Ayurveda is gaining world-wide recognition in preventing and tackling chronic diseases, according to an article published in ‘The Week’ health supplement, June edition.
With increasing chronic ailments striking at an early age, ayurvedic treatment is now being considered seriously for therapeutic and pharmacological management.
Ayurvedic massage therapies have become an effective option for the prevention of a wide range of health conditions including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and toothache. The very fact that the mainstream medicine does not have strong preventative measures, and has greater side effects, makes alternative treatment such as ayurveda the preferred option in many cases.
Dr. G.G. Gangadaharan, Medical Director, Institute of Ayurveda and International Medicine, Bangalore, agrees that there is no miracle cure in Ayurveda. For instance, the ayurvedic treatment for Type 1 diabetes involves Panchakarma treatment or purificatory procedures including virechana (laxation), massage therapies such as abhyangam, dhanyamla, dhara, udwarthana, all of which help in removing accumulated toxins in the body and in cleansing the system.
Apart from this, some herbal medicines are also used, which helps even if the patient has had diabetes for five years. When these are followed strictly over a period of time, even medications can be stopped after some time, he adds.
Preventive Approach of Ayurveda Therapy
Ayurveda adopts a preventive approach and emphasizes that a combination of diet, lifestyle and medicine can help in remaining active and fit. It is said that an Ayurvedic formulation made of 60 herbs, namely Ámrit Kalash’ helps prevent the side-effect of cancer treatment, particularly the hair loss.
The burning sensation experienced by the body following a chemotherapy session can be reduced when using badam oil, sandalwood oil and ksheerabala thailam (cow milk and ayurvedic herbs concentrate treated with oil).
Among the other unique therapies used in treating several ailments in Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, are Leech therapy, used to treat non-healing ulcers, gout, wounds, poisonous bites, snake bite, and psoriasis. In Ayurveda ‘Leech’ symbolizes surgery. Ayurvedic principle believes that if the blood is impure, healing will not happen.
The leech actually sucks away the impure blood and helps by releasing Hirudin, the natural peptide, into the bloodstream of the patient.
Hirudin is an anti-coagulant which dilutes blood clots. The blood is purified and circulation improves, and there will be more oxygenated blood in the body. This whole process improves healing.
Dr. Amitabha Ghosh, Senior Consultant and head, Department of Neurology and Cognitive Neurology unit, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata, agrees that it is true that curcumin (the main compound found in turmeric) has a protective effect against Alzheimer’s, while Brahmi may be good for memory and intelligence.
However, it is best to keep your doctor informed if you decide to use both medicines together.
Wellness Therapies Becoming Popular
Mainstream medicine has now acknowledged ayurveda, which recently witnessed a boom, thanks to its wellness segment. Several hospitals in India now have dedicated departments for ayurveda.
Meanwhile, Ayurveda is also opening up to methods of modern medicine. In fact, even Ayurvedic curriculum is being updated to include few relevant portions from allopathy.
“As physicians, we should not be too dogmatic, and each stream should be recognized in its own way, as it could prove beneficial to the patient’s well-being,” Dr. Ghosh concludes.
Sources: ‘The Week’ June 2011 edition,