Autoimmune Conditions [Rheumatoid Arthritis]: An Ayurvedic Perspective + Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing Recipe

Autoimmune Conditions
In essence, autoimmunity is when the body attacks itself. The function of the immune system is to help protect you from disease. However, when the immune system doesn’t function properly it can mistakenly identify your own bodily tissue as an invader and therefore mount an attack - the immune response!

Main Factors Of Health ...
The concept of health according to the ancient science of Ayurveda is explained in terms of healthy digestion [agni], balanced doshas [vata-pitta-kapha], preventing ama [toxins], and preserving ojas [vital essense of life]. When all these factors are balanced then it’s said that the person will be strong, healthy, and live a long and happy life.

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine thy food.”– Hippocrates 

 

Healthy Digestion

According to the most ancient and revered textbook of Ayurveda, the Charak Samhita, the principle of “Agni” – The Digestive Fire illustrates the body’s ability to digest food; almost equivalent to digestive enzymes. In fact, when managing most health concerns, correcting digestion is often the very first line of management.  Click Here - Learn How To Improve Digestion Naturally

Great Video: 10 Steps To Reverse Autoimmune Disease - Dr. Mark Hyman

Balanced Doshas
According to the teachings of Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. We can think of these three doshas as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charak Samhita

In order to explain how to correct any underlying doshic imbalances it is important to introduce two very simple  principles common to the science of Ayurveda. These two principles are:

  • The Principle Of Similarity: like increases like
  • The Principle Of Opposites: opposites restore balance

 

The Principle Of Similarity
This principle of ‘like increases like’ clearly explains that if one of your doshas [vata, pitta, or kapha] becomes imbalanced then it’s likely that you will experience symptoms which directly reflect that particular quality which belongs to the imbalanced dosha.

The Principle Of Opposites
Likewise, when a certain quality [i.e. hot quality] of a dosha becomes imbalanced the best way to re-establish balance is simply to introduce the opposing quality. For example, cool & cold qualities help to balance the hot quality in order to regain a state of balance.
Click Here - To Learn More About Balancing Doshas

 

Ama - Toxins

As mentioned above, “ama” is the by-product of poor digestion and is thought to be toxic to the body. The by-product of poor digestion may accumulate in the colon and create a hostile environment within the G.I. tract; i.e. supporting unhealthy gut flora. Not only does this support an unhealthy gut flora but even worse, it supports the process of fermentation and putrefaction.
Click Here - To Learn How To Remove Ama

“When food is digested improperly because agni [the digestive flame] is low the undigested food becomes vitiated [disturbed] and collects in the stomach.
It is known as ama [toxins].”
– Astangahrdaya Samhita

Goal: Purify The Body Of Ama [Toxins]
“Due to the purification of the body, the capacity of digestion and metabolism is enhanced, normal health is restored, all sense organs start working with vigor, old age is prevented and diseases cured.”
– Charaka Samhita Ch. 16 Sutra 17-19

 

Preserving Ojas

Having strong Ojas helps maintain optimum health and many diet and lifestyle factors can contribute to either depleting or nourishing ones Ojas. Ojas is defined as the pure essence of the bodily tissues and is considered the refined by-product of healthy digestion. In essence, ojas is referred to as the source of vitality, immunity and vigor in the body.
Click Here - To Learn More About Ojas

 

"The Connection"

Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to Ayurveda, vata dosha and bone tissue [asthi dhatu] are intimately connected. Vata primarily governs the element of space and the porous nature of bone makes the skeletal system one of the primary sites of vata dosha. The colon is also the primary site of vata. Interestingly, the mucous lining of the colon membrane is responsible for the absorption of minerals which support bone tissue. This emphasis the connection that connective tissue disorders and skeletal conditions [i.e. rheumatoid arthritis] begin in the gut.

“All disease begins in the gut.” - Hippocrates

As explained above, if the digestive fire [agni] is diminished then this impaired digestion will lead to the formation of toxic by-products of poor digestion called “ama”. Eventually, the toxic substances of ama begin to accumulate in the colon and begin to get absorbed into the general circulation. Due to the intimate relationship of the colon and bone tissue much of these toxic substances [ama] get carried by vata dosha to the skeletal and connective tissue [primary sites of vata dosha] - this illustrates the initial stages of rheumatoid arthritis. The residue of ama [toxins] that chronically resides on the cell membrane gives rise to an attack on various tissues such as connective tissue, bones, and joints which correlates well with our modern view of the rheumatoid factor.

Prevention Is Key:
Healthy digestion and the prevention of ama are the first steps in preventing disease.

Natural Management

Langhana - Fasting Or Eating Light Foods
The initial management of autoimmune conditions is to break the chain of toxemia.  The first goal is to prevent the formation of by-products of poor digestion [i.e. ama]. Therefore, fasting or eating light and easily digestible food is the initial management. Likewise, to help improve the digestive flame [agni] and burn some of the toxins [ama] you may also want to consider spices such as cumin, mustard, and ginger powder.

Foods which are easy to digest include:

  • rice broth
  • softly cooked rice
  • tapioca

 

Pulling Out The Toxins
Longstanding autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis have residual toxins within the synovial membrane and joint space. Therefore, Ayurveda would recommend applying the principle of heat [i.e. hot sauna, steam bath or hot shower] to help loosen up the ‘stickiness’ of ama. By loosening up ama from certain tissues and/or joint space, one can then apply certain pastes externally on the joints. This will help to pull out toxic ama and help to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Certain pastes which can be applied externally [onto the joints] are formed by certain powders such as bachan, dhattura, and vacha. All of these considerations should be considered under the guidance and supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic professional and after having discussed these options with your primary care physician.

Bitter Herbs
According to Ayurvedic principles, bitter herbs consist mostly of ether and air elements. These subtle elements of [ether + air] allow bitter herbs to spread into subtle channels of tissue [i.e. articular surface within the joint space]. Generally, bitter herbs are cooling. However, there are some bitter herbs such as rasna, guggulu and parijata which are heating and therefore are able to enter into subtle channels of tissue [i.e. articular surfaces] and help ‘burn toxins’ [ama] - ama being that which is stimulating the autoimmune response.

Pungent Herbs
Pungent herbs like trikatu help to improve the function of the digestive fire [agni] while helping to burn toxins [ama]. Trikatu is a combination of ginger, black pepper, and pippali which helps to clear toxins within both the digestive system and tissues of the body.

Caution:
Because trikatu and pungent herbs can enhance the function of the immune system, it should only be considered under the guidance of a qualified ayurvedic/herbal professional and after first discussing these options with your primary care physician.
Click Here -To Learn More About Trikatu

Panchakarma - The Complete Detox System
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

 

“Through the use of vamana, basti, and rasayana [rejuvenative therapy] as well as proper diet and lifestyle, one can prevent the recurrence of rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician
 Click Here - To Learn More About Panchakarma

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing
Turmeric is widely utilized in Ayurvedic Medicine in treating allergies, immune conditions, liver diseases and neurological disorders. It is considered a holy, auspicious and natural healer.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice + zest of 2 Lemons
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. raw local honey — if not vegan
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt (to taste)

 

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.
Click Here - Benefits Of Turmeric

Recipe Credit To: MindBodygreen.com

Disclaimer:
This is strictly for educational purpose only and not medical advice. Always first consult your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Resource:
Ayurvedic Perspective On Selected Pathologies, Dr. Vasant Lad - 2nd Edition


Hypothyroidism + Impaired Gut Health - An Ayurvedic Perspective

 

Hypothyroidism + Impaired Gut Health
Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders and it has been estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Although there is no direct mention of the thyroid gland in the ancient teachings of Ayurveda there is, however, a condition by the name galaganda mentioned by certain manuscripts as we shall soon explore.

Clinical Symptoms
Hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain, mental slowing, depression and dementia, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, hoarse voice, irregular menstruation, infertility, and a wide range of other not-so-desirable symptoms.

Old School vs. Ancient Wisdom
Long gone are the days of managing hypothyroidism with a synthetic or bio-identical hormone thinking that this will somehow reverse the course of the disease. Some studies reveal that 90% of people with hypothyroidism produces antibodies to thyroid tissue. In fact, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune disorder in the U.S. Our goal is to question what might set off and trigger this inflammatory cascade causing the most common autoimmune condition. By doing so, let us first consider some correlations mentioned thousands of years ago according to the science of Ayurveda.

Metabolism - Immune Function - Agni 
Nearly ever single cell within the body has receptors for the thyroid hormone. Similarly, the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda states metaphorically that there is a flame of digestion which permeates all aspects of the body. This alchemical flame is called “Agni” - which means ‘fire’. This flame of digestion is thought to be responsible for all transformations required to sustain life. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda further explains a much more subtle expression of this digestive flame called “Jatru Agni”. Jatru Agni is thought to represent both the thyroid and thymus gland and therefore assumes the role of both cellular metabolism and immune function.

Hypothyroidism May Not Be A Thyroid Issue
What is even more interesting is that - it is not uncommon for patients who have Hashimoto’s to demonstrate a “polyendocrine autoimmune pattern” which implies having antibodies to other tissue and enzymes other than that which is specific to the thyroid gland. For example, polyendocrine autoimmune pattern includes antibodies directed at transglutaminase [celiac disease], the cerebellum [neurological disorders], intrinsic factor [pernicious anemia], and glutamic acid decarboxylase [type 1 diabetes] just to name a few.

 Is Hypothyroidism Due To Gut Disturbance? 
In ancient times food was considered medicine and people valued food much differently then. However, as the integrity of food increasingly becomes compromised, so too - digestive concerns continue to increase. The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda has always placed great emphasis on the importance of digestion and even explained the detriment of absorbing elemental by-products of improperly digested food. According to Ayurvedic literature, the products of poorly digested food  [“ama”; toxins], if absorbed, is considered to be the root cause of all diseases; especially autoimmune conditions.

The Ancient Wisdom Of Ayurveda  ...
“When food is digested improperly because agni [the digestive flame] is low the undigested food becomes vitiated [disturbed] and collects in the stomach. It is known as ama [toxins]. – Astangahrdaya Samhita 

Great Video - "Natural Remedies For Thyroid Health" by Dr. Josh Axe

The video discusses natural remedies for thyroid health. There are more people than ever before that are struggling with conditions like hypothyroidism, hashimotos disease, hyperthyroidism, and graves disease. If you have a sluggish thyroid or metabolism, this is a big warning sign that you may have a thyroid issue. Top five natural remedies that are safe, healthy, and effective for improving thyroid health are:
1. Ashwagandha
2. Selenium
3. B Vitamins (Thiamine and Vitamin B12)
4. Probiotics
5. Proteolytic Enzymes

What’s The Connection?
Several studies show a strong link between autoimmune thyroid disease and gluten intolerance. As this correlation has become more well-established, researchers are even now suggesting that all people with autoimmune disease to be screened for gluten intolerance. This is just one of many examples which makes a direct correlation of impaired gut health and the origin of disease [i.e. autoimmunity]. Ayurveda goes on to explain that this expression of disease [i.e. autoimmunity] is, in essence, an impairment of body’s cellular intelligence and that this cellular intelligence is orchestrated largely by both the neuroendocrine and immunological systems. These systems of course are controlled by both the thyroid and thymus gland [i.e. “Jathru Agni”] which has been explained comprehensively many thousands of years ago.

One Flame - Many Embers
The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda also talks about the transformative quality of agni as being influenced by its various levels of expression. More simply, the digestive function within the gastrointestinal tract [Jathara Agni] influences the biotransformative actions in the liver [Bhuta Agni] which ultimately correlates with more subtle expressions of metabolism both at the tissue [Dhatu Agni] and cellular level [Pilu-Pithara Agni]. In other words, it's all connected; one and the same.

Modern Understanding + The Antiquity Of Ayurveda
T4 is the inactive form of the thyroid hormone and requires the conversion to T3 via the liver before it can properly function to regulate metabolism at the cellular level. This connection between the thyroid hormone T3 secreted by the thyroid gland [jathru agni] and the conversion of T3 into T4 via the liver [bhuta agni] with T4 being the major hormone to regulate tissue [dhatu agni] and cellular metabolism [pilu-pithara agni] reveals the sophistication and understanding demonstrated by the teachings of Ayurveda.

“The thyroid is a bridge between bhuta agni [liver function] and the seven tissues [peripheral tissue], maintaining the functional integrity of the bhuta agni and dhatu agni [tissue metabolism].” - Dr. Vasant Lad; Ayurvedic Physician

Considerations
Management of hypothyroidism [galaganda] from an Ayurvedic perspective is to increase the digestive fire [agni] at the cellular level and to restore metabolism. Just as an example, Yograj guggulu and Ashwagandha powder have long been recommended in the management of hypothyroidism. Likewise, a study on Liv-52, an Ayurvedic liver tonic, has revealed that it stimulates thyroid hormone secretion, particularly T3. In fact, the action of one of the most recommended Ayurvedic drugs [Kanchnar guggulu] reveals much similarity to the allopathic medication Eltroxin.

The goal of this post was to establish some interesting correlations with gut health and overall well-being. Rather, the goal was to stress the importance of how impaired gut health may be the root cause of many autoimmune conditions. The connection is now well understood that poor gut health can suppress thyroid function and trigger Hashimoto’s disease, and low thyroid function can lead to an inflamed and leaky gut resulting in systemic toxicity which can manifest as “polyendocrine autoimmune pattern”.  Although Ayurveda is a subtle science which deals with energetics of bodily humors there is still much overlap and much to be gained by appreciating  these subtleties.

Disclaimer: 
This is strictly for educational purpose only and not to be considered medical advice.
Always first seek the advice of your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen