Ayurveda and Geriatrics

Lonely Old Age

Lonely Old Age

Geriatrics

The Science dealing with the problems of 50 + age group problems is known as Geriatrics. It deals both the sex.

  • Changes in physiology with aging may alter the absorption, the effectiveness and the side effect profile of many drugs. These changes may occur in oral protective reflexes (dryness of the mouth caused by diminished salivary glands), in the gastrointestinal system (such as with delayed emptying of solids and liquids possibly restricting speed of absorption), and in the distribution of drugs with changes in body fat and muscle and drug elimination.
  • Elderly people generally want to live independently as long as possible, which requires them to be able to engage in self-care and other activities of daily living. The leading causes of illness and death among aged peoples comprise respiratory problems, heart diseases, cancer and stroke. Chronic inflammatory and degenerative conditions such as Arthritis, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Depression, Psychiatric disorders, Parkinson’s disease and Urinary incontinence diminish the quality of life.
  • Among the eight branches of Ayurveda, one is Rasayana Tantra. The branch which deals with the measures to check the effects of aging as well as to increase the life span and memory. It aims to promote health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults.

Eight branches of Ayurveda (Ashtanga Ayurveda) 

  1. (General medicine) – Kāya-chikitsā: “cure of diseases affecting the body”
  2. (Pediatrics) – Kaumāra-bhṛtya: “treatment of children”
  3. (Surgery) – Śhalya-chikitsā: “removal of any substance which has entered the body (as extraction of darts, of splinters, etc.)”
  4. (Ophthalmology / ENT/Dentistry) – Śālākya-tantra: “cure of diseases of the teeth, eye or ear etc. by sharp instruments”
  5. (Demonology / exorcism / psychiatry) – Bhoot –vidyā: “treatment of mental diseases”
  6. (Toxicology) – Agada-tantra :Gada means Poison. “doctrine of antidotes”
  7. (Anti Ageings) – Rasayana-tantra: “doctrine of Rasayana”
  8. (Aphrodisiacs) – Vājīkaraṇa tantra: “deals with aging process”
Old Age

Old Age

 

Geriatrics according to Ayurveda

Ayurveda has a focused branch of medicine called Rasayana- tantra which exclusively deals with the problems related to aging and methods to counter the same. Geriatrics – The term ‘Geria’ is very close to the Sanskrit word “Jara“(old age) or Jara cikitsa in Ayurveda is a method to control / slow down / arrest the aging process in the human being during the degenerative phase of one’s life. Rejuvenating and restorative treatments are designed to reduce stress and anxiety, eliminate toxins, balance and tone the body, calm mind, and nurture spirit. Rasayana establishes wellness in the body by releasing emotional tension and physical discomfort, and creates a foundation of wellness and stability in the physiology.

According to Ayurveda, human body consists of seven Dhatus -seven dhatus [ RASA( lymph), RAKTA (blood), MAASA (flesh), MAEDA (fat), ASTHI (bone), MAJJA (marrow) and SUKRA (sperm and ova). The dhatus get degenerated due to the body’s prolonged structural changes. During old age we cannot enhance the capacity of dhatus, but it can be protected and rejuvenated. Rasayana is the tool to create premium dhatus (body tissues).

Rasayana therapy of Ayurveda is a dedicated stream of medication for immune promotive, antidegenerative and rejuvenative health care and is known for preventing the effects of ageing and improving the quality of life of healthy as well as diseased individuals. Scientific studies have proven the efficacious role of Rasayana remedies in the management of chronic life style related diseases and degenerative changes. the classical texts of Ayurveda say that from Rasayana one attains longevity, improved harmony and intelligence, freedom from disorder, youthful vigor, excellence of luster, complexion and voice, optimum strength of physique and senses, command over language, respectability and brilliance.

Legend has it that when Maharishi Chyavana got afflicted with certain diseases related to old age and found that his energy dissipated, he started taking ‘Chyavanaprash,’ a remarkable tonic and anti-ageing medicine (rasayana), whose main ingredient is ‘Amla’ (phyllaanthus emblica). And on systematic consumption of this rasayana, the Maharishi completely recovered and obtained youthful vigour and vitality.

Methods to take Rasayana

  1. Kutipraveshika Rasayana:- It is a radical approach in which it recharges the whole metabolic process of the body by eliminating the toxins from the system by a three to four months rigorous and organized process. However, this process is seldom practiced due to the extreme intricacy of the physiological process involved and the need for utmost care to be taken by the physician and subject including the environment where the treatment is done. Hence this Kutipraveshika remains as a textual marvel of Ayurveda than a practical process of contemporary relevance.
  2. Vataatapika Rasayana:- It is quite popular today, as it can go along with the normal day to day life. It  has a relatively easy mode of administration without any restrictive pre-conditions.

Classification of Rasayana

  1. Vardhamana Rasayana:  Rasayana given in a gradual step-up dosage from a minimum to a maximum dose followed by a tapering back, eg: Vardhamana Pippali Rasayana.
  2. Droni-Praveshika Rasayana: A very spectacular form of Rasayana, where in a person is made to consume stomach full of the juice of 8 rare herbs and made to lie down in a wooden casket for a period of 6 months (unconscious). This again has no known history of being performed anywhere in the near past, although finds a mention in the text as being one that will enable an old person to completely regain his youth.

Rasayana medicines

Single Rasayana drugs for some specific disease conditions

  • Diseases of Eye: Jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculata), Triphala (Three myrobalans), Satavari (Asparagus racemosus), Yastimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)and Amalaki (Emblica officinalis).
  • Diseases of Heart: Salaparni (Desmodium gangaticum), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Pushkaramula (Inula racemosa)
  • Skin diseases: Bhallataka (Semecarpus anacardium), Vidanga (Embelia ribes) and Bakuchi (Psoralia corylifolia).
  • Rasayana for overall Health:Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Aswagandha (Withania somnifera), Cow’s milk and Takra.
  • Asthma:Sirisha (Albezia lebbeck), Agastya (Sesbania grandiflora),Haridra (Curcuma longa),Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
  • Arthritis: Rasona (Allium sativum),Guggulu (Commiphora mukul),Aswagandha (Withania somnifera)and Shunthi (Zinziber officinale).
  • Neuropathies: Rasona (Allium sativum),Guggulu (Commiphora mukul),Bala (Sida cordifolia), Aswagandha (Withania somnifera).
  • Diabetes: Silajitu (Black bitumen),Amalaki (Emblica officinalis),Haridra (Curcuma longa),Tejpatra (Cinnamomum tamala),Methika (Trigonella foenum graecum).
  • Lipid disorders: Guggulu (Commiphora mukul),Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Pushkaramoola (Inula racemosa),Vaca (Acorus calamus).
  • Hypertension:Rasona (Allium sativum), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina), Aswagandha (Withania somnifera), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi).
  • Brain and Memory Disorders: Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Mandooka parni (Centella asiatica), Jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculata), Kapikachhu (Mecuna pruriens),Tagara (Valeriana wallichii).

Compound formulations

  • Chyawanprasa
  • Brahmi Rasayana
  • Aswagandha Lehyam
  • Mahatriphala Ghrita,
  • Karisalai Legiyam
  • Triphala Curna
  • Aswagandha Curna
  • Pranada Gutika
  • Narasimha Rasayana
  • Agastya Rasayana
  • Amalaki Rasayana
  • Ayajambeera Karpam
  • Bavana Kadukkai
  • Ayabringaraja Karpam

Rasayana and Panchakarma

Rasayana becomes more fruitful and effective if it is preceded with suitable panchakarma (purificatory therapy) and Yoga. This is effective in managing autoimmune, neurological, psychiatric and musculo-skeletal diseases of chronic and metabolic origin.

Panchakarma is a bio-cleansing regimen comprising of five main procedures that facilitates better bioavailability of the pharmacological therapies, helps to bring about homeostatsis of body-humors, eliminates disease-causing complexes from the body and checks the recurrence and progression of disease. The five fold measures comprehended in this therapy are Vamana (Therapeutic Emesis), Virechana (Therapeutic Purgation), Astapana Vasti (Therapeutic Decoction Enema), Anuvasana Vasti (Therapeutic oil Enema), Nasya Karma (Nasal administration of medicaments). Panchakarma procedures are preceded by Snehana (Therapeutic Oleation) and Swedana (Sudation) applications to make the body system conducive for elimination of bio-toxins and cleansing of channels.   Ayurveda has thus broad spectrum of preventing measures for combating the aging process. Lifestyle modulation (Swathavritta and Sadvritta) remains integral to the treatment.

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Comments

  1. Web Hosting on April 14, 2017 at 12:27 am said:

    The problems of the elderly are becoming a matter of great concern as increased life expectancy due to better medical services and improved technology is resulting in an increasing population of the aged.

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