Diabetes mellitus, commonly called Diabetes, in Ayurveda, (the science of life) explains Diabetes as Madhumeha”. The prediabetic stage is termed Prameha. In simple words, Ayurveda insists on lifestyle modifications along with herbal medicines & exercises for a diabetic person.
The topic is a common dilemma. Let us see, Diabetes is a condition that manifests in multiple systems of the body. Hence the prognosis is not very easy. We can regulate the blood glucose levels in the body by various supportive measures as per Ayurveda.
Well, Ayurveda is always a safe option for Diabetes. It is a way of living rather than a treatment system. It is a natural way of bringing back our body to normal by various natural therapies. Diabetes requires long term intervention.
It goes well with other treatments without any counter-reaction, if safely administered. Taking herbal medicines & following herbal-based routine for extended periods does not damage the body.
Total cure? What do you think?
Diabetes cannot be cured completely. It is not a single disease; it’s a group of systemic disorders which manifests slowly. This complexity makes the cure a time-consuming task. But in Ayurveda, it can be controlled or managed greatly. The degree of cure always depends upon many factors like chronicity, age of the patient etc.
Specifically, in Ayurveda, there are different types of diabetes depending upon the symptoms & history of onset of diseases. Treatment is given subsequently in various stages. There are a lot of dietary & lifestyle modifications described. For example, dietary preparations like porridge made with anti-diabetic drugs are of great demand & welcoming among the public.
For Diabetes, depending upon the type of patient, treatment is undertaken, if the person is obese, then measures to reduce fat that includes low – carb diet, physical activity are followed. If the patient is lean, milder & nourishing treatments are adopted, considering the strength of the patient. Here in both cases, anti-diabetic medicines are selected accordingly.
Key benefits of following ayurveda
Diabetes has profound effects on multiple systems in our body. The high blood glucose levels hamper the vital systemic activities like delayed wound healing lowered sexual response, mood swings (The person loses tempers easily).
The Ayurvedic approach generally emphasizes on treating the root cause of disease. It can control the disease to a great extend by arresting the further progression of the disease. The lifestyle modifications like regular exercise, managing weight, consuming a diet containing anti-diabetic properties.
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Treatment of diabetes- Ayurvedic perspectives
Ayurveda treatments are primarily based on tridosha theory. Vata, pitta, Kapha are the 3 doshas & considered as the balancing forces. Vata controls all movements in the body, pitta controls all metabolic functions, Kapha regulates the structure & nourishment in the body. That means doshas are considered as the balancing entities of health.
What happens in diabetes
Any derangement in the balance of doshas results in diseases. So in Diabetes, an imbalance of Vata & Kapha dosas occurs. By excessive consumption of sweet, fatty food especially dairy, carbohydrate-rich foods, genetic factors, other underlying primary diseases the doshas attains imbalance.
Likewise, diabetes caused by an imbalance of Kapha dosha, the treatment protocol is alleviating Kapha dosha by diet or medicines possessing opposite qualities of Kapha- pungent, bitter as well as astringent. Kapha dosa gets aggravated by the use of oily, fatty foods. So the intake of less fatty foods is advisable as part of treatment. At different stages of the disease, different doshas are predominant. So prophylactic measures to alleviate the predominant doshas are undertaken. Mainly in general, Vata- Kapha alleviation is followed. (
Some of the treatment procedures seem outdated in the Modern era, but we can use our rationale to modify the treatment methods to fit our current needs. Here application of physicians’ logic assumes great significance. A thorough evaluation of the patient is done before starting any treatment procedures.
Specifically, apart from food causes, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major causes of diabetes.
Our lifestyle – a contributing hazard
Nowadays, this assumes great relevance, because people are inclined towards fast food & reduced physical activity. This when continued for a long time, manifests as obesity & thereby diabetes. In today’s life, none is different; every person lives an unhealthy life.
Knowingly or unknowingly, they follow the same routine, this, in turn, makes them susceptible to many lifestyle disorders including diabetes in the future. The Ayurveda classics advises walking exercise along with other physical activities.
Herbs for life
There are potent herbs that are single remedies in diabetes treatment. Turmeric, Cinnamon, Ginger, Fenugreek, Bitter gourd are well known anti-diabetic herbs. But invariably the application differs from patient to patient& also depending upon the chronicity of the disease. For example, Ayurveda classics mention the use of turmeric & gooseberry as a perfect remedy for the disease.
Also, there is kashaya – medicated decoctions prepared from herbs, that are very effective. Then as mentioned earlier there are tablets, medicated powders for internal as well as external applications. Most of these have the property to rejuvenate the body & reduce the damage caused to organs.
Prevention in ayurveda
Ayurveda more stresses on prevention than cure. It is said that if we follow the balanced routine for food & lifestyle according to seasons or the changing climate, you would be freed from all kinds of diseases. It also emphasizes on having a stress free or peaceful mind. Diseases like diabetes have a great impact on our mental health too.
Another fact about Diabetes is that they are classified under diseases with a bad prognosis. But there is nothing to worry about. There are measures to be implemented at each stage & arrest even a minute progression of the disease. It is advisable to follow a strict pattern of conjoining medications & lifestyle changes.
The root cause for diabetes has to be avoided under all circumstances, like eating sweet foods, following a sedentary lifestyle etc.
Many people approach the Ayurveda system with the same question. But once they are told & explained about the treatment, most of them prefer to be treated soon. When the treatment starts, they feel the real change in the body which is beyond any explanation.
Each day is a better day for them. Simultaneously it depends upon the cooperation from the patient’s side also. How well they adapt to treatment procedures.
Internal as well as external treatments like drinking kashaya, doing panchakarma therapies like oil massage or powder massage, fomentation therapy, nourishing therapies to regain the health of eyes.
Vasti therapies (mostly applying for medicines through anal route) are also advocated based on the chronicity of the disease, the degree of body damage, age of the patient, the body constitution, the inherent strength possessed by the patient. These purificatory therapies eliminate the toxicity in the body & regenerate the body.
With all the ongoing therapies, prescribed diet & regimen are followed. By all these interventions body gains health so as the mind. After the above said procedures, monitoring of all vitals, necessary laboratory tests are performed in order to understand the systemic response to treatment procedures timely.
Yoga & meditation for diabetes
Along with medical treatments, Yoga & meditation are also incorporated. Suryanamaskara is very effective. This involves various bodily exercises including yogic postures. Pranayama or the breathing exercises oxygenate body cells & promote the normal wellbeing of the body.
Tackling sexual problems & improper sleep
Various meditation techniques are employed to regain the mental strength & consciousness. This soothes the mind & gives clarity to senses, thus improves sleep. The diabetic patient usually encounters sleep disturbances leading to insomnia.
Emotional imbalance also leads to sexual disturbances owing to relationship problems. Mental stress, emotional disturbances can also be tackled by following the same. Yogasanas like Dhanurasana & Sarvangasana are proven to be clinically effective & recommended widely.
The patient feels a sense of satisfaction & relief. They strictly follow the required routine rules for the rest of their life. Owing to the arrest in disease progression, medicines are reduced with dietary improvements. Antidiabetic diet preparations like drinks, salads, natural juices form part of the diet.
Prioritize our body & observe any changes occurring. This is the only way to understand a forthcoming onset of a disease. Especially diabetes does not manifest all of a sudden. It takes time to completely take the form of a disease. If we are conscious about the bodily changes, take quick action without any delay. If this methodology is followed, a lot of diseases can be prevented to a great deal.
The real life scenarios
In this modern world, relying on chemical formulations has greatly increased. Because no one is ready to take preventive measures against the disease. And when the disease onsets, they suddenly start the symptomatic treatment measures which are a temporary solution. It is double damage to the body.
Symptomatic treatment is not bad, but no one ever thinks about the leading factors behind the diseases before choosing treatments. People are less aware or least bothered about the cause of the disease.
In Diabetes, patients are advised to take insulin at a required dosage, at the same time most of them never skip their favorite sweet foods. They claim that they are on insulin or tablets, so there is no point in stopping sweet consumption. This slowly takes the patient to a bad prognostic stage, where the treatment is complex. Such cases are more shifting to Ayurveda treatment because their body can no longer withstand the chemical therapies.
Ayurveda mostly receives cases that are mostly in complicated stages, normally people present with an unhealed ulcer, or urinary problems or even cardiac (mistaken as abdominal gas problems). In such cases rather than giving symptomatic relief, doctors look for underlying diseases, the common suspect is always diabetes. Then treatment for diabetes gets started, gradually the symptoms are seen to get subsided.
Are plant remedies safe
Plant remedies are regarded as safe among the public. But they have active chemicals responsible for their pharmacological effect. Without proper supervision, improper consumption may lead to the severity of the condition. Like in Diabetes, there are locally known plants for a cure. But improper administration can even cause severe hypoglycemia which is fatal.
There are patients following an integrated approach in diabetes, by the following Ayurveda along with other chemical remedies. This further requires expert monitoring. The results are positive if followed properly. Ayurveda can also make the rest of the life of a diabetic patient happier &better.
Integrated treatment approach- a positive thinking
Unanimously, modern researches & Ayurveda agree on diabetogenic or diabetic causing foods. Scientifically it is proved that consumption of less fat foods, legumes, light fruits like cranberry, pear, and apricots is necessary.
Avoiding dairy products can bring drastic changes in the body, dairy products are fat-containing, and hence it should be avoided. The beans & pulses contain high fiber & regulate the glucose in the body by lowering its release. These findings are already mentioned in Ayurveda classics.
Ayurveda is the extract of ancient medical knowledge from Atharva Veda. Current studies also complement the ancient medical literature. There exists a lot of medical literature that explains diabetes. Different aspects are highlighted in each of the classics. The treatment protocol is adopted by summarizing all these classical information.
A short massage
- It is not a life threatening disease. If managed properly. Stop worrying, start action!
- Choose your treatment wisely.
- Practice yoga & meditation, it’s a valuable health tonic
- Reduce stress & inactivity
- Plan a diet chart fitting your daily intake requirements by including anti diabetic salads or drinks
- Get your body tests done timely. This is very necessary to assess the progress.
Ayurvedic perspective in explaining Diabetes causes, symptoms & treatments are discussed in detail. Possible treatment methods are explained to make better choices for the people. Yoga therapies coupled with meditation energizes the body & the mind. Above all, if you are healthy, adopt preventive measures. If you are diabetic, choose your treatment wisely. This is necessary to live a happy life.
- A Mind-Body Approach to Diabetes
- AYUSH – Ayurveda and Diabetes
- Diabetes Mellitus (madhumeha) And Ayurvedic Management: An Evidence-Based Approach