Thursday 28 August 2014

Ayurvedic treatment for stroke

Readers, some of them from abroad India, have written seeking  more information on Ayurvedic treatment of or for paralysis or stroke. A few readers have asked if there is an alternative for the travel to Chitoor they have to undertake to take Ayurvedic treatment at the hands of a well-known Ayurvedic practitioner.
One of the reader wanted to know if the Ayurvedic treatment is effective for brain swelling.
The swelling of the brain is called edema and it can be due to a variety of cause-from stroke or paralysis to head injury, bump on the head and even bacterial infection.
Brain swelling, if not treated initially and quickly, can lead to life threatening problems and even death. The skull around the brain is so tightly woven around the organ that it generally prevents injuries. However, when the brain begins to swell, the skull has to be cut off or part of the skull removed.
 Brain swelling is also known as elevated intracranial pressure or cerebral edema. When the swelling increases pressure inside the skull, it comes to be known as intracranial pressure, or ICP. This pressure has to be immediately reduced as it can prevent blood from flowing to the brain. It can also effectively stop other fluids from leaving the brain, leading to permanent damage to the cells or even the death of the cells. .
Ischemic strokes is regarded as the most common type of stroke and this is caused by a blood clot or blockage in or near the brain. The stops the flow of blood and oxygen into the brain and once this occurs, the brain begins to die. It is at this juncture that doctors decide to remove a part of the skull to lessen the pressure on the brain. This is called decompressive craniectomy.
Craniectomy is often resorted to in patients who have experienced a very severe brain injury involving bleeding around the brain or excessive swelling of the brain. Craniectomy, therefore, is  performed as a life saving measure.
As patients who undergo craniectomy were brought to hospitals in critical  condition, they will require a fairly long time to recover and recoup.This may take from a few months too even years.
The best manner to hasten the recovery is by going in for a comprehensive and thorough rehabilitation programme. This will be primarily aimed at regaining as much brain function as possible. By the way, replacement of the bone or skull removed during craniectomy will be undertaken months after the original injury or paralysis occurred.
Surgeons of Johns Hopkins in the United States have reported they have devised a safer method to replace the bone removed from the skull after craniectomy.
The new procedure is detailed in the US journal, Neurosurgery. The study covered 50 patients and only one of them required bone removal as he developed a deep infection.
One of the earliest systems of medicine in the world is Ayurveda. This system has a set of procedures outlined for treatment of stroke or paralysis. In Ayurveda, a stroke is called Pakshaaghaata and Ayurvedic texts say it is caused by blockage of Vaata movement.
Ayurveda uses a variety of  drugs such as Ekaanga veera ras, Vaata Gajaankush ras and Vata Chintamani ras which is also called as Brihat Vatchintamani Ras to treat strokes. As the Vatchintamani Ras contains a fairly large dosage of metals, it should only be taken under strict medical supervision. This is in tablet form and should be used only after consulting doctors.
The Ekaanga veera ras too is in tablet form and it contains heavy metals. The Gajaankush too is a tablet with heavy metal content. It is generally used for treating neuro-muscular problems. Apart from these tablets, Ayurvedic treatment also includes application of medicated oil , nasal drops  and even a special type of enema called basti or basti karma, which is one of the main procedures of the panchakarma treatment.
Palsineuron tablets has also been found effective in treating stroke.
Regular massage in Ayurvedic method is called abhyangana chikitsa. This not only ensures that the patient gets adequate exercise, but also works to free the passive movement of muscles and joints.
Gunja taila is also used in Ayurveda as an external application in paralysis. Dashmoolaarishta is another Ayurvedic input for toning up the nervous system Ayurvedic practitioners generally prescribe Maha Narayana taila for external massage. Recent research has shown that turmeric can be used an effective tool against paralysis.
Some of the herbal medicines or items that can act as a cure for strokes are garlic, carrot,  ginger, turmeric, spinach, pigweed, willow, pineapple, English pea, green tea and  ginkgo biloba, a herb commonly found in Europe and extensively used there.
Conventional Ayurvedic medications generally used for stroke also include Yograj Guggulu, Mahayograj Guggulu, Tapyadi Loha and Sameerpannag Ras.
The Chinese too have a native method for dealing with stroke. It is called Ren Shen Zai Zao Wan.
Whatever the system of medicine, always consult an expert and in cases of stroke or paralysis, never go in for self medication. Consult your family doctor first and then go to a recognized Ayurvedic practitioner. Please remember many of the allopathic drugs that are already being prescribed contain ayurvedic formulations.

What we would suggest for people suffering from stroke, paralysis or brain damage is that the patients should be given intensive rehabilitation therapy. Apart from this, regular massage and exercises can help a stroke patient become more mobile.   

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