Heart diseases and the related risk factors like high and low blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and diabetes affecting a major chunk of the population day by day. The prevention and controlling of these factors at the earliest is the best remedy. The symptoms creep in silently leading to the collapse of the body parts one by one, finally the pre
Date: 07 - Jan - 2021 12:03:32
Heart diseases and the related risk factors like high and low blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and diabetes affecting a major chunk of the population day by day. The prevention and controlling of these factors at the earliest is the best remedy. The symptoms creep in silently leading to the collapse of the body parts one by one, finally the premature and painful death. Try the Ayurveda way to have a (healthy) heart!
Concept on heart
“Hrudaye moordhni vasthow cha nrunam prana prathjistitha” - (Charaka Samhita)
Ayurveda considers heart as one of the three vital organs in the body. The sloka means that any injury or damage to these vital organs will be fatal.
The term ‘Hrdya’ is derived from three Sanskrit words - hri, da and in, which means harana, dana and ayana respectively. It means, receipt, giving way and enables to execute the two earlier functions.
Harana(receive), Dana(give away) are the two functions. ‘ayana’ means to execute the two functions.
Ancient acharayas have clearly described the size and shape of the heart.
'kapharaktha prasadal syal hrudayam stanamojasa: mamsapesee cha yo raktha padmakaramadhomukham’ (astanga hrudayam-sareeram). The sloka means that heart is the boon of kapha and raktha dathus. It is the place of ojus (vitality), made up of muscle and shaped like an upside down lotus bud.
How it functions?
Thorasic heart receives and ejects the blood (rasa-raktha complex) by continuous contractions and relaxations for maintaining the circulation to perform the `preenana' (exchange of oxygen & carbon dioxide) and `jeevana kriyas'(exchange of water, salts, nutrients between the blood and the surrounding body tissues)
Obstruction to the coronary arteries is the root cause of heart diseases. The coronary arteries are the blood vessels, which travel through the wall of the heart and nourish the heart muscle.
Since the heart muscle spends a huge amount of energy, it needs ceaseless nourishment. It naturally demands a good supply of blood. Any impairment of these blood vessels interferes with the adequate blood flow to the heart muscles. If this blood flow is significantly diminished then the heart signals its difficulties by registering pain or discomfort in the chest.
A heart attack is when the blood supply to part of the heart is cut off and that part of the muscle dies (infarction). Angina can be a helpful warning sign if it makes the patient seek timely medical help and avoid a heart attack. Prolonged or unchecked angina can lead to a heart attack or increase the risk of having a heart rhythm abnormality. Either of those could lead to sudden death
It is very difficult to diagnose heart disease in the early stages. Elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and obesity may lead to heart diseases. There may not be even a chest pain in some cases, but in most of the cases chest pain is the main symptom. Later, the pain may spread towards the left side or right side of the chest.
Often, the pain will be on the left side. Then, it may spread to the arms, neck, jaws and even the upper part of the abdomen. The left shoulder and the left arm are the mostly affected areas.
Dyspnoea (kashtawasa), fever (jvara), cough (kasa), thirst (trishna), bad taste (asyavairasya), discolouration (vaivarnya), syncope (moorcha), hiccup (hikka), nausea (kapha utklesa) and stupor (pramoha) are the main symptoms.
How it occurs?
Improper diet and stressful lifestyle, may lead to the thickening of the arteries (dhamani pratichaya) or hardening of the arteries (dhamani kadinya) resulting in angio-obstruction (vata dosa) and angina (ruja) are the main causes of the heart diseases.
Sage Susrutha describes the causes as follows.
Dooshayitwa rasam dosha viguna hrudayam gatha
Hrudi badam prakurvanthi hrdrogam tham prachakshathe”
The sloka means that suppression of natural urges, indigestion of food of hot potency, dry food, use of incompatible food, consumption of more food than required, eating of uncooked food, excessive grief, excess fear or psychological stress (pressure) will aggravate tridoshas and vitiate the rasa present in the heart and create pain in the heart. This condition is known as heart diseases or hrdroga.
Different types of heart diseases
According to the imbalance of doshas and characteristic nature of pain Ayurveda has classified heart diseases in to five.
Sage Sushruta has classified heart diseases into four - Vathaja hrdroga, pittaja hrdroga, kaphaja hrdroga and sannipatija hrdroga (tridosha). And renowned sages Charaka,Vagbhata and Madhavakara added one more type - krimija hrdroga
Fasting, dry food, insufficient food quantity, lack of exercise etc will aggravate vata and spread into cardiac region and produce vata-related diseases. Pain is the most important symptom in vathaja hrdroga. According to Sage Susrutha, the patient will feel pain like pricking, twisting, tearing and exploding or splitting.
In angina pectoris cases, the site of the pain is restrosternal (center of sternum), constricting or crushing pain radiates across the chest, both arms and shoulders (commonly on left side), then on neck, jaw, fingers and epigastric region.
Angina, or angina pectoris, is the medical term used to describe the temporary chest discomfort that occurs when the heart is not getting enough blood
When the heart does not get enough blood, it can no longer function at its full capacity. When physical exertion, strong emotions, extreme temperatures, or eating increase the demand on the heart, a person with angina feels temporary pain, pressure, fullness, or squeezing in the center of the chest or in the neck, shoulder, jaw, upper arm, or upper back. This is angina, especially if the discomfort is relieved by removing the stressor. The discomfort of angina is temporary, meaning a few seconds or minutes, not lasting hours or all day.
An episode of angina is not a heart attack. Having angina means you have an increased risk of having a heart attack.
While unstable angina occurs anytime even during rest without any precipitating factor in the myocardial infarction the chest pain is accompanied by profuse sweating, breathlessness and complaints of discomfort of heaviness.
Normally, samana chikitsa (pacification therapy) and rarely sodhana chikitsa (elimination by cleansing) is prescribed in these cases. If the patient’s stamina or energy level is less, samana is more suitable. ‘Panchakarma’ are not advisable in heart diseases. Even though heart is one of the main site for kapha, vamana and swedana are not recommended. Rarely ‘Ksheeravastis (enema with special mixture of milk,
Decotion, ghee, honey etc.)’ and mild ‘virechana’(purging) are performed.
The usually prescribed medicines
1. Pippalyadi churnam 1-2 gm thrice in dadima swarasa (pomegranate juice).
2. Gundi kwatha (dried ginger decoction) with little rock salt at the time pain and heart burn.
3. Panchamoola kwatha as internal, making thailam for nasya and vasti
Valiya panchamoola are the first five roots among Dasamoolam (the ten roots known as Dasamoola)
1)Vilva -( Aegle marmelos)
2) Kashmarya -( Gmelina arborea)
3)Takkari -( Premna serratifolia )
4) Patala - (Steriospermum colais )
5) Dunduka - (Oroxylum indicum)
GENERAL MEDICINAL PROPERTIES:
Pacify vitiated tridosha, pain, arthritis, fever, cough, bronchitis, general weakness, neuropathy, nervine weakness, and urinary tract diseases and boosts immune power.As ‘panchamoola’ has the tridosha pacifying and immune boosting properties, it is widely used in diseased related to lungs and heart. ‘Thailam’ made by ‘panchamoolam’ decotion is used for nasya(administration of medicines through the nose-one among the panchakarma therapy) and vastis(ksheeravasti-an enema with a combination of milk, dasamoola decoction, ghee, honey etc.) Water boiled with ‘panchamoola’ with sundi(dried ginger) may be used for drinking propose which will pacify the vatha and pitha
4. Dasamoolaristam, jeerakadyaristam, vayu gulika, saptasaram kashayam, hrudyam kashayam, dasamoolam kashayam, vidaryadi kashayam, dadimathi gritham.
5. Ksheerabala (101) times and danwadaram (101) times internally and externally, danwadaram thailam, bala thailam etc. for external use over the chest.
“Ushnamlalavanakhara kadukajeernabhojanai madya krodha aathapa paichasu hrudi pitham prakupyathi”
The sloka means that by the intake of heat-producing food, sour, salty, alkaline and spicy food, consumption of alcohol, over exposure to sunlight etc pitha will get elevated in heart. “Trishnoshadahachosha syu pithike hrudaye klama
Doomayanam cha moorcha cha sweda sosho mukhasya cha”
Thirst, burning sensation, sucking pain, exhaustion, feeling of hot fumes coming out, fainting, perspiration and dryness of mouth.
Virechana(purgation) with Avipathi churna. Generally, pitha balancing drugs are recommended along with shitala pralepa (external application).
Medicines 1. Decoction of dried grapes, sugarcane juice, dates mixed with honey and sugar for drinking.
2. Milk boiled with ‘madhuka’-Madhuca longifolia (Synonym Madhuca India)( with honey and sugar for drinking. 3. Extract of ‘guluchi’ (Tinospora cordifolia)with milk. Guluchi is an effective immune-stimulant.
4. Ksheera vasti (enema) Ksheera vasti(enema) is a specific vasti(enema) with a combination of suitable decotion+milk,Suitable ghee,Thailam,honey etc. Ksheeravasti is a wonderful therapy which pacifies the pitha dosha instantly.Ksheeravasti can be administered without elaborate poorva karmas (pre treatments like internal & external oilation, sudation)
Dosage: according the ‘bala’ (vitality) of the patient
5. Drakshavaleha at bedtime, drakshadi kashayam with milk, ghee prepared with ‘pithahara’ drugs.
6. Dasamoola hareethaki lehyam
Content:dasamoola roots,Harithaki(Terminalia Chebula),Jagery,Honey,etc. As an anti-inflammatory, immunomodulator and cardiac tonic, this formula is recommended for improving the immune system, liver and spleen. As a diuretic and laxative, it is also useful for edema and obesity.
Dosage: 10-15gm twice daily preferably after food.
“Athyadanam gurusnigdha achinthanamachestanam nidrasukham chabhyathikam kapha hrdroga karanam” (Charaka Samhita)
Over-eating, eating of more oily food, lack of exercise, over-enjoyment, over-sleeping are the reasons for kaphaja hrdroga.
“Gowravam kaphasravo aruchi stabho agnimardhavam
Maduryamapi chasyasya valasavathathe hrudi”
Feeling of heaviness, kapha srava from mouth/nose, anorexia/dull digestive fire, stiffness of the body, sweet taste in the mouth are the main symptoms.
If the patient’s energy level is high, then after purva karma (internal and external oilation & sudation) ,vamana (emesis) is recommended.
For Virechana: Trivrith lehya or trivrith churnam with honey may be given.
“Vacha nimba kashayabyam vantham hrudi kaphothithe
Vathahrudrogahruth churna pippalyadi cha yojayeth” (Chakraduttam)
Sage Chakradutta says that one should do emesis with the decoction of vacha (acorus calamus) or nimba (bark of neem) and then should take pipplyadi churnam indicated in vathaja hrdroga.
Dasamoola hareethaki lehyam, agasyarasayanam, aswagandharistam, mahadawandaram gulika etc.
The causes of vathaja-pithaja-kaphaja hrdroga together lead to tridoshaja hrdroga.
According to the predominance of doshas the treatment methods are prescribed.
1. Siddha Majkaradwaja 300 mg twice daily
(Siddha Makaradwaja is a ‘Siddha’ preparation in fine powder form. It is humanized mercuric sulfide (with camphor, nutmeg and some other ingredients)
It has a Rasayana (tonic effect) on heart.)
2. Puskaramoola churna 2gm twice daily. It reduces LDL and triglycerides.
3. Arjunaristam + amrutharistam 30ml twice daily.
It lowers the blood pressure and improves Cholesterol profile.
Susrutha describes the symptoms of krimija hrdroga as follows.
“Uthklesa shteevanam thodha soolo hrullasakathama
Praruchi syavanetratwam sodhascha krimijo bhaveth”
Nausea, spitting, pricking pain, colic, drowsiness, anorexia, blue color of eyes and emaciation are the main symptoms in Krimija hrdroga.
“Krimignamoushadham sarvam krimije hrudayamaye”
All the therapies and medication useful for parasitic worms(anthelmintic) are recommended in krimija hrdroga. Sodhana chikitsa (cleanising), langhana (fasting) and pachana (digestive) lines of treatment should be followed.
1. Virechana (purgation) after giving sweets with sesamum.
2. Vidangasavam 30ml twice a day.
Vidanga(Embelia ribes, Embelia Indica)
The nature of the herb is anthelmintic, carminative and stimulant. Good remedy for abdominal disorders and constipation. It cures the problems like gas, indigestion.
Recommended for fungus infections. This remedy also applicable for head ache, heart disease, insanity and hemorrhoids. It removes tape worms from stomach.
3. Vidanga churam mix with the cow urine may be given for drinking.
4. Pomegranate juice with rock salt.
Apart from the five types of heart diseases, Sage Susrutha describes problems like hrthsoolam(heart pain, which is same as angina),’HrdVidradhi’( inflammation ,and infection to heart), ‘Amavatha’ ( known as rheumatic heart, where the due to rheumatoid arthritis the function of the heart is also getting affected), ‘Apathatrakam’(a type of convulsion occurring due to tetanus or pre Eclampsia ( an acute and life-threatening complication of pregnancy which is characterized by the appearance of seizures before or during delivery).
Tips to keep healthy heart
1. Vegetarian, low-fat diet is good. Use less salt. Take dinner at least three hours before going to bed.
2. Avoid taking coffee as it may increase the blood pressure. Coffee, which contains caffeine, enhances the action of adrenaline and noradrenalin, which increases blood pressure. Noradrenalin or norepinephrine as a stress hormone, affects parts of the brain where responding actions are controlled. Along with adrenaline, norepinephrine also underlies the ‘fight to fight’ response directly increasing heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores.
3. Smokers tend to have high blood pressure. Nicotine increases the resting heart rate and increases the release of the adrenaline substances that tends to increase blood pressure. Smoking alone significantly increases risk of having heart attack.
4. Should take exercise daily. It will help to eliminate body fat, lower the total cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol that prevents fatty-cholesterol deposits.
5. Be cool. Speaking loudly and rapidly can significantly raise blood pressure. Chronic anger produces elevation in blood pressure and it can be a serious risk factor for coronary heart disease.
6. Laugh, a best medicine: Laughter is as good as relaxation therapy. Study shows that laughter decreases adrenaline and cortisol production.
7. Meditation: Try to ease yourself with meditation and by performing yogic asanas like Shavasana.
Box 1: Size of the heart
It is the same size of our fist.
Kasyapa Samhitha describes about the circulatory system in detail:
"Hrudayal sampradayanthe siranam dasamathara
puna puna parnanamiva seevanya saranascha siramatha"
There are ten main veins which originate from the heart - upwards 4, downwards 4, transverse 2. It is branching likes the veins in the leaf to all parts of the body. The word sira (capillaries) came from the activity - saranam (spreading).
Box 2: The doshas in the heart
Vyana vayu, controls the rhythmic movements and the blood circulation
Prana vayu, gives life to the heart
Apana vayu, gives stability to the heart
Arthasadakam pitha, enhances intelligence, memory power and ego.
Avalambakam kapha, gives smoothness and strength to heart.