Thyroid Function Disorders, Ayurveda Management

WHAT ARE THYROID FUNCTION DISORDERS ?

Thyroid Function Disorder effectively is an Hormonal disorder related to secretion or synthesis or both of the T3 and T4 hormones. These hormones are secreted by the thyroid gland and are responsible for variety of functions in a human body

HOW ARE THYROID FUNCTION DISORDERS MAPPED ?

Effectively thyroid disorders are mapped in two categories functionally as

  1. Hyperthyroidism where there is excess production of Thyroid hormones
  2. Hypothyrodism where there is less than normal production of Thyroid hormones

Apart from this there are other categories of Thyroid function  disorders which are nothing but causative factors for the above two disorders and are mapped individually for effective treatment . These disorders can arise due to

Nodular abnormalities – Goitre (Swelling of Thyroid gland)

  • Endemic goitre
  • Diffuse goitre
  • Multinodular goitre
  • Lingual thyroid
  • Thyroglossal duct cyst

Benign Tumors

  • Thyroid adenoma

Deficiences or Excess

  • Iodine
  • Selenium

Autoimmune Disorders

  • Grave’s
  • Hashimoto

Functional disorders

  • Resistance to Thyroid hormone
  • Pituitary Malfunction

Congenital

  • Congenital Hypothyroidism
  • Congenital absence of Thyroid Gland

CAN YOU EXPLAIN IN AN EASY LANGUAGE ?

To understand Thyroid function disorders one must know the basic pathology of thyroid gland. The major thyroid hormone secreted by the thyroid gland is thyroxine, also called T4 because it contains four iodine atoms. To exert its effects, T4 is converted to triiodothyronine (T3) by the removal of an iodine atom. This occurs mainly in the liver and in certain tissues where T3 acts, such as in the brain. The amount of T4 produced by the thyroid gland is controlled by another hormone,which is made in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain, called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The amount of TSH that the pituitary sends into the blood stream depends on the amount of T4 that the pituitary sees. If the pituitary sees very little T4, then it produces more TSH to tell the thyroid gland to produce more T4. Once the T4 in the blood stream goes above a certain level, the pituitary’s production of TSH is shut off.

HOW ARE THYROID FUNCTION DISORDERS DIAGNOSED ?

Thyroid function disorders are so closely related to certain symptoms , most prominent being weight; that in todays world, it would be improbable for an urban woman to have not been tested for thyroid functions. One can always search on the net for the list of symptoms that indicate a malfunctioning thyroid gland. I will put forth some definitive symptoms in women which indicate a Thyroid function compromise

  • Sudden weight gain or loss.
  • Similarly inability to bear temperature variations
  • Mood swings
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Food cravings
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Muscle and tendon pain
  • Irritability
  • Shunted Growth

The listed symptoms with its manifestations on extreme sides would warrant a blood work and may determine whether one has an over or underperforming gland. There are certain secondary disorders in women which may arise due to Thyroid gland malfunction or conversely cause the malfunction.

  • Polycystic Ovarian syndrome
  • Infertility

WHAT ABOUT AUTOIMMUNE THYROIDITIS ?

In many parts of the world, Thyroid disorders are handled differently by medical practitioners. The most commonly missed point is the antibody involvement. The immune system of the body normally protects us from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses by destroying these invaders with substances called antibodies produced by blood cells known as lymphocytes. In many patients with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, lymphocytes make antibodies against their thyroid that either stimulate or damage the gland. Though from modern medicine point of view presence of antibodies may not have significant alteration in the treatment modalities, it is very important to know the significance as it may help very much on holistic basis to tackle the problem. Having antibodies for Thyroid gland in brief indicates that your gland may be in danger even though it itself may not have any malfunction or be perfectly normal. Thyroid specific antibodies when secreted in the blood either destroy the thyroid gland cells or destroy the receptor cells on which the TSH hormone attaches contributing to malfunction. When this antibodies are at rest the gland functions perfectly normal. In such patients seasonal variations, infections or anything similar that provokes an immune response from the body activates these antibodies and attacks the gland. Such patients may  many times find their blood work on extremes shunting from Hyper to Hypothyroid. Hence its very important to periodically check the Thyroid hormones to have proper dosages. There is view amongst certain endocrinologist to start Thyroid medication if high levels of antibodies are detected even if the Thyroid Function tests are normal to prevent long term damage.

WHAT BLOOD AND OTHER TESTS ARE DONE TO DIAGNOSE THYROID FUNCTION DISORDERS ?

TSH

A high TSH level indicates that the thyroid gland is failing because of a problem that is directly affecting the thyroid (primary hypothyroidism). The opposite situation, in which the TSH level is low, usually indicates that the person has an overactive thyroid that is producing too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). Occasionally, a low TSH may result from an abnormality in the pituitary gland, which prevents it from making enough TSH to stimulate the thyroid (secondary hypothyroidism). In most healthy individuals, a normal TSH value means that the thyroid is functioning normally.

T4

T4 circulates in the blood in two forms:

  • T4 bound to proteins that prevent the T4 from entering the various tissues that need thyroid hormone
  • Free T4, which does enter the various target tissues to exert its effects.

The free T4 fraction is the most important to determine how the thyroid is functioning, and tests to measure this are called the Free T4 (FT4) and the Free T4 Index (FT4I or FTI). Individuals who have hyperthyroidism will have an elevated FT4 or FTI, whereas patients with hypothyroidism will have a low level of FT4 or FTI.

Combining the TSH test with the FT4 or FTI accurately determines how the thyroid gland is functioning. The finding of an elevated TSH and low FT4 or FTI indicates primary hypothyroidism due to disease in the thyroid gland. A low TSH and low FT4 or FTI indicates hypothyroidism due to a problem involving the pituitary gland. A low TSH with an elevated FT4 or FTI is found in individuals who have hyperthyroidism.

T3

T3 tests are often useful to diagnosis hyperthyroidism or to determine the severity of the hyperthyroidism. Patients who are hyperthyroid will have an elevated T3 level. In some individuals with a low TSH, only the T3 is elevated and the FT4 or FTI is normal. T3 testing rarely is helpful in the hypothyroid patient,since it is the last test to become abnormal. Patients can be severely hypothyroid with a high TSH and low FT4 or FTI, but have a normal T3. T3 like T4 is also measured in its two forms

  • Total T3
  • Free T3

THYROID ANTIBODIES TEST

Anti- TPO [Antibody to Thyroid Peroxidase] & Anti-TG    [Antibody to Thyroglobulin]

Positive Anti-TPO and/or Anti-TG in a patient with hypothyroidism make a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If the antibodies are positive in a hyperthyroid patient, the most likely diagnosis is autoimmune thyroid disease  [Grave’s Disorder]

TrAb/ TSI

These antibodies are tested on basis of their activation and blocking mechanism and are confined to the nature of autoimmune thyroditis the patient acquires

  • Activating TrAb antibodies bind to the TSH receptor causing overproduction of Thyroid hormones leading to hyperthyroidism. They are supposedly associated with  a complication of Grave’s disease known as Grave’s opthalmopathy
  • Blocking TrAb antibodies as name suggest block the activity of TSH causing Hypothyrodism. This antibodies many times cause fluctuation in long term treatment. These bodies can become predominant in patients who are being treated for Grave’s hyperthyroidism

TBG

The protein , thyroxine binding globulin (TBG) is caries the Thyroid hormones through circulation by binding to them. Though not a very reliable and popular test, the measurement of this protein can be sometimes ordered to evaluate synthesis of thyroid hormones especially in Hypothyroidism. It can also be used to understand the effectiveness of treatment.

NON-BLOOD TESTS

Radioactive iodine uptake

Because T4 contains much iodine, the thyroid gland must pull a large amount of iodine out from the blood stream in order for the gland to make an appropriate amount of T4. The thyroid has developed a very active mechanism for doing this. Therefore, this activity can be measured by having an individual swallow a small amount of iodine, which is radioactive. The radioactivity allows the doctor to track where the iodine molecules go. By measuring the amount of radioactivity that is taken up by the thyroid gland (radioactive iodine uptake, RAIU), doctors may determine whether the gland is functioning normally.

A very high RAIU is seen in individuals whose thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism), while a low RAIU is seen when the thyroid gland is under active (hypothyroidism).

In addition to the radioactive iodine uptake, a thyroid scan may be obtained, which shows a picture of the thyroid gland abnormalities

HOW ARE THYROID FUNCTION DISORDERS TREATED IN MODERN MEDICINE ?

Thyroid disorders are treated as per the condition one acquires. Without going much into detail i will enlist the protocols for each

HYPOTHYROID

The aim here is to supplement the deficient hormone that the gland is unable to produce.

T4 only

This treatment involves supplementation of levothyroxine alone, in a synthetic form. It is currently the standard treatment in mainstream medicine.

T4 and T3 in combination

This treatment protocol involves administering both synthetic L-T4 and L-T3 simultaneously in combination.

Desiccated thyroid extract

Desiccated thyroid extract is an animal-based thyroid extract, most commonly from a porcine source. It is also a combination therapy, containing natural forms of L-T4 and L-T3, as well as L-T1 and L-T2, which are not present in synthetic hormone medication.

HYPERTHYROID

The aim here is to suppress the production of Thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormone production can be suppressed or halted completely in these ways:

Radioactive iodide treatment : Administration of  tablet or liquid containing radioactive iodide in amounts large enough to damage the cells of the thyroid gland and limit or destroy their ability to produce hormones.

Anti-thyroid medication

Surgery is sometimes recommended for people under age 45 when their hyperthyroidism is due to toxic nodules, because these nodules tend to be resistant to anti-thyroid medications.

CONGENITAL THYROID ABSENCE AND CRETINISM

Certain people are born without a Thyroid gland. In case of congenital absence of Thyroid gland, management on lines of Hypothyroid is done along with other supplements to account for the absent hormones. In many infants there is a congenital deficiency of Thyroid hormones which is left untreated and may lead to stunted growth and mental retardation. This condition is known as Cretinism and is treated on similar lines with additional supplements and medicines for growth enhancements. A separate article would cover these disorders.

These is just a general overview of the treatments available. The best approach is decided by the endocrinologist. Since this article deals with Ayurveda management, I would avoid explaining in detail on allopathy lines of management.

DO THYROID FUNCTION DISORDERS AFFECT MALES ?

Yes, they very much do, though the ratio compared to women is very less. In males these disorders are seen due to Auto Immunity. However since this blog deals with women disorders, I would be restricting the treatments and descriptions in view of women. The remedies mentioned here will also show good effect for males, but they are requested to consult an expert for long term management

HOW DOES AYURVEDA APPROACH THYROID MALFUNCTIONS ?

Ayurveda does not have direct references to these disorders as described by modern science. Ayurveda focusses on maintaining the health and equilibrium of the body, and the  evaluation of Thyroid disorders can be done through various disorders and symptoms mentioned in the treatises. One must understand that Thyroid disorders, especially Hypothyroidism is a lifestyle disorder more prevalent in current ages of sedentary lifestyle. Hyperthyroidism  as a disorder through its symptoms finds indirect references  but clear mention in Ayurveda treatise though a disorder named “Bhasmak”.

The whole idea of explaining both the disorders under one article is to give a single approach towards the well being of human body. Metabolic disorders in brief can be understood in simple terms of failure of demand and supply. This pertains to each individual and hence Ayurveda gives individualized solution for betterment and a healthy life. For example a women working in the fields and a women who is a housewife are both detected with Hypothyrodism. The lab reports indicate same values. Most of the times the doctors may prescribe similar potency of hormone , but on individual terms if we understand the synthesis of hormones would be different as per the work and lifestyle each individual women has. It is important here is to understand the genesis and working of these hormones on minute levels with respect to each ones social and physical commitments.

To describe in brief,Thyroid disorders in women depict metabolic dysfunctions which affect the reproductive, mental and physical states of the body. These disorders arise due to abnormal secretion of hormones maybe due to structural or functional disorders. Only supplementing the hormones or blocking them may give pathological excellence but may not effect the synthesis. For a good healthy life these hormones must be effectively synthesized by the body which is the prime reason why symptoms occur. Ayurveda through its individual holistic approach has a corrective function on these micro metabolic apparatus and over a period of time creates a healthy environment for the effective production and synthesis of the hormones.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE SOME EFFECTIVE REMEDIES ?

The approach towards Thyroid disorders being simple the treatment modalities differ as per the presentation. I won’t go into detail of giving medicines for disorders and one must not even take them to be complete treatment. My aim here is to inform the patient about how one must go about in starting natural treatments and slowly incorporating them for long term gain.

HYPOTHYROIDISM

My first and foremost advice would be to anyone who is trying to evaluate natural remedies for Hypothyrodism is NOT TO STOP the Thyroxine hormone one is taking. Remember there should not be any confusion as to what one is trying to achieve. It will be apparent from my above description that the main aim here is synthesis of the hormone and not supply. Since the hormone is not synthesized its dosage goes on increasing with time. It is quite common in many to have started  with 25mcg and reached to almost 100mcg to 200mcg 2-3 times a day. One must not be obsessed with TSH values but rather focus on the symptoms and understand the pathology.

Thyroid medication must always be calculated as per month. So if you are taking 50mcg a day that effectively you are taking 1500mcg a month. When Ayurveda medicines start showing their effect , with constant monitoring the dose of Thyroxine must be reduced on basis of cumulative dosage per month. TSH values must be done every 45 days to monitor the progress. One must understand that the a value of TSH between 1-2.5 is optimum for  women who are NOT ON thyroid medication. This is not a rule but one of observations I have seen in treating umpteen patients. If your diet and supplements are working than with thyroxine treatment the TSH must fall below 0.35 and if it does consistently than you can say your treatment is working and slow reduction of dosage is optimum. One must also understand that Thyroid functionality changes every season especially in women as it has to adjust to temperature variations keeping the environment of ovarian reserves constant. Prominently the gland variations can be seen in summer and winter season where TSH and T3 T4 values alter naturally. Hence once must always be aware of this fact when undertaking natural treatments and subsequent dose reductions

Another important point here is to know about Autoimmunity. If your antibodies are high many times after initial treatments the TSH may fall drastically and one may be in a false impression of getting cured and reduce the dose  in high proportions which may trigger the body to increase TSH voraciously. When one has antibodies, one must try and know the SWEET spot on which the thyroxine dose could be maintained. Whether such patients can become hormone therapy free only time would tell, but in my practice even if the patients go into so called remission I always tell them to maintain the minimal dose of hormone for safety. The Antibodies must be checked 1-2 times a year and such patients must take care at change of each season.

In many countries like India, NDT [Natural Dessicated Thyroid] is not available. Also many doctors do not supplement T3 with T4 or only dose T4. This in long run has many chemical implications on the body. Hence one must always research on the exact dosing of hormones when it comes to AIT. Though this requires a complete separate chapter and is out of scope of this article, it never hurts to research if things are not working out.

Now understanding above points one must approach the disorder by modifying lifestyle.

  • Getting up close to sunrise
  • Sleeping by 9.30pm
  • Not eating after sunset
  • Not sleeping through the day
  • Eating at fixed times
  • Eating fixed ingredients for major part of the year
  • Not eating salt during menses
  • 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 , 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. Following the above trains the body to secrete specific enzymes at specific times creating a level of stability amongst hormones giving good control. The above procedure itself would alleviate many symptoms such as weight gain, irregular menses etc. Along with this following herbal preparations will help

  • Vidang [Embelia ribes] 6gms, Kanchan bark [Bauhinia sp] 10gms, Arjun [Terminalia arjuna] 5gms, Manjishta [Rubia cordifolia ] 2gms. Soak these herbs in 300ml of water. Boiland reduce to 50ml. Filter and drink 2 times a day.
  • Gorakhmundi [Sphaeranthus indicus] 100gms. Boil the herbs in 1ltre of water, reduce to 500ml and store in glass bottle. Drink 50ml of 75ml of the mixture 2 times a day. Make fresh when medicine gets over

The above medicines along with proper diet and lifestyle will help control thyroid malfunction. Do continue this for 3 months and see the results. If you do find positive result PLEASE CONSULT  a good Ayurveda physician for long term benefit. Do not self medicate

Diet

Avoid sea food, brinjals, cauliflower, curd, peas, peanuts, chana, barbara, choley, green chillies, rice, tea and coffee completely. Do not drink milk after sunset. Only have cows milk.  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.

Apart from above certain preparations like Vidangarishta, Kanchnaar guggul, Lodhrasava, Gandmalakandan Ras etc benefit a lot but they must be used under supervision. Many people procure information from testimonials, internet and start self medication which may cause more harm than good. Again I repeat, Thyroid disorders are not about getting the TSH right but about effective synthesis and production of the hormone which can only be achieved by long term management and approach

A WORD ABOUT IODINE

Many patients seem to be bent on consuming iodized salt for Hypothyroidism. Do not be obsessed with iodine. Remember if one require iodine it is abundant in certain foods and one can use that source. Salt as such must be avoided as it  disrupts metabolic systems and must be used with care.However if you are using Himalayan Crystal salt it contains all minerals including Manganeses so always prefer it rather than synthetic Iodized salts.  Iodine deficinecy is found in certain parts of the world due to topographic reasons leading to Goitre, due to overstimulation of thyroid gland as a result of less production of the hormones. In such cases Iodine supplements as main lines of treatment may be valid, though role of iodine as the only reason to thyroid suppression is arguable. Iodine monitoring is required in cases of AIT and must be done in conjunction with the FREE fractions of Thyroid hormones as evaluated by testing.

HYPERTHYROIDISM

The approach towards attaining an  metabolic stability also forms the core of Ayurveda management towards Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism on lines of its manifestations  finds similar mention in Ayurveda text described  as Bhasmak. The disorder corresponds to corruption of digestive fire[Agni] at all levels of digestion correlating it to fire which devours anything that comes in it way and does not subside.  In India especially in certain parts of Maharashtra Bhasmya is a term commonly associated with people who have huge appetite but do not put an weight.

Similarly in most people who suffer from Hyperthroidism the main signs are of insatiable appetite without appreciable increase of weight though this may not be the only symptom or may not be persistent across patients.

Hyperthyroidism must be treated under supervision as it is more of a crude disorder than Hypothyroidism whose most affluent causes are sedentary lifestyles apart from autoimmune reasons. Hyperthyrodism has relevant structural and functional anamolies not completely precipitated due to lifestyle afflictions. It is more of a physiological disorder which needs to be carefully treated on individual basis with care and expertise. The disorder quickly proceeds to Goitre where the gland enlarges and surgical intervention is warranted. I would enlist few remedies which patients can use to obtain relief but as indicated its always better to get an expert opinion as soon as possible

The vegetables I have mentioned to avoid during Hypothyroidism will be beneficial in Hyperthyroidism. In case of Auto immunity like Grave’s its better to use them with supervision.

  • Jalkumbhi[Naturtium officinale, Watercress] is a very effective herb. If one can find fresh,  juice in dosage of  30ml 2 times a day is very beneficial. One can  create an infusion by soaking the herb in warm water overnight in a ceramic vessel. Next morning filter , crush and drink. Repeat in evening
  • Use of bananas is very useful in not only alleviating symptoms of Hyperthyroidism but also supporting the hormonal imbalance. I always suggest to use banana as medicine. Mash natural green bananas with cow’ ghee and have for breakfast till stomach is full. This if taken continuously for 15-20 days helps in proper synthesis. However be area that this can cause phlegm disorders in certain people and hence use with supervision. One can sprinkle some cardamom powder to reduce the phlegm activity.
  • Shankhpushpi [C.plauricalus] roots 50gms. boil in 300ml water, reduce to 50ml to obtain a tea. filter and drink empty stomach, morning and evening. This is very effective medicine especially in Goitre.
  • Sitaphal leaves [Anona squamosa] juice 20 ml is very effective medicine. If juice cannot be procured, dried powder in 5gms 2 times a day is very good. This can be combined with herbal tea of Shankhpushpi

Diet

Feasting on  cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli proves very beneficial. Salt restriction helps immensely in Hyperthyroidism. In any thyroid disorders apart from food, the main insistence must be to follow strict sleeping and eating habits to normalize hormones. This if done regularly, I have seen good results in very short span.

Apart from above certain preparations like Ashwagandhaarishta, Dashmularishta, Suvarnamalini Vasant  benefit a lot but they must be used under supervision.

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  and hormonal imbalance. If the treatment is working, the stain should wash away.

NOTE ABOUT SECONDARY DISORDERS DUE TO THYROID MALFUNCTION

Thyroid disorders can lead to secondary disorders like PCOS and INFERTILITY.  The disorders have been explained in detail in other articles. To avoid confusion I would like to state that Ayurveda does not approach these as separate entities but chalks out a sustainable plan where the entire balance of the body is restored. However the choice of herbs may differ as per situations and results. Herbs like Vidanga used in initial stages to get good control over Thyroid gland may later be substituted by others to fortify fertility. This all depends upon the discretion of your Ayurveda physician and hence when undertaking natural treatments for such complex scenarios its always better to consult a good Ayurveda physician. You can read articles about PCOS and INFERTILITY at the following links

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

INFERTILITY

http://ayurvedaforwomen.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/infertility-ayurveda-perspective/

NOTE ABOUT GESTATIONAL THYROID FUNCTION DISORDERS

Certain women develop Thyroid malfunction during pregnancy, most common of which is Hypothyroidism. I would recomend such women to continue with Thyroxine treatment till pregnancy is completed and than if the condition persist go for natural remedies. An uncontrolled Hypothyroid disorder during pregnancy can cause congenital hypothyroidism in the infant leading to Cretinism. If still one wishes to pursue natural remedies , i would advise it to do under expert supervision and not self-medicate.

A WORD ABOUT BENIGN THYROID NODULES AND CANCER

The causes  of Thyroid cancer  although can be traced and prevented from the points discussed , the approach towards cancerous nodules and their treatment is bit different and I intend to cover it i another article. One must understand that not all Nodules are cancerous. Thyroid nodules develop in an hyper functioning gland and are often benign. These can be confirmed by ultrasound magnetic scans and biopsy, though I myself do not recommend biopsy if the patient has decided to go for natural treatments. Its just my opinion and not restricted to other medical fraternity about  biopsy which I feel can trigger metastasis and advancement of cancer and are unwarranted unless the patient has decided that they want to go for surgery. Modern scanning techniques and expertise of good radiologist can give a fair idea of whether the nodule is cancerous or not. I personally recommend to try natural methods before any invasive procedure is performed. It is much easier to control and reverse. But these observations are just mine as per my clinical experiences and must not be taken as general. One must take umpteen opinions, research and only then proceed ahead with any treatments one feels comfortable. Ultimately its our own body and we must take care of it with responsibility.

The medications mentioned under Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism will also show good effects for Nodular goiter depending upon the stage and functioning of the thyroid gland and the state of Antibodies. However in advanced stages or for patients who are reading this article after an invasive or surgical procedure is performed , it is recommended to consult a good Ayurveda physician near you for further treatment. Do not self medicate.

I will be discussing Thyroid Cancer and treatments in another article

ROLE OF PANCHAKARMA ?

Panchakarma is a specialized section of Ayurveda relating to methods employed to purify the body and then produce an environment for sustenance. In complex disorders like Thyroid malfunctions its role must be assessed and supervised by an expert as to implementation of therapy and medicines. I would not recommend patients going of self purificatory methods without proper evaluation as it may cause , alter hormonal balances in long run

ROLE OF YOGA ?

Yoga most times is associated with health, but one must remember what alters the electrical conductivity and stimulates organs through various postures can also gave ill effects. This is documented through various  treatises on yoga. Many patients do Yoga exercises without understanding its dynamics. Pranayama alters the sympathetic and para sympathetic nervous system altering hot and cold channels. This is in direct conjunction with the Thyroid gland. Similarly certain asanas and Bandhas can stimulate the thyroid causing disruptions especially if you are on hormonal treatment. I would recommend patients to undertake Yogic exercises under supervision of an Ayurveda consultant as Yoga is a part of ayurveda and it requires proper knowledge of body functions and Marma points. Do not undertake exercises advertised or from word of mouth as testimonials. What works for others may not work for you. More importantly understand what one is trying to achieve and combine it with proper lifestyle and medication under expert guidance so that the overall quality of life increases

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.

Care of the New Born, Ayurveda insights

WHAT ARE COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NEW BORN ?

New born’s are very difficult to diagnose as they do not speak up for themselves. Common problems associated with them are recurrent cold and cough, fevers, jaundice, dysentery, diarrhea, skin rashes etc. There also many genetic and hereditary disorders like bleeding problems, cardiac problems etc; but I will discuss about them in another post.

HOW CAN THEY BE DIAGNOSED ?

As mentioned earlier it is difficult to pinpoint an exact transition in infants due to their inability to speak. Hence many a times these disorders are caught up when they are grave. Also these disorders expose the child to many injurious chemicals in form of antibiotics and other pediatric medications which may cause secondary problems and lessen their immunity.

WHAT CAN BE ILL-EFFECTS OF ANTIBIOTICS AT AN EARLY AGE ?

An infants liver is barely able to digest milk. Hence we slowly relax their diet over months. But infections force the body to digest harmful chemicals in terms of medicines which may harm the sensitive liver and other organs. In my practice i have seen such children develop many immunity problems, early loss of vision, premature hair fall, loss of concentration, bone pain, muscle pain and other disorders.

HOW DOES AYURVEDA HELP IN EARLY DIAGNOSIS ?

Ayurveda has described many methods to diagnose child problems Some may be sound vague but are extremely useful. For example Kashyap samhita [a book specially dedicated to paedatrics] mentions licking the belly of a crying infant. If it tastes bitter than most probaly the infant is suffering from stomach pain maybe due to worms. I have used such tips in my practice and found them to be highly useful. Ayurveda mainly emphasis on prevention of disease and hence an healthy breast milk ensures a healthy child.

WHAT ARE SIGNS OF HEALTHY BREAST MILK?

Ayurveda has a unique method to test healthy breast milk. I use it al the time with great effect in my clinical practice. Put a small amount of breast milk in a cup of water and observe.

  • If the milk blends with water its healthy.
  • If it sinks it will cause cough and other respiratory problems maybe even indigestion and worms.
  • If it floats then it will prove a bit hot to the infant may cause diarrhea etc.
  • If it floats and breaks it may cause neurological problems.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO MAKE THE BREAST MILK HEALTHY ?

Generally I prescribe some herbs to women in form of decoction or tea. This is known as STANYA SHODHAN KADHA [stanya == breast milk, shodhan == purification and kadha == tea]. Though the formulation differs from patient to patient i will enlist a general herbal formula which all women can take

  • Patol 4gms [Tricosanthes diocia]
  • Pittpapada 4gms [Fumaria indica]
  • Arjun 4gms [Terminalia cuneata/ arjuna]
  • Ashwagandha 3 gms [Withania somnifera]
  • Sunth 2gms [Zingiber officinale, dried ginger]
  • Trifala 6gms [Three myrlobans, Terminala chebula [harada], Terminalia bellerica [Beheda]
  • Phyllanthus emblica [Avala]] Vekhand 2gms [Acorus calamus]
  • Punarnava 3 gms [Boehrrahvia repens]
  • Gokhru 3gms [Tribulus terristeris / Pedalium murex]

Crush these herbs in 8cups [500ml] of water and reduce to 1 cup[60-70ml] filter and drink empty stomach. The filtrate must be soaked in 4 cups of water and reduced to 1cup and take it in the evening. Take whatever herbs one may get from above formula. You can replace Patol, Pittpapda with Rose petals and Shatavari [Asparagus racemosus]. Take this decoction for 10 days and check the breast milk.

WHY DO INFANTS DEVELOP PROBLEMS WITH UNHEALTHY BREAST MILK ?

A simple explanation I provide is that after delivery there is some amount of Kapha dosha [phlegm] in the child’s digestive canal. This Kapha can be correlated to amniotic fluid  which is sucked out after delivery. However some amount of it remains inside. In certain children this lodges exactly near the hepatic openings in the intestine. When breast milk enters the body the digestive juices are not appropriately secreted and the milk breaks lining the inner part of the intestine. Over time small micro organisms [fungus, bacteria] get developed here . These are known as KRIMI in Ayurveda. These Krimi are different from Janta [worms] however they may transform into them. On deeper level these Krimi absorb the nutrients of the infant and shed their waste [aflatoxins etc] in the infant’s blood stream. This waste in terms of enzymes, immunoglobins etc cause many immunological problems in the child making his system weak and prone to disease. Ayurveda mentions Jatkarma to prevent this problems.

WHAT ARE JATKARMA MENTIONED IN AYURVEDA AND WHAT IS THEIR IMPORTANCE ?

Ayurveda has mentioned many remedies for this entire process. These are known as Jatkarma and have been prevalent in many Indian households as traditions. However they are losing importance with time and advent of modern health care systems. When a child is born a mixture of honey and leaf juice of Bhringraaja [Eclipta prostrata] is rubbed on his tongue which makes the child vomit and expels out the Kapha. This one step is very important and I have seen many infants get cold and cough in India [urban areas] these days as the method is not followed. There is process of giving gold in indirect form to children to improve their cognition. Certain Dhups [fumigation] with herbs [Neem, Tulasi, Guggul] are done to prevent viral infections. The choice of food after months is also taken care of with respect to the digestive power of the child. Many other samskaras as naming of the child, piercing his ear [Hindu tradition, this is said to improve his immunity] etc . have been first mentioned in Ayurveda. Kashyap Samhita also mentions the use of specific toys with strict preparation protocols for the child. This toys are selected with great care as they improve the overall cognition of the child.

WHAT IS BAALGUTI ?  

Balguti is traditional mixture of certain herbs which are used and administered for one year to a child to improve his immunity. They are very effective and individual herbs in it tend to cover all disorders of the child from stomach ache to fevers to flatulence etc. Though the ingredients are mostly standard and available with any herbal shops every healer has his own combination. I would put up a very easy one for general use

  • Manjishta [Rubia cordiolia]
  • Ativisha [Aconitum heterophyllum]
  • Nagarmotha [Cyperus rotundus]
  • Kakadsinghi [Pistacia integerrima]
  • Vekhand [Acorus calamus]
  • Sagargota [Caesalpinia crista]

One piece of each on a clean slate [silver/ wooden] take some breast milk [first 6 months] or water [after 6 months]. Rub each of this herbs once or twice. Once all herbs are rubbed, mix the blend with a drop of honey. You can use a gold wire to mix it. This helps in improving cognition. Heat the gold wire till red hot and them use it mix the blend. Rub this blend on the child tongue every morning. Doing this for one year is highly beneficial and prevents many disorders. Apart from this I also advice mothers to administer some amount of castor oil to the child once every 20 days to clean the bowels. If administration is not feasible, they can put 2 -3 drops of slight warm oil in the navel or keep a cotton soaked in castor oil at the anal canal of the child as pessary. This helps evacuate any worms and keeps the appetite strong.

WHY IS THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOLD AND SILVER IMPORTANT AT SUCH A TENDER AGE ?

Ayurveda believes that a humans cognition reaches its maximum limit by 2 years. After that only the memory is improved. This fact is also now established by modern science. Gold is said to be the best for improving cognition along with silver. Hence administering gold and silver in indirect form helps improve intellect. I have seen its practical effect many times in my practice. In the above mentioned Balguti process, one needs to pre heat the silver slate before mixing the blend and use gold to mix it. This process altogether helps in general immunity of the child.

CAN YOU SUGGEST SOME HOME REMEDIES FOR COMMON AILMENTS OF INFANTS ?

STOMACH ACHE, FLATULENCE, CONSTIPATION AND CRAMPS.

Put castor oil pessary as mentioned earlier. Put a pinch of asafetida in boiling water till it dissolves. Add bit of salt . Apply this paste around the navel. You can also add few drops of Eucalyptus oil in the mixture. Take 1tsp of Tulasi leaf juice [Basil. Ocimum sanctum]. In it rub a pinch of asafetida and little honey. Rub it on the child tongue. This all remedies done together help immediately. Apart from this one can boil handful of Rose petals in water few raisins and filter it. add sugar and give the child spoon by spoon. This helps in evacuation of bowels and relieve abdominal flatulence, pains constipation etc.

The indian screw nut [Murudsheng, Helicterus isora] which is available with many Balgutis is an excellent remedy for cramps. Rub the fruit in Tulasi juice or plane honey and rub it on the childs tongue. This helps alleviate the symptoms.

COUGH  

Rub bark of Arjuna [Terminalia arjuna] in honey and rub the blend on the infants tongue.Similarly the bark of Beheda [Terminalia bellerica] can be used. Apart from this other herbs are Pomegranate rind and Kakadsinghi [Pistacia integerrima]. If the infant suffers from cold and mild fever along withe the above remedy Ativisha [Aconitum heterophyllum] must be added to the mixture.

COLD AND FEVER, VIRAL INFECTIONS  

Boil few Tulasi [basil, Ocimum sanctum] leaves, Rose petals in 1 cup of water. Filter it and administer spoon by spoon every 3 hours. This will relieve the symptoms soon. Mint leaves/ rosemary leaves can also be used. If the child has associative cough the above remedies can be used.

DIARRHEA

First let the child pass the motions to throw out the toxins as many a times we quickly block them which leads to other disorders.. If the motions extend more that 10 then Apply ginger juice around the navel. This stops diarrhea. For internal use, rub Jaiphal [Mace, nutmeg, Myristica fragrans] in water to obtain a paste. Add a bit of powdered sugar and rub it on the infants tongue. This helps. Apart from that some amount of the paste must also be applied on the Anterior fontanelle [Skull opening on the scalp which closes with time. It can be palpated as a soft depression]. If the child has lost much fluids a cloth soaked in water prepared by boiling rice must be placed over the skull opening. This acts as a saline injection and replenishes the child. This is also useful in places where small children suffer from water borne diseases like cholera. Lime juice 1/tsp and cows ghee [clarified butter from cow’s milk] 1/2 tsp administered after interval of 10 -15 mins helps arrest loose motions. Administration of pomegranate juice in such cases is also very helpful. All this disorders keep a strict check on the breast milk. In case of cough its better to avoid breast milk at night and give the child gruel water prepared by boiling rice.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE DIET OF A NEW BORN WITH SUBSEQUENT PROGRESSION ?  

As per Ayurveda the child has to be progressively terminated from breast feeding around the 6th month. From then onwards we start with pomegranate juice as it is the best for the heart. Orange juice and other citrus fruits are not recommended. The can be started slowly after the 8th month. Along with this I prescribe a very special supplement derived from a millet in India known as Nachini or Ragi [Elusine coraciana] Its extract known as NACHINI SATVA is best for bones and growing children You get this readymade in the stores It is available in two varieties “with sugar” and “without sugar”. The one without sugar is to be preferred. Boil 10gm of the flour with equal quantity of milk [cow’s milk] and water till milk remains. A bit of cardamom, saffron and sugar is added for taste. Feed this to the child in the afternoon. This helps strengthen bones, improve digestion and immunity. Heavy cereals like rice, grams [Grren gram etc; daals] can be started with slow progression from 7 – 8th month. These heavy foods must be first administered for lunch followed by very light food [Juices, Nachini Satva] after sunset as the digestive channels close in the body with sunset.

IS OIL MASSAGE BENEFICIAL FOR A NEW BORN ?

Many practitioners have different theories. In india its a custom to massage the new born with oil. On my side I do recomend this as it strengths the bones, promote hair growth and also makes he skin soft. It improves digestion and expels out toxins. There are many oils to choose from.One simple oil is to boil

  • 20gms Vekhand [Acorus calamus, sweet flag]
  • 20gms Rose petals
  • 10gms Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera]
  • 20gms of Khus [Vetiver zizanoides]

in 300ml of water and reduce to 100ml. Filter the tea. Add virgin coconut oil/sesame oil and boil till oil remains. Filter and store. Each day warm teh oil slightly and massage the child. This massage is done in a specific way where the child is placed on the lap of the masseur and the oil applied from top to bottom first on the back and then on the front. The child is then bathed with warm water with proper pressure to take out the oil. This helps evacuate dead skin and also water retention. Mothers may observe that the child may loose weight after massage. This is good as when the child is in the womb its cells bloat by absorbing too many fluids. This all gets blown away by the massage and the skin becomes supple soft, circulation improves and the bones become strong. In case the above herbs are not available, one can use Almond oil, Olive oil or even ready made Ayurveda oils like Chandanbalalakshaadi Taila. Apart from this one can apply a paste prepared by crushing Almonds and rose petals in milk to form a scrub and slowly massage the body and then give a bath.

IS THERE ANY SPECIAL FORMULATION OR REMEDY TO EXPEL OUT PLACENTAL REMAINS POST DELEIVERY ?

This is very important for health of the mother. Lots of time after pregnancy or maybe miscarriages the placental remains are not expelled properly leading to infections and immunity problems. Since we talk about child care i would concentrate on new mothers and leave to discuss miscarriages in another posts. In India there are many traditional remedies consisting of confectionery prepared from Sesame, Dink [gum of Acacia arabica, Sterculia urens] , Methi [Fenugreek] which are given to new mothers to clean the placental remains.

A home remedy I suggest is to make a small herbal tea from following

  • Mint leaves 5-10
  • Rosemary leaves 5-10/ Lemon Grass/ Tulsai leaves 5-10
  • Dried ginger 1gm
  • Sesame seeds 5gms
  • Rose petals 5gms
  • Poppy seeds [Khaskhas, Papaver somniferum] 3 gms.

Boil in 4cups of water reduce to 1 cup. Filter add jaggery or honey and drink 2 times a day for one week. This evacuates all remaining clots from the uterus.

Prataplankeshwar rasa [http://nlam.in/form_disp.php?20f07591c6fcb220ffe637cda29bb3f6] is a good medicine used by vaidyas after delivery to ensure that the uterus remains healthy and post complications are prevented. Can be taken under supervision.

I have tried to cover as many aspects of infant care. I have not included any disorders of children above 2 years. I may put up a separate thread for it. Since the topic is vast it is possible I may have left out many things. I would like if you can post those points so that I can answer them. Also many herbs mentioned here are found worldwide in any Ayurveda or herbal stores [even chinese only one may need to know the name]. In case one may not find certain herbs they may point it out so that I can put up an alternate therapy. I have restricted in giving too many remedies to avoid confusion.