Thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine gland in the body found in the anterior neck, below the laryngeal prominence (Adam’s Apple). Metabolism of the body is controlled by the endocrineglands in the body and one of which is thyroid. The gland produces thyroid hormones that regulate the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. The most common thyroid problems include abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Overproduction of thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism stems up from underproduction of thyroid hormones. As certain amounts of thyroid hormones are required for body’s energy production, a drop in hormone production leads to lower energy levels in hypothyroidism. These two conditions may be due to other underlying cause or disease.
Hyperthyroidism is more common in women than in men ranging between the age 30 to 50years.Tremors, irritation, anxiousness, diarrhoea, flushing, heat intolerance, menstrual disturbances, lack of energy, anger on the slightest remark, palpitations, rapid shallow respiration are few of the symptoms identified in hyperthyroidism. In Hypothyroidism, the patient may experience fatigue, depression, slow pulse, low blood pressure, hoarsness of voice, weight gain, loss of vitality, swelling of skin and subcutaneous tissue, puffy face etc. The management of thyroid dysfunction may vary depending upon the symptoms and the type. In general Diet and lifestyle changes, herbal formulations, yoga are advised for the management of conditions related to thyroid dysfunction.
Various Ayurvedic detoxifying procedures like Abhyanga(Oil massage), Swedana(fomentation), Udwartana(Rubbing of herbal choornas over the body), Virechana(therapeutic purgation), Basti(Therapeutic enema),Nasya(Instilling drops in the nostrils) may be done in such conditions. Ayurveda herbs such as Amalaki(Indian gooseberry), kanchnar, punarnava, shilajit, guggul etc. may be used in various forms to treat hypothyroidism.
Foods such as cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, maize, lima beans, soya and pearl millet, junk and fatty foods should be limited as they contain natural chemicals that cause the enlargement of the thyroid gland by interfering with thyroid hormone synthesis. Avoid substances that are sour and heavy for digestion. Smoking depresses TH levels and produces chronic underlying hypothyroidism. Foods that are rich in iodine, such as beetroot, radish, parsley, potatoes, fish, oatmeal and bananas should be kept in the diet. Ayurveda advises old rice, green gram, cucumber, milk and milk products that should be consumed. Lifestyle changes include regularly doing exercises such as walking, swimming, running and cycling that plays an important role in controlling hypothyroidism. Reduction of stress is essential for proper functioning of the gland. Practising Yogasanas such as Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Halasana, Suryanamaskara, Pavanmuktasana and Supta Vajrasana and Pranayamahave proved to be very effective in hypothyroidism.
MSRICAIM has specialized consultants who can suggest the right management approach for this condition.
For more details and booking:
M S Ramaiah Indic Centre for Ayurveda and
Integrative Medicine (MSR ICAIM)
A unit of Gokula Education Foundation (Medical)
New BEL Road, MSR Nagar
Bengaluru – 54
Ageing is a natural process which will culminate in the complete cessation of life at a predetermined time. Ayurveda prepares one to face old age with dignity and strength so that the process of ageing can be enjoyed rather than suffered. For this one has to understand what ageing is and how to prevent or reduce its ill effects.
Mostly vata-related diseases appear at this stage, so one has to prepare the body against vitiation of vata. Diseases above the neck region which are seen at a young age do not commonly occur in old age since it is dominated by vata. Some of the common problems which occur in old age are sneezing, allergic rhinitis and chronic running nose.
Many of these conditions can be prevented or corrected if one follows some lifestyle modifications after the age of 60.The body as a safety reaction, tries to expel allergens that attack the olfactory region in the form of forceful sneezing. If the body’s immunity is strengthened and the dryness of the body is reduced through internal and external unctuousness, this can be prevented.
An oil prepared with leaves of Bilwa(Aegle marmelos), black pepper and a piece of dry ginger, used as a head application before having a bath every day can prevent or reduce sneezing. Vilvam Pathyotyadithailam which is available in the market can be used for this purpose.
Also the application of five drops of Ksheerbala 101 as nasya(after warming slightly) in the nose at 7.30am for 14 days is very useful to stop sneezing.
Application of oil on head regularly is a good practice in old age which will prevent drying up of organs above the neck. This condition has to be understood from the Ayurvedic point of view. Dryness and unctuousness are not objectively measurable. But one can appreciate the subjective condition. Whenever there is sneezing one should stop consuming foods that can vitiate kapha and vata like fermented foods, baked foods, curd and certain kinds of fruits especially banana. Sneezing is not a major disease but can be a nuisance and hinder day to day life. Sneezing can be a premonitory symptom of conditions like asthma. So, one should always be careful to lead a healthy life.
Food is important in old age. Very light and easily digestible food should be eaten. Take warm water, avoid milk products except ghee and reduce intake of fried food. Ghee is one of the most misunderstood foods in the science of nutrition. In Ayurveda, ghee is the only food which has been equated with longevity to the extent that on of the symptoms of ghee is Ayu(long life) itself- ‘Ghritham Ayuruchyate.’
Ghee when made using the traditional method from cow’s milk goes through four different stages of ‘Paka’ or digestion:
First, milk is boiled and cooled. Secondly, a few drops of buttermilk are added and left overnight for fermentation. Third, the curd which is formed is churned with a wooden instrument and the butter is removed. And lastly, the butter is melted under a low fire till all the water has evaporated. This can be measured by the absence of bubbles in the heated ghritham. When the ghritham or clarified butter or ghee is made in this way it becomes life-enhancing ghee. This is what Ayurveda prescribes for old age in moderation.
Any indigestion in old age can result in a cold and running nose. We have to ensure that the agni or the digestive fire is maintained properly in old age. For this, take one tablespoon of Ashta choornam either with honey or with hot water before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If there is a tendency for constipation always drink plenty of water boiled with half teaspoon of jeera(cumin seeds) and a piece of dried ginger. Whenever there is a cold and running nose, take a pinch of dried ginger powder and smell it several times a day. This is very effective in treating a running nose. Also avoid washing the head since it will help the body to fight against cold. Soups made of horse gram dressed with onion, black pepper, and minimum salt are very useful in fighting cold. Not only will such soups improve the agni, they will also help to strengthen the body’s immune system.
During old age it is advisable to avoid all deep fried foods since these are difficult to digest and low in nutrients. When there is cold or sneezing or both conditions prevail, one should not go out at night. If at all one has to go out, properly cover the ears and head first. Proper nutrition which reduces vata, controls kapha and pacifies pitta is the food for the old age. They can be designed as per one’s eating habits and food culture. Take only warm food. Do not consume refrigerated and reheated food, deep fried foods and cold water. These will keep you away from cold and sneezing.
Written by Dr.G G Gangadharan
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