How Ayurveda Treats Parkinsonism
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from degeneration of neurons in a region of the brain that controls movement creating a shortage of the brain signaling chemical dopamine, causing the movement impairments characterizing the disease.
It has probably existed for many thousands of years. Its symptoms and potential therapies were mentioned in the Ayurveda. Ayurveda considers Parkinson's disease to be the result of the vitiated Vata.
It is vata that controls the overall level of balance and activation of the nervous system in an individual.
Kampavata is the term used in Ayurvedic texts to explain Parkinsons (Kampa:tremor, Vata metabolic derangement ) predisposing to neurologic and mental diseases.
Various signs & symptoms associated with the disease such as akinesia, drooling, reptilian stare, tremor, constant somnolence, rigidity,and dementia were described in Caraka Samhita.
The first symptom of Parkinson's disease is tremor (trembling or shaking) of a limb, especially when the body is at rest. Tremor often begins on one side of the body, frequently in one hand. Other symptoms include slow movement (bradykinesia), an inability to move (akinesia), rigid limbs, a shuffling gait, and a stooped posture.
There is no complete cure for Parkinson's disease. Many of the patients are only mildly affected and need no serious treatment for several years after the initial diagnosis.
Ayurvedic medicine has been shown in various medical trials to help treat different diseases.Ayurvedic therapeutic agent Mucuna pruriens ( Kapikachu )showed effective results with only minor side effects.
Paralysis agitans, is an independent description of Kampavata (Kampa:tremor, Vata metabolic derangement Predisposing to neurologic and mental diseases) described in Ayureda.
Several preparations containing Mucuna pruriens(Kapikachu) were descrided for treatment of patients with Kampavata. The major active compound present in Mucuna pruriens is levodopa. Levodopa is the major drug used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
The following pre-purification methods are usually adopted in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Sirodhara therapy refers to the Pouring of warm medicated herbal oil on the person's forehead from a suspended oil filled vessel. The medicated oil is made by boiling herbs and fruits such as gooseberry, bala, sandalwood, bael, liquorices, nut grass tuber,winter cherry etc in gingerly oil, coconut oil, ghee and milk.
Njavarakizhi is a process in which the whole body or any specific part is made to perspire by applying custom made cotton pouches containing medicated rice cooked with herbal decoction and milk. Sida,spreading hog weed, winter cherry are the herbs used in making the decoction.
Thalapothichil is the application of herbal paste on the scalp of a patient and covering it with banana leaves. The process cools the brain and provides relaxation to the mind.
Fruits and herbs such as gooseberry, Liquorice, asparagus, henna, lotus seeds, sandal, nut grass tuber, vetivera etc are used in the preparation of this herbal paste.
Main purification therapies.
This is the phase of elimination of toxins that were loosened at the pre purification treatment stage. The two commonly adopted Panchakarma treatments for Parkinson's disease are Nasyam and Vasthy.
Nasyam is the pouring of herbal oil in drops in to the nostrils and inhaling the contents. This opens up the head channels and enables the herb extracts to act directly on the central nervous system. The herbal oil is a mixture of sesame oil and herbs such as Sida plants, Bael and Vitex etc.
Vasthi An effective enema therapy, 'Vasthi' is termed as the ace colon cleaning panchakarma treatment where special medicines are introduced through the anal route for the evacuation of accumulated toxins and metabolic wastes. Dill seeds, honey, rock salt,herbal pastes, oils and decoctions are the main ingredients used in vasthy.
The evidence suggests that Parkinson's disease existed in ancient India under the name Kampavata and herbal preparations containing levodopa and panchkarm had been used to treat this disorder.