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Dr. Vikram Chauhan - MD (Ayurveda)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Parkinson's disease and its treatment with Ayurvedic herbs

PARKINSON'S DISEASE

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder which affects movement. It usually starts with a mild tremor in one hand and a feeling of stiffness in the body.

In Parkinson's disease, the cells of the substantia nigra starts dying, causing dopamine levels to decrease and brain starts functioning abnormally.

Parkinson's disease and its treatment with Ayurvedic herbs

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE

The specific cause of the development of Parkinson's disease is not known. But it can be caused by the destruction of nerve cells in the brain. The causes of Parkinson's disease can be environmental or genetic.

Some Causes Of Parkinson's Disease:-

  1. Low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine: Due to the loss of neurons, the production of chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine decreases which result is abnormal brain activity and create symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
  2. Genetic factors: Sometimes, it may be due to genetic factor but not always.
  3. Environmental Factors. Exposure to certain toxins or environmental factors such as manganese, carbon monoxide, and methanol may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
  4. Age: This disease normally occurs in the people who have attained the age of 50 and 60. In 5-10 percent of cases, it occurs before the age of 40.
  5. Gender:  Men are more prone to have Parkinson's disease than women.
  6. Health conditions: People more prone to have Parkinson's disease are those, who have diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders, post infections, brain tumor, and repeated head injury.
  7. Medications:  The use of some medicines such as Reserpine, Lithium, Ethanol, Diltiazem, etc. can create the risk of Parkinson's disease.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE

  1. Resting tremor
  2. Bradykinesia
  3. Slow movements
  4. Rigidity
  5. Stooped posture
  6. Voice changes
  7. Stiffness of arms and legs
  8. Decreased blinking and swallowing
  9. Falling of saliva due to abnormal swallowing movements
  10. Low-volume speech
  11. Sleep disturbances
  12. Aches and pain in the body
  13. Masked face
  14. Reduced smelling capacity
  15. Reduced or absence of arm motion while walking
  16. Aches and pain in the body
  17. Problems with attention and memory
  18. Anxiety
  19. Hallucinations
  20. Constipation
  21. Psychosis

HOW IS PARKINSON'S DIAGNOSED?

Specific testing is not available for the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. The doctor will diagnose this based on patient's medical history, signs and symptoms and neurological and physical examination.

Some imaginary tests which help to diagnose this disease are the following:

  1. MRI scan
  2. CT scan
  3. Positron-Emission Tomography (PET)
  4. Levodopa drug challenge test
  5. Ultrasound of the brain

AYURVEDIC HERBS FOR THE TREATMENT OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE

In Ayurveda, the term "Kampavata" is used for Parkinsonism or Parkinson's disease. Kampa means tremor and Vata is humor that controls air and all movements of the body. This disease is caused by aggravated Vata  dosha in the body, which produces aggravated air in the brain. This aggravated air affects the area of the brain that controls involuntary movements and leads to the development of Parkinsonism.

The principle of Ayurveda is to achieve the balance of the three doshas (Vata, Kapha, and Pitta) in the body. It provides several herbs that treat Parkinson's disease, naturally without any side effects.

Following are some of the Ayurvedic herbs used to treat Parkinson's disease:

1. Kaunch Beej (Mucuna pruriens)

This herb is one of the best herbs for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.  It possesses neuro-protective activities, which shows excellent results in Parkinson's disease. The Kaunch Beej contain levodopa that is a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine plays an important role in perception, sleep disorders, mood, learning, involuntary movements, and working memory. Therefore it is very effective for the central nervous system.

2. Vacha (Acorus calamus)

This herb acts as a brain tonic. It promotes the functions of the nervous system. Vacha penetrates deep into the brain tissues and remove toxins from the subtle channels in the mind and opens the nadis of the higher chakras. It also treats headache, laziness, mental stress, and emotional imbalance, etc.

3. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi is known as the best brain tonic. The active compound of Brahmi is bacosides, due to which it works wonderfully on brain health. Brahmi promotes the regeneration of cells of the brain.

Reference:- Bhav Prakash Nighantu/ GuduchyadiVarga/ Shloka no. 280-281

This shloka explains about the properties of Brahmi. Brahmi eases motion. It helps in boosting brain strength, acts as a Rasayana, increases lifespan, maintains vocal cords. Along with this, it also increases the concentration, helps in skin and blood disorders. Brahmi is also helpful in jaundice, diabetes, cough, swelling, and fever. It also acts as an anti-dote.

4. Bala (Sida cordifolia)

It possesses analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and hypoglycemic properties. It acts as a diuretic and stimulates the function of the central nervous system.

5. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

This herb is also considered as the nervine tonic. It helps to calm the nervous system. This herb is very useful in problems like anxiety, stress, depression, etc. Ashwagandha has anti-oxidant properties and boosts the immune system.

6. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

Shatavari possesses anti-oxidant property due to which it is good for depression. It works on the brain by impacting on neurotransmitters of the brain.

7. Ginkgo biloba

This herb helps to improve cognitive function and stimulate circulation and promote blood flow to the brain.

8. Gotu kola

This herb supports healthy mental function. It works on the brain by fighting oxidative stress.

PANCHKARMA FOR PARKINSON'S DISEASE

Panchakarma is an authentic medicine that is used in Ayurveda to recover and clarify the body, mind, and emotions. This therapy is used in the treatment of various health conditions. Some Panchakarma therapies for the treatment of Parkinson's disease are as follows:

  • Matra vasti
  • Nasya karma
  • Shirovasti
  • Shirodhara

All the above herbs are very useful in improving brain functions and these herbs are used in the manufacture of herbal products. Panchakarma also comes under Ayurveda as a purification therapy, in which only the herbal oil is used.