Endometriosis Treatment in AyurvedaDr. Surya Bhagwati
Endometriosis is a fairly common gynecological disorder, affecting an estimated 25 million women in India. The condition affects the ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing a range of symptoms and complications. It is associated with a higher risk of infertility and often develops in women who suffer from PCOD. The causes of endometriosis are still not clearly understood by medical science and there is no medical cure for the condition. Conventional treatments like pain medications, contraceptives, and hormonal therapy, only offer temporary relief and in severe cases, patients may be advised to undergo hysterectomy – surgical removal of part of or the entire uterus. Because of the high risk and ineffectiveness of these treatments, researchers have been looking at the potential of natural endometriosis treatments. So far, endometriosis treatment in Ayurveda is the most promising because of its holistic approach, use of natural therapies, powerful herbs, low costs, and safety.
Ayurvedic Treatment of Endometriosis
Although it is hard to associate ancient Ayurvedic terms with specific conditions, some like Yoni Kanda, mentioned in Madhava Nidhanam match very closely. Based on texts like these and the Charaka Samhita, endometriosis is described as a Sannipatika condition, which means that it could be linked to imbalances of vitiation of any of the doshas. The patient’s unique dosha profile or prakriti therefore also has a role to play. It’s worth noting that in most cases however, vata imbalances would be responsible because of the roles of Apana Vayu and vata in menstrual flow and circulation. The buildup of ama, which can have dietary and lifestyle causes, is regarded as another major cause of endometriosis.
With its holistic approach, Ayurveda seeks to address these underlying causes and cure endometriosis rather than simply treat the symptoms. Detoxification and purification procedures to destroy and remove ama are therefore critical, as is restoring the natural balance of doshas. Panchakarma is an important Ayurvedic therapy that can be used to achieve these goals and it helps normalize hormonal and menstrual functions. The therapy involves five procedures and is best administered in a specialized Ayurvedic clinic with qualified specialists. The therapy also requires dietary and lifestyle interventions to ensure success.
In addition to panchakarm or as part of the procedures, patients are also advised to use Ayurvedic medications for endometriosis, which are made from completely natural ingredients such as herbs, spices, and minerals.
Ayurvedic Medications for Endometriosis
Ayurvedic medications have an important role to play in the management and treatment of endometriosis. They can include a wide range of herbs and organic substances, administered in the form of supplements or polyherbal formulations. Some of these polyherbal medications for endometriosis and other menstrual disorders are based on information contained in ancient Ayurvedic texts. Some of the most commonly used ingredients include the following:
The bark and leaves of the Ashoka tree are commonly used to treat menstrual and reproductive disorders such as endometriosis, as it is believed to support the endometrium and uterine muscles. Research suggests that the uterotonic, anti-estrogenic, and anti-inflammatory effects may be linked to the presence of saponins, tannins, and glycosides in Ashoka.
Although the precise manner in which this herb acts on endometriosis has not been identified, studies have demonstrated anti-toxic and hepatoprotective properties. This means that the herb most likely works by treating the underlying buildup of ama and other toxins, addressing the underlying causes of the condition itself.
Guggul is most popular as a weight loss supplement, but it also helps in the treatment of endometriosis and other female gynecological disorders. These benefits for women are connected to proven properties of the herb as a uterine stimulant and emmenagogue, restring normal uterine function and menstrual flow.
Gokhru is used to reduce the severity of symptoms, improve hormonal balance, and enhance sexual function. Studies have confirmed the potential for the herb to enhance libido levels and improve arousal and satisfaction in women, within a few months of supplementation. This and other benefits are linked to its effect of enhancing androgen receptor density in the brain, which improve responsiveness to hormones.
This is probably the last herb that you’d think of as helpful for women’s health because of its association with bodybuilding and male sexual wellness. However, ashwagandha has immense therapeutic potential and its effect on testosterone levels also benefits women. Studies show that the herbal extract may also be of help in improving the balance of hormones and sexual function in women.
Other herbs used to treat endometriosis include the likes of turmeric, shilajit, shatavari, amalaki, arjun, and pipramool, among others. For the best results it is advisable to use herbal medications for endometriosis daily for a duration of at least 3 months. In addition to panchakarma and herbal medications, also make it a point to follow the dietary and lifestyle recommendations to maintain your optimal dosha balance.
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