Neurodegenerative disease is an umbrella term for a range of conditions which primarily affect the neurons in the human brain. Many neurodegenerative diseases including Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s occur as a result of neurodegenerative processes. Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable and debilitating conditions that result in progressive degeneration and/or death of nerve cells. This causes problems with sensory, motor and/or cognitive functioning.

Though most neurodegenerative conditions cannot be treated, they may be effectively managed with Ayurveda. The symptoms can be alleviated and disability minimized so that the quality of life can be enhanced. Ayurveda treatment includes shodhana (cleansing) therapies such as Virechana (purgation), Basti (colonic administration of medicaments). Nasya (nasal administration of medicines), Snehana (external therapies like oleation) and Svedana (sudation) in its varied forms. These are complemented and followed on by suitable internal medications that include medicated fats (oil or ghee based preparations), decoctions, powders and pills.

The treatments are personalized to individual needs and outcomes are dependent on a judicious combination of the medications and tailored to the individual patient’s need. Some of the most frequently advised Panchakarma therapies include Shastika Shali Pinda Sweda (rice-herb milk poultice), Shastika Lepana (rice wrap), Taila Dhara (oil-pouring), Shirodhara (pouring oil over the head), Shiropichu (herb/oil paste application), Nasya (nasal drops), Basti (medicated enema).

Dietary recommendations and lifestyle modifications are also an integral component of the treatment. In most cases, patients are also prescribed Yoga and physiotherapy to complement Ayurvedic management.

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Panchakarma – Measures to heal the system