Parkinson's disease, known in Ayurveda as "Kampavata," is a neurological disorder caused by the very gradual deterioration of nerve junctions, popularly known as ganglia. These junctions are situated at the base of the brain and affect muscle control and movements of the body. Tremors begin in a hand or limb when the muscles are at rest.
The progression of Parkinson’s disease and the degree of impairment vary from individual to individual. Many people with Parkinson’s disease live long productive lives, whereas others become disabled much more quickly. Premature death is usually due to complications such as falling-related injuries or pneumonia.
Parkinson’s disease is a heterogeneous and genetically complex disorder of largely unknown etiology. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the general population. Approximately four million people worldwide are estimated to be living with Parkinson’s disease. Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50. Adult-onset Parkinson’s disease is most common, but early-onset Parkinson’s disease (onset between 21-40 years), and juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease (onset before age 21) also exist.
The syndrome was comprehensively described by James Parkinson in 1817 (An Essay on the Shaking Palsy). But the review of much early literature of Ayurveda date back as far as 5000 BC would show that syndrome strikingly similar to Parkinsonism was already known including the treatment with the seeds of a plant containing therapeutic levels of what is today known as levodopa apart from several other preparations. It is known as “Kampa vata”
According to Ayurvedic principles our body is balanced by three vital energies i.e. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Imbalance of these energies leads to illness. Ayurveda calls Parkinson's disease as kampvata in Ayurveda. Due to overconsumption of dry and cold foods, fasting, skipping meals, more excitement etc. leads to vitiation of Vata dosha which leads to vitiation of rasa dhatu. Here presents with dry skin which is considered as the Poorva roopa of kampvata. Later on vitiated Vata goes deeper and affects Meda, Majja dhatus to block the channels and results in stiffness, rigidity of muscles, and tight skin with tremors. Tremors is kampa and bio-humor that is air is Vata therefore disease named as kampvata.
Signs and Symptoms (Rupa and Laksana)
The most common recognizable symptom of Parkinson's disease is known as a "pill rolling tremor." In this condition, the thumb and fingers move uncontrollably in a manner resembling the rolling of a pill between the fingers. Tremors most commonly appear in the hands, arms, and legs, though other areas may be affected. Small movements of the hands and fingers may eventually be difficult. This condition, called micrographia, can make ordinary daily activities such as buttoning a shirt very difficult. Another symptom is stambha (rigidity), in which movement becomes slow and difficult to initiate. Patients usually have to look at their feet to begin, shuffle forward and occasionally break into a trot (festination). The arms do not swing in coordination with the usual stride. The face may appear without expression (mask face), dull, or depressed; though no depression may be present.
Reduced blinking is an early symptom. The voice becomes monotone and expressionless, further causing some to mistake this as depression. Fifty percent of patients will develop dementia1. Vishada (depression) can accompany the disease, but the symptoms of mask face and monotone voice occur as a part of Parkinson's disease and should not be confused with depression. Upon examination, passive movements of the limbs produce what is commonly called "cogwheel rigidity." This is an unconscious resistance to passive motion causing the limb to move with irregular starts and stops, or a ratchet type motion. Sensory examination and reflexes are usually normal. Other signs of autonomic nervous system dysfunction may or may not be present, including orthostatic hypotension, constipation and urinary hesitancy9,1. The most common signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are Tremors, Muscular Rigidity, Mask Face/Staring, and Festinating Gait.
Ayurveda treatment of Parkinson consists of a combination of internal and external applications of Ayurvedic medicine.
1. Usually a set of decoctions (herbal medicinal drinks) is given. At the beginning, decoction should contain ingredients to achieve a balance of Vata Dosha; later the decoctions should have nutritious or rejuvenating value. The decoctions contain masha (Undu) - Phaselolusradiatus, Babila - Sidacordifolia etc. and are very effective.
2. Dasamula Arishta, which contains several ingredients, including herbs and roots such as Aswenna, Polpala, Elabatu, Katuwelbatu, Hinnerenchi, Beli, Midi, Thotia, Palol, Et demata and other herbs, is also given orally to balance the Vata Dosha and as a tonic.
3. Ashwaganda Choorana - orally taken herbal powder. Dosage: one teaspoon, twice a day with milk. It contains a medicinal plant named Ashwaganda-With aniasomnifera, which has a mainly rejuvenating property and acts as a nerve tonic.
Following treatments are also given depending on the patient's condition.
1. Shiro Abhyanga and Shareera Abhyanga (special head and body oil application)
2. Shiro Dara Treatment (special head oil treatment)
3. Pinda Sweda Treatment (Mild oil massage is administered to the patient with the help of special milk rice medicinal bundles made of cheesecloth.
4. Shiro Vasti treatment (Keeping oil over the head with the help of special cap)
5. Nasya karma (drops inhaled through the nose)
6. Rasayana karma (Rejuvenation)
The better management of Parkinson’s Disease is usually achieved by special types of Dhara, Pizhichal, Kizhi, Vasthi etc using special type of medicines prepared as per Ashtavidhya traditions. In addition the treatment procedure is monitored regularly by experienced physicians.
At this stage it is found that Ayurvedic Panchkarma treatments do give considerable results. It is noticed that the progression of the disease is arrested and gradual relief from symptoms happened. Pain, numbness, stiffness etc. are reduced and to a certain extent the tremors are also controlled.
It is assumed that both internal and external medicines and treatments in the Ayurvedic system help to check the dopamine loss in the brain cells and the neurodegeneration process is thus delayed and diluted. Gradually the patient gets power to withstand the symptoms.
At an advanced stage of the disease also Ayurveda has an effective role to play. Prolonged inpatient treatment with counseling helps the patient to recover gradually. When they get both physical and mental power from these treatments, usually the discomforts are experienced to be coming under control. The percentage of relief is dependent upon the age of the patient, chronicity of the symptoms and also duration of the onset of the disease.
Ayurveda treatment shows better results for parkinson’s disease. Ayurveda has special medicines and special treatments for parkinson’s disease. The ayurvedic treatment depends upon patient’s body condition. More than 90% of the patients show better results in Parkinson’s disease. Also a total rejuvenation to your body and mind is assured. Through the Ayurveda treatment we have got 50% to 60 % or more progress/cure
in Parkinson’s disease within a period of 3 to 4 months as the patient adhered to the controlled diet and several treatments with respect to the treatment plan prescribed by the in house experts after the detailed initial diagnosis/ evaluation.
Diet for Parkinson's disease treatment
Here are a few dietary tips for those who have Parkinson's and are undergoing medication to treat it.
1. It is vital for the patients to remember that they have to control their diet in order to get a better grasp on their weight. Being healthy and being the right weight can go a long way when it comes to keeping the body ready for the medication it takes in every day.
2. It is vital for people with Parkinson's to include high fiber foods in their diet. Some of the most important foods with high fiber include legumes like peas and beans, whole grain bread and food, vegetables, cereals, bran, pasta, rice, fresh fruits etc.
3. It is important for these people to also avoid food that has a lot of cholesterol or saturated fat.
4. It is best to reduce the amount of milk or yogurt a person consumes as well. Sugar intake should also be severely limited.
5. Salt intake should also be limited.
6. High water intake would be an important aspect of Parkinson's disease treatment. At least 8 glasses of water should be consumed per day. However, people have to make sure that they don't severely increase the intake of water for they might end up losing important minerals from their body.
7. It is better for people to avoid alcohol when they are on medication to treat Parkinson's for the alcohol might interfere with the medication.