Diabetes has emerged as a detrimental disease in the modern world. Unhealthy eating habits and stress is seen as major cause for rise in number of Diabetic patients. The disease is not restricted to developed countries alone. WHO projected India as the fastest growing diabetic population till 2025.
Ayurveda’s Theory Of Diabetes
In Ayurveda, any disease is considered due to imbalance of the three doshas– Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Based on the doshas, Diabetes is classified into twenty sub classes i.e. 10 sub classes are related to Kapha, 6 classes related to Pitta and 4 classes related to Vata.
In Ayurveda Science, diabetes is termed Madhumeha or Prameha. Twenty types of ‘Prameha’ have been specified in Ayurvedic texts.
-Born out of vitiation of Vata dosha or the air body humor, there are four varieties which are considered incurable.
-Born out of vitiation of the Pitta dosha or the fire body humor. There are six varieties of which are only difficult to cure.
-Born out of vitiation of Kapha dosha or the phlegm body humor. There are ten varieties which are considered to be curable.
What do Ancient Ayurvedic Text Say?
In Ayurvedic science, Diabetes was mentioned more than 3000 years ago by Charaka as ‘Prameha’ in Charaka Samhita. Diabetes is referred as Prameha or Madhumeha which means frequent urination and presence of sugar in urine. Charaka has classified Prameha as Sadhya (curable), Yapya (paliable) and Asadhya (incurable). According to Sushruta, Diabetes can be broadly classified based on physical appearance as – Saheja Prameha (Lean Diabetes) and Apathyani mittaja (Obese Diabetes). Saheja prameha is related to genetic disorder (Bija dosha) and is similar to Type 1 Diabetes class of modern science. Apathyani mittaja is due to life style disorders and is acquired at later stage of life. This correlates with Type 2 Diabetes of modern world.
Ayurveda’s Cure for Diabetes
Ayurvedic line of treatment is based on individual’s constitution and considering the Prakriti of patient, Dosha predominance. Other factors like hereditary, food habits etc. are also considered to prepare a specific line of treatment. Usually, Type1 Diabetes patients are advised Brimhana medication and diet to increase dhatus in body. Panchakarma is not advised to such patients. Diet is also considered as a kind of medicine in Ayurveda as each food has certain qualities to affect the doshas in certain ways. In Type 2 Diabetes, Purification of body is advised by Panchakarma method depending on predominance of doshas. E.g. patients with Kapha dosha are advised Vanmana (emetics) and patients with Pitta dosha are advised Virechana (purgation) Panchakarma treatment.
The various stages of treatment include:
1) Snehana – The toxins are loosened by application of oils internally and externally.
2) Sodhana – purification process which include three steps: Vamana, Virechana and Vasti.
5) Controlled Vyayam (Yoga and Pranayama)
6) External Therapies: Abhyanga, Takra Dhara, Udwathana, Kashaya seka, SSPS Generally Swedana (Sudation) is contra indicated in Prameha. Raktamokshana is advocated in non-healing diabetic ulcers.
Case Studies on Ayurvedic Treatment For Diabetes:
1. Case Study conducted at Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, Gujarat
This research work was planned to evaluate the extra effects of Ayurvedic Ahara and Vihara in the management of Madhumeha and to project them socially. For this study, 30 diagnosed patients (Group A – Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle + Varadi Kwatha & Group B – Varadi Kwatha) of Madhumeha (DM type 2) from the Outdoor Patient Department of Basic Principles, Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, Gujarat were registered on the basis of signs and symptoms of Madhumeha as per Ayurvedic classics and modern medicine.
In group A, 4 (66.67%) patients showed moderate improvement, 1 (16.67%) patient showed mild improvement, and 1 (16.67%) patient showed no improvement. In group B, 17 (70.83%) patients showed moderate improvement, 6 (25%) patients showed mild improvement, and 1 (4.17%) patient showed no improvement. According to the effect of therapy, Varadi Kwatha with Ayurvedic Ahara and Vihara (group A) has proved to be a better remedy than only Varadi Kwatha (group B) by relieving most of the cardinal symptoms as well as improving the biochemical parameters.
2. Case Study Conducted at Govt. Ayurveda College, Nanded (Maharashtra).
This study was prospective, single blind, uncontrolled clinical trial, where a total of 30 patients with the complaints of polyuria, intense thirst, burning sensation in soles of feet and palms of hands (Hastapadataladaha) and blood sugar level (P.P.) were selected for investigation and treatment from the OPD and IPD of Govt. Ayurveda College, Nanded (Maharashtra). In present study, Vanga Bhasma was prepared strictly by following Rasashastriya procedure and finished product was examined on Ayurvedic as well as modern parameters.
This Vanga bhasma was administered to 30 diagnosed patients of D.M. and results response of the treatment of the vanga bhasma was highly encouraging, within 21 days the relief was observed in polyuria, joint pains were reduced to 86.66%. Blood sugar and shithilangta reduced (80%), Hastapadataladaha (85%), Kshudhavriddhi (83.33%), Constipation (33.3%), Bhrama (62.5%), Pindikodveshtan (76.92%) and Bahuswedapravritti (72.22%). Hence it is clear that the Vangabhasma is an ideal drug for the treatment of Madhumeha (Diabetes Mellitus). Besides the treatment, the patients of Madhumeha must follow the regime of pathya and apathya (compatible and incompatible).
3. Case Study Conducted at Govt. Akhandanand Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Ahmedabad
This comparative study was planned to assess and compare the efficiency of Vamana and Virechana in controlling the raised blood sugar levels in patients with DM. Known cases of Type‑2 DM attending the OPD and IPD of the Govt. Akhandanand Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Ahmedabad, in the age group of 25-60 years having none of the long‑term complication of DM were primarily considered for the study. Only those patients were selected who had never taken insulin to control his/her blood sugar. Of these, only those patients were finally selected who were found fit for Vamana or Virechana and those with fasting blood sugar level in the range of 126-250 mg/dl or postprandial blood sugar level in the range of 200-350 mg/dl or both. Results of this study showed that both Vamana and Virechana cause marked reduction in fasting blood sugar (FBS) and postprandial blood sugar (PPBS) levels. Results conclude that Vamana by reducing Kapha and Meda helps to minimize insulin resistance, whereas Virechana by lowering down the hepatic glucose production helps to control blood sugar.
4. Case Study Conducted at Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Group, Kalayanthani, Thodupuzha(Kerala)
This study evaluates the efficacy of Classical and Traditional Ayurvedic line of treatment in above different Diabetes types in Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Group, Kalayanthani, Thodupuzha(Kerala). These studies evaluate the efficiency of classical line of treatment ,not only controlling blood sugar & urine sugar levels in diabetes mellitus, but also to control all the complications of prameha. 30 diagnosed cases of diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) were selected. 70 percentage were males & 30 percentage were female, aged between 40 – 60 yrs.
All patients were given, snehana for 5-10 days. These medicines used were– Arjuna Thaila, Arjuna ghritha & Arjuna Sarshapa. The dose varies from 25 to 50 milliliters every day at bed time. Virechana with Samana aushadas like kashayas for two weeks powders and liquids were also given of better results. The results showed that 21 out of 30 patients showed excellent response after shodhana itself, complaints decreased and the FBS & PPBS attained normal levels. This treatment was continued for 3 years till the blood sugar and urine sugar came down to normal levels, after which the treatment was completely stopped. No complaints were observed from the patients for one year.