The study, conducted on 125 RA patients, found Ayurvedic medicines Ashwagandha powder and Sidh Makardhwaj, helped in relieving pain in tender and swollen joints, and increased mobility in a majority of subjects. Ashwagandha powder is derived from a plant while Sidh Makardhwaj is a formulation of herbal and mineral ingredients.
The study was part of a larger research being conducted by the institution, known for cutting-edge treatments, for scientific validation of therapies offered under traditional systems of medicine. PM Narendra Modi's endorsement of alternative medicine has given further push to the programme.
AIIMS is also conducting multiple studies to validate alternative therapies for epilepsy, Alzheimer's and chronic heart failure, among others. Dr Y K Gupta, who heads AIIMS' pharmacology department, told TOI that scientific validation of alternative therapies and medicines was one of the mandates of the institute.
"Interest in traditional medicines is renewed and growing exponentially due to the adverse drug reactions and economic burden associated with modern system of medicine. The central government is promoting them too, " he added.
AIIMS is also conducting studies to validate the medicinal values of turmeric, sankhpushpi or Evolvulus alsinoides and stem bark of terminalia arjuna (a medicinal plant used by Ayurvedic physicians) for treating various health ailments.
AIIMS doctors said Ashwagandha powder had anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and immuno-modulatory properties, which help improving physical function and joint pain in RA patients.