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Ayurveda - Menopause

Ayurveda is the science of life , a system of diet, healing and health maintenance that is spiritual in origin. It deals with the personal & public health to meet the reciprocal obligation of man and society. 

According to Ayurveda this universe is created from Panch Maha Bhutta (five basic elements) viz. Prithvi ( Earth), Vayu (Air), Jal (Water), Agni (Fire) and Akasha (ether) and they constitute our body also. These five elements constitute the body on various distinct and indistinct forms viz. * Doshas ( Metabolic components), Dhatus ( vital components) and Malas ( end products of elimination).  

Good health implies an ideal combination between the three doshic factors i.e * Dosha, 
Dhatus and Malas. No ture doshic factor/ individual exists. It is the pre dominance of 
any particular dosha which marks the constitutional type of human being. On this basis, human are divided into three psychosomatic types namely the VATA PRAKRITRIK, the
PITTA PRAKRITIK and KAPHA PRAKRITIK (three humors vata, pitta and kapha)  

Disease is imbalance. Any decrease or increase of the body humours is disease. 
When there is an increase, the symptoms will also be increased. A decrease 
Dosha loses it’s normal functions. The increase or decrease can be quantitative
qualitative and functional. One can measure the decrease or increase through certain 
biochemical tests. Treatments aim at increasing the decreased ones and decreasing 
the increased ones so as to restore and maintain normalcy, balance, harmony or 
equilibrium. 

Women are physically more fortunate then men, because each month their Blood is purified by the menstrual flow. Nature provides women with this service for Her own purposes, of course, nature has gifted a power to be a mother to every women. A wise women will work with nature to take advantage of natural eradication of toxins. Which helps nature and women to achieve the goals of motherhood and detoxification. Nature does not want you to become pregnant each month. Nature is happy for you to use your formative ability in any way one feel fit for herself or for others to generate or to repair , to create or procreate. During the first part of the month the body provides the womb the best possible nutrients to prepare to host a child. If pregnancy does not occur the endometrium becomes Ama, a foreign body which womb must expel. The body takes advantage of this to append to the menstrual flow all the filth which collected on blood over the month. Even if a woman’s digestion is not optimal in her gut she gets a second chance to nourish her higher Dhatus, properly by this natural monthly blood purification process.
 
Ayurveda divides female life into three phases i.e Pre menstrual, Menstrual and Post menstrual phase. Pre menstrual period as childhood phase, the menstrual years of adulthood phase and post menstrual period is phase of wisdom.

When the menstrual cycles stops and sex hormones level decreases this condition is 
called Menopause. In Ayurveda, Menopause can be compared with Rajoksaya. 
(Cesation of menstruation). Rajoksaya described by an ayurvedic scholor Susurata
is a effect of ageing. Therefore it is called as old age symptom. One can not say this 
is as disease. Because it is natural, means at some level the menstruation is required to  
keep the body function normal. Natural cessation does not reflect any disease. This is 
a condition. This condition is seen more in women due to early aged hysterectomies 
(surgical menopause) , due to increased life expectancy, birth control pills etc. This reflects that a women spent her 1/3 rd of age without estrogen. That causes other metabolic (anabolic/ katabolic) complications and symptomatic disorders.  
 
Unfortunately menstrual cycle is a blessings only as long as the menses is regular and adequate. If for some reason the menstrual flow is obstructed so that all filth is not eliminated from blood, this virulent Ama per fuses the body and enhances the effects of Ama.  

This causes flushes, night sweats, irritability, psychic changes, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, debility, decreases calcification of bones.  

Ways to come out of the problematic condition:

Ayurveda suggests Rasayana therapy for Jarakalinavyadhis (old age condition/diseases) and it also gives prasatadhatus (nourishment to tissues) Hence to improve the status of rajodhatu. 

A herb Ashvgandha (Withania somnifera) as its name indicates that smell like a horse, means more power And another herb Vidarikand (Pueraria tuberosa) is also mentioned in Susruta and Vagbata -ancient text for geriatrics.

Chemistry of Ashvgandha is that it contains alkaloids. Which produced a mild depressant 
effect ( tranquilizing) on the CNS. These alkaloids also showed relaxant and antispasmodic effects on intestine, uterine, bronchial, tracheal and blood vascular muscles. Another alkaloid isolated from Ashwgandha is “Withaferin-A” . Its antibiotic 
and anti tumor activities are noted by modern scientists. Withaferin-A also showed 
carcinostatic property acts as a mitotic poison arresting the division of culture human –larynx carcinoma cells at metaphase. Withaferin-A , an isolated extract of Ashvgandha also retard the growth of ascites carcinoma, sarcoma 180, sarcoma black and E0771 mammary adeno carcinoma as tested in laboratory. This alkaloid also showed anti arthritis and anti inflammatory activities, more potent than hydrocortisone. This is 
source of crude protein, calcium and phosphorous. Also contains many free amino acids. 

Ashvgandha’s sedative and smooth muscles relaxing properties helping in relieving vasomotor complaints like hot flushes, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, depression. Anti biotic and anti-inflammatory actions prevent the atrophic vaginitis & dysurea.  

Vidarikand is starch and calcium oxalate enriched herb.  
Vidarikand with its synergistic neutraceuctical action restored the calcium balance. Thereby maintains the bone density to normal levels. This is also rich in phytoestrogens. and treats PMS naturally.


Menopause is VATA imbalance condition. Rejuvenation and oiling keeps VATA balanced. 

Abhyanaga (body massage) and pizhichill or marma abhyanga ( marma massage) is beneficial to improve vitality.

Shirodhara is an ayurvedic technique involves running of a steady stream of herbal oil or other herbal concotions on the forehead for 35-40 minutes. Which controls emotions, balance VATA and increase the level of Serotonin. A chemical responsible for mood & behavior. Reduce restlessness. Thus improving sleep disorder, agitation etc. 

A yoga exercise Alomo/vilom (inhaling and exhaling) is excellent to balance VATA. Which have significant role to control post menopausal effects.  

Ayurvedic treatment or Rejuvenation or Rasayana therapy really implies a retreat to nature to forgive any bitterness of premenstrual or menstrual phase. Thus increasing the immunity of a person.
 
Ayurveda advocates that physical fitness provide a stable foundation upon which a sound structure of consciousness can be erected. At the stage of menopause, which is a phase of wisdom. One can achieve a goal of coordination of physical and spiritual health through prayers, meditation, social work …, also.

Treating menopause and increasing number of years/ days/ hours is not the issue of Ayurveda, But the aim is a life in relation to lives. 

 
Dr Anil Jaggi 

This article was published on Friday 27 March, 2009.
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