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Ayurvedic Approach to Alzheimer's Disease
Dr. Vipul Sharma Bookmark and Share

As per Ayurveda, every aspect of life is governed by the interplay of the three Doshas (body humors), Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Throughout an individual's lifetime, each Dosha has its time of predominance. Kapha governs childhood; Pitta, maturity; and Vata, old age. Thus, during the latter years of life, there is a tendency towards Vata imbalances, such as memory loss, disorientation, paranoia, tremors, rigidity, cracked and quaking voice and stooped spine. The condition is known as Alzheimer's disease. According to Ayurveda, Alzheimer’s disease is problem of old age where Vata Dosha is much aggravated.
 
What is Alzheimer's Disease?
 
In Alzheimer's disease, the Vata is severely provoked in the Majja Dhatu, the tissue layer which includes the central nervous system and all other tissues which are contained within bone cavity. The Vata dries and thus degenerates the brain. In addition, the Vata passes from the Majja Dhatu to the Mano Vaha Srotas, or "mind-carrying channels," causing thought disorders such as paranoia and delusions as well as memory loss and confusion.
 
What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?
 
The causes of this severe Vata provocation within Majja Dhatu and Mano Vaha Srotas are both hereditary and acquired. Susceptible people are those who have a hereditary weakness of the Majja Dhatu. Once Vata is provoked, it follows the line of least resistance, moving into the weakest tissue layer, in this case, the Majja Dhatu.

Acquired causes are those which serve to aggravate the Vata Dosha sufficiently to bring about the onset of the disease in susceptible subjects. Unfortunately, our stressful, fast-paced, coffee-driven lifestyle provides abundant opportunities for such provocation. In addition, we are exposed to a number of environmental toxins which specifically weaken the Majja Dhatu, causing greatly increased susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease. Aluminum, pesticides, herbicides, agent orange, lead, and other toxins have a specific action in weakening the Majja Dhatu Agni, the metabolic fire of the central nervous system.
  
Symptoms of Alzhemier:
 
The Alzheimer's Association has developed the following list of warning signs that include common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Individuals who exhibit several of these symptoms should see a physician for a complete evaluation.

• Memory loss
• Difficulty performing familiar tasks
• Problems with language
• Disorientation to time and place
• Poor or decreased judgment
• Problems with abstract thinking
• Misplacing things
• Changes in mood or behavior
• Changes in personality
• Loss of initiative

Prognosis:
 
Alzheimer's disease is invariably progressive. Patients usually don't die directly from Alzheimer's disease. They die because they have difficulty swallowing or walking and these changes make overwhelming infections, such as pneumonia, much more likely.Moreover, throughout much of the course of the illness, individuals maintain the capacity for giving and receiving love, sharing warm interpersonal relationships, and participating in a variety of meaningful activities with family and friends.
 
The reaction of a patient with Alzheimer's disease to the illness and his or her capacity to cope with it also vary, and may depend on such factors as lifelong personality patterns and the nature and severity of stress in the immediate environment. Depression, severe uneasiness, paranoia, or delusions may accompany or result from the disease, but these conditions can often be improved by appropriate treatments. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, treatments are available to alleviate many of the symptoms that cause suffering.
Diet and Lifestyle are the main parts of the treatment for any of the diseases. In case of Alzheimer's disease this becomes more important to follow the right diet and lifestyle. Here are the general recommendations for the diet and lifestyle along with some of the Yoga postures, which can change the course of the disease. 
 
Recommended Diet for Alzheimer:
 
The dietary pattern that is associated with the least risk of developing Alzheimer's is characterized by higher intakes of nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, salad dressing (oil and vinegar) and dark green leafy vegetables. It also consisted of a lower intake of red meat, organ meat.

  • Your diet should include proper quantity of fresh butter and Ghee.
     
  • Proteins such as beans, nuts, eggs, fish and lean beef, pork and poultry are also important.
     
  • It is wise to try to maintain many of the patient's eating patterns by serving familiar food at a routine time. Familiar recipes can be made healthier by eliminating encouraging more fruits and vegetables and switching refined flour products for whole grains.
     
  • Healthy snacks, such as apples, bananas and whole-grain crackers, should be available and in sight at all times.
     
  • Offer a couple of choices at mealtime when possible. This promotes a feeling of independence and may improve nutritional intake.
     
  • Drink Coconut Water more. 

Recommended Lifestyle:

  • Drink, at bedtime, a cup of warm Mental Relaxant Tea
     
  • Encourage fluids throughout the day until a couple of hours before bedtime to lessen the possibility of dehydration, a common problem for Alzheimer's patients.
     
  • Make mealtime relaxing and pleasant with enjoyable conversation or music the person prefers to hear. Avoid rushing the person to eat.
Recommended Yoga Asanas for Alzheimer’s disease:
 
You want to assist both mind and body at a time- there cannot be anything better than the Yoga because this is the yoga alone which can assist both the body and mind. There are certain Yoga Asanas and Pranayams which have proven wonderful to get rid of the problems like Alzheimer's disease. Before you start asking the preson with Alzheimer's disease to start the Yoga exercise- keep in mind the following two things:
  • Regular Yogasna and Pranayama can reduce agitation. It will also promote a feeling of well-being and help with sleep.
     
  • If the patient resists exercise, try to find ways to make it more interesting. Take a walk through a park or modify a type of physical activity he used to enjoy, such as throwing a soft football. Encourage playfulness by laughing or pointing out things in nature. Try dancing with person with Alzheimer's disease as a way of promoting physical activity. 
The most beneficial Yogasanas  for Alzheimer's dieases are:
• Paschimottanasana
• Sukhasana
• Savasana
• Trataka
• Surya Bhedi Pranayama
• Nadi Shodhana Pranayama without retention
• Shitali Pranayama

For modern science human body is more a mechanical system and this make them advanced in surgery department, but once it comes to the problems with the functioning of the body, modern medical science seems impractical and insufficient in that area. Alzheimer’s is one of the problems with the working of the body and same happens with the modern day medicine here. Alzheimer’s has been declared as a – irreversible and incurable condition by the modern day health system.
 
There are three main points about the treatment of the Alzheimer’s which modern science has. These are really very true for the management of the problem, this is very clear that these are the measures to manage the condition...not the solutions. Here are these:

Think prevention.

It is very difficult to predict what a person with Alzheimer's might do. Just because something has not yet occurred does not mean it should not be cause for concern. Even with the best-laid plans, accidents can happen. Therefore, checking the safety of your home will help you take control of some of the potential problems that may create hazardous situations.

Adapt the environment.

It is more effective to change the environment than to change most behaviors. You can make changes in an environment to decrease the hazards and stressors that accompany these behavioral and functional changes.

Minimize danger

By minimizing danger, you can maximize independence. A safe environment can be a less restrictive environment where the person with Alzheimer's disease can experience increased security and more mobility.
 
Ayurvedic Treatment for Alzheimer:
 
Ayurveda can reverse the problem? Complete lie! Ayurveda can cure the problem of the Alzheimer’s disease? This is also not very true, so first of all we request you to stay away from the false claims by some quacks that this condition can be cured completely by some magical herbal remedies. Ayurveda never claim this.

Before we talk about the treatment let’s talk about few things about Alzheimer’s disease so that we can understand how Ayurveda can cure or help Alzheimer’s Disease:

1. This is a Vata disorder:

Alzheimer’s is a Vata disorder and it is deeply associated with the decay of the body. Decay not only means- loss of cells/nutrients alone. Decay can be on any front, even psychological front too. So this is very important to manage the decay of the body. About decay we need to make it sure that we can delay the process of body aging, can neither reverse it nor cease this process of the aging. Modern science lacks this kind of understanding that is why they have only measures to manage the harm to life, not even the management of the condition.
 
2. Alzheimer’s is a process:

Alzheimer’s is a process which keep on going and that is the reason it keeps on distorting with the time. We need to underline the different causes behind the disease. This is how we can slow down the process.
 
3. Alzheimer’s Disease needs more care:

This not only about the medicines, we need to manage the proper diet and lifestyle both to control the aggression of the Alzheimer’s disease completely.
 
On behalf of above said three points, there is a specific line of treatment, these points are indicating for three different steps for the Ayurvedic management of Alzheimer’s disease, here are these:
 
1. Complete Nourishment:

There are two variants of the treatment in Ayurveda (whole treatment can be subdivided into two categories); one is Aptarpana (treatment aimed to reduce) and second is Samptarpana (to nourish). So here in case of Alzheimer’s disease we need to do the Samtaprpana Treatment by using appropriate herbs, diet. Of course, we need to support the person with- happiness, zeal and care so that it will nourish one’s psychological part too.
 
2. Removal of Causes:

Dryness, roughness, instability and high mobility in body or mind are the main causes for Vata aggravation, so the second option is to combat all these causes by selecting the right kind of herbs, food supplements and diet for the purpose.
 
3. Healthy Diet and Lifestyle:

Solitude and avoidance brings more problems to everyone. These are not the answers and to keep the patient with some “place” where one will be cared in a mechanical way is not the solution of the problem. Solution is to maintain the warmth of the relations and to manage the diet in the same way. As per Ayurveda what we eat, reflects directly on our body and mind so it is important to manage the diet in right direction.

Panchkarma Treatments For Alzheimer's Disease:

Panchakarma treatments, rasayana therapies and diet regulations would all form part of the treatment. Ayurveda therapies like thalam,nasya, siro dhara and siro vasti are commonly prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Nasya Treatment :
Indicated nasyas for Alzheimer's disease:
 
Brahmi (Bacopa monniera), ghee nasya — best if there is any pitta provocation

Vacha oil nasya (Acorus calamus) in sesame oil — best for severe vata provocation without any concurrent pitta provocation.
 
Nasya should not be used in very old, very frail or severely confused subjects, but only for those who are capable of understanding how to use the nasya correctly.
 
Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease would include medicines to prevent degeneration and strengthening of the brain.
Specific treatment for Alzheimer's disease consists of the use of herbs which act upon the majja dhatu and mano vaha srotas. Chiefly, these are brahmi, vacha, jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi; ssp: grandiflorum), and Akar karabha (Anacyclus pyrethrum).Brahmi and aswagandha are the two main herbs used for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.Brahmi, prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitter and also boost mental agility and the cognitive function.

Generally, the most useful remedy for Alzheimer's disease is sarasvati churna, which is highly effective in presenting and enhancing memory and intellect. Sarasvati churna can be taken in doses of one quarter to one-half teaspoon twice daily after meals. In severe cases, it can be taken three times daily. In cases where there is a bleeding disorder, ulcer, or bleeding hemorrhoids, brahmi and jatamansi may be used, but vacha should be omitted completely, since it is contraindicated in bleeding disorder.

Akar karabha, which contains the active ingredient anacycline, is extremely important in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, it is currently unavailable outside India. It may be used as a medicated milk:

1/2 teaspoon Akar karabha
1/2 teaspoon Brahmi
1 cup milk

Boil together and drink at bedtime. It may also be used as a tea, using 1/2 teaspoon Akar karabha and 1/2 teaspoon shankapushpi (Evolvulus alsinoides). Steep 10 minutes in I cup boiling water and drink 2-3 times daily.
 
Despite the great usefulness of these general and specific measures in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, regularity and stability remain the most important factors in treating this condition. Meals and remedies must be given at regular times, treatments such as oil massage must be administered according to a fixed schedule, whilst familiar faces and familiar surroundings are also of great importance. Any conditions that are haphazard, irregular or unexpected will serve only to provoke the vata still more. To be useful at all, Ayurvedic treatment of this condition must be both regular and prolonged.

These are the main points what Aro gyam Panchkarma Centre And ayurvedic Hospitalcare a lot while planning for the Ayurvedic management of the Alzheimer’s disease.

Remember one thing about Alzheimer's disease- Sedation/Sleep is not the solution for the Alzheimer's disease - this is the AWAKENING .... let's wake up, let's walk towards complete health with Ayurveda !

Please feel free to add your feedback on this topic & if you like it do share it with your friends !
 


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06/23/2012
More by : Dr. Vipul Sharma
Views: 4295      Comments: 1

Comments on this Blog

Comment What is sarswati churna?

R P Singh
11/12/2013 08:54 AM




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