Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Ayurveda approach

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an auto-immune disorder which affects many organs but more particularly the Skin, Brain, Kidneys and Joints. Auto-immunity in brief means that our body’s defense system (immune system) whose primary function is to protect us from external attacks [bacteria, virus] conversely attacks the body itself. It develops a short term/long term inability to distinguish between diseased and healthy tissue leading to the degeneration/complications of the entity it attacks. SLE causes long-term (chronic) inflammation of affected organs leading to degradation in overall quality of life.

SLE is much more common in women than men. It may occur at any age, but appears most often in people between the ages of 10 and 50. African Americans and Asians are affected more often than people from other races. The underlying causes with auto-immunity are unknown. Genetic dispositions, Heredity or simple evolutionary mechanism of nature can be evaluated. SLE may also be caused by certain drugs. known as Drug-induced Lupus Erythematosus

SYMPTOMS

SLE may affect multiple or singular organs and hence symptoms may be chronic and acute. Of Acute symptoms almost everyone with SLE suffers from joint pain and swelling , the frequently afflicted joints being Fingers, wrist Elbows and knees. Another common symptom of diagnostic aid is an typical Skin rash resembling an “butterfly” which comes over the cheeks and bridge of the nose. This  affects about half of people with SLE. The rash gets worse in sunlight. The rash may also be widespread. Other acute symptoms as follows

  • Chest pain when taking a deep breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever with no other cause
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Apart from this symptoms may develop depending on which organ SLE affects. This may have acute manifestations but generally develop over a period of time requiring separate medical management of that particular organ in addition to overall treatment of SLE

Brain and nervous system: Headaches, Numbness, Tingling, Seizures, Vision problems, Personality changes

Digestive tract: Abdominal pain, Nausea, and Vomiting

Heart: Abnormal heart rhythms (Arrhythmias)

Lung: Coughing up blood and Difficulty in breathing

Skin: Patchy skin color, Fingers that change color when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon). Some patients may only exhibit skin symptoms. This is called Discoid Lupus.

DIAGNOSIS 

Auto immune disorders are difficult to diagnose in terms of Pin pointing a particular ailment. The management superficially being the same, correct labeling is required when tackling complications. For SLE it is a general rule to confirm its diagnosis if the patient has at least 4 out of the 11 typical signs of disease. These 11 signs are a combination of physical and pathological examinations which aid in diagnostics

  • Malar (over the cheeks of the face) butterfly rash
  • Discoid skin rash (patchy redness with hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation that can cause scarring)
  • Photosensitivity (skin rash in reaction to sunlight [ultraviolet light] exposure)
  • Mucous membrane ulcers (spontaneous sores or ulcers of the lining of the mouth, nose, or throat)
  • Arthritis (two or more swollen, tender joints of the extremities)
  • Pleuritis or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining tissue around the heart or lungs, usually associated with chest pain upon breathing or changes of body position)
  • Kidney abnormalities (abnormal amounts of urine protein or clumps of cellular elements called casts detectable with a urinalysis) [Lupus Nephritis or SLE of Kidney, is mostly confirmed by a kidney biopsy.]
  •  Brain irritation (manifested by seizures [convulsions] and/or psychosis, referred to as Lupus Cerebritis)

Blood-count abnormalities:Low white blood count (WBC) or red blood count (RBC), or platelet count on routine complete blood count testing)

Antibody Testing and Inflammatory paramaters:

  • Antinuclear antibody; positive ANA antibody testing is most commonly seen and is of high diagnostic value
  • CBC, ESR, C Reactive Protein , these parameters are important in tracking inflamatory response and generally show anamolies serving of high Diagnostic value along with ANA
  • Apart from this other abnormal immune tests include anti-DNA or anti-Sm [Smith] antibodies, falsely positive blood test for syphilis, anticardiolipin antibodies, Lupus anticoagulant, or positive LE prep test.

Since the disease also alters metabolic functions other parameters hence

  • Antithyroglobulin antibody
  • Antithyroid microsomal antibody
  • Complement components (C3 and C4)
  • Coombs’ test – direct
  • Cryoglobulins
  • Rheumatoid factor

TREATMENT

There is no cure for SLE, the aim is to control or alleviate symptoms and prevent flares, improve quality of life and provide optimum health care. This is achieved through diet protocols and medications. Medications are for  Acute and Chronic management with respect to symptoms and severity of disease.

Mild afflictions [Arthritis, Pleurisy] are treated with Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Corticosteroid creams are used treat skin rashes.Many times an antimalaria drug (hydroxychloroquine) and low-dose corticosteroids are used for skin and arthritis symptoms.Protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen are advised to be worn when in the sun.In advanced stages mere NSAIDs are ineffective and High-dose corticosteroids or medications to decrease the immune system response are administered.  When Corticosteroids fail , Cytotoxic[anticancer drugs like "Methotraxate" which inhibit cell growth]drugs may be introduced which have serious, severe side effects.

SLE often presents severe or life-threatening symptoms;

  • Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • Destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia) or anemia of chronic disease
  • Fluid around the heart (pericarditis), endocarditis, or inflammation of the heart (myocarditis)
  • Stroke
  • Fluid around the lungs (pleural effusions) and damage to lung tissue
  • Pregnancy complications including miscarriage
  • Severely low blood platelets (thrombocytopenia)
  • Inflammation of the blood vessels

SLE causes  damage to many different parts of the body which often require more aggressive treatment by doctor specialists. People with SLE often have to be alert about their Heart, Brain and Kidneys. Preventive heart care, Test to screen for bone density [Osteoporosis] is important. Some people with SLE have abnormal deposits in the kidney cells. This leads to a condition called Lupus Nephritis. Patients with this condition may eventually develop kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant. Women with SLE who become pregnant are often able to carry safely to term and deliver a healthy infant, as long as they do not have severe kidney or heart disease and the SLE is being treated appropriately. However, the presence of SLE antibodies may increase the risk of pregnancy loss.

Apart from these factors, Dozens of medications have been reported to trigger SLE. However, more than 90% of cases of  Drug-induced Lupus occurs as a side effect of one of the following six drugs:

  • Hydralazine (Apresoline) is used for high blood pressure;
  • Quinidine (Quinidine Gluconate, Quinidine Sulfate) and procainamide (Pronestyl; Procan-SR; Procanbid) are used for abnormal heart rhythms;
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin) is used for epilepsy;
  • Isoniazid (Nydrazid, Laniazid) is used for tuberculosis;
  • d-penicillamine (used for rheumatoid arthritis).

These drugs are known to stimulate the immune system and cause SLE. Fortunately, drug-induced SLE is infrequent (accounting for less than 5% of all people with SLE) and usually resolves when the medications are discontinued.

AYURVEDA  INSIGHTS INTO SLE AND AUTO-IMMUNITY

Ayurveda describes a healthy state of each individual and an unhealthy state with different manifestations with respect to health. This unhealthy manifestations are grouped into certain syndromes which encompass all plausible symptoms a human body can exhibit. SLE and its manifestations can be easily traced through some logical conclusions. I would not venture into the technical conundrums as that would be beyond the scope of this article.  SLE exhibits various manifestations in conjunction with overall immunity and organ affliction and hence treatment very well simplifies into following terms.

  1. Correcting the metabolic pathway so optimum nutrition is produced
  2. Creating a balance between bodily demand and supplies so the process of tissue repair is carried out flawlessly
  3. From above 2 ensuring a stable immunity reducing flare up of symptoms
  4. Giving stability to organs in form of tonics improving their resistance and promoting regeneration

The above 4 point protocol can be achieved by following a religious lifestyle in terms of diet and intake of herbal medicines. Long term use of Ayurveda medicine has an added benefit is that apart from curative action on afflicted organs they slowly fortify them preventing relapse as opposed to modern day chemicals which mostly aim at suppression.

Ayurveda is highly individualized and hence each patient must be approached with thought process unique to his/her environment and medicines and protocols devised likewise. There is no one medicine which may benefit all. Also while taking Ayurveda medicine one must keep in mind about ensuring results on the above 4 points mentioned rather than just pathological stability.I would like to point that each and every patient who suffers from SLE must only concentrate on having  symptom free life with minimal medication and promoting overall quality.

Many a times a patient may be disease free from SLE for long periods but his pathological reports especially Antibodies  [ANA] may not show much difference. Having high antibodies determines compromised immune symptom but in no way labels one as diseased. From my clinical experience of treating patients of Autoimmunity  I am putting forth certain easy protocols which if followed would definitely help in a good quality of life. I have myself observed patients go into complete remission and in many cases the Antibodies [ANA] become negative. This still may indicate a very good control but must not be taken as a disease free state as immunity is subjective to environment around us and our response and if protocols are broken , it may severely relapse.

I would however sincerely request the readers , that if found effective, they must consult an Ayurveda physician to get treatments customized as per their clinical presentations.

NOTE

One thing I always mention to SLE patients is to get tested for Heavy Metal toxicity especially Mercury, Copper and Lead. This I have found the most important culprit. If found in high levels, one must begin with chelation therapy either the modern medicine way or natural ways. Both require supervision. Chelation is a method where certain metal binding agents are given either orally or by IV which bind to the metals and throw them out. I personally use natural method for them as in SLE the primary toxicity is found of mercury. Once this detox is achieved in most cases the future treatment becomes very easy. Also the role of Zinc is prime importance in my treatment . The zinc copper ratio must be maintained. Through Ayurveda Bhasma this is effectively corrected in very short time but supervision is required. Do not self medicate.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES 

More than medicines, Lifestyle changes as advised by Ayurveda form a major core of this treatment. If one can follow these religiously, i am sure most of the patients will experience a sever drop in flare ups and would require less Allopathy medicine which would contribute to more organ strength and immunity

  1. Rise before sunrise [around 5 5.30]
  2. Go to bed by 10 pm -10.30pm maximum [This may be difficult but the work you do late night try to shift early morning]
  3. Do not sleep during day
  4. Have dinner before sunset [max 6pm]
  5. Drink warm water intermittently with food [max of 200ml]. Avoid drinking water before or after meals for at least an hour
  6. Stay away from Sunlight till a proper control is achieved or the corticosteroid dosage is reduced.
  7. Regarding bathing. I generally advise patients initially in my treatment to bathe with water medicated with Neem leaves [Azadhiracta indic a]. If Neem leaves are not available one can use Mint leaves. Do not have a head bath, just sponge your body. This can be done till swelling and flare ups are completely gone and do not come back till 45 days.

DIET CHANGES

  1. Complete abstinence from Chillies, Yoghurt [Buttermilk without salt is fine], Pickles, Peas, Peanuts, Chana, Choley, Rajma, Mustard, Brinjals, Cauliflower
  2. Prepare food without salt. Add very minimal in water and sprinkle over the food. Try to restrict salt to once a day. This simple change will give you immense benefit
  3. Stay away from caffeine [Tea, Coffee, complete abstinence , not even Green tea]
  4. Completely avoid Sea food.
  5. Avoid following fruits, Banana, Orange, Sweet lime, Custard Apple, Jackfruit, watermelon
  6. Salt again must be restricted if not using Himalayan Crystal salt
  7. Salt and Sugar plays a major role and the minimal usage the better. In my clinical practice I recommend the patient to go on a complete salt restriction for at least 10 days on commencement of treatment and then reintroduce.
  8. Avoid all forms of refined sugar. Even fruit juices which contain fructose. Have fruits like Papaya, Musk melon etc low on fructose. Reduce your insulin spikes. Do not eat after sunset. If you find cravings for sugar cut coconut rind [entire one with oil in it] and eat. It is highly beneficial

PROTOCOLS DURING MENSES 

Women can utilize the menstrual cycle to recalibrate their hormonal system. As a rule I always advise women to go on a salt restricted diet comprising of Papaya and Rice water [see below] for 3 days. Avoid having  bath and take the following simple herbal tea for 3 days in menses

  • Dried Ginger 3gms
  • Ajwoin 3gms
  • Turmeric 2gms
  • Jaggery 10gms
  • Cow’s ghee 15gms

Boil this mixture in 200ml of water and reduce to 50ml. Consume it once a day for 3 days of cycle. This is dope regularly fortifies the immune system preventing flare ups.

The lifestyle and diet changes must be strictly followed. In addition I always advise my patients to watch out for change in seasons and seasonal cusps with respect to their geographical locations as this is the very time the immunity of the body is affected. During this time the patient must try and be off salt with minimal diet for a period of 3-4 days to ensure good immunity

INTERNAL MEDICINES

I am listing few medicines which if coupled with above points will definitely show some positive results soon.

Rice Water : This is more of a home remedy. Boil unpolished rice [20-0gms] in an litre of water till rice is cooked. Slowly collect the water [without stirring or filtering] in another vessel, till very little water above rice remains. Drink this water at one go every night after sunset around 8pm. Regular use will cleanse most inflammatory process in the body. Remember this would only work if above protocols are followed

Medicated garlic. Soak entire garlic [simple not the special garlic] bulb in fresh curd for 24 hours. After this wash the garlic and peel each petal and store in a glass container. Each day before meals 10 mins fry 2 petals in Cow’s ghee [clarified butter from cow] and consume with warm water

Guduchi [Tinospora glabra stem 30gms], Sunth [Dried ginger 5gms] Boil this mixture in 300ml of water in an earthen vessel and reduce to 50ml. Filter and drink by adding 5ml of Castor oil 2times away empty stomach [as soon as you get up and at around 4pm]. When loose motions set in reduce true quantity of castor oil

Shyonak [Oroxylum indium, Tetu bark 30gms]. Boil in300ml of water, reduce to 50 ml and consume 2 times a day. I also recommend patients to use the left over bark to medicate bathing water. It helps reduce swellings and flare ups

Parijat [Nyctanthes arbor tristis bark, 20gms].Boil this mixture in 300ml of water in an earthen vessel and reduce to 50ml. Filter and drink by adding 5ml of Castor oil 2times away empty stomach [as soon as you get up and at around 4pm]. When loose motions set in reduce the quantity of castor oil. This is very useful in acute conditions to reduce joint pains and swellings

Gokshur [Pedalium murex fruits 7 gms], Kavach [Mucuna prurient seeds 5gms], Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera roots 5gms], Aragwadh [Pulp, Cassia fistula 5gms]. Boil this mixture in 300ml of water in an earthen vessel and reduce to 50ml. Filter and drink by adding 5ml of Castor oil 2times away empty stomach [as soon as you get up and at around 4pm]. When loose motions set in reduce true quantity of castor oil. This is a good remedy to reduce gene raised swellings, joint pains and fortify the immune system

The above medicines are only for patients who suffer from Joint pains , swellings and similar flare ups. In case of advanced complications involving brain, kidney I would recommend using the above medicine with advise from your physician. Please do not self medicate in such conditions. Many of the patients would be on corticosteroids or similar. If using the above remedies and diet protocol and one finds benefit, slowly taper the use of steroids with discretion.

Breast Enhancement, An Ayurveda Approach

In my clinical practice , I am regularly coming across more and more woman unhappy with their breasts for cosmetic reasons. Some complain of tonal loss or sagging, some require enhancement and some reduction.  Many woman undergone expensive treatments , some surgical to get back the breast shape. The internet and media is also flooded with claims. Hence I thought of putting up a small article which may help clear misconception and try and convince many to follow an holistic approach.

In the present article I would shed points on Reasons and Remedies for breast enhancement. Though the information presented here is based on my clinical experience, readers discretion is requested.

REASONS FOR COSMETIC ANOMALIES OF  BREASTS

  • Improper selection of brasserie in terms of fitment/size
  • Not wearing brassiere right on onset of puberty
  • Wearing tight bra during bedtime. (this can slow down circulation)
  • Physical exercises (workouts, running, cycling etc) without brasserie
  • Prolonged illness
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Hormonal imbalance leading to irregular menstrual cycle and other concerned illness
  • Weight gain
  • Sudden weight gain and loss due to crash dieting etc.
  • Sexual intercourse at an early age. [arguable]

UNDERSTANDING BREAST DEVELOPMENT AS PER MODERN SCIENCE

Breast does not contain any muscle and is largely consisted of a fat tissue known as Adipose tissue intermingled with lactiferous [milk carrying / producing] ducts. Hence merely doing muscle exercises or intake of muscle protein is not going to help in altering the breast tissue. However it may fairly effect the muscle on which the breast lies [Pectoralis group]. The size of breasts is decided by the hormonal apparatus which is unique in each individual and also influenced by genetic. The permutations and combinations of Estrogen, Prolactin and Progesterone with respect to lifestyle and other factors is very consequential in the physical and mental make-up of a woman. Regarding breast size Estrogen influences the lot with high amounts leading to large breasts and vice versa. It is important to understand that beyond cosmetic approach having firm nice shaped breast requires a good hormonal balance which needs to be complemented with good lifestyle and diet.

Since I would mostly emphasize on natural methods of Ayurveda and yoga for the purpose , I have also enlisted some other prevalent methods for the purpose for your information. So lets begin

YOGIC EXERCISES

The following enlisted Asanas (yogic postures) really help in toning the breast apparatus. However one should understand that not one but a combination of theses postures would help in achieving the desired results. There are no specific Asanas to increase or decrease the size. The Asanas would merely help in achieving firm and healthy breast. Also the Asanas help a long way in regulating hormones and may prevent modern evils of breast cancers. I would not go to the lengths of explaining each and every asanas. You can “google” the names and would get some great illustrations and videos about how to practice them. I would recommend to take the guidance of an expert yoga teacher incase you wish to pursue the techniques. Yogic postures need to be complemented with certain rules of diet, lifestyle and also cleansing methods. Apparently not all yogic postures are safe and one needs to be evaluated to be fit enough to accept a particular asana as per his constitution and health condition. Though while practicing the asanas the main emphasis would be on breast development, these asanas also help in variety of ailments hence research properly and pick the best 1 -2 asanas which would help in your overall health condition

Trikonaasana : helps strengthen the pectoral groups, helpful for women seeking enlargement. Must be complimented with massage, herbs intake.

Bhujangasana : the imminent stretch helps in reduction of excessive fat tissue around the breast, this helps in breast reduction. for enlargement use the asana in the end stage for toning]

Paschimuttanasana: A difficult asana. It puts pressure on the spinal chakras and helps proper flow of hormones. In general should be practiced for an overall hormonal stability. However ones suffering from constipation and ulcers seek expert guidance.

Tadasana: Exerts pressure on the thyroid and is a great posture for overall hormonal stability.

Shalbhasana (Toad posture): Improves muscle stability helps burn fat tissue. done in conjunction with Bhujangasana,

Dhanuarasana & Naukasana: Both asanas combined with Bhujangasana and Shalabhasana makes a power combination for great breast shape especially women looking for reduction and firmness

There are other Asanas which are helpful but must be done under expert guidance as they are tough

  • Simhasana
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana
  • Chakrasana
  • Sethu Bandhasana
  • Halasana

Combining above asanas with proper exponent of Surya Namaskara (12 step exercise) helps immensely. It is very important to follow time rules with regards to yoga. Most postures are meant to be practiced at sunrise after relieving natural urges.

AYURVEDA REMEDIES

Though Ayurveda does not directly pinpoint at cosmetic manipulation towards breasts there are many formulations which can be used effectively to help in the process. I would share some of my experiences in terms of home remedies one can safely use.

EXTERNAL APPLICATIONS

Boil sesame seeds 20gms, Fenugreek seeds 20 gm, Aloe vera pulp 20 gm, rose petals 20 gm in 500ml of water and reduce to the mixture to 50ml. Strain the mixture. Add the decoction to 50ml of virgin coconut oil and boil till oil remains. Filter and store in a glass bottle. Warm require quantity of oil [Always put the oil bottle in warm water. Do not heat oil directly over flame]. Massage in a clockwise directions. Use downwards strokes when massaging beneath the breasts. Regular use helps burn excess fat tissue and also makes the breasts firm. [Avoid massaging on nipples]

Prepare a paste by mixing the following herbs in water or aloe vera juice. Mayphal [Quercus infectorius] 10gms , Maida Lakdi [Litsea chinensis] 10gm , Jaiphal [Myristica fragrans] 5gm. Make the paste warm and apply over the breast . Regular use imparts firmness to the breast. [Avoid massaging the nipples]

Boil bark of Gambhari [Gmelina arborea] 100gm, in virgin coconut oil (250ml) till black residue of the bark remains. Filter and store the oil in a clean glass oil. Warm the required quantity of medicated oil and massage as explained before. This formulation helps in breast enhancement.

INTERNAL MEDICINE

Breast enlargement

Boil 4gms Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera], 3gms Arjun bark [Terminalia arjuna] in 1 part milk [100ml] and 4 parts water till milk remains. Strain the mixture through a clean cloth and consume empty stomach early morning. The procedure must be preferable carried out in an iron vessel

Breast reduction and Firmness

Gorakhmundi [Sphaeranthus indicus, 40gm], Daruhaladi [Berberis aristata 40 gm], Nagarmotha [Cyperus esculentus 30 gm]. Boil the herbs in 1litre of water and reduce to 600ml. Filter and store in the fridge. Intake 200ml of the decoction every morning [or in two divided doses 100(Morn.) 100 (Eve.)] empty stomach. Prepare fresh after 3 days. Continue for 2 menstrual cycles. Then take a gap of 15 days and repeat.

NASAL DROPS

Use of Cow’s ghee [clarified butter from cow] in form of nasal drops helps immensely in breast development. Certain traditional preparations like Anu Taila, Panchanendriya vardhan Taila can also be used. The procedure must be done at sunrise. Steam inhalation must be undertaken for 4 -5 minutes. After that the head must be inclined at 75 degree and warm cow’s ghee or the concerned preparation must be instilled . One should first start from 2 drops and gradually increase to 6 drops. The process would benefit more if one can ascertain which nostril [Nadi] is active. For information at any given time most of us breathe [inhale and exhale] through the right or left nostrils. Only at certain times or through yogic Pranayama can one activate both nostrils at the same time. Hence the drops must be first instilled in the active nostril followed by the passive one. The active nostril can be easily found out by closing one nostril at a time. The one that allows free flow is active while the one that meets with resistance is passive.

DIET RULES

  • Restrict salt intake to minimum
  • Eat papaya during menstrual cycles to ensure good flow.
  • If possible go on a salt restricted diet for first 3 days of menses being only on papaya and cow’s milk.
  • Stay away from Bakery products, green chillies, pickles, curds [Buttermilk okay].
  • Avoid non-veg diet or restrict to minimum
  • Alcohol restriction

Also avoid excessive gestures like fondling and caressing during sexual intimacy while application of the above medications. Though the effects are not profound it is advisable to refrain for good results.

There are other Anaerobic exercises suggested to help breast development. Though I personally do not recommend them, I have just briefed here for knowledge.

  • Pectoral push up
  • Inverted push up
  • Pectoral press
  • Butterfly press

This exercise require weight training. Also certain trainers recommend protein supplements, Vitamins and natural supplements like Primrose oil etc,

I sincerely hope this small article helps many of you who are looking for solutions but are inapt to pick up one mode or line of treatment. I would also suggest to all of you to research properly before investing your time and money for breast enhancement packages. Going the natural way would not only help you achieve your purpose but would have the added benefit of providing you a healthy lifestyle and regulating other health problems.

NOTE
The yogic postures mentioned  must be practiced preferably under expert guidance. The use of Ayurveda medicines mentioned is safe. In case of any ill effects like discontinue the medicines. With respect to local applications, readers are advised to initially apply the medication on a small area to check for any allergic reactions.

Infertility, Ayurveda Perspective

DEFINE INFERTILITY ?

Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception. Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term. For medical treatment, Infertility is the failure of a couple to become pregnant after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse.

WHAT ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INFERTILITY AS PER MODERN DATA ??

Primary Infertility : Couples who have never been able to conceive. This group excludes women who have conceived but nor carried the pregnancy full term

Secondary infertility: Related to couples who have difficulty in conceiving after already have conceived once [this includes full term pregnancy and also miscarriages, abortions etc]. However it excludes couples who have had change of partners.

Unexplained infertility: Couples who have no physiological anomalies and are pathologically healthy yet do not conceive. Almost 26% suffer from unexplained infertility.

Subfertility: Couples who have unsuccessfully tried conception for a year or more. Subfertile means less fertile than a typical couple with fecundability [reproductive] rate of 3-5%.

CAN U BRIEF US ABOUT FERTILIZATION AS PER MODERN STUDIES ?

Fertilization is a complex process however it can be summarized in the following steps

REPRODUCTIVE HORMONES:

The hypothalamus (an area in the brain) and the pituitary gland regulate the reproductive hormones.
In women, six key hormones serve as chemical messengers that regulate the reproductive system:

The hypothalamus first releases the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).
This chemical, in turn, stimulates the pituitary gland to produce follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
Estrogen, progesterone, and the male hormone testosterone are secreted by the ovaries at the command of FSH and LH and complete the hormonal group necessary for reproductive health.

OVULATION

Onset of menses; the FSH stimulates several ovarian follicles to mature over a 2-week period until their eggs nearly triple in size but only one will become dominant during a cycle.
FSH signals this dominant follicle to produce estrogen, which enters the bloodstream and reaches the uterus. There, estrogen stimulates the cells in the uterine lining to reproduce, therefore thickening the walls.
Estrogen levels reach their peak mostly [not always] around the 14th day of the cycle from the first day of menses and eventually they trigger a surge of LH.
LH surge brings about ovulation by causing the dominant follicle to burst and release the egg into the fallopian tube [right or left] and waits fir fertilization.
If fertilization takes place , LH causes the ruptured follicle to develop into the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum provides a source of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy.

FERTILIZATION

The “fertile window” is of 6 days starting 5 days before ovulation and terminates with ovulation. The sperm survives for 3 days on entering the fallopian tube and the egg survives 12 – 24 hours unless fertilized by the sperm. If fertilized, the embryo exits the fallopian tube after 2 – 4 days and implants into the uterus to start its 9-month incubation period. Conversely if fertilization fails, the corpus luteum degenerates to corpus albicans leading to a fall in estrogen & progesterone levels which sloughs of the endometrial lining and brings about menstruation.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF INFERTILITY IN WOMEN AS PER MODERN STUDIES ?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) comprise of various infections that affect organs in the pelvic area. Most prominent is salpingitis , an infection of fallopian tubes.

Endometriosis is a condition in which cells that line the uterus grow in areas outside of the uterus, such as the ovaries causing prolonged bleeding. [read more about endometriosis in my article:

http://ayurvedaforwomen.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/endometriosis-an-ayurveda-approach/

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries produce high amounts of androgens (male hormones), particularly testosterone. resulting in high levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and low levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which prevent follicles from producing a mature egg. [read more about PCOS in my article:

http://ayurvedaforwomen.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome-pcos-pcod/

Premature Ovarian Failure (Early Menopause) is the early depletion of follicles before age 40, which, in most cases, leads to premature menopause.

Uterine Fibroids [Large] may cause infertility impairing the uterine lining, by blocking the fallopian tube, or by distorting the shape of the uterine cavity or altering the position of the cervix.

Elevated Prolactin Levels (Hyperprolactinemia) reduce gonadotropin hormones and inhibit ovulation. Hyperprolactinemia can be caused by an underactive thyroid gland or pituitary adenoma. (benign tumors that secrete prolactin.) Oral contraceptives and certain antipsychotic drugs, can also elevate levels of prolactin.Secretions from the breast not related to pregnancy or nursing (called galactorrhea) are a telltale symptom of high prolactin levels and should be investigated.

Kallmann syndrome (decreased functioning of glands that produce sex hormones due to deficiency of gonadotrophin-releasing hormones (GnRH) by hypothallamus.

Inborn genital tract abnormalities may cause infertility. Mullerian agenesis is a specific malformation in which no vagina or uterus develops.

Uterine or Abdominal Scarring.: Bands of scar tissue that bind together after abdominal or pelvic surgery or infection (called adhesions) can restrict the movement of ovaries and fallopian tubes and may cause infertility. Asherman syndrome, is scarring in the uterus that can cause obstructions and secondary amenorrhea. It may be caused by surgery, repeated injury, or unknown factors.

Genetic Factors: A Robertsonian translocation in either partner may cause recurrent spontaneous abortions or complete infertility.

Environmental Factors: Toxins such as glues, volatile organic solvents or silicones, physical agents, chemical dusts, and pesticides

DOES STRESS EFFECT FERTILITY?

The role is unclear, though elevated levels of stress hormones can shut down menstruation.

INFERTILITY AND AGE ?

It is accepted that fertility in women declines after 30 since with age, the ovaries produce less eggs with poor quality. Older women have a higher risk for eggs with chromosomal abnormalities, which increase the risk for miscarriage and birth defects.

INFERTILITY AND WEIGHT ?

Obesity is associated with PCOS which causes infertility. Conversely being underweight (10-20% < normal) may cause the reproductive process to shutdown. Women with eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia), low-calorie diet are at risk, especially if their periods are irregular. Strict vegetarians may be at risk if they lack important nutrients(vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and folic acid). Marathon runners, dancers, and others who exercise very intensely.

ALCOHOL, SMOKING AND INFERTILITY ?

Smoking harm ovaries depleting egg production. Smoking women attain early menopause comparatively. Similarly Alcohol and caffeine use may contribute to infertility.

HOW IS INFERTILITY DIAGNOSED AS PER MODERN MEDICAL SCIENCE ?

Medical History and Physical Examination

Laboratory Tests :Blood and urine tests are taken to evaluate hormone levels.

  • High FSH & LH levels and low Estrogen levels suggest premature ovarian failure.
  • High LH and low FSH may suggest PCOS or Luteal phase defect.
  • High FSH and high Estrogen levels on the 3rd day of the cycle predict poor success rates in older women trying fertility treatments.
  • LH surges indicate ovulation.
  • Blood tests for Prolactin levels and Thyroid function are also measured. These are hormones that may indirectly affect fertility.

Clomiphene Challenge Test.
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene), a standard fertility drug, is used to test for ovarian reserve (the number of follicles and quality of the eggs). FSH is measured on day 3 of the cycle. Patient takes clomiphene orally on days 5 and 9 of the cycle. FSH is measured on the tenth day. High levels of FSH either on day 3 or day 10 indicate a poor chance for a successful outcome.

Tissue Samples of the uterus
1- 2 days before periods may be taken to rule out luteal phase defect, premature ovarian failure, and absence of ovulation, & to determine if the corpus luteum is adequately producing progesterone. Cervix samples may be cultured to rule out infection.

Tests to rule out Autoimmune Disease
Hypo-Hyper thyroidism & Diabetes in women with recent ovarian failure not caused by genetic abnormalities.

Transvaginal sonohysterography uses ultrasound along with saline infused into the uterus, which enhances the visualization of the uterus.& considered an gold standard for diagnosing polycystic ovaries.

Hysteroscopy is a procedure used to detect endometriosis, fibroids, polyps, pelvic scar tissue, and blockage at the ends of the fallopian tubes.

Hysterosalpingography discovers possible blockage in the fallopian tubes and abnormalities in the uterus.

Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia in an operating room.

IS THERE ANY SELF TESTS TO DIAGNOSE FERTILITY ?

Monitoring basal body temperature is accurate in determining if ovulation is actually taking place.
Cervical Mucus consistency must be tested by collecting some mucus between 2 fingers and stretching. Near ovulation time, the mucus stretches more than 1 inch before breaking.
Alternate home kits test saliva in place of mucus
Over the counter Urine test to detect LH surges helps determine ovulation period. Similar FSH test kits are available.

WHAT ARE AVAILABLE TREATMENTS IN MODERN MEDICINE ?

Initial steps are corrective in terms of Lifestyle measures (healthy lifestyle, planning sexual activity with ovulation cycle, managing stress and emotions)

Second step consist of fertility drugs to induce ovulation. Fertility drugs can be divided into 3 main categories:

DRUGS FOR OVARIAN STIMULATION

  • Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene)
  • Letrozole (Femara)
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) [Follistim, Gonal-F, Bravelle]
  • Human Menopausal Gonadotrophin (hMG) [Humegon, Repronex, Menopur]
  • Luteneizing hormone (LH) [Luveris]

DRUGS FOR OOCYTE [EGG] MATURATION

  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) [Profasi, APL, Pregnyl, Novarel, Ovidrel]

DRUGS TO PREVENT PREMATURE OVULATION

  • GnRh agonists (Lupron and Synarel)
  • Gn RH antagonists (Antagon, Cetrotide).

WHAT ARE COMPLICATION OF DRUG TREATMENTS ?

Overproduction of follicles (Superovulation) can lead to ovarian enlargement. This event increases the risk for multiple births.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHS) is serious complication with super ovulation associated with enlarged ovary which can result in dangerous fluid and electrolyte imbalances and endanger the liver and kidney. OHS also associated with a higher risk for blood clots can prove fatal in some cases.

Superovulation if unchecked can lead to Bleeding and Rupture of Ovarian Cysts.There are concerns that Clomiphene and Gonadotrophins may increase the risks for ovarian and breast cancer. Conversely some studies suggest that clomiphene, which is chemically related to the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, may actually decrease the risk for breast cancer.

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION [AI] ?

Artificial insemination (AI) involves placing the sperm directly in the cervix (called intracervical insemination) or into the uterus (called intrauterine insemination, or IUI). IUI is the standard AI procedure which involves placing washed sperm into the woman’s uterine cavity through a long, thin catheter. The procedure is performed when a woman is ovulating and is used for patients whose tubes are not blocked from endometriosis or scarring.
If AI fails, the woman may be a candidate for ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES (ART)

WHAT IS ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES (ART) ?

ART performed at special fertility clinics refer to treatments, which promote fertility by external manipulation of both egg and sperm. They involve procedures such as

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

WHAT IS IVF ?

IVF is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb in a laboratory [in vitro]. It is popularly known as test tube baby. IVF can be performed with a woman’s own eggs and sperm, or with donor eggs and sperm. IVF is used when both eggs and sperms are of low quality.

WHAT IS Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) ?

ICSI is used for couples when male infertility [low sperm count, low quality, impotency]is the main problem. It involves injecting a single sperm [partners / donors] into an egg obtained from IVF.

SUCCESS RATES OF ART ?

Not all IVF cycles result in pregnancy, and not all IVF-achieved pregnancies result in live births. Data indicate that the chances of IVF resulting in live birth are about:

40% for women younger than age 35
30% for women ages 35 – 37
20% for women ages 38 – 40
10% for women ages 41 – 42

Some women try Acupuncture during an IVF cycle to increase their chances for pregnancy success. While acupuncture is not harmful, there is no conclusive evidence that it boosts success rates.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF IVF ?

IVF may occasionally result in genetic abnormalities but they are subjective to the sperm and egg. The main risk is Multiple pregnancies with risks of premature delivery and low birth weight which can cause heart & lung problems & developmental disabilities

HOW COMMON IS INFERTILITY IN WOMEN ?

About a third of infertility problems are due to female infertility, and another third are due to male infertility. In the remaining cases, infertility affects both partners or the cause is unclear.

WHAT ARE CAUSES OF MALE INFERTILITY ?

  • Oligospermia (Low sperm count)
  • Azoospermia (No sperm production)
  • Low sperm motility
  • Illness like cystic fibrosis which cause damage to sperms
  • Other disorders [Auto Immune, Diabetes, TB]
  • Varicocele is a common offender. The veins on a man’s testicle expand or become large which heats up the testicles resulting in low sperm count or low quality sperms. This can be treated surgically
  • Birth defects [Male Hypospadias]
  • German scientists have reported that a virus called Adeno-associated virus might have a role in male infertility, though it is otherwise not harmful.
  • Mutation that alters human DNA adversely can cause infertility, the human body thus preventing the tainted DNA from being passed on.

WHATS AYURVEDA PERSPECTIVE ON INFERTILITY ?

Ayurveda gives a strong example of a “crop” when describing reproduction.

To obtain a good crop, the contributing factors like seed, soil, atmospheric conditions , harvest time and season must be ideal similarly for a good offspring the seed[egg and sperm], soil [uterus], harvest time [intercourse during ovulation] and season [ovulation] must be optimum. Imbalance of any of these features leads to infertility. Treatments are focussed to correct these imbalances.

WHAT AYURVEDA MEDICINES ARE USED ?

Medicines are selected on the basis of imbalances. They can be classified as

QUALITY-QUANTITY PROMOTING [“vrushya” ][eggs and sperms]
This medicines mostly belong to the Vajikarana stream of Ayurveda which specializes in reproductive and sexual health. The drugs may range from

  • HERBS : Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera], Shatavari [Asparagus racemosus], Safed Musali [Asparagus adscendens/ Chlorophytum sp.]
  • METALS: Vang [tin], Suvarna[gold], Parad [Mercury], Yashad [Zinc]
  • MINERALS: Shilajit, Suranjan.
  • GEMS: Emerald, Sapphire.
  • FORMULATIONS: Pushyanuga churna, Vrushya vati, Makardhwaja, Suvarnamalini Vasant.

DRUGS WITH CORRECTIVE FUNCTION [“shukrashodan, dhatvaagnivardhan”]
This drugs manipulate the Dhatvaagni [the micro metabolic fire between Dhatus [refined entities]. Shukra Dhatu [the reproductive entity] is considered as a refinement of all previous 6 entities. Malformation of Shukra is mostly due to the imbalance in the metabolism of its or concerned Agnis. These drugs generally act on the Agni and after their corrective action act as Geriatrics [Rasayana]. These medicines are also aimed at correcting the underlying causes which inhibit infertility by treating them first. These causes can be correlated to various disorders like PCOS, Endometriosis etc.

  • HERBS: Gulvel [Tinospora glabra], Arjun [Terminalia cuneata], Pipli [Piper longum], Bhallatak [semecarpus anacardium]
  • METALS: Raupya [Silver], Suvarnamakshik, Loh [Iron], Vang[Tin]
  • MINERALS: Abrakh [Mica], Shilajit.
  • GEMS: Praval [Coral], Mauktik [Pearl], Blue sapphire.
  • FORMULATIONS: Chandraprabhavati, Elaadi vati, Trivang Bhasma, Suvarnarajvangeshwar

FERTILITY INFLUENCING DRUGS[“vayasthapan, raktashodhan, jeevaniya, garbhasthapan”]
These medicines help bring about congenial environment for fertlization. The medicines also influence or promote fertilization by their usage during the time of intercourse. This drugs are also used as a part of GARBHADHAN SANSKARA

  • HERBS: Nagkesara[Mesua ferra], Kesar [Crocus sativus], Palas [Butea monosperma], Vad [Ficus benghalensis], Laxmana [Solanum sp.], Rudravanti [Cressa cretica], Kavach beej [Mucuna pruriens], Agaru [Aquillaria sp.]
  • METALS: Raupya [Silver], Vajra [Diamond], Suvarna [Gold].
  • MINERALS: Kanta Loha [Lodestone], Shilajit.
  • FORMULATIONS: Phalaghrita, Rasasindoor.

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact mode of treatment. The protocol is decided by the Ayurveda physician taking in account the symptoms and conditions

More information about the above mentioned medicines can be found at www.nlam.in [National Library of Ayurveda Medicine]

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF PANCHAKARMA ?

Panchkarama protocol helps to high degrees to clear many pathologies which cause an direct inhibition to fertility. Their usefulness to treat PCOS, Endometriosis have been already discussed.

  • Basti treatment proves very beneficial. Since Basti is targeted at regulating the Apana Vayu it facilitates timely release of ovum and also good production of sperms.
  • Uttar Basti [enema through vagina], is helpful to strengthen the uterus and help implantation.
  • Purificatory process of Vamana and Virechana also help in patients with high imbalance of Dosha.
  • Nasya [nasal errhines] is an important Karma to promote fertility. Nasya with Phalaghrita [Ayurveda formulation] or simple cow’s ghee is very benficial in women for timely release of egg, as Nasya is claimed to act directly on the hormonal apparatus.

DOES VEDIC ASTROLOGY HELP ?

Many references to infertility have been found in Vedic astrology. Vedic astrology states that couple with same Nadi [Nadi is segregated into Aadhya, Madhyam and Antya for each individual as per his natal chart] most prominently do not conceive. If they do conceive the child is born of low immunity. The influence of Saturn in Nakshatras [stellar] corresponding to Leo [Simha] & 12th house also influence fertility.
However this are general rules and must be evaluated properly by an Ayurveda physician. The effects are countered by intake of medicines mostly made of gems.
Nilam [ Blue sapphire], Praval [coral], Mauktik [pearl], Padmaraga[Emerald] are effectively used in terms of internal medicine [Bhasma, Pishti] or externally.

More information about gemstone preparations at the National Library of Ayurveda Medicine [www.nlam.in]

WHAT ARE GARBHADHAN SANSKARAS  ?

Garbhadhan Sanskar is first of the sixteen Vedic sanskars. It is a set of procedures to have a healthy baby with good karma. The sanskar [procedure, act] is highly based on Vedic astrology and starts by selecting an appropriate period for intercourse to conceive. Though this procedures are aimed at Pusavana Sanskara[to get a desired sex child] they are used to promote fertility

MUHURTA [auspicious time]

Lunar days are an important determinant in considering muhurat for Garbhadhan sanskar. This sanskar is performed on the first sixteen nights after the first menses following marriage [or whenever a couple plans for a baby]. This period is referred to as the Rutu period (Rutukal). Excluding the first four, 11th and 13th nights, the remaining 10 nights are considered suitable for this Sanskar. According to some, the 4th day should also be included. It is said that one who wishes that a son be born to him should have intercourse with his wife on the days with an even number (4-6-8-10-12-14-16) and one who desires a daughter, on odd number days (5-7-9-11-15). The sanskar of Garbhadhan is forbidden on the 4th(chaturthi), sixth (shashthi), eighth (ashtami), fourteenth (chaturdashi), new moon (amavasya) and full moon (pournima) dates (tithis) of the Hindu lunar calendar.

NAKSHATRA [auspicious stellar]

Nakshatra or lunar mansion is one of the 27 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them. There is an additional 28th intercalary nakshatra, Abhijit between Uttarasharha and Sravana.
Uttraphalguni [Denebola], Uttrasadha [Saggittarii], Uttrabhadrapada [gamma Pegasi to alpha Andromeda], Rohini [Aldebaran], Mrigashirisha [Orionis], Anuradha [Scorpionis], Hasta [Corvi], Swati [Arcuturus], Shravan [Aquilae], Ghanistha and Shatataraka [Aquaril] Nakshatras are very auspicious to bond for conception. The moon stays in each makshatra for one day

VARA [auspicious day]

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are very auspicious for Garbhadhan sanskar. Monday can also be a favorable day in this respect. Rest of the week days should strictly be avoided by aspiring parents.

LAGNA [auspicious acendent]

Muhurat of Garbhadhan sanskar should have a strong and auspicious Ascendant. The muhurat kundli should have beneficial planets on the centre houses (1, 4, 7, and 10) and triangular houses (5, 9) and a malefic planet on the 3rd, 6th or 11th houses. Muhurat is excellent if Sun, Mars or Jupiter aspect the Ascendant and Moon is situated on the odd navamsha.

Astrological restriction:

A woman should not get impregnated when the transition of moon is on the 4th, 8th houses from the moon sign of the woman. Besides this tara dosha on 3rd, 5th or 7th houses and Bhadra dosha should be avoided during Garbhadhan sanskar muhurat.

WHAT ARE AYURVEDA SUGGESTIONS ON THE INTERCOURSE ?

Ayurveda [Kamasutra] advises the missionary position [women lying on back] as the best for conceptions. However the positions differ as per constitution and physical make up. An Ayurveda expert is the best one to advise a position for each couple. There are certain points Ayurveda advises before and after intercourse

Before:

  • The couple must have not had physical strenous activity
  • The couple must not be hungry, thirsty
  • The couple like wise must not have over eaten
  • The couple must have consumed light and replinishig food made from milk, ghee which promotes the release of vital fluids.
  • The couple must be in a happy mood

The couple must be longing for each other first on physical attributes and not just mate for conception. This is an important point because Ayurveda says that shukradhara kal [one that hold the prime refine fluids of creations are located in each cell]. Superficial sex only releases from them from the reproductive organs but bonding with passion helps release them from the entire body and accumulate in the reproductive organs which promote fertility.

After:

  • Couple is advised to take a cool bath or shower
  • Consume warm milk with saffron.

CAN YOU SUGGEST SOME HOME REMEDIES TO IMPROVE FERTILITY ?

It is difficult to list out remedies because of many manifestations involved. I would list some remedies as per provisions.

TO IMPROVE EGG PRODUCTIONS AND STRENGTHEN UTERUS

  1. 5gms Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera] tubers, 3gms Shatavari [Asparagus racemosus var. javanica] tubers, 3 gms Putrajivak [Drypetes roxburghii] seeds. Crush them in 3 cups of water and 1 cup of cow’s milk. Boil the mixture till milk remains. Filter and drink empty stomach. This aids fertility.
  2. 50gms Pipal [Ficus religiosa ] fruits, 50gms Vad [Ficus benghalensis] fruits, 30gms Shivlingi [Bryonopis sp.] seeds. Dry and pulverise them to fine powder. Intake 3 gms of this mixture with cow’s milk 2 times a day.
  3. Pomegranate juice [hand squeezed] 50ml + 2 cardamoms + 1gms cumin powder + sugar. Intake of this mixture for a period of 4 months promotes fertility.

TO PURIFY BLOOD, IMPROVE HEALTH AND PREVENT MISCARRIAGES

  1. Chopchini [Smilax china] 40gms, Manjishta[Rubia cordifolia] 10gms, Saptrangi [Salacia chinensis] 20gms. Mix these powders, Consume 3 gms of this mixture with cow’s milk sweetend with sugar 2 times a day. This is very good remedy to check uncontrolled bleeding, immunological problems and it promotes fertility and full term pregnancy
  2. Boil 5gms Arjun[Terminalia cuneata] bark, 5gms Shatavari [Asparagus racemosus] and 3gms Vidarikanda [Pureria tuberosa] in 4 cups of water and 1 cup of milk till milk remains. Filter and drink every morning empty stomach.

TO IMPROVE SPERM COUNT AND QUALITY

  1. Safed Musali [Chlorophytum sp.] 40gms, Kali Musali [Curculigo orchoides] 30gms, Chopchini 20gms , Kavach Beej [Mucuna pruriens] 20gms, Gokhru [Pedalium murex]20gms . Pulverise this mixture. Intake 3gms with milk 2 times a day
  2. Soak 2 figs and 1 date in water in seperate silver vessels during bedtime. On rising eat the figs follow it with the water. Do the same with the date . This must be done as the first thing as soon as the patient rises. Follow this with a cup of warm milk boiled with 2 cardamoms and sugar. Doing this on regular basis improves sperm quality and aids fertility

Apart from this use of minerals like shilajit and other formulations under supervision proves to be very effective treatment towards an healthy pregnancy with alleviation of all disorders from the root.

The Ayurveda treatment is in high contrast with the modern approach which emphasis on egg and sperm production with manipulation of hormones. The treatment though with average success rates leaves many ill effects on the patients with secondary disorders like weight gain, bone density loss . Ayurveda gives a more complete approach and not only emphasis on fertilization but also complete healthy growth of the child and mother through all pregnancy term and also caters to good breast milk production and child care after delivery.The treatment is however individualized and I urge readers to only take this article as a guide and consult an authentic Ayurveda physician for more detailed and complete treatment.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome [PCOS , PCOD]

INTRODUCTION

Polycystic ovaries, means that the ovaries develop more follicles than normal every month. Usually about five follicles start to mature during each menstrual cycle and at least one egg-containing follicle releases a mature egg at ovulation. But a polycystic ovary starts maturing at least twice as many follicles than normal, most of which enlarge and ripen but do not release an egg. It is estimated that between 22 and 33 per cent of women have polycystic ovaries. Some women go on to develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which means they have other symptoms in addition to polycystic ovaries. Other names for this syndrome include polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, Stein-Leventhal syndrome (original name, not used in modern literature), ovarian hyperthecosis and sclerocystic ovary syndrome.

PROBABLE CAUSES AS PER MODERN DATA

The real cause is still unknown to experts. However, research indicates that the root of the problem is most probably resistance to the hormone insulin, which means you need more insulin than usual to regulate the levels of sugar in the body. The extra insulin causes an imbalance in the hormones that usually make your menstrual cycle run smoothly. Too much luteinising hormone (LH) is produced compared to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which in turn causes the follicles on the ovaries to produce more of the male hormone testosterone than the female hormone oestrogen. The adrenal glands start to produce increased amounts of testosterone as well. Too much testosterone prevents ovulation, along with other symptoms related to the syndrome. Oestrogen is still produced but, because the follicles never get to the point of maturity when progesterone production starts to increase, women with PCOS can be deficient in progesterone. PCOS may be hereditary as well. Studies show that women with a family history of polycystic ovaries are 50 per cent more likely to develop PCOS. SYMPTOMS Irregular, non-existent or infrequent periods within three or four years of starting to menstruate. Light or very heavy bleeding during your period Weight gain Excessive hair growth to varying degrees on your face, chest and lower abdomen Mild to moderate abdominal discomfort during periods Acne Excessive skin growth on your neck or in your armpit, also called as skin tags. Bone pain (Arthralgia) and Hair loss (Alopecia), Thinning of Hair. Constipation, indigestion, flatulence

SECONDRY DISORDERS DEVELOPING DUE TO PCOS

  • High blood pressure Dyslipidemia (high level of blood cholesterol , trigylecrides)
  • Cardiac disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Infertilty and Miscarriage
  • Thyroid disorders

TREATMENT BY ALLOPATHY [MODERN MEDICINE]

Allopathy treats the condition on lines of Hormonal imbalance and the major treatment includes HRT (Hormone replacement therapy) where subsequent hormones are administered after proper evaluation of the patient. Diet and certain exercises are also recommended. Apart from that there is a growing belief that PCOS occurs due to malfunction of the hormone insulin and henc Diabetic drugs like metformin may also be prescribed by your doctor for the same. Surgery is also an option exercised where the ovary is punctured or the cystic tissue obove the ovary is destroyed for better hormonal gain. However all this have their own after effects and you must evaluate all options about it by asking your doxctor and personally researching on the nest. This rule not only applies to Allopathy but also to other streamns of medicine as after all its your body.

OVARIAN CYST AND CANCER EVALUATION

Many times in a grown cyst, doctors may order for blood test like CA125, CA15 etc to rule out the cyst turning cancerous. Once found thy may advise to do biopsy of the cyst by taking a sample by laparoscopy or even suggest to do complete hysterectomy . Remember there is no direct evidence that these markers are definitive and hence one must not haste in going for invasive procedures as once done they are non reversible. I have found many ovaries go bust after these procedures. Though i am not generalising this, on must take 2-3 opinions before going ahead unless the diagnosis is definitive. You can try the remedies mentioned below for few weeks to see if there are improvements or consult a good Ayurveda physician to see if this can be reversed naturally. However do exercise all options with proper research and care.

AYURVEDA APPROACH

Hormone therapy further depletes the already taxed Endocrinal system and puts it to sleep. The hormones that are meant to be naturally released by the body, now provided with artificial means pushes the body into lazy mode. The HRT treatment may provide excellent results period over a short but over time can lead to irreversible metabolic damage. For a good quality of life relief on following lines must be procured

  1. Weight loss
  2. Proper menstrual cycle, devoid of cramps, good menstrual flow.
  3. Cure from prolonged menses , scanty menses, prolonged menstrual flow are common symptom in such disorder
  4. Alleviation of symptoms like pre-menstrual swelling, hair loss, acne
  5. Good mental health with freedom from irritability, mood swings, indecisiveness’
  6. Promotion of fertility with production of healthy eggs and good uterine health

Following are some useful Ayurveda tips in terms of diet, lifestyle and medicines which help in a major way to alleviate this disorder.

AYURVEDA MEDICINES

MEDICINE 1

Ashwagandha roots (Withania somnifera; entire about 150 gms),
Arjun bark (Terminalia arjuna; about 70 gms)

Divide both of these into 30 equal parts. Now boil 1 part every morning in 3 cups of water (approx 150ml) and reduce to 1 cup. Now filter this mixture and add 1cup of cow’s milk to it. Boil the mixture in an iron vessel again over a low flame till milk remains. Add 2 cardamoms while boiling. Consume this milk early morning empty stomach. Little sugar can be added for taste. The remaining filtrate of Ashwagandha and Arjun can be used similarly in evening. During summer months, Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus var. javanica) can be substituted for Ashwagandha.

MEDICINE 2

Deodara [Cedrus deodar] bark 40 gms
Boil the bark in 500ml of water and reduce it to 50ml. Consume this tea on empty stomach 3 times away. One can use the same bark for all three times or use fresh as per liking. This is very good remedy.

MEDICINE 3

Punarnava [Boehravia repens] root 30gms
Gokshur [Tribulus terresteris] 10 gms
Prepare an herbal tea as mentioned in MEDICINE 2 and consume fresh 3 times a day on empty stomach

IF FAILED TO ACHIEVE MENSES WITHIN 30-40 DAYS

MEDICINE 1

10gms Nagkeshar (Mesua ferra )
10gms crystal sugar (Khadisakhar, Mishri) 10gms
Cow’s ghee (Clarified butter from cow)
Above herbs be mixed and consumed with milk once a day. The above combination is for one day. If the periods do not commence even after this medicine then do not worry. Keep taking the above medicine. Eventually they will come and with proper ovulation.

MEDICINE 2

Hermal seeds [Peganum Hermala]
Take 1gm of powdered seeds with milk,
CAUTION These seeds can cause dizziness in some and hence discotinue or reduce the dose if symptoms occur.

MEDICINE 3

Boil 5 gms black sesame seeds in 100 ml water and reduce to 50 ml. Filter add organic jaggery and take 2 times a day empty stomach. This simple remedy can be continued till proper menses is achieved and works most of time. However couple this with diet mentioned below or else one may find increase of heat in the body.

PROLONGED MENSTRUAL BLEEDING

Many women who suffer from PCOS suffer from prolonged bleeding once menstrual cycle commences. Pomegranat fruit rind 10gms fresh Prepare a herbal tea as described in MEDICINE 2 and intake 2 -3 times a day

Apple Cider Vinegar [ACV] with Mother
Take 20ml of the vinegar and dilute with 200 ml of water. Consume this 2 times a day on empty stomach. This is a very good remedy. Please see to it that you buy the ACV with “mother” and not refined one. Also rinse our mouth thoroughly after you consume as ACV can corrode your teeth enamel. You can use straw.
This remedy can also be taken as a maintain dose along with other remedies mentioned above. On empty stomach and at bedtime take 10 ml ACV with 5ml organic unpasteruised honey and 200 ml water. This is very good to dissolve cyst along with other remedies of Ashwagandha or Deodara as mentioned.

Black Strap Molasses [BSM] unsulphered

BSM is another good remedy I have found do dissolve cyst in certain cases. One can combine BSM with ACV by replacing it with honey as mentioned above or one can use BSM. 5 ml with 250 ml of milk 2 times a day. This along with diet mentioned and other herbs is helpful. However do get an USG (sonography, ultrasound) done periodically to check the progress.

(I will be discussing more simple remedies to tackle thus problems in my other article related to “MENSTRUAL DISORDERS”)

DIET AND LIFESTYLE

  1. Food timings must be fixed.
  2. Salt restriction is another major aspect. Prepare food without salt. Add salt while eating in minimal quantities. Use of natural salt like Saindhav (Himalayan Crystal Salt) gives more benefit
  3. Avoid sleeping after lunch or during daytime. Preferably have you evening meals before sunset or when there is ample sunlight. Avoid eating heavy food after dark. One can have fresh fruits though. Always drink warm water intermittently while having food. This simple practice will help loose weight very quickly.
  4. Strictly avoid Bakery products, chilies, pickle, yoghurt and vegetable belonging to th Solanaceae family [Brinjals, Broccoli]. These products instantly cause swelling in the reproductive system. With regards to diary products keep it to bare minimum, use cow,s milk only diluted with water and medicated with cardamom to cut down risk.
  5. Castor oil massage which I recommend to be done regularly. Warm castor by placing bottle in warm water. Massage in circular motion over the ovaries every night. Plus soak a swab in the oil and place it in navel before sleeping. This is very effective. In case of women who have big cyst on a particular ovary can apply castor oil packs. Castor oil packs are different from massage. One can search on the net how to prepare them, hre are plenty of self help videos.
  6. Dinner should comprise of light foods , lots of carrot and parsley. Salt again must be restricted if not using Himalayan Crystal salt
  7. Salt and Sugar plays a major role and the minimal usage the better. In my clinical practice I recommend the patient to go on a complete salt restriction for at least 10 days on commencement of treatment and then reintroduce.
  8. Avoid all forms of refined sugar. Even fruit juices which contain fructose. Have fruits like Papaya, Musk melon etc low on fructose. Reduce your insulin spikes. Do not eat after sunset. If you find cravings for sugar cut coconut rind [entire one with oil in it] and eat. It is highly beneficial
  9. Stay away from Copper. Do not use any vessels of Copper
  10. Check your fasting Insulin levels and do Iron studies. Your ferritin levels must be ideally between 40-70 [normal range 15-150] and S.iron must be above 80. If not your mineral imbalance may cause problems. Through Ayurveda Bhasma this is effectively corrected in very short time but supervision is required. Do not self medicate.

The lifestyle modifications are identical to ones I describe in my other articles regarding Thyroid , Breast cancer and Endometriosis the reason being all these disorders have common metabolic anomalies and one must research in the diet to get good control of Estrogen. as these all disorders mostly happen due to Estrogen malfunctions.

For prolonged health care it would be recommended to visit an Ayurveda physician and get a customized health plan evaluated. I am also listing certain generic Ayurveda preparations that may be prescribed for the said disorder

  • Ashwagandhaarishta, Ashokasrishta, Kumariasav, Chandraprabhavati, Pushyanug churna, Phalghrita, Raupya Bhasma, Vang Bhasma, Abrakh Bhasma, etc. may be advised by your Ayurveda doctor.These Medicines, their contents and Preparation methods can be checked at the NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AYURVEDA MEDICINE websitehttp://nlam.in/
  • Panchakarma techiniques like Basti, Uttar Basti, Vaman, VBirechan, Nasya are also undertaken
  • Certain Yogic exercises like Simhasan, Vajrasan, Shalabhasan, Sarvangasan are also helpful and may be coupled with the above medicines.

MENSTRUAL SPOT TEST

As a part of my Ayurveda regime, I always recommend each women to do this self test at home to check the menstrual health. During menses on all three days take a small amount of menstrual blood on a clean white cloth and allow to dry. After few minutes wash it with warm water. The blood should wash away without leaving behind any stain in normal hormonal profile. If stains are left than it indicates disrupted or about to be disrupted cycle.

Apart from above remedies, Ayurveda mentions certain protocols to be followed during menses.

  • Salt free diet for first 3 days
  • Abstain from any physical work
  • No bathing or only sponge clean the body with water medicated with Neem [Azadhiracta India], Nirgudi [Vitex app] or Mint [Mentha sp.] leaves
  • Light food preferably comprising of watery gruel’s
  • On the 4th day have complete head bath and start with normal food

If these protocol is followed especially for women with Hormonal disorders it can rest assure a healthy life ahead. Understand all remedies mentioned , select ones which re easy to follow for you over period of time, create a protocol with diet and follow it religiously to see improvement.

A sample protocol would be

Before sunrise : ACV / BSM/ Sesame decoction
Breakfast 8am : fruits and carrot juice
10 am : Ashwagandha/ deodar remedy
12 pm: lunch with minimal salt
4 pm : Ashwagandha / deodar
6 pm : dinner (bfr sunset)
8pm : rice water
10 pm : ACV/BSM/Sesame

During menses continue above but leave salt and take the menses decoction as additional.

This is just a sample and will help if followed meticulously. For those trying to conceive have maximum intercourse to simulate ovarian function. More than everything keep faith and patience, do not rush and keep changing physician. Ovarian build up and conception take time and must be gradually proceeded with. Of course each person requires individual treatment and some extra medicine which can only be availed by visiting a good Ayurveda physician , hence do so of conditions improve. Also discontinue or consult your physician if conditions do not improve.

Leukorrhea [White Discharge], An Ayurveda Approach

Leukorrhea (Leucorrhoea) or white discharge is a common complaint amongst women. Modern system of medicine has no effective remedy for the said problem,. Most of the time a prophylactic Anti-Bacterial or Anti-Fungal treatment is initiated which reduces the problem but does not prevent recurrence. Much emphasis is given on hygiene conditions [true to some point] in terms of lifestyle and sex.  It is important to know that Leukorrhea must not be confused with the vaginal mucous which is normal. It acts as a disinfectant and also provides lubrication to the soft genital tissue during an sexual intercourse. The discharge often increases before menstruation and just before an orgasm.  The Leukorrhea discharge generally has a free flow sometimes ranging from milk like constitution to being semi-transparent causing intense itching and burning, often leaving a stain on clothes.  In my clinical practice , I have observed that most women who complain of back pain, loss of appetite, mood swings, recurrent urinary tract infections, joint pains often report a history of chronic Leucorrohea.

AYURVEDA APPROACH

Ayurveda considers Leukorrhea to be a metabolic disorders arising due to malfunctioning of basic units of life known as Dhatus. Lifestyle modalities in terms of actions and diet which alter the secretions in the body are the prime causative factors. To cite an example women who undergo weight reduction programs in terms of crash dieting and extensive physical exercise cause sudden depletion of muscle tissue resulting in an enzymatic and hormonal misbalance. I have observed this cause in many women in my clinical practice. Apparently in obese women too there occurs high incidence of excessive white discharge due to malfunctioning of the Lipid metabolism which causes loss of bone mass. Women who have history of long term illness or have suffered from diseases like Typhoid, Malaria etc also tend to develop white discharge in the long run due to glandular weakness.  Women suffering from white discharge have attribute symptoms of Hyperacidity, Arthralgia [bone pain], Hair loss, Premature greying, Mood swings, Painful or scanty menstrual cycles. Habitual abortions and miscarriages are also frequently seen.I would like to point out that the above mentioned causes relate to women who have long standing Leucorrohea in-spite of maintaining hygiene and taking treatment. There is another class of patients where Leucorrohea primarily occurs and sustains due to lack of Hygiene. The discharge in such cases is predominantly characterized by foul smell and purulent appearance. The cases respond well to the modern line of Anti-biotic/fungal treatment. However due to recurrent infection the disorder develops drug resistance

AYURVEDA REMEDIES

INTERNAL MEDICINE

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, preferably white colored [Jaswand] roots 10 gm. Wash the roots thoroughly with water. Crush the roots in plain water or rice water [Kanji, soak rice in warm water overnight. Next morning just collect the water without disturbing the mixture]. Strain the mixture through a fine muslin cloth. Consume empty stomach by adding 1tsp of cumin seed [Jeera] powder and small amount of crystal sugar [Mishri]. repeat in the evening If Hibiscus roots are not available, petals must be collected [at-least from 5 flowers]. Crush the petals and slightly roast them in cow’s ghee [Clarified butter from cow]. Add crystal sugar to taste and some amount to cow’s milk to prepare a linctus [ Halwa ]. Consume this early morning empty stomach. Repeat in the evening.

Arjun bark [Terminalia arjuna] 10 gm, Shatavari roots [Asparagus racemosus var. javanica / Asparagus sarmentosus] 4 gm. Crush and boil the herbs in 1part milk and 4 parts water till milk remains. Do the procedure preferably in an iron vessel. Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and consume empty stomach.

Procure fresh bark of Kadu Neem tree [Azadhiracta indica]. Here we have to take the inner white bark and discard the outer rough brown one. 100 gm would do just fine. Cut the bark into small pieces and transfer in a glass vessel large enough to hold around 1.5lt. of water. Add 1.25 liters of boiling water to the bark. Cover the mouth of the vessel with a muslin cloth so as to avoid contamination by insects. Keep this vessel overnight exposed to moonlight. This procedure for best results must be done on a full moon night. Early morning as close to sunrise as possible, procure the vessel, filter the liquid and store in a glass bottle. Consume 50 ml of the mixture early morning and evening empty stomach Small amounts of crystal sugar can be added for taste. This remedy is very effective.

Manjistha [Rubia cordifolia] powder 20 gm, Chopchini [Smilax china] powder 20 gm, Kankol [Piper cubeba[ powder 20 gm, high quality Vanshlochan [Bamboo manna] 10 gm, Rasanjan [rasaut, Berberis aristata extract] 5 gm. Mix the above powders and store in a clean glass vessel. Consume 2 gm of the mixture with a cup of warm milk 2 times a day empty stomach. This remedy can be combined with the above remedies. In patients who suffer from weakness and back pain the remedy can be complemented with addition of 2 tablets of Chandraprabha Vati [with Shilajit] two times a day. For normal cause take the tablets maximum for 3 months with an intermittent break of 15 days. The medicine gives results very quickly and if continued after the disorder has been cured prevents relapse

Note

The herbs mentioned in the article are readily available at herbal shops and the most common names are provided. Apart from these there are medicines like Chandraprabha vati, Pradarantak Loh, etc which must eb used only with supervision as they contain metals

EXTERNAL APPLICATION

Triphala 30gm [three myrolbans, Avala (Phyllanthus emblica), Harad (Terminalia chebula), Beheda (Terminalia bellerica)], Kaduneem Bark [Azadhiracta indica] 20 gm , Udumbar bark (Ficus racemosa) 20 gm, Pipal bark (Ficus religiosa) 20 gm. Boil these herbs in 2liters of water and reduce to 1 liter. Store in a glass bottle. Add 10 gm of Tankankhar (Borax) and shake well. Use this liquid to wash the vaginal area 3 times a day. This will reduce discharge and more prominently reduce itching, irritation and burning sensation

Boil Neem leaves 100gms in 500ml water till it turns green. Filter this and add alum 10gms to it. Use this solution to wash the vaginal area. One can also soak a cotton and keep it in the vagina as pessary morning and evening. This will control itching and discharge

Castor oil swab application helps a lot in strengthening the vaginal mucosa. Take warm castor oil [always keep the castor oil bottle in warm water. Never heat the oil directly over the flame. Procure this oil if possible in a raw state, Do not use refined castor oil that we get at chemist] in a vessel and dip two cotton swabs in it. Insert one swab in the vagina and the second one in the navel before bedtime. Regular use helps reduce Leucorrohea. In addition the procedure is also helpful for women who are unable to conceive due to blocked fallopian tubes or suffer from habitual abortions and miscarriage.

As per above guidelines patient can use traditional Ayurveda preparations like Panchvalkal Ghruta, Panchtikta Ghruta etc in place of castor oil.

MENSTRUAL SPOT TEST

As a part of my Ayurveda regime, I always recommend each women to do this self test at home to check the menstrual health. During menses on all three days take a small amount of menstrual blood on a clean white cloth and allow to dry. After few minutes wash it with warm water. The blood should wash away without leaving behind any stain in normal hormonal profile. If stains are left than it indicates disrupted or about to be disrupted cycle.

Apart from above remedies, Ayurveda mentions certain protocols to be followed during menses.

  • Salt free diet for first 3 days
  • Abstain from any physical work
  • No bathing or only sponge clean the body with water medicated with Neem [Azadhiracta India], Nirgudi [Vitex app] or Mint [Mentha sp.] leaves
  • Light food preferably comprising of watery gruel’s
  • On the 4th day have complete head bath and start with normal food

If these protocol is followed  it can rest assure a healthy life ahead. Understand all remedies mentioned , select ones which are easy to follow for you over period of time, create a protocol with diet and follow it religiously to see improvement.

 

DIET

Since Leukorrhea is considered as a metabolic disorder, diet plays an important role. It is highly advisable to restrict salt intake as much as possible. In my clinical practise I convince the patient to observe complete abstinence from salt for a period of 7 days during the course of medication to get immediate results. As a rule I always suggest to all of my women patients to leave salt intake for 3 days of the menstrual cycle to have a healthy hormonal life

Fruits like papaya, pomegranate-juice are highly effective in treatment of Leukorrhea. However this fruits must be consumed in their natural form without addition of salt or sugar exception being Pomegranate where sugar can be added for taste [no salt, drink pomegranate juice , do not consume ]. Apart from this apples, musk melons are highly beneficial

As a a rule stay away from bakery products, green chillies, curds. pickles, mustard, peas, beans, peanuts and importantly sea food for quick results without relapse. Eggs can be consumed. Stimulants like tea and coffee must be restricted.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Try and follow constant food times with respect to breakfast lunch dinner. Avoid sleeping after lunch. Also practice safe sex with proper hygiene.

The article gives an overview of Leukorrhea and has been posted for educational purpose. The medications and remedies mentioned are subjective and have been proven effective in large number of patients as per my clinical experiences. They are devoid of any known ill effects. However in case of any unseen effects like vomiting or skin rash discontinue the medicines . Leave salt for 1 -2 days and drink plenty of water, Pomegranate juice. Diet patterns mentioned are of utmost important and the medications may be useless without a strict regimen.  Ayurveda solutions are individualistic and hence I would recommend the readers to consult a good Ayurveda physician for complete treatment if this small article helps improve your condition

To know more about Ayurveda formulations, herbs and other literature readers can access the first online digital library of Ayurveda, the National Library of Ayurveda Medicine at  www.nlam.in

Breast Cancer, An Ayurveda Approach

WHAT IS BREAST CANCER ?

 Breast cancer in simple terms can be explained as abnormal growth of breast cells due to rapid rate of division than the healthy cells. Breast apparatus in women consist of milk ducts located on the inner inning of breast tissue and lobules which supply milk to these ducts. The ones occurring at the ducts are known as Ductal cancers [most common] while those at lobules known as lobular cancers.

 WHY DOES IT OCCUR ?

 Our body sustains itself by continuously growing new cells and expending old ones. Cancers occurs in cells when their life-process undergoes mutations or in simple words untoward changes which disrupt their ability to grow, reproduce or die. Normal cells divide and replicate as many times as needed and stop.

 Every cell contains a DNA [we can compare this to cells Prakruti or dosha constitution] which is copied into the new cell but with mistakes. The higher the organism [more complex the life form], more the mistakes.

 There are error-correcting proteins which prevent these mistakes and render an exact copy. When mutations occur in these error-correcting proteins they cause cancers which may cause enhanced multiplication [Vata and Pitta Dosha aggravation]. These mutations can be enzymes or specific markers like p53, BRCA1, BRCA2 in case of Breast cancers and likewise others in other forms of cancers. Mutations can be inherited or acquired after birth depending on various factors which we may discuss ahead.

 Cancerous cells do not die but go on replicating as opposed to normal cells which die [apoptosis or programmed cell death, in simple terms cells commit suicide] after their purpose is served. To ensure that the cell completes its life span there are protective pathways [this can be co-related to Kapha dosha] like P13K/AKT or RAS/MEK/ERK pathway. Mutations may also occur along this pathways [like the PTEN protein which turns the pathway "off" for each cell may be mutated] which may prevent this pathways from turning off when the cell is required to die.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED ?

Breast examination can be done by self or by a trained medical practitioner.

Mammogram, which uses a series of X-rays to show images of your breast tissue, is currently the best imaging technique for detecting tumors.

Ultrasound

Biopsy where a small amount of the lump material or fluid is excised with the help of a needle and examined under the microscope. The type of biopsy depends upon the conformity of diagnosis. Procedures include

  • FNAC[Fine-needle aspiration and cytology], which is the most common form where a thin, hollow needle is used to withdraw cells from the lump and is sent to the lab for analysis.
  • Core needle biopsy is a another procedure where a hollow needle is used to collect tissue samples from the breast. As many as 15 samples may be taken.
  • Stereotactic biopsy and Wire localization biopsy are similar to above procedures but assisted with Mammograms
  • Surgical biopsy which is the most accurate method for confirming cancer. The surgeon removes a part [incisional biopsy] or whole[excisional biopsy] of the breast lump depending on the size [if the lump is large only a part is removed]and sent to the lab for check up.
  • Estrogen and progesterone receptor tests is done if the biopsy confirms the cancer. The patient is evaluated on the basis of these hormones and if the influence the growth. This test also helps determine the treatment protocol.

 WHAT IS METASTASIS ?

Metastasis is a process when the cancer cells spread through the blood stream and get localized at other organs and cause secondary tumors. Common sites include bone, liver, lung and brain. The manifestation can be known by bone or joint pain, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, neurological symptoms etc. Cancers are graded from stage 0 to stage 4 depending upon its spread, Stage 0 is localized but as metastasis sets in the stage increases.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS AVAILABLE ?

Breast cancers that are influenced by hormones estrogen and progesterone [if the cancer cells have these hormone receptors] are treated with HRT [Hormone replacement therapy] and radiation .

Surgery is performed where the tumors are devoid of hormone receptors. Surgical procedure can vary from simple Lumpectomy [removal of lump] to partial or complete removal of the breasts [simple mastectomy , partial or segmental mastectomy, modified radical masectomy]. Breast reconstructive surgery is offered for women after radical mastectomy. Surgery is generally followed by chemotherapy and Radiation.

Chemotherapy drugs [cyclophosphamide, doxyrubicin and Taxane] damage the cancerous DNA . These drugs do not have selectivity for cancer cells and equally damage the normal healthy cells too causing immunity problems and opening the patients body to host of other disorders. Drugs are also decided as per mutational proteins [Herceptin for HER2 mutation].

Radiation is also initiated to kill cancer cells which may have escaped chemotherapy. Radiation runs the risk of cardiovascular [heart] damage.

WHAT SIGNS SHOULD I LOOK OUT FOR ?

Lump that feels different from the breast tissue. Also lumps in the armpits are a warning sign. This lumps can be confirmed with mammogram to be cancerous or not. This is the most early and definitive sign

Change in the breast shape or size sometimes associated with pain [mastodynia, though pain is very unreliable sign]. Pain in breast cancer may only occur if the cancer cells invade the lymphatic drainage if the skin causing inflammation. The condition is then called Inflamatory Breast Cancer [IBC]

Skin dimpling [reddish coloration of the areola or nipple, wrinkling] . Sometimes skin could develop a rash, eczema and sometimes mild flaking. This could be signs of associative diseases like Paget’s. It is also important to know that 50% of women diagnosed with Paget’s disease may have a lump in the breast which is non cancerous.

Nipple inversion

Spontaneous single nipple discharge

ARE ALL LUMPS CANCEROUS ?

No all lumps in the breast are not cancerous. However Breast Lump is still the most prominent sign for breast cancers. Breast lumps may also occur due to following reasons.

Fibrocystic changes. This condition can cause your breasts to feel ropy or granular. Fibrocystic changes are extremely common, occurring in at least half of all women.

Cysts. These are fluid-filled sacs that frequently occur in the breasts of women ages 35 to 50.

Fibroadenomas are solid, noncancerous tumors that often occur in women during their reproductive years. A fibroadenoma is a firm, smooth, rubbery lump with a well-defined shape. It will move under your skin when touched and is usually painless.

Infections.

Sometimes a blow to your breast or a bruise also can cause a lump.

Calcium deposits (microcalcifications).

AM I AT RISK ?

Females are no doubt 100 times at the greater danger as compared to males.

It has been seen that females who have crossed 40 years of their age have greater tendencies to develop breast cancer as compared to young females. The disease rarely affects women under 25 years of age.

Lack of child bearing or breast feeding

Late pregnancy [over 35 years].

Caucasian women are more likely to develop breast cancer than are black or Hispanic women.

Higher hormonal levels and irregular lifestyle that may cause Hormonal fluctuations [shiftwork, day time sleeping]

High fat diet, alcohol intake, tobacco use, exposure to radiation

Genetic susceptibility [BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations] and parental history

Over use of contraceptive pills

Hormone replacement therapy. [Exposure to estrogen in particular, though studies about the exact hormone are still in nascent stages]

Obesity

Exposure to certain carcinogens like Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are chemicals found mainly in cigarette smoke and charred red meat.

Unusual sleep patterns especially those women who work late nights. This occurs due to the disrupted secretion of a sleep-regulating Hormone called Melatonin. The hormone secretion is highest between 1am and 3pm and women who do not sleep at this time are supposed to be at higher risk. It is postulated that Melatonin suppression leads to high level of estrogen.

 WHATS THE AYURVEDA PERSPECTIVE ?

Breast cancer is loosely correlated to the reference of “Stana – Arbuda” mentioned in Ayurveda texts. [Stan == Breast, Arbud == hard lump ] by certain scholars. Stan Arbud is categorized as per the Dosha as Vata type, Pitta type, Kapha type, Vata, pitta and kapha type or Tridoshaj.

From a logical point of view as described earlier the different stages that lead to cancer must be evaluated from an Ayurveda point of view and its principles. The Tridosha theory about the origin , transformation and destruction phases of entities and how the go about in an harmonious ways to sustain the universe, cancer can be accepted as the imbalance of these states at different levels.

  • The process of origin greater than the process of destruction can be termed as cancer [uncontrolled growth of cells, Vata type].
  • The process of cells transforming into mutated ones like a bad copy of itself can be termed as cancer [Pitta].
  • The inability of the cells to complete its life span and die or go on without perishing can be termed as cancer [Kapha type].

These all stages can occur individually or mutually [Tridoshaj] and must be evaluated by the Ayurveda physician.

Breast cancers or for that reason any cancers do occur because of the disrupting enzymes and mutations in the body. Certain mutations may be Karmic [genetic dispositions] but most of them are acquired due to our ignorance and lack of knowledge about food and lifestyles. I have strongly mentioned in my previous posts about the importance of menstrual cycle and how the body emphasizes primarily on formation of a fertile egg. [Read posts about PCOS and Menstrual cycles for more information].

Hormones and enzymes of human body are time adaptive. If a person eats regularly at 8 am and 12 am then the body channelizes its digestive resources to be fully functional at these times as per the biological clock. Erratic eating habits disrupt this and cause enzymatic changes.

During menstruation maximum amount of blood pressure is required at the uterus to have good flow. Any physical activity [that includes bathing], over eating etc causes circulation disruptions and hence hormonal imbalance. In ancient times it was recommended in most cultures to be at ease and refrain from any physical work for first 3 days of menstrual cycles for the same reason.

Having sex at the right age releases certain enzymes in your body that promote health. [I would be posting a separate article discussing just that]. In Yogic literature it is mentioned very explicitly that sexual intercourse activates the chakras [on a successful and fulfilling orgasms] which helps promote health. Hence having penetrative sex with knowledge of Tantra is a great preventive measure to hormonal disorders

Creating fertile eggs every month puts lots of strain on the body. If pregnancy is delayed the body slowly refrains from producing them causing hormonal shift. Having late pregnancy or indulging very late in sexual activity causes hormonal shifts.

Diet factors erratic eating habits etc ere known factors

All this reasons cause Dosha imbalance at micro and macro levels causing various disorders and unfortunately breast cancers in some.

WHAT DOES AYURVEDA RECOMMEND ?

Ayurveda recommends three-fold approach to treatment of any disease ; Aaahar [good diet], Vihaar [good lifestyle] and Aushadhi [medicines]. Every thing mentioned in Ayurveda texts is precise and has importance about the way it is written. Aushadhi always precedes Aahar and Vihara and it indicates Ayurveda’s strong recommendation to control any disease through healthy food and lifestyles and depend very less on medicines.

As mentioned in the previous question, the answers lie in taking a corrective approach. Eating at regular times, having tropical fruits for breakfast [ I recommend having Papaya (Carica papaya) as a form of breakfast or dinner for at least 3 times a week]. Fruits should be eaten in entire [no juices except Pomegranate] and without addition of salt or sugar. Unripe fruits must be discarded.

Fruits should not be combined with milk. Also fruits should not be eaten after meals [except banana which should not be consumed empty stomach]. Lunch should comprise of whole grains cooked properly. The use of microwave and other contraptions that cook wood in an unnatural way must be avoided.

One should avoid sleeping after meals. One should try and go to bed before midnight. Research has proven that women who stay awake between 1am and 2am loose out on an hormone Melatonin and increase their risk of cancers. One should try at get up as close to sunrise as possible. One should not eat any sort of heavy foods after sunset.

During menstrual cycles all sorts of physical activity must be avoided. Papaya should be preferred for first 3 days of menses as its the best hormone cleanser. One should wipe her body with water medicated with Mint / Neem [Azidhiracta indica] leaves. Shower should be avoided for first 3 days. On the fourth day as the hormones start changing their concentrations , head bath should be taken followed with a warm light food

Excessive use of salt, spicy food should be avoided which causes circulation imbalance. Bakery products which are puffed up with salts must be used with discretion. Dinner should comprise of light foods , lots of carrot and parsley. Salt again must be restricted if not using Himalayan Crystal salt Salt and Sugar plays a major role and the minimal usage the better. In my clinical practice I recommend the patient to go on a complete salt restriction for at least 10 days on commencement of treatment and then reintroduce. Avoid all forms of refined sugar. Even fruit juices which contain fructose. Have fruits like Papaya, Musk melon etc low on fructose. Reduce your insulin spikes. Do not eat after sunset. If you find cravings for sugar cut coconut rind [entire one with oil in it] and eat. It is highly beneficial Stay away from Copper. Do not use any vessels of Copper. Check your fasting Insulin levels and do Iron studies. Your ferritin levels must be ideally between 40-70 [normal range 15-150] and S.iron must be above 80. If not your mineral imbalance may cause problems. Through Ayurveda Bhasma this is effectively corrected in very short time but supervision is required. Do not self medicate.

The lifestyle modifications are identical to ones I describe in my other articles regarding PCOS , Hypothyroidism and Endometriosis the reason being all these disorders have common metabolic anomalies and one must research in the diet to get good control of Estrogen. as these all disorders mostly happen due to Estrogen malfunctions.

 WHICH AYURVEDA MEDICINES ARE EFFECTIVE ?

 Ayurveda medicines are very helpful in all stages of this disease. Certain stages it can provide complete cure while at certain stages it can drastically help improve quality of life. Many a times as I have noticed in my clinical practice is that patients do approach me after surgery. Once the surgery is performed very less can be salvaged. The reason is that after surgical excision , the surgeon can block only those vessels which are visible to the naked eye, he cannot patch each and every capillary [the most micro form of fluid transfusion] and hence if even one cancer cell escapes into the blood stream it may cause metastasis. Procedures of radiation and chemotherapy are followed after surgery to counter that but most of the patients hardly are left with any strength to complete the recommended cycles as these procedures attack normal healthy cells rendering the patients weak and opening their body to host of immunological disorders.

Ayurveda can help a great deal pre and post surgery but post surgery generally a cure is impossible and one can only strive to improve the quality of life. Once the cancer is detected certain Ayurveda herbs and medicines may help improve condition drastically and prevent surgery and help in complete reversal. These herbs or medicines primarily act to purify blood [in pathological sense strengthen the hormones and enzymes ensuring correct secretion and disposal of waste products]

 1>Pierce an apple with two cloves and simmer it in water just to the point its outer skin turns soft. Remove the cloves and consume the apple. You can have 2 -3 apples like this everyday as a breakfast. This simple method helps clean the lymphatics. The lymphatics are very important as the accumulate dead cells giving rise to cancerous growths

 2>Juice extracted from Black Grapes [Concord Grapes] in a quantity of 60 ml three times day is an excellent purifier in such cases. The grapes must be sweet and ripe. Even one sour grape and the medicine must not be taken.

 3> Garlic in form of blood purifier is excellent in breast cancers. Soak entire garlic covering must be removed, do not peel the garlic into individual petals] [the outer papery in curd [yoghurt] overnight. Next morning wash the garlic and peel it. If the garlic has a reddish protrusion them remove it. Store this petals in a glass bottle. Each day roast 2 petals in cow’s ghee [clarified butter from cow's milk] till golden brown and pop in as pills 10 ins before lunch and dinner. This over a period of time helps immensely in cancers especially breast cancer

4> Manjishta [Rubia cordifolia] 10gm, Guduchi [Tinospora glabra] 10gms, Kutki [Piccorhiza Kurro] 10gms, Shatavari 10gms [Asparagus racemosus var. javanica / Asparagus sarmentosus] and Rasanjan [Extract of Berberis aristata] 5gms. Powder and mix the herbs. Tke 1gm of the mixture with warm cow’s milk 2 times a day empty stomach. These herbs ha e blood purifying and corrective properties. The herbs can also be used in form of a decoction {boiling the mixture in 8cups [600ml] of water and reducing to 1cup]

5>Kanchanaar [Bauhinia sp., bark] 10gms, Mundi [Sphaeranthus indices, fruits] 10gms, Guduchi 10gms [Tinospora glare, stem], Daruharidra 10gms [Berberis aristata, roots], Lodhra [Symplocos racemes, bark] 10gms. The decoction prepared from these herbs is very effective to treat breast cancers. Certain herbs like Nothopodytes nimmonia and Aegle marmelos are sometimes added by me as per the patient. The medication is very safe to use. The decoction must be taken empty stomach.

6>Andrographis paniculata also known as Kalmegh is a very beneficial herb in treatment of Breast cancers. The herb 40gms must be soaked overnight in 100ml of boiling water in a ceramic vessel. Next morning the mixture must be filterd and consumed. This should be done as close to sunrise or just minutes before sunrise. The procedure must again be repeated in the evening at sunset. One should not eat an thing for 4 hours over the medicine. This is very effective

7>I have found the herbs Swerta Chirayta [Kiratitkta], Piccorhiza Kurro [Kutki] , Brahmi [Bacopa monnieri] to be very effective when used in the similar way as above. These medicines are very useful pre and post surgery to counter cancerous growth and also help ins getting rid of the iil effects of chemotherapy and radiations

8> Herbs like Shatavari, Ashwagandha (Convolvulus asgandha), Musli (Chlorophytum sp.), Talmuli (Curculigo orchoides), Vidarikanda (Pureraria tuberosa), Vanshlochan (Bamboo manna), Nilkamal (Nymphae stellata), Arjun (Terminalia cuneata) are effectively used as Tonics. These herbs taken on regular basis even by health women go a long way in preventing cancers.

9> Certain herbs like Alstonia scholars, Nothopodytes nimmonia, Aegle marmelos, Abrus precatorius, Semecarpus anacardium,Aloe vera, Amorphopallus campanulatus, Anacardium occidental, Andrographis paniculata, Bacopa monniera, Berberis aristata, Boswellia serrate, Calotropis cylindric, Curcuma longa, Datura stramonium, Erythrina suberosa, Euphorbia hirta, Ficus religious, Gynandropis pentaphylla, Hygrophila spinosa, Ixora crocinea, Juniperus communes, Luffa cylindric, Melia azedarach, Nerium indicum and Nigella sativa have been used by me and many other healers with great results in all stages of breast cancers. These herbs require supervision of an practitioner

10>The patients also benefits from certain classical Ayurveda preparations like Kanchanaar Guggul, Khadirarishta, Aabha guggull, Amrita Guggul help a lot. Metal preparations like Vang Bhasma, Naag Bhasma, Suvarna Bhasma, Vajra Bhasma, Abrakh Bhasma, Kant Loh Bhasma have been used with great effects.

11>Gemstone preparations from emerald, blue sapphire have given miraculous results in hopeless of cases. However these preparations must be judiciously prepared and used under the guidance of an expert physician.

 Many people fear Ayurveda medicine as of being toxic, having high levels of mercury and heavy metals . If they are prepared properly they do not cause any toxicity and certainly no where close to the toxicity of chemotherapy. Metal preparations or Rasaushadis are like nano medicines and unique weapon of Ayurveda to give quick and effective results. However the patients must follow a strict lifestyle and diet to get beneficial effects. These medicines cannot and must not be taken without prescription and any over the counter Ayurveda medicine that contains any metal preparation must not be used without expert opinion even if it is considered safe. [see NLAM for more information on Bhasma and other metal preparation; http://www.nlam.in

 ARE THERE ANY MEDICINES TO APPLY EXTERNALLY ?

 Yes, herbal application on the breast cancer lump help in a long way.

1>Aloe vera root must be rubbed in water to obtain a paste. The paste is applied over the lump. The area is fomented by applying a compress of warm Jasmine [Jasminum sambac] flowers. This is verry effective treatment

2>Pomegranate juice is mixed with mustard/sesame oil and the mixture is boiled till oil reams. Regular breast massage with this oil helps improve circulation and clean the lymphatics. Many a times i prepare the oil by boiling Pomegranate rind instead of juice. Its very effective.

3>Paste prepared by mixing Terminalia chebula fruit powder [Haritaki], Manjistha, Raktachandan [Pterocarpus santalinus] and grape juice is applied with great results.

4>Herbs like Symplocos racemosa, Semecarpus anacardiuum, Moringa oleifera, Oroxylum indium etc are used by physicians in form of external application. However these herbs require supervision.

HOW ABOUT PANCHAKARMA ?

Panchakarma is a great tool to eliminate toxins from the body. Procedures such as Rakta Mokshana (blood-letting), and Vamana (induced vomiting), though effective [subjective] can lead to serious medical complications. Unsupervised Langhana (Fasting) and Virechana (purging) can speed up degenerative processes in cancer patients. The use of certain medicated ghee for the process Vaman[emesis], Virechana[purgation] is beneficial. Panchagavya Ghrita, Mahatikta Ghrita have been found to purify blood with great effect.Panchakarma requires strict medical supervision. Interestingly Snehana, i.e., intake of various medicated oil preparations in a classical way a week or 10 days prior to the start of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, has been found to reduce the toxic effects of such therapies.

DOES YOGA HELP ?

Yoga definitely helps in all form of cancers. Yogic postures along with Kundalini yogic method [chakra meditation] helps in circulation and proper disposal of waste method. Pranayama [breathing exercises] is a great way to increase the oxygen capacity of the body and help its defense mechanism to be in action. Yogic postures beneficial to breast cancers are

  • Shalbhasana
  • Naukasana
  • Simhasana
  • Dhanurasana

These asanas must be practiced with complete deication to the 8 fold path of yoga. Many people do not follow the first two steps of Yama and Niyama which are very important

I HAVE HEARD ABOUT MARMA TREATMENT. HOW IS IT HELPFUL ?

 Marmas are vital points in the body through which life energy flows. We can associate them to electricity hubs of each settlements which provide power to a group of colonies. These points if damaged can cause permanent disability, disorders and even death. There are 108 marmas and they are classified into different groups depending upon their severity. Pertaining to breast cancers certain Marma points are very important and if massaged properly can help a long way in prevention as well as relief. These points are Karna marma

  • Apalapa marma
  • Hriday marma
  • Adasthamba marma
  • Kukundar Marma.

Activation of this point by massage with herbal oils, Medicated Ghrita [Ghee, clarified butter] in a gentle manner with discrete motion [clockwise / anti clockwise] is highly beneficial. This process must be done under the strict supervision of an expert.

 HOW CAN WE EVALUATE FROM THE POINT OF VEDIC ASTROLOGY AND GEMSTONES ?

All disorders in Ayurveda have been correlated to karmic influences. Hence chanting Mantras with appropriate gestures is very helpful. The selection of Mantras and time to chant depends on the natal chart and its interpretation by the astrologer.

Mantras influence the vibratory functions of cells and help them work in specific synchronization with the brain. Over a period of time it helps to cleanse the body of toxins. I have observed many such effects in my clinical practice. I would mention that these therapies must be followed with strict guidelines of diet and lifestyle. Better to consult an expert.

Gemstone therapy has been very useful in cancers. I have found the blue sapphire to be most useful. Blue sapphire and 1 piece of 8 Mukhi Rudraksha kept in a copper vessel overnight. The water is filtered and consumed empty stomach. This method is very effective in many cancers. However strict diet must be followed. I would not recommend this procedure without medical supervision.

Home Remedies: Nutmeg, Jaiphal

Common Name :
Nutmeg (Seed) / Mace (Nutmeg fruit covering)

Indian Names:
Jaiphal, Jaipatri/ Javitri (Nutmeg aril covering or Mace)

Ayurveda Name : 

Jaatiphal

Scientific Name :
Myristica fragrans

Note:
Myristica fragrans is popularly accepted as the correct source of the classical plant Jatiphal. Myristica dactyloiodes is generally used as an adulterant for Myristica fragrans. Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped. Mace is the dried “lacy” reddish covering or aril of the seed (Nutmeg).It is called Jaipatri. It is common spice in Indian households. The essential oil derived from it is highly aromatic and medicinal.

Diarreha 

Nutmeg is used as an important ingredient by many healers in treatment of Diarrhea (Julaab). Jaiphal is warmed on a hot pan and equal amount of Jaggery is added to it. The mixture is cooked and rolled into 1gm tabs. The tablets are consumed after every 10 mins to progressively stop loose motions.

Skin and complexion

Nutmeg paste is prepared by processing it in limejuice and the paste is applied over the face to improve complexion. A mixture of Lime juice with Nutmeg serves as excellent bleach for face and improves complexion.

Use in acute stages of Paralysis

On the onset of Paralysis as soon as the tongue starts twisting entire Nutmeg fruit must be held in the mouth for 24 hours. This simple remedy helps lots of patients.

Insomnia

Nutmeg fruit paste procured by processing the Jaiphal fruit in ghee, if applied to the forehead induces sound sleep.

Asthma

Mace is an excellent medicine to alleviate attacks of Asthma. Jaipatri powder is administered in a dosage of 1gm with honey 4-5 times a day to solve the purpose. The simple remedy alleviates flatulence and also cures inflammation of Liver and spleen.

Polydipsia (excessive thirst)

Herbal tea or Decoction made from 3gms of Jaipatri leaf is administered with immediate effect.

Immunity promoting in small children and weight gain

Oil procured from Mace (Jaipatri oil) is an excellent medicine to improve strength of small children. Required drops (as per age) of oil are administered with sugar candy as an excellent tonic. It improves appetite and helps gain weight. The simple method is also effective to control infectious fevers in small children.

Hair fall

Jaipatri oil mixed with coconut oil if regularly applied to the scalp prevents hair fall and ensures its excellent growth.

Arthritis and constipation

Jaipatri oil alone is an excellent remedy to reduce Arthritic pains when used externally. External use of the oil is also beneficial to reduce anal swellings as seen with patients having history of constipation and hard stool passage.

Eczema

External application of Jaipatri oil is extremely beneficial to treat dry eczema.

The uses of Nutmeg/ Mace are manifold and I have documented them in my upcoming e-book about spices. These are a few properties mentioned which can be safely used.  Comments and feedbacks appreciated as usual

Home Remedies: Fennel

Ayurveda Name
Mishi (Dhanvantri Nighantu), Mishreya (Chatterjee &Pakrashi).
Indian Name
Saunf, Badishep
English Name
Fennel
Note
Fennel seeds should not be consumed in excessive amounts or prolonged period in form of medicine as it causes disruption of tissues in the body. Ideally Fennel seeds as medicine must be discontinued after 45 days for a perod of 15 days and again started if they must be used as single drug for any medicinal purposes mentioned here or elsewhere.
Digestion
Fennel seeds are popular for their digestive properties. In India it is a common practise amongst the people to consumed fennel after meals. Fennel is very useful in treatment of digestive disorders especially associated with abdominal cramps and passing of mucus via stools . 25 gms of Badishep is crushed in one liter of water and cooked till the mixture is reduced to 50 ml. The decoction is filtered and administered with sugar to get the desired results. Fennel is also used as a popular additive in formulations of Sonamukhi (Senna) used in treatment of constipation. The healers inform that Fennel counteracts the side-effects of Senna which normally consist of abdominal cramps due to excessive passage of stools. Healers further mention that regular consumption of Badishep eases bowel movements and relieves habitual constipation. Fennel seeds must always be used as an additive spice while preparing red meat. Due to its digestive properties it helps soften meat and promotes its digestibility.This over a period of time prevents disorders like high urecemia[Gout] and other similar disorders. It also helps in reducing cholestrol levels in blood of people who eat meat as a major part of their diet.
Fever
Fennel seeds are is used in treatment of obstinate fevers.A decoction made from fennel seeds [5gms]and dried ginger is administered effectively in treatment of the disease. The medication is effective in treatment of fevers due to indigestion. This can be safely given to infants [dose reduced] and young children who often get sick due to indigestion.
Cough
Fennel is effective in treatment of incessant coughing . Powdered Fennel seeds are administered with crystal sugar in treatment of the problem. The medicine is also effective in treatment of vomiting.
Memory
Fennel seeds are excellent medicine to improve intellect. Fennel seeds [2- 3gms] consumed with honey before sleeping at night gives the desired results.
Flatulence
Flatulence especially in infants can cause lots of discomfort. A simple home remedy from Fennel can go a long way in alleviating the disorder. Boil 50gms Fennel seeds in 100ml of water in a closed vessel. Reduce the mixture to 50ml. Filter it and store in a glass bottle. Keep the bottle in sunlight for 3 – 4 days and then transfer the mixture in a dark[amber colored bottle]. In case of flatulence, administer 5ml of this tincture diluted with warm water to the child. In case of infants less than year old the dose can be reduced to 1 ml. This helps relive the discomfort.
The uses of Fennel are manifold and I have documented them in my upcoming e-book about spices. These are a few properties mentioned which can be safely used