Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Agni According to Ayurveda

There are 13 Agnis mentioned in various Ayurved samhitas, viz- Jatharagni, seven Dhatwagni & five Mahbhutagni. Among these Jatharagni has prime importance & is responsible for digestion of ingested food as well as root of other 12 agnis. In the western schools, the Agni concept which is broadly known to be digestive fire is merely correlated with the digestive juices and secretions of primary and accessory organs involved under gastrointestinal system. The Agni is understood by sustaining the integrity of body and its organs and ultimately life by continuous transformation, transmutation, combustion, oxidation and reduction reactions which helps the ingested food to get converted into smaller constituents adaptable to bodily tissues. This is done by Pakakarma (biochemical metabolic) processes and thus providing energy to every cell of body to perform various physical, mental and other activities inside and through the body. The Agni is responsible for digestion, metabolism and absorption of proximal elements of food in a sequential pattern throughout the gut line. This Agni is said to be Paramsukshma (almost an atom like invisible) which transforms the food substances to meet the physiological and psychological requirements of bodyis therefore comprehensively known something far apart from being just fire which exists in universe. The digestion is accompanied by generation of Ushma (heat) which catalyses the metabolic transformations. This digestion process that occurs stage-wise throughout the gut is known as Avasthapaka and it is successfully completed by Jatharagni inside the body. Looking precisely, it can be said that Jatharagni has two types of actions viz., local and systemic. The former involving the gastric and intestinal digestive activities whereas the systemic involves the metabolism occurring at cellular and tissue level this can be again compared with the Bhutagni and Dhatwagni.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Ayurveda & AIDS

Ayurveda & AIDS
AIDS is an acronym for the 'Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome'. AIDS is not a single disease but it is a syndrome- a set of diseases, which results from the destruction of the body's defenses by human immune deficiency virus, HIV.
The virus that causes ' Aids' - HIV belongs to a family of viruses known as retroviruses. HIV looks like a rolled up porcupine. It contain two snakes like single strands of RNA along with reverse transcripts firmly wrapped up in a core, giving HIV its characteristic appearance.
On entering the white blood cells known as CD 4 cells, HIV produces its own DNA and sees to it that this gets inserted into the DNA of the host cell. The viral DNA has enough power and information to direct the destiny of the cell. It can force the cell to manufacture several new copies of HIV. However due to certain trigger and regulatory mechanisms, the viral DNA lies dormant in the host cell for several years before it begins to do the damage.
People infected with HIV may take 7 - 10 years to develop AIDS.
According to Ayurveda the AIDS disease may be correlated with "Kshaya' or "Ojakshaya' meaning loss of energy. The Symptoms and causative factors and treatment for the latter are found mentioned in many ancient Ayurvedic tests like, Charaka Samhitha, Bhavaprakasha,Vaidyachintamani and Chakradatta etc., Shosha is another condition, which results from loss of energy that is similar to AIDS.
The disease is caused by the dominant kapha dosha along with the other doshas tends to block the path for the flow of rasadi dhatus in their respective locations thus resulting in the deterioration of saptha dhatu Rasa(plasma), Rakta (blood cells),Mansa ( muscular tissue), Meda (adipose tissue), Asthi (bony tissue), Majja (bone marrow) and the Shukra (reproductive tissue). thus resulting into the disease.
The major symptoms are:
  • loss of appetite, drastic loss of weight-emaciation
  • fatigue and lethargy
  • susceptibility to allergies and contagious diseases
  • skin irritations
  • bronchial disorders, often leading to tuberculosis of the lungs
  • damage to intestinal flora resulting in diarrhoea, dysentery, gastritis and
  • wide fluctuations in body temperature. prolonged fever
  • sleeplessness etc.
All seems not lost for the HIV infected persons as the Ayurvedic supplements are proven to be harmless without any side effects and there can only be improvement and not deterioration.
The first step to stem the disease is to ensure a good and healthy atmosphere for the patient. He should be surrounded by well meaning friends and relatives who must affirm that the disease state is totally curable. Nothing negative should be discussed before the patient.
The patient should be given nourishing food which is easily digestible. He should be encouraged to do easy exercise which does not strain his fragile health. He should be kept engaged in fruitful activities which strengthen the good tendencies inherent in him.
Initially, the patient is given tonics and rejuvenators (Rasayanas) to boost immunity levels and to strengthen the system and stimulate appetite.
After gaining some strength, shodhana (elimination) techniques are used to expel toxins from the body through enemas, purgation and emesis. The medications administered at this stage are not hard or drastic, but soft, ghee-based so that the patient withstands them with ease.
Secondly the blood is purified with appropriate medications. Liver corrective measures also play an important role.
A strengthening diet along with medicated ghee preparations and soups is recommended. But spicy, oily and acidic foods are to be avoided. A little alcohol is recommended as anupana (carrier) to aid the digestive process, and also remove blockages in the flow of Rasadi dhatus, i.e. srothorodha.
Patient is advised to do regular exercise. If the patient is incapable of exercising or running due to weakness, then steaming (swedanam) is also recommended. reason behind this is 'Heated blood is said to weaken, and even destroy, the virus in some cases'.
Experience has shown that certain herbo-mineral compounds prepared as per the formulae prescribed by sages like Agasthya, Charaka, Sarangadhara and others for the treatment of Kshaya have brought about significant results in improving the condition of AIDS patients. The Rasayana and Vajikara effects of the these medicines are good for the patients.
Some of the propritery ayurvedic medicines achieving good improvement in the quality of life of patients include 'Chyavanprash', 'Raktavardhak' for Immunity building and 'Sookshma triphla tabs' to keep awaythe the infection.
An example of an Ayurvedic remedy which may be of use in the treatment of persons diagnosed with AIDS is 'Chyavanprash'. 'Chyavanprash' is most useful and most popular rejuvenator tonic(Rasayana) of Ayurveda.
This is an Ayurvedic herbal formula which increases ojas, and restores the digestive, eliminative, respiratory and sexual systems. It is frequently employed in wasting conditions where it has been clinically shown to improve health and assist with weight gain. The main ingredient in Chyavanprash is 'Amalaki'- the Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), which has the highest yield of natural source vitamin C, with 3000 mg per fruit. It is also a rich source of naturally occurring anti-oxidants including bioflavonoids, vitamin B-complex and carotenes (vitamin A). Studies suggest that this berry possesses antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It assists digestion, lowers high blood pressure and lowers blood cholesterol. Clinical research has shown that it accelerates repair of muscle and skin and enhances natural anti-inflammatory substances. Chayvanprash also contains about 35 others herbs which amplify and augment the effects of its main ingredient; such a powerful formulation may indeed be helpful in the treatment of persons who have been diagnosed with AIDS.
Other useful drugs include - Shatavari -used as 'Shatavari kalpa', Guduchi(Tinospora cordifolia), Kalmegh(Andrographis paniculata) etc.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Stress Management By Ayurveda

Stress is physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension. Tension is mental or emotional strain, suspense, anxiety, or excitement. Anxiety is a reaction to a real or imagined threat, a general feeling of uneasiness or dread. Stress can be brought about by a traumatic accident, death or emergency situation.Stress can also be side effect of a serious illness or disease. There is also stress associated with daily life, the workplace and family responsibilities

Scientists know that many types of stress can activate the body's endocrine system, which in turn can cause changes in the immune system

Stress in General

Can't cope, can't concentrate, feel hopeless, helpless, depressed and tired

Often irritable and angry, can't control your temper

Eat too much or too little, eat erratically

Have trouble in sleeping, don't get enough sleep, or sleep too much and still feel tired

Smoking in excess, more than normal intake of alcohol, caffeine or drugs

Have frequent headaches, backaches and stomach aches

Cut back on exercises

Family tensions run higher than usual. You and your spouse fight more often

Not interested in sex

Get cough and colds and allergies

Ayurvedic View of Stress

According to Ayurveda stress affects the agni or the internal metabolic fire which in turn affects digestion and metabolism, so the circulatory rasa dhatu (plasma), raktha (blood), mamsa (muscle tissue), medas (fat and adipose tissue), asti (bone and cartilage), majja (marrow and nervous tissue); sukra (reproductive fluids) will be affected. Above all the ojas or body's entire defense mechanism will be affected.

Hidden stress affects agni (digestive fire), dosa., dhatu, ojas, produce degeneration, depletion and accelerates aging process. This produces cellular damage and produces wide range of diseases either chronic or acute.

Vata is the dosa which react very much to the stress which in turn vitiate other factors. There is a close relationship between respiratory rate and restlessness

To reduce stress one should follow diet & daily regimens mentioned in ayurveda books, which are as follows- 

Dina carya (Daily regimen)

·         Get up at brahma muhurta (3 am to 6 am)

·         Attend to your  calls of nature (urination, defecation)

·         Clean the teeth with twigs and occasional gum massage with herbal tooth powders

·         Clean the tongue with the scrapper to remove mucus to enhance taste

·         Do gargling with cold water and splash the eyes with the same

·         Do nasya with anu taila followed by gargling with warm water and inhalation of smoke.

·         Daily usage of nasya will give strength to the shoulder muscles, prevent sinusitis, spondylosis, produces clarity of senses, hair growth and good voice.

·         Do oil massage to mitigate vata, to promote strength, sleep, growth, etc..

·         Do regular exercises as per your personality

·         Do prayers and meditation

·         Have regulations over sex and sleep


·         Pay attention to calls of nature before eating

·         Bath or at least wash your hands, face and feet before you eat

·         Sit in an isolated clean area

·         Face the direction of the sun

·         Pray and thank nature for providing you food

·         Approach each items with reverence and love and chew them well.

·         Feed others

·         Concentrate and eat with confidence. Avoid seeing T.V, conversation during eating

·         Consider eating as a yajna (sacrifice) you are offering havis to the internal fire who is Bhagavan (God)

·         Utilize rice, wheat, barley, tender radish, grapes, green gram, jaggery, ghee, milk, honey, pomegranate, triphala daily

·         Half of the stomach should be filled with solid food

·         One quarter by liquids and the other quarter should be kept vacant for air

·         Avoid curd at night

·         See that all the six tastes are present in the menu.

·         Foods which are preserved from the previous day should not be taken except curd ,ghee, honey, butter milk

·         Eat sweet, oily food first; sour, spicy in the middle and bitter, astringent at the last

·         The food should be warm

·         Eat always accustomed food (in relation to body, age, season, dosa and diseases)

Activities after meals

·         Take tambulam (betel leaves) , walk about hundred steps and lie on the left side

·         Avoid driving, swimming and exertion immediately after meals.

Oil massage

·         Application of oil on head and body parts is one of the daily routine in Indian culture.

·         Processed sesame seed  oil is used  generally for Vata and Kapha

·         Coconut oil is good for Pitta

·         For Vata people it is advised every day, for Pitta alternative days, for Kapha people once in a week

·         Oil bath is avoided in cases of indigestion, cough, cold, diarrhoea, fever, menstrual cycle, conjunctivitis, post emesis therapy, purgation and infectious diseases etc.

·         Application of oil on the head, ears and feet is necessary.

·         Warm water bath after fifteen to thirty minutes is advised.

·         Avoid cold water bath, ice creams, curd, sex, day sleep, alcohol, exposure to sun and exertion during the day of massage

Benefits of oil bath

It controls Vata, promotes strength and sleep, overcomes fatigue, provides growth, prevents old age, mitigates pain, promotes hair growth and vision.

Qualities of Rasayana

·         Improves appetite, digestion and assimilation; enhances serum proteins, fat and carbohydrate metabolism

·         Improves muscular tone and retards the changes in the skin that develop with age, promotes regeneration of epidermal cells

·         Assures normal sleep

·         Reestablishes regular bowel habits

·         Relieves vague aches and pains

·         Promotes healthy vigour and a sense of well being

Special Treatment for Management of Stress

If the guidelines adopted by the person fails he should consult an ayurvedic doctor and he does treatment like shirodhara (pouring medicated oil in a continuous stream over the scalp of a person), shirovasti (allowing the oil to stand on the scalp of a person by fixing a cap), nasya (nasal application of medicines are done) special medicines like manasamitram, brahmi, asvagandha, vaca, sankapuspi, jadamamsi are highly effective in these conditions.

Gout & Ayurveda

Gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, with a prevalence of 1–2% in developed countries. It is a disorder of purine metabolism associated with increase level of serum uric acid (serum uric acid >6. 8 mg/dL) , crystallizes in the form of monosodium urate, deposit in joints, tendons and in the surrounding tissues , manifested as a sudden burning pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in joints. Initially, hyperuricemic persons have no prominent symptoms and they remain asymptomatic for long time and gout develop only in about 10% of these people. Gout is the common cause of arthritis in men aged over the fifty. Incidence of gout in men is more than women because before menopause, estrogen promotes urate wasting in the urine.
Gout has both modifiable (diet, alcohol, medications, co-morbidities, body mass index, physical fitness) and non-modifiable (genetics, age and gender) risk factors. As the level of uric acid [in men (≤ 7 mg/dl) and women (≤ 6 mg/dl)] crosses its saturation thresholds in physiological fluids, urate crystals precipitation started in the joints and other tissues.
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, glucocorticoids, xanthine oxidase inhibitor (like allopurinol, febuxostat) and uricosurics drugs (like probenecid) are used in the treatment of gout. These drugs have some side effects such as gastric ulcer, hypersensitivity; acute kidney injury and possibility of drug interaction with other prescribed drug such as erythromycin restrict their uses. The major objectives in chronic gout management are to keep the serum uric acid level towards normal, prevent joint damage due to hyperuricemiaand and further occurrence as well as to promote the dissolution of existing uric acid crystals as well as prevent new crystal formation. Some non pharmacological measures includes restricted protein diet, life style modification, weight loss, low alcohol consumption and ensuring sufficient fluid intake.

Tridoshas (three basic biological humors of body or Bio energy Principles), vata (the Air or Nervous System Humor), pitta (the biological fire) and kapha (The Water Humor or protective humors) are three physiological basic of the human body. Vata being predominant has the potential to cause more serious and long term diseases than the Pitta and Kapha. It gets aggravated due to either Avarana (hindrance in the path) or dhatukshaya (deficiency of body tissue).
Vatarakta is one of the unique disorders among the Vatavyadhi (a group of nervous disorder) which is the result of avarana of morbid vata dosha by vitiated rakta (blood) dhatu (tissue). This causes the derangement of Rakta dhatu resulting in Vatashonita. In addition to this, Vatarakta is also produced by the Margavarana of Vayu by Kapha and Medas. In Shabda kalpa druma definition of Vatarakta is given as “Vata dushtiam raktam yatra roga vishesha”, i.e. it is caused due to the vitiation of Rakta initiated by the morbid Vata is called Vatarakta. It is of two types.
When there is involvement of Twak (skin) and Mamsa (muscle) dhatus only, it is known as Uttana Vatarakta (uncomplicated gout). This type of vatarakta has Akunchana (Contraction), Ayama (Dilatation of Vessels), Beda (Splitting type of Pain), Daha (Burning Sensation), Gourava (Heaviness), Kandu (Itching), Rakta twak (Reddish coloration of the skin), Ruja (Pain), Shayava twak (Cyanosis of the skin), Sphurana (Trembling or throbbing sensation), Suptata (Numbness), Toda (Pricking pain). On the other hand, when symptoms like Swayatu grathita (Hard swelling), Paka (Suppuration), Daha (Burning sensation), Kanjatwa (Lameness), Shyavatha (Cyanosis or pallor), Pangutwa (Paraplegia), Bhrisharthi (Excruciating deep pain), Vidaha (Internal burning sensation), Tamra twak (Coppery discoloration), Ruja (Pain), Sphurana (Throbbing sensation), Adhika purvaruk (Increased pain), Toda (Pricking type of pain), Vatasya sarva Shareera charana (Vitiated vata moves all over the body), Angasya vakrikarana
(Disfigurement of the parts), Vatasya sandyasthi Majjasu chindanniva (Aggravated vayu while causing pain-burning sensation constantly moves with high speed through the Sandhi, Asthi and Majja) along with discoloration and hardening of skin are the features of Gambhira Vatarakta (complicated gout).
After one year vatarakta becomes Yapya (difficult to cure)
Principle of Ayurvedic management
In classics of Ayurveada both Shodhana and Shamana chikitsa are described for vatarakta. According to Acharya Charaka, Raktadhika vatarakta has to be treated with, Virechana (therapeutic purgation), Ghrita ksheera pana (intake of medicated ghee or milk), Seka (pouring of medicated decoctions over body), Vasti (medicated enema) and Sita nirvapana (application of pastes for cooling). Since Gambhira vatarakta falls into the category of Madyama rogamarga (intermediate path)), no other treatment is better parallel vasti in treating the disease. In case of Vatarakta, developed due to margavarana in the Rakta vaha srotas by morbid Kapha dosha and Medo dhatu, the line of treatment in the initial stage is different, snehana karma is not recommended, the main purpose in this context is to remove the Avarana and to clear the srotas (body channels) in order to monmalized the movement of vata. To achieve this goal Kapha-medo shamaka / Rukshana chikitsa is adopted first
A. Shodhana Chikitsa (purification treatment) Shodhana treatment includes Raktamoksana (bloodletting by leech or other method), Langhana (methods for effecting leanness, reduction of body bulk or resulting in lightness), Vamana (therapeutic emesis), Virechana, Asthapana vasti (decoction enema), Snehapana (intake of medicated oils or ghee)
B. Shamana (pacifying treatment) a. External application It includes various treatment modalities like Alepana (application of medicated pastes), Abhyanga (massage), Parisheka (pouring of medicated decoction over body) and Upanaha (application of hot poultice). Following drugs are used for external application