For A Healthy Life

Words: Dr Sharayu S GAJAPURE & Dr Omprakash GULHANE 

Lifestyle diseases occur primarily due to our skewed daily habits and inappropriate relationship with our environment.

The key factors contributing to lifestyle diseases include bad food habits, physical inactivity and disturbed biological clock. This is why a healthy lifestyle ought to be adopted with a balanced diet, physical activity, among other factors, to maintain good health.

Food, clothing and shelter [anna, vastra, niwasa] are the three pillars of life — of which healthy food plays a major role. However, in today’s life, thanks to occupational stress, everyone wants too many things in less time. This triggers our urge for junk-food, smoking, and alcohol.

This is not all. There are three classes of chemical preservatives, commonly used in foods. Benzoates [sodium benzoate], nitrites [sodium nitrite], and sulphites [sulphur dioxide]. They lead to poor quality of diet; they are also linked to a higher risk of obesity, depression, digestive issues, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, cancer, and early death. 

Materials & Methods

Lifestyle disorders and their causes:

  • Heart diseases like arteriosclerosis: High blood pressure [HBP], diabetes, smoking, obesity, physical [in]activity
  • Chronic liver disease: Alcohol
  • Stroke: Smoking, HBP, elevated cholesterol
  • Nephritis: Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure [hypertension]
  • Diabetes: Diet, obesity, sedentary lifestyle
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]: Air pollution, occupational dust, long-term cigarette smoking
  • Cancer: Alcohol, smoking, certain medications, dietary factors
  • Hypertension: Obesity, alcohol, smoking, lack of physical exercise. 

Preventive Treatment Through Ayurveda

Nidan Parivarjan

The best physician, according to Ayurveda, is one who cures the patient from diseases. The best medicine is that which promotes good health.

If the knowledge of nidan [diagnosis] is good, the treatment of diseases will be more effective. The term nidan stands for both vyadhijanak [cause of disease] and vyadhibodhak [knowledge of disease]. Vyadhijanak nidan is called hetu; vyadhibodhak nidan comprises of nidan, purvaroop, roop, samprapti and upashay.

Ayurveda also describes various types of chikitsa. Nidan parivarjan is ekvidha chikitsa. It is useful for proper guidance in pathya-apathya to patients — just as hetu becomes apathya in vyadhi.

Nidan 

It is the factor, or cause, of disease. It is responsible for the disequilibrium between the doshas, dhatus and mala that eventually lead to samprapti [pathogenesis] of disease.

Parivarjan

The cause of disease, which is responsible for the disequilibrium between dosha, dhatu and mala, should be avoided. For example, dadhi, i.e., excessive kapha dosha causes diabetes mellitus. Hence, eating yogurt should be avoided.

Nidanparivarjan is the avoidance of factors that cause disease through diet and lifestyle. It encompasses the idea of refraining from precipitating, or aggravating, factors of the disease by way of dinacharya, ritucharya, ratricharya, annapanvidhi as prescribed in Ayurveda [classical] texts.

Rasayana

Rasayana chikitsa is one of the important branches of Ayurveda. It helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Rasayana improves immunity and other vital functions in our body. Many herbs and dietary materials can act as rasayana. Naimaitik rasayana is the type of rasayana therapy utilised for a curative purpose. It hastens recovery from prevailing diseases. 

Rasayana Drugs According To Dhatu

  • Rasa. Khajura, kashmari, draksha
  • Rakta. Amalaki, lauha, palandu
  • Mamsa. Bala, ashwagandha
  • Meda. Guggulu, shilajatu, amrita
  • Asthi. Shankha, laksha, majja
  • Majja. Vasa, majja, lauha
  • Shukra. Pippali, nagbala, aatmagupta.

Rasayana Drugs According To Srotas  

  • Pranvaha Srotas. Bhallatak, amalaki, pippali
  • Udakvaha Srotas. Sarva jaliya padarth
  • Annavaha Srotas. Hing, nagkeshar, panchakol
  • Rasavaha Srotas. Guduchi, laja manda
  • Raktavaha Srotas. Kushthaghna dravyas, ghrit
  • Mansavaha Srotas. Suwarna, kumbha
  • Medovaha Srotas. Shilajatu, guggulu
  • Asthivaha Srotas. Abha
  • Majjavaha Srotas. Bhringaraj, vacha, bhasma
  • Sukravaha Srotas. Koncha, vang bhasma
  • Mutravaha Srotas. Punarnava, gokshura
  • Purishvaha Srotas. Bilwa, haritaki
  • Swedavaha Srotas.Vang bhasma.

Rasayana Drugs According To Disease

  • Prameha. Amalaki, haridra
  • Hridroga. Arjuna, shalparni
  • Amavat. Bhallatak, amrita
  • Shwas. Bhallatak
  • Pandu. Lauha
  • Mansaroga. Medhya rasayana
  • Kushtha. Tuvarak
  • Medoroga. Hartaki, guggulu.

Achar Rasayana

Achar rasayana means good conduct. It states:

  • A person must be truthful
  • Must not indulge in violence
  • Must be free from harbouring bad intent, or acts
  • Should be free from ego
  • Must have excellent sense organs
  • Should have love for spiritual knowledge
  • Should have self-control
  • Must take milk and ghee

Discussion

Health and disease are dependent on three factors, viz., ahara [diet], vihara [lifestyle practices] and oushadha [drugs and therapies]. Among these, food [ahara] is considered to be most important. Pathya is defined as the ahara [diet], which is congenital to the person, according to their constitution, appetite and digestive capacity. Most health problems develop due to flawed eating habits and improper cooking.

The planning of diet, based on certain principles mentioned in astavidhi vishesayatan is rational and scientific. Ayurveda emphasises upon characteristics of food in terms of quality, quantity and time which vary with age, constitution, habitat, digestive power, season, disease and also the liking of the individual, or patient. Annavaha srotas refers to the food carrying channel, or gastrointestinal tract. Digestive disorders from acid indigestion to celiac diseases, ulcers, also vomiting, are all indications that the function of annavaha srotas are being affected by one’s diet, lifestyle, environment, or other factors.

Conclusion

Swasthasya Swastha Rakshanam, Aturasya Vikara Prashamanam is the aim of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is a vast medicinal science, which focuses on healthy living rather than treatment of diseases. In the present scenario, everyone experiences mental and physical stress due to their lifestyle, messy daily regimen, inadequate sleep, lack of exercise, dietetic [ir]regularities, and metabolic disturbances — the primary causative factors for annapachan vikruti. The persistence of the same factors denotes the expansion of disease in the system and permanent damage of the organ.

Ayurveda employs various preventative measures, viz., ahara, vihara, pathya-apathya, palana, shatkriyakaal, for all disease symptoms, including dinacharya, ritucharya, yoga and dietetics to preventing lifestyle disorders.

The prevention of diseases, in Ayurveda, is far more important than the curative aspect of disease.

Dr SHARAYU S GAJAPURE, BAMS, MD [Swasthvritta], is Assistant Professor, Department of Swasthavritta & Yoga, and Dr OMPRAKASH GULHANE, BAMS, MD [Swasthvritta], is Assistant Professor, Department of Swasthavritta & Yoga, Bhausaheb Mulak Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. This article [Role of Swasthavritta in Ayurveda for Healthy Life: A Review] was first published in Journal of Ayurveda & Integrated Medical Sciences, 2022; 7[6]:148-151, under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.

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