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J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Jan;20(1):57-64. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0919. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Navarakizhi and pinda sweda as muscle-nourishing Ayurveda procedures in hemiplegia: double-blind randomized comparative pilot clinical trial.

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1 Institute of Applied Dermatology , Kerala, India .



Hemiplegia and the Ayurvedic description of ardhanga disease presents with comparable clinical features. This pilot trial compared two traditional procedure-based treatments: Navarakizhi, a massage of cooked navara rice in a medicated hot bolus, and pinda sweda, a similar massage made of a different type of rice. This article also describes the steps of a double-blind trial in Ayurveda, which was hitherto considered difficult to perform.


Eighteen (18) patients suffering from hemiplegia with disease duration of 6 months to 2 years received treatment with navarakizhi or pinda sweda for 7 days. Both groups received the same Ayurvedic oral medications for 14 days. All steps of randomization and blinding of procedure-based therapy in Ayurveda are described. The physiotherapist evaluated muscle tone, muscle strength, tendon reflexes, range of movement, and balance of functional abilities at baseline, 7 days, and 14 days after starting therapy. Both patient and the assessing physiotherapist were blinded.


Intraquartile range values showed better range in patients who received navarakizhi than those who received pinda sweda.


A larger trial is needed to confirm the superiority of navarakizhi over the rice varieties in treating hemiplegia. This study demonstrates that double-blind randomized clinical trials are possible in Ayurvedic settings, ending the long-debated controversy in trial methodology involving procedure-based traditional medicines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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