• Dr.Jeevan.E.P

Rasayana Chikitsa (Geriatrics)

Medical science with its rapid advance has reduced infant mortality, eradicated parasitic diseases and epidemics. Preventive measures have been advocated for a variety of diseases, thereby extending the average life span of human beings. When, therefore, ageing population is increasing naturally more knowledge should be acquired regarding the restoration of the health of ageing people. In layman's language this aspect of medical science is rejuvenation.

Restoration of youthfulness has been an aspiration of mankind. To halt the inevitable march to senility, to turn the clock back to youthfulness, generations of men from philosophers to explorers, have sought the elixir of life, the source of eternal youth. Even though the course of ageing still remains a mystery, to a lay man the outward manifestation of ageing is the inadequacies of the reproductive capacity. So from immemorial the genital organs have been the arena of research for those who sought the secret of rejuvenation. In Ayurveda, these aspects comes in two major heads. One is rasayanaor freeing man from the signs of old age such as Jara (wrinkles of skin and greying of hair) and the other one is Vajikarana

means making man as virile as a horse.

Ancient people had many fantasies about long life and developed myths and folklore to express ideas about longevity. Various rituals, sacrifices and innumerable cures to extend life, developed throughout history. There is a common belief that people lived much longer in the distant past. In the old testament the book of genesis has referred to Adam having lived for 930 years, Seth for 912 years, Noch 950 years, Methuselah for 969 years. It is impossible to document this account scientifically.

In the Rg Vedawe can see the prayer to Aswini Devatas (Twin physicians of Gods) a prayer for a life for 100 years. The same idea can be seen in Upanishads.

In all Ayurvedic text books (Charaka, Susrutha and Vagbhata) especially in the chapters concerning Rasayana, human life span is fixed as hundred years and it can extend up to 120 years. The Rasayana is mainly intended to add life into years but not years in to life. In other words the intention is to improve the quality but not the quantity of life.

Ayurvedic masters in their introduction have stated that Rasayanais meant for the improvement of memory, wisdom, lustre, colour of the skin, voice, healthy state of all organs, vocabulary and sexual power also, along with the attainment of the prescribed long life. They have stressed that measures for the improvement of health should be undertaken from the start of middle age.

According to Ayurveda, Rasayanacomprised of two Sanskrit words; Rasaand Ayana or the path of rasa dhatu (the flow of nutrients to the deeper tissues). If there is s a block in the flow of nutrients in to the deeper tissues like blood (circulatory system & lymphatic system), muscle tissue(muscular system), adipose tissue, nervous tissue(nervous system & skeletal system)), marrow , immune system & geneto urinary system etc. the destruction of the cells starts leading to the accumulation of toxins or waste products and end up in the malfunction of organs, disease and starts the ageing process. so the basic cause of ageing is the accumulation of waste products in the tissues. The growth of the cells are stopped leading to the various kinds of ailments depends upon the site of accumulation. So the basic aim of rejuvenation is to cleanse the toxins from the particular tissues and to re-establish the flow of nutrients. Several nutritive substances can be given in order to improve the strength. Vagbhata has explained with an example that rejuvenation therapy administered without purifying the body does not help, just like colouring a dirty cloth does not shine !

In Ayurvedic texts there are two methods of rejuvenation. One of them is Kuti Pravesika and the other one is known as Vata Atapika . Kuti pravesikameans entering in to a specially build hut and doing all the purificatory (Pancha Karma)treatments in Ayurveda and then taking the special kinds of food and medicines which are rejuvenating for a period of 3 to 12 months. It is a laborious process with a good supply of rejuvenating drugs, several specialists and other Para- medical people. As this method is tiresome and time consuming very few could get the benefit.

Vata atapika or open air method is more suitable for ordinary people as there is no rigid restriction with regard to rest and diet. but the benefits will be less compared to the other.

It is very interesting to note that Vagbhata has concluded the chapter that those who speak the truth and nothing but the truth, those who never become angry, those who lead a serene life, control over his sense organs, engaged in good activities only are all considered to be rejuvenated daily. This definitely shows that how much importance the ancient sages have given to the infinite power of Mind to keep the body healthy which the modern medicine has started realising slowly.

Meditation for the peace of Mind, One day total rest for the body and Mind once in a week including fasting, Self urine therapy, role of stress hormones and the balance of hormones, planning the post retirement period, taking a small amount of alcohol, cultivating love and compassion, good signals from the brain for keeping the body healthy, lengthening the telomere by the removal of waste products etc. can be explained scientifically which was told by the ancient sages in an ordinary way.


The following are the recommendations for a prolonged longevity

1. To get habituated with the diet which is good for your constitution and not indulging in over eating on any occasion.

2. To cultivate a habit of undertaking a morning walk in fresh air everyday.

3. To secure a satisfactory bowel movement once every morning.

4. Applying the medicated oil all over the body and head which is indicated for your disease.

5. To develop a serene personality by putting a smiling face whatever the provocation.

6. Taking the necessary purificatory methods and consuming the proper rasayana during the middle age onwards.

7. To avoid the unnecessary drugs and medication especially stimulants and sedatives.

8. To enjoy a reasonable sex life.

9. To live in a temperate climate.

10 . To maintain a high level of personal hygiene.

11. To get proper medical attention in case of illness.

12. To avoid sleeping during the day and to sleep for 6 - 7 hours during the night.

13. Planning the post retirement period.

14. Fasting according to the strength and constitution.

15. Practising meditation techniques.

Findings!

People who are eating a diet rich in fat are prone to high risk for heart attacks, obesity, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol which will lead to several kinds of diseases. The tribal population who eat much less fat and processed food but much more fibre and only a small fraction of sugar as jaggerry live quite long, exhibiting a healthy constitution throughout life.

Consuming wine or alcohol in little quantity increases the HDL (High Density Lipoproteins)

Ayurveda explains if you take properly the alcohol it is nectar or else it is poison.

Urine which contains natural cortisol in small amounts, taken internally maintains health and prevents cataract, elastsity of the skin, high blood pressure, arthritis, cardiac problems and osteoporosis.

Developing love and compassion increases the bodily secretions, which contains a high level of immunoglobulin. The popular saying is " if you don't want to catch a cold fall in love" !

Molecular biologists are explaining the life span has been determined by its genes, and in human beings it is thought to be about 120. The cell stops dividing when the length of the telomeres shortens and the cell malfunctions and degradation starts. Genetically it can be engineered to prolong the life.

Rk. Veda suggests the 120 years of life for human beings. The constructive period is Kapha time lasts to 30 years of age. The period of the Pitta is the cessation of growth and the peak activity of the organism. It is up to 60 years of age. Then starts the degradation which is the Vata stage. So a diet and activities which will reducing the Vata and maintaining the Pitta will prolong a health life. Vagbhata says - "rejuvenatory recipes though good and correctly administered become ineffective who has a poor digestive fire just as help done to an ungrateful man. " So the digestive fire is the root cause of proper growth.

All the recipes mentioned in Rasayana are having these qualities.

Main Plants and medicinal preparations used in Rasayana

The important medicinal combinations used in Rasayana are Harithaki Rasayana, Brahma Rasayana, Amalaka Rasayana, Chyavanaprasa, Aswagandha Rasayana, Bhallataka Rasayana, Lasuna Rasayana, Guggulu Rasayana etc. etc. more than 40 herbs will be in each preparation. Terminalia chebula(Haritaki), Terminalia bellarica(Bibitaki), Phyllanthus emblica(amalaki), Bacopa moneri(Brahmi),Withania somnifera(Aswaghandha), Asparagus recemoses(Satavari), Semicarpus anacardium( Bhallataka), allium sativum (Lasuna), Bitumen(Silajatu), Psoalea corylifolia (Bakuchi), Ghee, Milk, Barely, Jaggery etc. are the usual substances found in such preparations.

Triphala means "three fruits". All the three ingredients Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibitaki (Terminalia belerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) are well known rejuvenators. They prevent ageing, impart longevity, enhance the immune system and improve mental faculties. The beneficial effects can be observed on all seven dhatus (body tissues).

Ancient formulas:

Drinking honey, Ghee or milk either separately or in combination of two or three before meals controls ageing.

Triphala decoction with Ghee and honey.

Amalaki fruits put in to a pot which is filled with honey, and kept under the barley heap for six months.

Two fruits daily restores longevity.

60 grams of black sesame seeds fried and mixed with Jaggery to be taken followed by one glass of milk.

Consume Ghee prepared with asparagus and Jaggery.

Aswaganha (withania somnifera) powder with milk or Ghee nourishes all Dhatus.




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