Common Diseases > Heart Disease
Due to the
stress and strain associated with modern life, the number of
patients suffering from heart problems is increasing all
over the world. Heart disease
includes heart attacks, stroke, angina, arteriosclerosis as
well as problems related to hypertension.
Causes of heart
disease include wrong diet, physical or mental (emotional,
spiritual) trauma, suppressed emotions, anxiety, congenital
and hereditary factors. Heart disease may result as a
complication of rheumatic disease or liver or kidney
disorder. Modern diets which include animal fats and
excessive amounts of oil and butter,
combined with a lack of natural anti-oxidants and
modern life styles which entail unbearable stress
and strain as well as a lack of exercise make us
prone to heart disease.
How would you know if you had heart problems? Many people
will have few or no symptoms until they suffer a heart
attack or heart failure. Others will experience angina, minor chest
pains, shortness of breath, unexplained tiredness or
depression, high or low blood pressure. Any of these symptoms of course could be be
unrelated to heart problems, but are a sure signal that if
experiencing symptoms, it is time to seek medical advice.
Hereditary heart defects may be discovered and repaired
early in life, others may not have any significant affect on
general health and longevity. Cures here may require
restorative surgery, though creating a balanced lifestyle
with good nutrition may be sufficient for a long and happy
The most common cause of heart disease in the Western world
is diet and lifestyle.
An imbalanced diet and a lack of cardiovascular exercise can
cause a build up of fat around the heart or cause the
arteries to become clogged, in effect making the heart work
harder to accomplish it's task. Here products like
provide relief and an exercise program will help to reduce
symptoms, but if left untreated total heart failure and
death is inevitable.
As heart disease develops over time, recovery also takes
time. The first step is to manage the symptoms so they do
not get worse and then develop a course of action in
consultation with a health care professional and Ayurveda
offers an excellent holistic program.
Hruday Vikar Chikitsa
(Ayurvedic Treatment of Heart Disease)
Dr. Satish Kulkarni
According to ayurveda,
the heart is the seat of the atma i.e. our
spirituality, our consciousness. It is the site of
the divine self. The feelings in our heart are a
measure of who and what we are. This means that
heart problems reflect issues of our identity,
feelings and consciousness.
Heart disease can
occur within any of the three basic body
pitta and kafa.) Problems related to
age are commonly a vaat disorder, heart
attacks and strokes are commonly a pitta
disorder and hardening of blood vessels,
accumulation of fat and increased levels of blood
cholesterol lead to a kafa disorder and heart
disease as a result of that.
The general line of
treatment for heart disease includes a change in
life style i.e. ensuring a sufficient amount of
rest, reducing strenuous activity and avoiding
anxiety, worry and stress. Ayurveda asks us
to go back to our own heart, see what it really
wants in life and start doing that. This is the real
treatment for heart disease. Yoga asana's,
prarthana (prayers) and meditation are good
for cardiac health. Heavy exercise, hectic schedules
and frequent traveling should be avoided as far as
arjuna) is a recommended ayurvedic herb for
all kinds of heart disease. It gives tone and
strength to the heart muscles, improves the
heart-lung ratio, regulates blood circulation,
controls bleeding and promotes healing of the
‘injured’ cardiac tissue. It is usually given with
honey in kafa related disease, with ghee
in vaat related disease and with milk and
in pitta related disease. It should be
noted that modern medicine advises reducing fats
like ghee in heart disease but ayurveda
recommends ghee made from cow milk in
moderate amounts to ensure lubrication and avoid
drying of tissue. One to two grams of arjuna
powder with ghee or sidhdha ghrut (ghee
enriched with arjuna) should be taken daily.
Arjunarishta (a decoction prepared out of the
arjuna) is also a frequently chosen drug.
Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) and guggul
(commiphora mukul) are a few other medicines used in
heart related disorders. Another heart supportive
medicine is saffron, usually taken in or with milk.
It is a cardiac tonic as well as a rejuvenating
Changes in life
styles such as going back to nature, avoiding intake
of artificial food and following nature’s advice of
consuming fibrous food, avoiding consuming alcohol
and tobacco, starting to work on the theme of
spiritual healing, controlling one’s emotions
through prayers and meditation, avoiding anxiety,
quarrels and strain, and strengthening one’s heart
are very important for all types of heart problems.
Taken along with this regime, ayurvedic
medicines help in cleansing the blood, regulating
cholesterol, improving and maintaining proper
circulation and strengthening cardiac tissue. These
are the general principles of cardiac treatment. A
few other things like the use of spices like ginger,
cardamom and cinnamon, will definitely add to the
results of this treatment.
Ruby, garnet, gold
and silver are recommended heart sedatives mentioned
in ayurvedic textbooks. The ash of these
stones is to be taken orally, but wearing them on
the body is also useful. Pearl, moonstone, emerald
and jade calm the heart. Yellow Sapphire and topaz
strengthen the heart and tone the cardiac muscles.
Drinking water kept overnight in a copper container
helps in improving arterial health.
In short, our general
health is directly linked to our cardiac health.
Improving cardiac health with ayurvedic
regime will definitely improve our general health
and thus the quality of life.
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