The name, Chikungunya is derived from the word “kungunyala” from the African local dialect Makonde meaning “bent up” position with reference to the stooped/contorted posture of the infected persons as a result of the arthritic symptoms of the disease. Chicken guinea disease is a viral disease transmitted in humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes. It is commonly misspelt as Chikungunya, Chicken gunya; Chicken guinea is a disease that spreads through mosquito bites. Aedes aegypti mosquito (also called yellow fever mosquito) is the primary transmission agent of Chikungunya Virus. Chikungunya infection causes febrile illness (fever) with debilitating arthralgia (joint pains), and is spread by mosquito bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito; however, recently it has been proven that it is also spread through the Aedes albopictus mosquito aka Tiger mosquito.This is usually found in tropics and hence Chikungunya is predominantly seen in Asian countries. In recent cases, another mosquito species named Aedes albopictus is found to be a carrier. Aedes aegypti bites during day time and hence day time mosquito bite is the main reason for transmission.
Reasons for Chikungunya
It is a viral disease transmitted through the agency of mosquitoes. The prime method of spread of chikungunya is through stagnated water. The aedes aegypti mosquito lays its eggs only in stagnated water.The responsible chikungunya virus is the alpha virus, 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. This explains why there is a widespread outbreak of chikungunya in India currently, which has just recovered from heavy floods.
The symptoms of Chikungunya are very similar to that of dengue fever. It typically starts with one or more of the following symptoms – fever, vomiting, chills, head ache, nausea and joint pain. The attack is sudden and sometimes it is accompanied with rashes.
- Muscle pain
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Fever with very high temperature
- Rashes on the body
- Fever with very high temperature
- Stiffness in the joints
- Overwhelming tiredness; inability to complete normal chores
- Certain parts of the body which are in pain may also swell up
- Acute pain all over the body
- Sharp pain in the joints accompanied by swelling
Sudden severe headache, chills, fever, joint and muscle pain are the common chikungunya symptoms. Due to similarities in clinical presentation with dengue, limited awareness and lack of lab facilities, chances are there that chikungunya may be misdiagnosed as dengue.
Herbal Treatment of Chikungunya
It is a rare form of viral infection that is transmitted by infected aedes aegypti mosquito. It describes a similar condition named sandhi jwara(meaning fever of the joints) by the ancient Ayurveda. Ayurvedic treatment for this disease primarily aims at controlling the viral infection and reducing the symptoms. It suggests carrot and sunflower seeds as good supplements for chikungunya patients as they strengthen person’s resistance to fight disease.Hence there are certain medicines in ayurveda that can bring relief to chikungunya. Triphala, an ayurvedic composition of Harada, AmlaandBehadaand dry seedless grapes are also effective in controlling symptoms of chikungunya.
Muscle and Joint Pain in Chikungunya
Joint pain and muscle pain is the main symptoms of chikungunya. It means, generally these kind of patient sufferfrom joint and muscle pain. This pain can even persist from months to years. Useful ayurvedic medications for controlling pain in chikungunya include:
- Triphala-Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)
- Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa)
- Tulsi (holy basil)
- Nirgundi (Vitex negundo)
- Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica)
- Tagar (Valeriana wallichii)
Today, many people turn to ayurvedic treatment for chikungunya but one needs to be careful and seek treatment only from a licensed ayurveda practitioners. CHIKV spreads to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Ayurvedic preprations that are found helpful in chikungunya include sudarshan choorna and yogiraj guggulu. Some other effective ayurvedic medicines for treating the viral infections including Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Pippali (Piper longum) and Laghu-Sutshekhar.
Fever in Chikungunya
Tulsi (holy basil or sacred basil) leaves are very effective in reducing the chikungunya fever. There are some other commonly prescribed ayurvedic remedies for fighting the fever such as Vilvadi Gulika, Amritarishtaand Sudarsanam Gulika.
Neutropenia in Chikungunya
It is not a common symptom of chikungunya. Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Suvarna-Parpati, Abhrak-Bhasmaand Shatavari(Asparagus racemosus) are useful for treating neutropenia.Only some patients develop this condition wherein there is reduction in white blood cells of the blood.