Chikungunya, also known as Chicken Guinea, is a viral infection caused by an alpha virus that is spread by mosquitoes. The name of the disease means ‘that which bends up’, reflecting the physique of a person suffering from this disease. The Chikungunya virus is highly infective and disabling. Symptoms include a high fever, severe headache, chills, rash, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and joint pain. The joints of the extremities become swollen and painful to touch. Symptoms usually last from 3 to 14 days. Children, pregnant women and persons under stress are more prone to complications.
The Ayurvedic treatment of Chikungunya is aimed at controlling the viral infection, treating or reducing symptoms and preventing complications. For the viral infection, medicines like Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Pippali (Piper longum) and Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa) are used. In order to treat symptoms, medicines like Tribhuvan-Kirti-Ras, Maha-Sudarshan-Ras, Triphala-Guggulu, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Kamdudha-Ras and Laghu-Sutshekhar are used.
Muscle and joint pain in this condition can be severe and debilitating. To control these symptoms, medicines like Triphala-Guggulu, Yograj-Guggulu, Vish-Tinduk-Vati, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Sinhanaad-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Dashmool-Arishta, Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Nishottar (Operculina turpethum), Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Tagar (Valeriana wallichii), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) and Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa) are used. Some patients develop a condition called neutropenia in which there is a reduction of white blood cells in the blood. To treat this, medicines like Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Abhrak-Bhasma, Suvarna-Parpati, Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are used.
It is important to confirm the diagnosis of Chikungunya by using laboratory tests, since the clinical appearance of both Chikungunya and Dengue fever is similar. Adequate precautions need to be taken to prevent mosquito bites, in order to avoid transmission of this disease.