Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and occasionally M. bovis or M. africanum. These are slow growing bacteria, and unlike other mycobacteria, are facultative intracellular organisms. The prevalence of tuberculosis increases with poor social conditions, inadequate nutrition and overcrowding. In developing countries it is most commonly acquired in childhood.
Tuberculosis primarily affects the lungs. Other organs like bone, lymph glands and intestines are also affected by this disease. In ayurveda, this disease is known as Rajayaksham which literally means “The King Of The Disease”.
In ayurveda, bacilli are considered to be the causative agent of this disease. They are however, considered as secondary factor for its causation. The primary factor is the imbalance of the doshas and vitiation of the tissue elements in the body known as dhatukshaya. Tubercular bacilli are present in the most of the individual but all of them donot suffer from this disease. As a seed lies in the dormant without germination in a barren land, similarly Tubercular bacilli donot manifest the disease unless the doshas are simultaneously vitiated. For the vitiation of doshas the following four factors are considered to be very important from ayurveda point of view:
- Irregularity in the intake of food.
- Performance of exercise or hard labour in excess of one’s capacity.
- Suppression of natural urges.
- Excessive sexual indulgence.
Signs and symptoms:
The patient suffering from tuberculosis loses weight rapidly and gets fever and cough. There is also hoarseness of voice, loss of appetite, pain in chest, spitting of bloody sputum, pain in the chest, body ache and weakness. The patient experiences the burning sensation in the sole of the feet and palms. This disease is often characterized by night sweating.
Vasa(Adhatoda vasica) is commonly used by the ayurveda physicians for the treatment of this disease. The juice from the leaves of this drug is given in a dose of one ounce four times a day mixed with honey. It reduces the cough, helps in expectoration and cures the burning sensation.
Naradiya mahalakshmi vilas rasa is also a drug for the ayurveda treatment of tuberculosis, which contains the bhasma of gold, is another choice of drug for the treatment of this disease. This is to be given in a dose of two tablets three times a day with honey. This works exceedingly well when the patient suffers from chronic bronchitis and cold. When there is excessive fever, night sweating and a burning sensation in the palms and on the soles of the feet, suvarna vasanta malati is the drug of choice for the ayurveda treatment. It contains pearl and gold.
Lasuna or garlic is very useful for the ayurveda treatment for this disease. Thirty grains of garlic are to be boiled in eight ounces of milk and two pounds of water. After boiling, it is reduced tone-fourth and filtered. This medicated milk may be given to the patient twice daily.
To improve the digestion of the patient, he should be given one ounce of draksasava after food with an equal quantity of water. Cyavanaprasa, a common ayurveda preparation is often given to the patient suffering from tuberculosis. It contains amalaki (Emblica officinalis) as one of its important ingredients. This is exceedingly nourishing and useful in all types of the disease of the chest. It is given in a dose of two teaspoonful two times a day on an empty stomach with milk. As the digestive power of the patient improves he should be given this medicine in a larger quantity. This is more food than a medicine and as much as two to four ounce can be given. This may suppress the appetite to some extent but the patient will have a great benefit.
In ayurveda, Pippali( Piper longum) is also used for the treatment of tuberculosis. It is another important ingredient of ayurveda formulation chywanprasa. As a single drug it is used in a powder form in a dose of one teaspoonful three times a day with honey.
All dry fruit especially dried grapes and almond oil are useful in this condition. Dried grapes(munakka and kismis) are helpful in curing the disease apart from their nourishing effect on the human body. Among vegetables drumstick, patola(Trichosanthes dioica) and kunduru are exceedingly useful in this condition.
The patient should be given as much rice, wheat and dal as he would like to eat. Nourishing food like milk and eggs should be given to the patient. All the products of goat namely its urine, milk and flesh are exceedingly useful in this condition. Sour things like curd and other food ingredients which aggravate kapha such as banana and guava are strictly contraindicated. Cow’s milk and its products especially ghee and butter are very useful in this condition.
The patient shouldnot undertake any heavy physical or mental exercise. He should strictly avoid sexual intercourse. A brisk walk earlier in the morning in the open air is useful. He should avoid anger, passion, grief and anxiety.