chikungunya and dengue fever
#10 - vijay kumar - 01/07/2010 - 10:38
very nice article. but also i have one doubt my sister-in-law is pregnant now she is ready for delivery with in 15 days who is affected by chikungunya it may affect her child? i need some clarification any one can help me?
#11 - A. Valar Dennis - 01/27/2010 - 04:22
I could suggest dashmoola kwath or dashamoolarishta 3tbspoon twice daily on full stomach and 1 tbspoon for children, as it is very useful in all vata disorders. Along with that mahavatavidhwansa rasa can be also given 1 tab thrice daily.
#12 - Dr Priyanka - 08/10/2010 - 05:11
There should be some serious research in Ayurveda as there is no proper treatement in Allopathy .So many people are silently suffering from Chikungunya in many places .
#13 - Vasanth Shetty - 10/21/2010 - 07:07
This article is really very god, but my mother is having pains since one and a half month, fever got cured in three to four days but acute pains are still there. she is regularly taking pain killers.. kindly suggest some medicine along with the place where they are available.
#14 - parul - 11/26/2010 - 06:52
my father(80) recovered from the fever more than a month back but has pain and swelling in joints. what should he do?
#15 - mitsu johar - 12/04/2010 - 02:01
i am suffering frm this since 4 mths .i do yoga atleast four times in a wk .i have found a lot of reduction in my swelling nd pain .but when i stop my yoga the pain increases nd i have to start with my pain killers. i think YOGA nd REST wl surely reduce the problems .
#16 - dr mehra - 01/08/2011 - 14:16
Article is really very informative.. but i tried many medicines from ayurved. i got chikungunya before 5 months and i got little clear by Papiya leave juice (daily 2 spoon) and churan ( of gado+ashwagandha+soonth) 1 spoon daily after meal... thankgod most of pain gone... but still when i stand and walk for a long.. i get swelling and pain in my joins.. so completly not gone.. if anybody have idea for this last 10% problem's solution then please post it.
#17 - Preeti Suba - 03/17/2011 - 02:37
I got chicken gunea over 5 years ago. My pains are still there. Its not as bad as in intial days but constantly the joints pain. Now I'm 39 but feel like a woman of 60, Please help
#18 - Dulani - 05/13/2011 - 10:02
I had suffered from this disease.Now my fever is all Right but i have joints pain oftenly.
#19 - Pawan - 06/13/2011 - 00:59
mast notes
#20 - mukesh 3.7.11 - 07/02/2011 - 13:25
Information is very nice. one of my relative got this disease since 1 month, she out of fever in one week before but still have too much pain in one side of body in daily morning . Is this disease take long time to remove from body ?

#21 - Manish - 11/11/2011 - 23:11
can i eat fish
#22 - annie - 11/16/2011 - 08:30
I have been suffering from Polyarthritis after chikungunya infection in Nov 2009. Suffered severe joint pain and was immobile for more than a month. It has been 2 years now and have consulted allopathic and ayurvedic docors. No remedy so far on my pain in the Foot, toes, plam and finger joints. Recently I started using DOLOWHITE - emulsion from JRK siddha institute chennai. I could see some signs of improvement - swelling of joints has reduced by using this for more than 3 weeks now.
#23 - Rajaram - 12/07/2011 - 02:13
Thanks for sharing this....
#24 - Panduranga - 01/06/2012 - 14:11
Ihave been suffering from heavy pain in leg's joints for the last 4 months ,please suggest for remedy
#25 - jagan - 04/20/2012 - 03:24
my mother (45 years old) have a joint pain and joint swelling last 3 year. i treatment with different kind of medicine like Ayurvedic , etc
but not reduce my mother desise.
mai kya karu?

#26 - yogesh ponia - 07/03/2012 - 02:35
I got chikungunya over 4 years ago . My pains are still there . Now I have finger joint pain and swelling pain, numbness in my tongue last for 3 years. I'm 52 years old i feel like 65 years old
#27 - Ms. LOW - 09/17/2012 - 09:19
thanks for share this.........
#28 - karuna - 10/07/2012 - 11:03
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