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Parkinson’s Disease

Dr. K. Y. Iyer

Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic progressive disorder, which has no known cure. Ayurveda has much to offer to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease in the form of medicines, dieting and lifestyle changes and rejuvenation therapies.

Parkinson’s disease (Paralysis agitans) as described by James Parkinson in 1817 is characterized by degeneration of central nervous tissues, affecting the motor skills of a person, thereby impairing his (rarely her) movements and speech.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. PD usually affects people over the age of 50.  Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually.  In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others.  As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of PD patients may begin to interfere with daily activities.  Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.  There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic PD.  Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination.  The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately. Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule out other diseases.

Kampa vata described in Ayurveda is similar to Parkinson’s disease. Kampa means vibration or shaking (as in an earth quake). Ayurvedic texts describe the symptoms as constant shaking or tremor of limbs and/or head, difficulty in body movements, difficulty in speaking, expressionless face and staring like look.

Parkinson’s disease affects about 1% of population of people aged 65 and above. It is less common in developing and underdeveloped countries. The description of similar type disease in ancient Ayurvedic scripts suggests such a disease existed 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.

Ayurvedic treatment for Parkinson’s Disease
Ayurveda treatment aims at balancing disturbed vata. Massage therapy, enema, medication methods are applied. In addition to Mucuna pruriens (known by names violet bean, cowhage, naikkurana and kaunch beej), Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera), Sida cordifolia are the prime herbs usable in Parkinson’s disease Ayurvedic treatment.

Ayurvedic Parkinson’s treatment utilizes a holistic approach. The holistic treatment regime has great chances of success. Pacification of vata at the digestive tract is important. Mild laxatives are used for colon cleansing, mainly to control vata aggravation.

Rigidity associated with Parkinson’s disease is due to entry of vayu to mamsa. To relive rigidity, one has to be given nervine tonics (Jatamansi and Shanka pushpi) are examples. Depression is due to vata entering nervous system, which can be controlled by appropriate drugs like Hydrocotyle asiatica or Hypericum perforatum.

Ayurveda Parkinson’s disease treatment is not just about applying certain medicines or drugs to pacify the symptoms of the disease. Ayurveda treatment is a concerted effort to accurately identify the exact reason of the imbalance and offer stable solution to the problem.

This holistic approach makes use of meditation as a self diagnosis tool. Parkinson’s disease occurs due to imbalances in mind, body or soul. Yoga and meditation helps the person to accurately focus on the right reason for the condition. It can sometimes be physical, mental or spiritual. Identifying the cause makes the cure as easy as possible.

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