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Apr 11

Ayurvedic Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of Joints that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in affected joints. Unlike the common arthritis, it is an autoimmune disease, that is, our own immune system mistakenly attacks our healthy cells as in infections, wounds, and foreign objects. In addition to joints, it can also affect other body organs like eyes, heart, lungs etc.
In Ayurveda, RA is called as AMAVATA, where AMA means toxic particles evolved from improper digestion and assimilation. The AMA is, then, emulsified with Vata and gets spread on whole body and localized on joints, hearts, lungs and other parts of body. Our defence mechanism treats the AMA as a foreign body and forms the antibodies in order to fight.  But, when it combines with AMA, it acts as an abnormal immune complex which leads to inflammatory changes and contribute to disease process.

Risk Factors:
Gender: Developing RA is 2 to 3 times more common in women.
Heredity: People may be affected if they have a history of RA in their families. Age: Although rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age, it likely to develop between the ages of 25 and 55.
Coffee and Cigarettes: Some studies have suggested that Smokers are also more at risk for developing RA Diet Habit: According to Ayurveda, it is the main risk factor for developing RA. Untimely and improper diet habit may leads to alteration in digestive power which is responsible for production of AMA.

Signs and symptoms:
•    Involvement of symmetrical joints, morning stiffness, pain and swelling in joints, first involvement of small joints of finger and toes, nodules, deformity are the signs and symptoms of classical RA.
•    Stiffness: Reduced mobility or movement of the affected joints. It is prominently seen early in the morning.
•    Swelling: The area around the affected joint is swollen and puffy.
•    Pain: in Ayurveda, the pain is described as the pain just like scorpion bite. •    Nodules: These are hard bumps that appear on or near the join, may develop in nearly one-third of people who have rheumatoid arthritis. They often are found in the pressure points in the body like elbows. •    Joint Deformity: In classical and chronic RA, joint deformity like anterior subluxation of metacarpo-phalengeal joint, ulnar deviation, swan neck deformities etc are seen.

Extra-articular features:
Anorexia, loss of weight, lethargy, fever, depression, anemia, myolgia, pericarditis, cardiomyopathy, pleurisy, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.

Management:
Diet and Life Style modifications.
Patient digestive power is week. So he/she should take easily digestible, light and compatible food mixing with stomachic and digestive herbs like dry ginger, long piper, leadwort, garlic, cinnamon and cloves Amavata patient's diet should include leaves of Patola, Vastuka, Goshura etc.  should take old rice, garlic, bitter gourd and horse gram in his/her diet.
Avoid consumption of curd, milk, buttermilk, fish, jaggery, oily foods, junk and fast foods, salty and sour foods, black gram, cold drinks.

•  always use hot water to bathe •  Avoid cold breeze and excessive wind.
•  Empty bowels regularly. •  Do not control natural urges. •  Avoid late nights and afternoon naps.
Should take fomentation through warm sand particles packed in a piece of contton.

Drug Therapy:
The aim of drug therapy is increasing the digestive power, removing of toxic or detoxification, correcting the immune response, relief from pain and swelling and minimizing the deformity.
1. Ama-Pachan or Anti-toxic Drugs
These medicines avoid the formation of toxin by enhancing digestive and assimilative power. a) Panchkola Qwath
b) Amavatari Rasa
c) Agnitundi Wati
d) Chitrakadi Wati e) Rasonadi Wati

2. Rog Pratirakshytmak or Immunomodulators:
As RA is an autoimmune disease, these medicines are prescribed to correct and enhance the immunity.
a) Aswagandha
b) Guduchi
c) Amrita Guggulu

3. Bedanahar or Anti-inflammatory and Anti-Rheumatic Drugs.
These medicines are effective in pain and inflammation. They help to slowdown the disease progression.
a) Yograj Guggulu
b) Maha Yograj Guggulu
c) Sinhanad Guggulu

Panchakarma or Detoxification Therapy:
Panchkarma is used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease and improper diet habit. Ayurveda says that imbalanced doshas create waste matter. This waste matter is called Ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul smelling, sticky, noxious, substance that needs to be evacuated from the body as thoroughly as possible. Panchakarma permanently eliminates these toxins from the body, allowing healing and restoration of the tissues, channels, digestion and mental functions.

Yoga:
Yoga keeps the body free from impurities that are accumulated inside our body due to our bad food habit, wrong behavior and other external agents. In Ayurveda, various yogic practices are used for keeping equilibrium between the body, mind, and self, in order to establish health and harmony.

Feb 17

Ayush health fair starts from Feb 23

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Arogya-2010, the annual health fair organised by the Department of Ayush, will be held in India from February 23 to 26. The fair will have a display of panels, books, research papers and other papers on the outcome of years of research by council of ayurveda, siddha, unani and homoeopathy systems of medicine and yoga and naturopathy. It will have live yoga demonstrations besides informing the people about home remedies based on medicinal plants. Exhibitions, sale of drug manufacturing equipment and allied plant and machinery will be organised. Ayush clinics will run simultaneously in separate chambers. Lectures and panel discussions on concept of siddha system and its specialities, management of skin diseases through unani system of medicine, geriatric health care through ayurvedic approach, yoga for healthy living, lifestyle disorders and their management through naturopathy and mother and childcare through homoeopathy will be organised.
Feb 10

Herbal medicines can be hazardous

Posted by: charak in Ayurveda | Comment (0)
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A new pathological research has demonstrated that herbal medicine can lead to unwanted deaths, especially in people who consume too much of their natural remedies, or who combine such substances with prescription medication.  University of Adelaide forensic pathologist Professor Roger Byard underlines the fact that many herbal chemicals have very toxic compounds inside, which can kill an adult on their own when taken in excessive quantities, or when combined with other chemicals from other drugs.

Naturopaths agree that there are dangers in herbal medicines for people who self-diagnose and then ''treat'' themselves with off-the-shelf products. However, they say the industry is generally well regulated.

The problem is compounded when herbs are contaminated, poorly processed or replaced with a cheaper alternative.

"These substances may cause serious illnesses, exacerbate pre-existing health problems or result in death, particularly if taken in excess or injected rather than ingested."
"Herbal medicines are frequently mixed with standard drugs, presumably to make them more effective. This can also have devastating results," Byard says.

Many common herbs could cause severe side effects when used with conventional medicine, such as negating the effect of blood-thinning agent warfarin or making epileptic seizures more frequent.

Ginkgo and garlic also increase the risk of bleeding with anticoagulants and certain herbal remedies such as Borage Oil and Evening Primrose Oil lower the seizure threshold in epileptics, said a university release.

 ''I'm not saying don't take them - herbal medicine is a time-honoured practice with real benefits,'' Professor Byard said. ''But you should talk to your doctor and work it out together.''

On a newly done research, Dr Shyam Mani Adhikari pointed out that there is no laboratory facility or well established mechanism for standardization and monitoring so far in Nepal  to assure and control the quality of such medicines, many questions are raised regarding the quality, safety and efficacy of these medicines. Hence, substandard Ayurvedic medicines also might have been brought to the market which not only defames Ayurvedic physicians and decreases faith to the Ayurveda but also creates a risk of public health hazards.

He recommended that it requires very urgent and serious multi-dimensional attempts by concerned authorities and other stakeholders to manage and regulate this situation.

Feb 10

Medicinal plant yields secrets

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The first genetic map of the world’s most important medicinal plant, Artemisia annua, was published on Thursday in the journal Science. Artemisia is the source of artemisinin, a key ingredient in antimalarial drugs.

Plant scientists at York University, who prepared the genetic map, are already using the map to breed higher-yielding strains of Artemisia. Existing wild plants produce only small amounts of artemisinin, which is therefore too scarce and too expensive to meet the huge requirement for malaria drugs in the developing world.“We intend to get high-yielding seed to farmers in the next two to three years in order to supply soaring demand for malaria treatments,” said York Professor Dianna Bowles. “This is a really tight deadline and we can only do it with the benefit of the new knowledge provided by the map.”
Feb 10

Marijuana Ineffective as an Alzheimer's Treatment

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The benefits of marijuana in tempering or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's disease have been challenged in a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Current Alzheimer Research, could lower expectations about the benefits of medical marijuana in combating various cognitive diseases and help redirect future research to more promising therapeutics.

Previous studies using animal models showed that HU210, a synthetic form of the compounds found in marijuana, reduced the toxicity of plaques and promoted the growth of new neurons. Those studies used rats carrying amyloid protein, the toxin that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims.

The new study, led by Dr. Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and a professor of psychiatry in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, was the first to test those findings using mice carrying human genetic mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease -- widely considered to be a more accurate model for the disease in humans.

"As scientists, we begin every study hoping to be able to confirm beneficial effects of potential therapies, and we hoped to confirm this for the use of medical marijuana in treating Alzheimer's disease," says Song, a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC and VCH Research Institute and Director of Townsend Family Laboratories at UBC.

"But we didn't see any benefit at all. Instead, our study pointed to some detrimental effects."

Over a period of several weeks, some of the Alzheimer's-afflicted mice were given varying doses of HU210 -- also known as cannabinoids -- which is 100 to 800 times more potent than the marijuana compounds. Their memory was then tested.

The mice treated with HU210 did no better than untreated mice, with those given low doses of HU210 performing the worst. The researchers also found that HU210-treated mice had just as much plaque formation and the same density of neurons as the control group. The group given higher doses actually had fewer brain cells.

"Our study shows that HU210 has no biological or behavioural effect on the established Alzheimer's disease model," says Song, the Jack Brown and Family Professor and Chair in Alzheimer's Disease. "More studies should be done before we place much hope in marijuana's benefits for Alzheimer's patients."

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208091926.htm
Feb 06

Simple Home Remedies for Acne

Posted by: agnishikha in Ayurveda | Comment (1)
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Acne is mainly related to the activity of sebaceous glands of dermis that responsible for the production of sebum. Sebum helps in carrying the dead cells and other waste products to the outer skin surface.

So acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin resulting from an overactive sebaceous gland (which secrets sebum) that blocks the hair follicle, the passage that leads from the sebaceous gland to the surface of the skin. Thereby the blocked substances, with sebum, bacteria and other substances form plugs in the follicle and the infection is manifested, first as white head, latter black head. It is marked by the eruption of pimples or pustules especially on the face.

What are the causes of acne?
1. External Factors: pollution, direct exposure to sun over longer duration etc.
2. Internal Factors: heredity, hormonal imbalances, stress, constipation etc.


How to prevent acne?
1. Do Pranayama (It is a breathing exercise for purifying the blood and vitalizing the inner organs), Khumbhaka(In yoga it is a breathing exercise in which the breath is retained in a state of suspense when the mind is relaxed).
2. Drink enough water.
3. Do not wash your face more with soap.
4. Try to avoid the causes.

Simple Home remedies:

Take  3 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamom powder. Make it paste and apply on affected area. or

Take  1 tablespoons of Lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of cinnamom powder. Make it paste and apply on affected area. or
Cinnamon has the antibacterial and antifungal properties; whereas lemon can remove dead skin cells.

-You can also rub fresh garlic on and around affected area.
Garlic has antibiotic properties that help destroying the bacteria thus containing the growth of acne.

 -Make a paste of neem leaves with turmeric powder. Apply this paste on the affected area.
Neem has got antibacterial properties making it effective in controlling epidermal dysfunctions such as acne.

- Apply fresh tomato pulp on the face.
Tomato is known to have anti-oxidants and contains vitamins A & C. Vitamin C in tomatoes can rejuvenate the dull skin and vitamin A is involved in formation of healthy skin.

Apply a paste of orange peel powder with water on affected area. Wash it off after 30 minutes with lukewarm water.
The citric acid in orange soothes and softens skin removing pore-clogging impurities.

-Apply cucumber juice on the face.
Cucumber has hydrating and astringent properties.


Feb 02

Study Finds Benefit in Abstinence Program

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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 1, 2010
An abstinence-only program without a moralistic tone can delay teenagers from having sex, researchers say. The study, in The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, differed from traditional programs that have lost federal and state support in recent years. The classes did not preach saving sex until marriage or disparage condom use. Instead, they involved assignments aimed at helping sixth and seventh graders see the drawbacks to sexual activity at their age.
Jan 23

South Korea Develops Herbal Medicine For Swine Flu

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SEOUL, South Korean scientists have developed an herbal medicine for treatment of the A/H1N1 flu, a state-run research institute announced Monday, reported Yonhap news agency.

The Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM) said it successfully extracted materials commonly used in traditional herbal remedies that showed immediate results of recovery when injected to mice infected with the disease.

The medicine, known by its scientific name KIOM-C, has been developed by combining such extracted materials from a dozen of common herbal substances, according to KIOM.

"Laboratory tests conducted at the local company BioLeaders Corp. revealed the strong anti-viral qualities of the drug made from a substance found in oriental medicine," Yonhap cited Ma Jin-yeul, head of KIOM's Center for Herbal Medicine Improvement Research, as saying here.

Ma said that more detailed tests would have to follow to corroborate his recent findings.

He added the medicine in a tablet form would be available in about three years, much like the Tamiflu anti-viral drug, which is currently in the market.
Jan 23

Medical Students Supportive of Alternative Medicine

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A new  survey done in US finds that most medical students think that knowledge of complementary and alternative medicine could help Western doctors do a better job.

Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, includes such therapies as acupuncture, yoga, massage and herbal treatments.

"Even with the high prevalence of CAM use today, most physicians still know little about nonconventional forms of medicine," Michael S. Goldstein, senior research scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author of the study, said in a university news release. "Investigating medical students' attitudes and knowledge will help us assess whether this may change in the future."

The findings were published online Jan. 20 in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Researchers from UCLA and the University of California, San Diego, sent a 30-question survey to 126 medical schools. They received 1,770 completed responses, representing about 3 percent of a pool of about 68,000 medical school students.

Of the respondents, 77 percent said that patients would benefit more if their doctors knew about CAM in addition to Western medicine. And 74 percent thought that a blend of Western medicine and CAM is better than either by itself. n. Her white garland resembles the icy dew drops. She is decked in pure white attire. A white lotus serves as the throne of Maa Saraswati, on whose arm rests Veena. We pray Maha Saraswati, who is surrounded and respected by the Gods to bestow her blessings on us. May the goddess remove our lethargy and brighten our life with light of knowledge.
Jan 18

Cobra Venom Erases Arthritis Symptoms

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In 2002, arthritis sufferer Joe de Casa was working in his Northamptonshire garden in England when a venomous snake bit him. After surviving the bite, de Casa, who struggles with arthritis, claimed that the following months provided his only pain-free days in years.

Such anecdotal claims, including teachings in  centuries' old Ayurveda traditional medicine system, may hold some truth. Venom from cobras may not only treat arthritis, but also prevent further damage from the condition.

Scientists have just determined that Indian monocellate cobra venom displayed anti-arthritic activity during lab tests on rodents, according to a paper that will be in the February-March issue of the journal Toxicon.

While clinical trials on humans are still needed, a cobra venom arthritis ointment is in the works, lead author Antony Gomes told Discovery News.

"We have already prepared such an oil-based preparation (for topical application), which is showing very promising results on humans," Gomes, a professor of physiology at the University of Calcutta, said.

"As soon as the patent protocol (period) is over, we wish to go for industrial collaboration for marketing," he added.

For the study, Gomes and his colleagues induced arthritis in lab rats by injecting them with a saline and olive oil solution containing tuberculosis bacteria, which can cause arthritis.
he researchers collected Indian monocellate cobra venom from adult males and females housed at Calcutta Snake Park. The team then administered a nonlethal dose of venom to some of their lab rodents.

Rats without the venom treatment suffered from cartilage damage and swollen limbs. These symptoms, however, were not present in the venom-treated rats, based on paw weight and measurements.

Chemical analysis, according to the researchers, revealed that the venom actually prevented cartilage damage by inhibiting collagen breakdown. Collagen is one of the main proteins found in skin, bone and other parts of the body.

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