Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Ayurvedic Treatment

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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the single most, frequent and serious infection encountered by women. It’s an infection of the reproductive organs of a woman, where-in,there is an ascending infection from the cervix to the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and the surrounding structures.

PID afflicts more than 1 million women each year in the US and generates annual health care costs of approximately 4.2 billion dollars.It is responsible for nearly 250,000 hospitalizations per year.
Unfortunately, i could not get hold of data in India on this subject.

A patient suffering from PID may have any of the following symptoms: -Lower abdominal pain -Back pain -Abnormal terine bleeding -Unusual or heavy vaginal discharge -Vaginal odor -Painful urination -Painful sexual intercourse. Certain symptoms that are not related to the reproductive system may also occur like fever, nausea and vomiting. It is often observed that the symptoms worsen at the end of the menstrual period and the first few days after the menstrual period.Over a period of time, PID can have serious effects on a woman’s reproductive health. Several long-term sequelae have been clearly associated with this disease like:
• Ectopic pregnancy rates are 12-15% higher in women who have had an episode of pelvic inflammatory disease.
•Tubal occlusion with infertility occurs at a rate of 12-50% in these patients, increasing with each episode of pelvic inflammatory disease.
•Chronic pelvic pain has been associated with pelvic inflammatory disease at an incidence as high as 18% after a single episode of the disease.

Although PID can occur at any age, women under 25 years of age are at greatest risk.PID is difficult to diagnose because of its non specific symptoms and signs. Many episodes of PID may thus go unrecognized. But, since this disease, even in its mild and atypical forms, it has a potential to permanently damage the reproductive health of a woman. Family physicians should maintain a low threshold for the diagnosis of PID.

Ayurvedic Treatment for PID:
According Ayurveda PID is a disorder due to vitiation of pitta and vata doshas. Depending on the signs and symptoms shown by the patient the line of treatment should be decided.
Heavy uterine bleeding and unusual vaginal discharge:Patients with heavy uterine bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge and odor can be treated with single herb combinations like Ashoka (Saraca ashoka), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Udumbar (Ficus glomerata), Dhataki (Woodfordia floribunda), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Lajjalu (Mimosa pudica), Yashtimadhu (Glycerrizha glabra), Pippali (Piper longum), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Nagakeshar (Messua ferrea), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Tanduliyaka (Amaranthus polygamus)etc. given internally in the form of churna (dry powder) or kwatha (decoctions). Praval bhasma, Suvarnamakshika bhasma, Vanga bhasma, Trivanga bhasma, Mandur bhasma, Sphatika churna etc.

When combined with the above given herbs are beneficial in treating heavy uterine bleeding.Medicines like Pushyanuga churna, Pravalapanchamrita rasa, Tapyadi loha, Kamadudha rasa, Shatavari ghrita taken internally are effecctive in treating the heavy uterine bleeding in patients of PID. These medications should be taken twenty to thirty minutes before food,as this timing (i.e before food) is beneficial especially in pelvic disorders.Painful urination:Patients experiencing painful urination should be treated with single herbs like Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Usheer (Vetiveria zizanoides), Chandan (Santalum album) given internally. Trinpanchamula kwatha, Gokshuradi guggulu, Chandraprabha vati, Chadrakala rasa are compound medicines that can relieve painful urination.Back pain:Back pain is one of the commonest and most troublesome symptom experienced by the patients of PID. Single herbs that relieve back pain are Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Bala (Cida cordifolia), Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Shatavari ( Asparagus racemosus) etc. Medicines like Yogaraja guggulu, Chandraprabha vati, Kaishore guggulu, Amritadi guggulu, Dashamoola kwatha are effective in treating back pain associated with PID.

Improving the patient’s immune status helps greately in controlling pelvic inflammation. Medicines like Mahayogaraja and Yogaraja guggulu, Amritadi guggulu, Chandraprabha vati, Arogyavardhini vati, Laghumalini vasant rasa, Tapyadi loha, Triphala guggulu etc. are extremely beneficial in improving immunity specifically in cases of PID. Also, they help in preventing the serious sequelae of PID and its recurrence.


Interesting stuff on ‘Crying- it- out’ method

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If you have judiciously believed the so called parenting experts who say that following crying-it -out method is the only way you can train your kid to sleep alone, well then read this article. It says crying -it-out can be injurious to your baby’s health!

Nitrates -What Every Parent Should Know!

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The concern over various toxins contaminating the vegetable produce and the water that we consume is growing day by day. Not only toxins but certain naturally occurring substances in plants when present in excess can also act like toxins and one of them is nitrates. Well water in certain areas can also contain high levels of nitrates. Nitrate containing plant foods (carrots, spinach, beets, green beans, courgette, collard greens etc) and food prepared with water containing high levels of nitrates are particularly be dangerous when given to infants below three months of age. It can lead to a condition called ‘the blue baby syndrome’ or Methemoglobinemia in which babies develop a blue-grey skin color and become irritable or lethargic.1

Nitrates and nitrites are hemoglobin oxidizing agents. Infants below three months of age have lower levels of an enzyme called NADH-cytochrome b5 reductase, which converts methemoglobin back to hemoglobin thus are at risk of developing methemoglobinemia.2
The high pH of infant stomachs also makes them more susceptible to methemoglobinemia. Higher pH provides a favorable environment to the growth of nitrate reducing intestinal bacteria which convert nitrate to nitrite.3

The risk of exposure to nitrates is more when infant food is prepared with well water containing nitrates. There is very little or no risk with the commercially prepared infant foods, as these companies voluntarily screen their products for levels of nitrates. Breastfed infants though have no risk of nitrate poisoning even if the mother consumes food with high levels of nitrates.4

Studies have shown that consumption of silver beets and storing homemade purees of mixed vegetables for over twelve hours in refrigerator could cause methemoglobinemia in infants over six months of age.5

Long term storage of vegetables can also lead to methemoglobinemia as natural degradation of food on storage increases the levels of nitrites.6

Protecting your child from methemoglobinemia:-

Do not introduce solids before three months of age. According to American academy of Pediatrics solids should not be given before 4-6 months of age.
If water from private wells is being used for preparation of baby food, it should be tested for nitrate levels. The levels of nitrate nitrogen should be less then 10 ppm.
When using commercially prepared baby food, refrigerate the containers after opening and discard them if stored over 24 hours.
Home prepared baby food should be prepared from fresh produce and should be used immediately. Storage over 12 hours should be avoided.
When making vegetable purees, discard the water used to boil the vegetables, as nitrates leach into the water.

1. Blue babies and nitrate-contaminated well water. Knobeloch L, Salna B, Hogan A, Postle J, Anderson H. Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Jul; 108(7):675-8. Comment in:
Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Jan;109(1):A12-4.

2. Methemoglobinemia caused by the ingestion of courgette soup given in order to resolve constipation in two formula-fed infants. Savino F, Maccario S, Guidi C, Castagno E, Farinasso D, Cresi F, Silvestro L, Mussa GC. Dipartimento di Scienze. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006; 50(4):368-71. Epub 2006 Jun 29.

3. Ion chromatographic determination of nitrate and nitrite in vegetable and fruit baby foods.McMullen SE, Casanova JA, Gross LK, Schenck FJ. J AOAC Int. 2005 Nov-Dec;88(6):1793-6.

4. Infant methemoglobinemia: the role of dietary nitrate in food and water.Greer FR, Shannon M; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health. Pediatrics. 2005 Sep; 116(3):784-6.

5. Methemoglobinemia and consumption of vegetables in infants.Sanchez-Echaniz J, Benito-Fernández J, Mintegui-Raso S. Pediatrics. 2001 May; 107(5):1024-8

6.Methemoglobinemia induced by refrigerated vegetable puree in conjunction with supraventricular tachycardia.Bryk T, Zalzstein E, Lifshitz M. Acta Paediatr. 2003 Oct;92(10):1214-5

Rationale behind the of use of Ghee-Clarified Butter in Ayurvedic Medicine.

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One of the most ancient systems of medicine- Ayurveda, developed thousands of years ago. But it still continues to stun the scientific faculties all over the world by its highly evolved concepts of health and medicine.
Depending on the nature of the diseased and that of the disease, variety of drug dosage forms, modes of administrations, diet and lifestyle modifications are available in Ayurveda. The drug dosages are in the form of decoctions, powders, pills, oils, clarified butter or ghrita etc. Amongst these, Ghrita or Ghee which is clarified butter is a dosage form which has been used widely in Ayurveda. This dosage form is particularly used in the treatment of Psychological disorders (Manas Vikara) and also in several disorders which affect nervous system.

Use of Ghee in Ayurveda:
As we take a review of the treatment of Manas Vikara in Ayurveda, we notice that most of the important Medhya aushadhi (Psychotropic and nootropic herbs) have been used in the form of ghrita or ghee .The best examples being Unmada (mania), Apasmara (epilepsy) and certain syndromes involving CNS in children like Balagraha (diseases of acute nature affecting CNS with possible involvement of supernatural influences) like Skanda, Skandapasmara etc. The main clinical features of these diseases being altered sensorium, behavioral changes, seizure manifestations and partial or total loss of higher functions of brain. The extensive use of ghee in such conditions in Ayurveda compels us to think why this dosage form in particular was selected.

Qualities of Cow’s Ghee:
Ayurveda has indicated the use of cow’s ghee that is go-ghrita, whenever the reference of ghee arises in the treatment. A brief glance at the qualities of go-ghrita shows that it has been described as Buddhivardhaka-augmenting intelligence, Smritivardhaka-enhancing memory, Deepana -improves appetite and is useful in the treatment of unmada, apasmara, murccha (unconsciousness) and mada (intoxication). Again it is worth noticing that almost all of these are the qualities and diseases are pertaining to nervous system.

Chemical composition of Ghee (Cow’s Ghee):
Ghrita is abundant in saturated fatty acids. It contains approximately 8% saturated fatty acids which make it easily digestible. The digestibility co-efficient or the rate of adsorption is 96% which is better than any other animal or vegetable fat. The fat breakdown of ghee is 65% saturated and 32% monounsaturated (the other 3% is polunsaturated, linoleic and alpha linoleic fat). It also contains Vitamin A and Vitamin E which are known anti-oxidants.

Use of Ghee in Ayurveda: The Rationale

The distribution of drug in blood is chiefly influenced by its lipid solubility, ionization, differences in the regional blood flow etc. A water soluble drug is usually distributed in the extra cellular spaces and it may not readily diffuse in to CSF and other body cavities, while the lipid soluble drugs are rapidly distributed throughout the intra and extra cellular spaces.
The drugs that are rapidly absorbed from the gut because of their lipid solubility are known to readily diffuse into the CSF and the brain. That is drugs given in the form of a Ghee which is a fat are rapidly absorbed and distributed in the target areas of the body like the nervous system in this case.
The main reason behind this is the molecular structure of the blood brain barrier. This membrane separating the CNS tissue and the circulating blood is lipophilic in nature. Thus it selectively allows the passage of lipids and lipid soluble drugs across it. Therefore any drug given in the form of ghee will not only be digested and absorbed fast, but will also be able to reach some of the most distant and difficult to reach areas of body like the CNS.
This explains the better efficacy of various Psychotropic drugs given in the form of ghee in CNS diseases. And also tallies with the qualities of ghee which were discussed earlier like Buddhi and Smritivardhaka.
Also its antioxidant properties prevent the oxidative damage of brain and other tissues of the nervous system, thus providing protection from various degenerative diseases. For this reason Ghee has been used widely in the preparation of various rejuvenation medicines called Rasayana.
Ghee is therefore one of the most effective drug dosage forms used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating CNS disorders.

Introducing Veggies and fruits to your Infant

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The vegetables and fruits which you can safely feed to your baby once you have started weaning are-
Green beans, peas, butternut squash, acorn squash, potato, sweet potato, parsnip, sweet peppers,asparagus tips,avocado.
Vegetables should be well cooked minced,mashed and pureed before giving your baby. Once the baby is happy eating these, you can introduce other veggies like cabbage and broccoli etc.

Which vegetables to avoid?
Beets, turnips, carrots, collard greens and spinach as these might conatin high levels of nitrates when grown in certain parts of the country. It is safe to use the commercially prepared forms of these foods.

Which fruits to give?
Banana, apple, pear, mango, peach, papaya,blueberries, plums.
Till your baby is eight months old, hard fruits like apple, pear should be pealed and cooked till soft using minimum liquid. Cooking these fruits makes them easier for digestion. Giving ripe fruits raw and pureed though does not cause any major health problem, but can cause gassiness and indiegstion and this will pass on as the babies digestive system matures.

Vajikarana: The science of healthy procreation.

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Vajikarana: The science of healthy procreation.

The sole aim of procreation in every living being is survival of their race. And this holds true for humans as well .The unsaid rule is, that it responsibility of each individual to try and pass on the best of their qualities to their off-springs. It is a sperm in male and an ovum in female that transmit the genetic material of parents to the next generation. And the quality of these two gametes reflects directly on the health of the progeny.

Various research studies have brought to notice, a rise in adverse trends in male reproductive health like, increased incidence of testicular cancer, decline in semen qualities and an increase in abnormal sperms.1 Sperm damage results from a broad spectrum of causative factors like chronic disease conditions, exposure to chemicals, pesticides etc. Weak or defective sperm are giving evidence of having an increased risk for problems with pregnancy and the offspring. 2 It is the need of time that we find a preventive as well as a curative solution to this growing problem. Ayurveda- the science of life has an answer to this and it is called Vajikarana.

Ayurveda is divided in eight branches, which are carefully chiseled out to meet specific needs in the process of maintaining health and preventing diseases. Vajikarana is one of the eight branches which deals with improving male sexual potency, and there by ensure a supraja or better progeny. The main aim of Vajikarana always remained successful copulation for a healthy reproduction, the sexual pleasures just being an additional benefit .Through a healthy offspring it is supposed to impart the benefit of dharma (religious merit), artha (wealth), yasha(success) and preeti(delight) which are the fourfold achievements of life. But vajikarana in today’s world is being seldom used for healthy reproduction, sexual pleasures being the main focus. The main aim of this branch is thus being side lined.

The concept of supraja also indicates towards the category exactly opposite to this, that of kupraja or a defective progeny. These may include children with various genetic disorders, or congenital anomalies. Scattered references of defects in pumbeeja or shukra- which means semen or sperm, leading to defects in the progeny are found in Ayurveda texts. Charak Samhita, one of the famous texts of Ayurveda, gives reference of shukra dosha( defect in shukra) as ‘Shukram hi dushtam sapatyam sadaaram badhate naram’.3a The meaning being, a defect in shukra, affects both wife of the person with the defect, as well as his progeny .The defects in progeny have been elaborated by the commentator Chakrapanidatta as diseased or impotent progeny.

The importance of a healthy shukra for conception is also repeatedly emphasized. Shukra has been mentioned as the foremost requirement for a fetus which will grow normally within a gestational period of nine months, without any trouble and will grow to have a healthy body and mind 3b.

Beeja (a seed) i.e shukra as purusha beeja( in this context-the sperm) and artava as stree beeja(or ovum), a defect in any one or both are responsible for congenital defects in the feotus 3c.
While describing conception, it has been specifically mentioned by Acharya Atreya that the Purusha retas i.e. shukra should be ‘anupahata’( without any defects or damage) only then it will lead to a healthy fetus3d.

Shukra dushti has been cited as a prime reason for the failure of conception as well as for ajanma (failure to give successful birth) of the fetus 3e

While describing garbha upaghatakar bhav- factors which can cause either abnormalities or destruction of fetus, Acharya Chakrapani has elaborated Pitridosha (defect in the father) as apathya sevana (intake of unwholesome diet and regimen) by father and Shukradosh in the father 3f. All these references clearly indicate towards the importance of healthy purusha beeja. The science of Vajikaran was developed over ages to ensure a healthy shukra, which would ensure Subahupraja-a progeny which will have healthy body as well as mind.

Vajikaran chikitsa requires living in strict compliance to the directions mentioned in Ayurvedic classics. It also involves various methods of shodhan (body cleansing) through vaman (emesis) or virechan (purgation), to prepare the body for the therapy. After the Shodhan therapy, based on the prakriti (doshic body constitution) and the nature of problem of the person, certain herbal and herbo-mineral combinations are used. Some of the famous herbs used in vajikaran being Aswagandha (Withania somnifera), Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), Shilajatu( black bitumen ) etc. Many other methods included under vajikaran therapy involve drugless therapy, aimed at improving mental health like, massaging with and herbal baths, wearing of fragrant garlands, anointing the body with fragrant herbal pastes, listening to music etc.

Vajikaran therapy revitalizes all the seven dhatus (body elements), therefore restores equilibrium and health. Keeping in mind the concept of vajikaran as described in the texts of Ayurveda, it definitely offers a solution to minimize the shukra defects and to ensure a healthy progeny.

1. N.E Skekkback et al .Testicular dysgenesis syndrome: An increasingly common developmental disorder with environmental aspects.
Human reproduction, 2001; 5: 972- 978.
2. Barbara F. Hales, Bernard Robaine. Paternal exposure to drugs and environmental
chemicals: Effects on progeny outcome.
Journal of andrology, 2001; 22: 6: 927-928.

3. Agnivesha,Charaka Samhita,with Ayurveda-Dipika Commentary of Chakrapanidatta,
Edited by Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji Acharya, 5th Ed, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Samsthan,
Varanasi. 2001
a. Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 29/18-19
b. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 2/6
c. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 2/29
d. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 3/3
e. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 4/28
f. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 8/21

The sole purpose of this article is to provide accurate information about Ayurvedic/Medical theories. This information is not intended for use in the prevention, treatment, or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concerns, please consult your family physician or health care provider who can fully assess your individual needs and provide the care you require. The contents of this article may not be reproduced in part or whole without the permission of the author.

Age Appropriate Toys for Children from Birth to First Year

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“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul”, said kindergarten inventor Friedrich Froebel. Research has shown that play helps in all areas of child development by providing the most required environmental stimulation to the child. Right from birth play helps a child to learn physical skills, language development, and social skills. Play shapes a child’s personality and is a part of the early material of moral character. Toys of different types form the epicenter of a child’s play. It is therefore quintessential for a parent to be well informed when it comes to choosing and buying the right toys for their little ones. With the fast growing toy market and the enticing and often overrated media advertisements, choosing the right and safe toys for children has indeed become a difficult task. This article is an attempt to provide the basics of choosing the right toys for infants-children aged 0-1year.

Birth to three months:-
The vision of a newborn is not fully developed. They are very nearsighted and can see only few colors like black white red and yellow. Their hearing though is matured and they can hear and recognize their mother’s voice. The toys that can be introduced at this age are-
-Mobile with highly contrasting colors and patterns.
-Music boxes, records, CD players with soft music.
-Soft, brightly colored and patterned toys that make gentle sounds.
Talking, singing and any form of active interaction with parents and near ones also provides the child with the most needed stimulation in this stage and throughout the first year of the child.

One to three months:-
This is a phase where the child starts following moving objects, and starts using hands and eyes in coordination. The child also learns to smile and babble and can turn his head toward direction of sound. The toys that are best suited for this age are-
-Images and books with high contrast patterns.
-Bright varied mobile.
-Playing varied music with music box etc.

Four to seven months:-
By the end of this period the child will be able to roll from front to back and back to front. The child will be able to sit first with support and then without. He will able to reach for things and then transfer them form one hand to another. Full color vision also develops at this time and the child’s distance vision and ability to track moving objects improves. It is obvious from this that some major milestones are achieved during this period of life. Therefore the toys that can be given to the child at this age are-
-Soft balls, especially those which make soft pleasant sounds.
-Toys with different textures and which make sounds.
-Toys that are light weight and have finger holds.

-Musical toys like bells.
-Old magazines with bright pictures for you to show him.
-See through rattles that show the pieces making the noise.
-Baby books with board, cloth, or vinyl pages.
The child develops interest in mirror images so including a mirror (preferably unbreakable) is ideal during this phase. You can also stat reading to your child during this period.

Eight to twelve months:-
Your child will be able to crawl and creep during this age and will also be able to pull himself to standing position. You can introduce your baby to the following toys during this stage.
-Stacking toys of different sizes, shapes and colors.
-Cups, wooden spoons, light weight pots and pans.
-Large and colorful building blocks.
-Large dolls and puppets.
-Push and pull toys.
-Toy cars and trucks.
-Paper boxes, old magazines, egg cartons etc.

The sole purpose of this article is to provide accurate information about Ayurvedic/Medical theories. This information is not intended for use in the prevention, treatment, or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concerns, please consult your family physician or health care provider who can fully assess your individual needs and provide the care you require. The contents of this article may not be reproduced in part or whole without the permission of the author.