Heart Problems And Ayurvedic Treatment
The term Hridaya used in Ayurveda to denote an organ can be compard to the Heart. As any other systemic diseases Hridroga or the diseases related to the heart are manifested when –
The heart is structurally and functionally disturbed by the vitiated tri-doshas i.e vata pitta and kapha(either individually or in combination). The tri-doshas are the intrinsic factors causing the diseases.
Disturbance of the manasika doshas – Raja and Tama(humoral factors controlling the mind)
The incompatible food(aahara) and activities/lifestyle(vihara) leading to the disturbance of the tridoshas and also weakening of the dhatu’s(tissue’s)
Thus the mainstays of treatment of Hridroga are:
To eliminate the morbid doshas through shodana or panchakarma measures
Cleansing and keeping intact the srotas(channels of transportation of nutrients)
Establishing the normalcy of the agni(metabolism)
Strengthening the dhatus
Taking control over the raja and tama doshas of mind
Providing proper diet
Correction of life style
But before all these measures we should not forget that: “Sankshepata kriya yogo nidana parivarjanam” i.e ‘The best form of treatment is avoidance of causative factors’
Shodana: Hridroga is of 5 types depending on the predominant dosha involved. They are Vataja, Pittaja, Kaphaja, Sannipataja and Krimija. Each condition should be dealt with taking into consideration the doshas involved in excess.
In Vataja Hridroga: After snehana(oleation using medicated ghee or oil) – Vamana(emesis) is administered using Dashamoola Kwatha mixed with sneha(oil, ghee, muscle fat, and marrow) and Saindhava lavana(rock salt) is administered.
In Pittaja Hridroga: After snehapana(madhura gana sidda) – Vamana should be administered with kashaya prepared using Sriparni(Gambhari) and Madhuka admixed with honey, sugar and jaggery. Later Virechana(purgation) should be administered to eliminate the morbid pitta.
In Kaphaja Hridroga: Vamana should be administered with kashaya prepared from vacha and nimba
In Krimija Hridroga: The patient should be fed with food(rice) and flesh mixed with plenty of oil/ghee along with curds and tila choorna for 3 days. When the patient gets saturated – Virechana should be administered.
2. Sroto-Shodana: Cleansing and keeping intact the srotas(channels of transportation of nutrients) – is achieved effectively when the mobid doshas are removed from the body through proper Shodana as said above.
3. Establishing the normalcy of Agni: Each of the dhatu is nourished by the aahara rasa(active by product of the digested food) coming to them through the channels of transportation i.e Srotas. Ahara rasa is formed by the action of Jataragni or the metabolic fire located in the belly (which is responsible for the preliminary digestion) over the food and its active principles required for the body are absorbed into the system by the intestines. This aahara rasa later is carried on to the heart and is pumped to each and every cell.
Each dhatu has a srotas and an agni after its name. When the aahara rasa reaches the dhatu through its srotas, it is transformed into the active components (which inturn nourishes the concerned dhatu) by the action of the fire located in that particular dhatu known as Dhatwagni. Eg: The aahara rasa reaching the rasa dhatu is taken and converted into rasa dhatu by the rasa dhatwagni. This phenomenon can be co-related with tissue metabolism.
The health of the dhatus or tissues depend on the proper functioning of the dhatwagnis and the jataragni. Thus to strengthen the dhatus all these metabolic fires should be strengthened by the medicines and diet regulating the agni. Samsarjana karma after shodana: Planned dietetic regimen to be administered after shodana. It starts from the administration of diet initially in the form of liquids and gradually implementing the semisolids and solid food in that order, because after shodana the agni would have diminished. When the agni comes to normal within 5 to 7 days normal food should or regular diet can be started.
4. Strengthening of Dhatus: stronger tissues can protect themselves and can resist the invasion of the morbid doshas, thus avoiding the initiation of the disease process. Once the morbid doshas have been eliminated by shodana, the disease process starts regressing. But to avoid recurrence the dhatus should be strengthened during the convalescence period. Proper nourishment of all the dhatus is intended with special emphasis to the dhatus forming the hridaya and directly related to it. Those dhatus are:
a)Rasa Dhatu: Lymph and the other nutrients which reach the heart and are again transported to all the cells and tissues for nourishment. Rasa dhatu also nourishes the heart.
b) Rakta Dhatu: The blood which carries the nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body, mean while nourishing the heart too.
c) Mamsa Dhatu: The flesh forming the heart which allows its contraction and relaxation throughout the life. The mechanism is required to go on uninterruptedly for us to live healthy.
d) Meda Dhatu: The adipose tissue or fat which cussions the heart and lubricates it for its easy functioning.
The medicines strengthening the dhatus i.e Hridya Rasayana’s:
*Arjuna Gritha or Ksheerapaka
*Dashamoola Hareetaki Rasayanam
5. Taking control over raja and tama gunas of the mind: Keeping away from the stress is an important aspect which needs to be concentrated in the treatment of cardiac ailments and this concept of taking the mind and senses under control doesn’t seem to be a new concept to Ayurveda. In fact we can tell that Ayurveda was the first science to explain the body mind relation in any systemic disorder.Eg In the treatment of Pittaja Hridroga the author indicates the application of lepa or anointments made of Chandana etc drugs having a cool nature and are pleasant to the mind. Similarly sheeta parishechana or sprinkling of liquids having cold nature is explained.
The other measure which should be followed are: Keeping away from tensions and anger, keeping the mood happy and joyous, regular practice of yoga and meditation, weekend outing with family and friends, getting involved in group activities etc will keep the harmful doshas of mind i.e raja and tama under control.
6. Proper Diet: Foods rich in madhura(sweet)rasa and amla rasa(sour), hot and fresh, admixed with small quantities of oil or ghee, fruit juices, green vegetables and leaves, etc in vataja hridroga. Foods rich in madhura, tikta(bitter) and kashaya(astringent) rasa, cold or warm food, should be given and spicy, oily foods shall be avoided in pittaja hridroga. In kaphaja hridroga foods which are hot and freshly prepared and those which are wholesome to the heart are given. In short any food which is likable for the heart and mind and is not antagonist to the heart shall be the wholesome diet in the management of hridroga. Liquid foods which shall be easily digested shall be preferred. Plenty of water, whole grain cereals and fruits are desired.
7. Correction of life style: Includes a proper approach towards life with an accurate planning of day to day schedules of food and activities. This format includes:
*Regular exercise: Ayurveda advices daily exercise as a preventive measure for all the systemic exercises. It regulates the metabolism and regulates the fat metabolism and mobilizes excessive fat depots, which is essential to avoid heart problems.
*Giving time and space for every activity and avoiding doing in a hurry.
*Dinacharya: Properly following the daily schedules as advocated by A yurveda in the concept of dinacharya(do’s and donts in a daily schedule from morning to night)
*Rutucharya: Following properly the basics of living as per the rutus or the climatic variations. The hindu calendar shows 6 seasons in a year. We have to learn to adapt ourselves for different seasons so as to keep away from the ill effects caused from them leading to the manifestation of many a diseases.
*Vegan na dhaarayet: There are 13 natural urges initiated by the body in a natural course. These are the urge or reflex for flatus/belching(gas moving in an upward or downward direction), stools, urine, sneeze, thirst, hunger, sleep, cough, exertional breathlessness, yawning, tears, vomiting reflex and the sexual drive or the urge to ejaculate sexual fluids. In a natural process when the above said are initiated by the body we should not withhold them forcibly. Otherwise they will produce untoward health problems. Especially withholding the urges for sleep, exertional breathlessness, tears and sexual drive on a long term may have adverse effect on the heart.
*Following Sadvritta(Path of righteousness)
*Following Achara Rasayana: Deeds which rejuvenate us without even taking the rejuvenators.
8. Appropriate Medication: The below said medicaments are highly effective in combating the heart problems and also in their prevention –
*Partharishtam(Arjunarishtam), Punarnavarishtam, Draksharishtam, Arjuna Ksheerapaka
*Nayopayam kashayam etc.