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Ayurveda > Jantu Pradurbhav Chikitsa

By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

Treatment of Infections
In the era of ayurved, sciences such as pathology and bacteriology were not developed and those such as virology had not even been imagined. The microscope had not been invented either and thus, infections were described in terms of pitta-dushti (pitta=one of the basic body constituents, dushti=aggravation) or rakta-dushti (rakta=blood tissue). Antibiotics were unknown to ayurved but the principles behind them had been thought of by ayurvedic scholars.

In this article we will deal with some common infectious conditions like vrana (ulcers), pitika (acnes and boils), and arbuda (abscesses, carbuncles and furuncles). All these conditions are characterized by pain, tenderness and swelling, with or without pus formation. They are observed on any part of the tvacha (skin) or shleshmal tvacha (mucous membrane.)

According to western medicine, these conditions occur as a result of external factors like bacteria. However, ayurved believes that they occur as a result of internal imbalance or impurity which in turn occurs due to aggravation of the basic body constituents, especially that of the pitta constituent. This is the reason why ayurved mainly suggests performing panchkarma (cleansing procedures) for treating these conditions. They may not be as effective as antibiotics in acute conditions, but are found effective in chronic conditions or recurrences. One more advantage to following the ayurvedic regime is that it has no side effects and does not produce any resistance to drugs. It never hampers our immunity and on the contrary reinforces our immune system. We have seen that antibiotics develop drug resistant bacteria and although we are constantly searching for newer and higher antibiotics, they are not sufficient for human needs. Also, we are unaware of infections that we may discover only in the future and of possible cures for them. Changing our life styles, opting for the right diet and taking the support of the ayurvedic regime may help us in finding some ways through this difficult situation.

As stated earlier, ayurved suggests detoxifying processes like virechan (purgation) and raktamoksha (blood letting) for infections. Treatment is both internal as well as external. In internal treatment, an anti-pitta diet is suggested. Avoiding excessive consumption of tea and coffee, avoiding oily and spicy food, stopping alcohol consumption, etc. are all an essential part of this treatment. Plenty of salads, sprouts, juice from bitter leaves (e.g. neem juice) and some astringents are recommended. Applying herbal packs externally helps in dissolving local infection or in processing suppuration.

Important ayurvedic herbs recommended in this treatment are manjistha (rubia cordifolium), katuka (picrorrhiza kurroa), neem (azadiracta indica) haridra (curcuma longa, commonly known as turmeric), daruharidra (berberis spp., commonly known as barberry), etc. Most of them are bitter in taste, because ayurved states that sweet and spicy foods lead to rakta dushti. Kumari (aloe vera) in the form of medicinal wine (asava) is a good medicine which helps in improving liver function and thus in detoxification. These are all ayurvedic blood purifiers and help to establish a pitta balance in the body. Ghee (clear butter), especially that which is prepared from cow milk is used internally as well as externally. The older the ghee, the better the effect, according to ayurved. Ghee which is ten to fifteen years old is best only for external application because it has a bitter taste. Laxatives like triphala churna {a powder consisting of haritaki (termilania chebula), bibhitak (terminalia bellerica) and amalaki (emblica officinalis)}, gandharvaharitaki {a powdered form of haritaki (termilania chebula) prepared in castor oil} or eranda tel (castor oil) are recommended because they help in cleaning the bowels. In general, ayurved thinks in terms of cleansing the body system and thus curing infection.

If we integrate the ayurvedic regime with modern medicine, treating infections with antibiotics in acute conditions and giving ayurvedic treatment as a follow up, we may achieve better and long term results.


Ayurvedic Milestones
Ayurvedic Thought
 Vaat, Pitta, Kafa, Dosh
 Dhatu, Mala, Fire
Pathology - Ama
 Ashtang Ayurved
 Agad Tantra
 Kaumar Bhrutya Tantra
 Shalya Tantra
 Shalakya tantra

Actual Case Notes
 Asthmatic Bronchitis
 Bleeding per anum
 Hair Loss
 Pregnancy Care
 Senile Debility
 Solution To Baldness
 Vaat Related Fever

Academic References
Ayurvedic Herbs


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