Ayurvedic Case Studies
edited: Saturday, September 23, 2000
By Swami S. Tirtha
Posted: Wednesday, September 06, 2000
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Stories of the healing results of clients of the author.
Ayurvedic Case Studies
by Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha, D. Sc.
Since beginning to practice Ayurveda in 1988 a wide range of health concerns have crossed the clinic door. People are coming to Ayurveda in ever-larger numbers. Indians too, not so interested 10 years ago, are coming for consultations or having them online from our website.
Clearly Ayurveda will become a widely used healthcare system, if not the prime healthcare system in the 21st Century. As more people realize they can become healed quickly, safely and inexpensively, even in cases where western medicine has no cures, Ayurveda will rise to the status of highest respect in the medical field.
Below are some of the most common, interesting and memorable clients and cases over the past decade.
Winter Colds & Flu
One of the biggest winter problems in our area of the country aside from shoveling snow is dealing with the spreading of colds and various strains of the flu. Especially troubling to our clients is having their children catch the flu at school and infect the other family members. Just as one child recovers, their sister or brother comes down with the same symptoms.
What's more, there is no real preventative for the flu. Even if you get a flu shot, you might catch the flu before the shot works, or you can catch another strain of flu. Additionally, we don't know the side effects from flu shots.
Cold and flu are generally Kapha excess conditions. We recommend a formula including ginger and pippali, two warming herbs to dry up the excess fluids, and vasak and bala to strengthen the lungs. Some of the herbs also boost the immune system. By keeping excess Kapha out of the system during the winter, parents report their children do not contract the flu. At the first sign of sniffles even parents take these herbs to prevent illness.
We have several people making delivery of mail and packages to our center. Inevitably they make a delivery on a winter day walking around with a cold or sore throat. Jumping in and out of the truck, walking in cold, rainy, snowy weather takes a toll on their health and immune system. All of our regular delivery people are now regular users of this cold and flu formula.
One delivery person came in with a very bad sore throat. He was given the herbs and told to drink them in a cup of tea. The next time he brought us a delivery he related in amazement how his sore throat went away as he was drinking the tea.
A client of ours called and asked about their mother who was in her 80's. Most of her adult life she had severe, painful arthritis. Nothing she ever tried helped her. Since she had a Vayu dosha and Vayu arthritis symptoms we gave her yogaraj guggul to take internally. She also massaged the mahanaryan herbal oil into her skin wherever there was pain. Her son also encouraged her to stop eating meat as this was also aggravating the condition.
She reported that as soon as she put the oil on her hands the pain went away for several hours at a time. This woman was amazed to find she was living without pain for the first time in decades. Around a year later I called to see how she was doing. No longer taking the herbs or oil, the woman reported that she was 99% healthy; she had no arthritic problems.
A call came into the center one day from a man with diabetes. He was using the internet news group for alternative diabetic discussion since there is no allopathic cure for diabetes. A person mentioned the Ayurvedic herb gurmar had helped him with his diabetes. The caller began to look for someone who had this herb.
Finally he was referred to our center. We suggested gurmar for removing sugar from the pancreas and shilajit to heal the kidney. He ordered the herbs and began taking them. Shortly thereafter he called to tell us how well he felt and that he was posting our center's name and his experiences with the alternative diabetes news group. We get calls from readers of this group from around the country.
One of our clients is a holistic cosmetic aesthetician. She came to see us because she had severe acne herself. We suggested several herbs to cleanse the skin and blood (manjishtha and turmeric). She then received a nutritional consultation. It is not enough to merely focus on clearing the skin; the body's toxins that cause the acne need to be removed as well.
She came back only a week later smiling to show us how well her skin was clearing up. At the same time she mentioned that she was feeling healthier and stronger from eating properly.
A woman in her late 30's wanted An Ayurvedic consultation for cancer. We gave her a number of herbs to cleanse the blood, improve blood circulation and boost her immune system. Herbs included manjishtha, bala, and guggul. We spoke of the idea that cancer is related to a loss of purpose in life. She immediately confirmed this is how she felt. Her profession was acting in plays. We spoke about what she loves to do and she felt compelled to try directing plays. More than two years later she reports having a cancer-free, great life.
About six months later the doctors ran the usual tests and found no trace of the cancer. Also, she was directing. She still was in need of the herbs but said her health and life were completely transformed for the better. Yearly checks thereafter found her life healthy and purposeful.
One of the graduates of our Ayurveda certification program called about one of their clients. His prostate cancer confined him to bed; he wasn't strong enough to work. His prostate doctor told him there was nothing more that could be done for him medically so he decided to try an Ayurvedic approach. Many of the same herbs mentioned above were given to this man. He was also given a food plan according to his dosha and dharmic and spiritual counseling was also offered.
Within a week he began to feel so healthy and energetic he let himself become over active. Returning to his old habits and foods, his energy relapsed. Now he took the Ayurvedic suggestions seriously and quickly returned to health. He even began working again. When his prostate doctor saw these results, he called our practitioner who graduated from our course to ask about the treatment. As the phone call ended he referred another of his patients for an Ayurvedic consultation. He too received a similar consultation, herbal and food regimen. This second man had such good results that he became involved with the practitioner's center and helped develop the practice.
We have had numerous women clients following their Ayurvedic food plan and herbal suggestions for anemia. Nutritional suggestions included eating iron-rich foods like black grapes, cane sugar, and sesame seeds. Herbs included chyavan prash, ghee and saffron, manjishtha, shatavari, and punarnava and an ash of iron (lau bhasma).
These clients were especially happy because they received frequent blood tests from their doctors who could scientifically validate the rebuilding of healthy red blood cells. Within a year all these clients had recovered from anemia.
One of these clients had a secondary problem, excess menstruation that caused further depletion of the much-needed blood. This was a Pitta-excess disorder. She was given a Pitta reduction food plan and astringent herbs like red raspberry. Astringent tastes are constrictive and stop bleeding. This case required a twofold approach to healing the anemia.
We have had numerous clients developing parasites. Many contracted them from visiting India and Africa. One family moved here from Israel and developed parasites from American foods. Parasites thrive in moist, damp climate. Anti-parasitical food plans require the avoidance of any foods that increase Kapha.
Yeast-free breads, avoidance of dairy (except lassi and ghee) and sugars are required. Purgatives begin to flush the parasites out of the system. Vayu and Kapha doshas take hot spices like cloves to kill parasites through heat. All doshas take anti-parasitical herbs like kutaj which directly destroy the parasites. Immune boosting herbs like guduchi and shilajit are also needed. Parasitical conditions require a twofold approach of anti-parasitical herbs and foods, and immune boosting herbs.
Persons with this condition have to more carefully follow their food plan. It seems that even the slightest increase of moist foods help build the parasite population. Clients reported an easing of their symptoms within a few days of beginning their Ayurvedic recommendations.
Seasonal allergies affect a wide portion of the population. We have found that the main cause of allergies is a weak digestive system, and improper diet and weak immune system. Ayurvedic therapies for this condition are somewhat amusing to recommend because no specific anti-allergy herbs are given. Clients ask in wonder, 'aren't you going to give me any herbs for my allergies?'
The answer is always, 'no, just by following these food recommendations of your dosha and taking digestive spices (like cardamom or coriander) and immune-boosting herbs, you will find your allergies reducing'. Many of these clients report their allergies are almost completely gone after only one week of following the suggestions.
For my Doctor of Science degree, I conducted a pilot research study comparing the effects and costs of Ayurvedic and allopathic therapies for seasonal allergies. It was found that by following the Ayurvedic suggestions consisting of proper dosha diet and digestive spices, clients reported healing of symptoms within two days in complete healing within two weeks.
Comparing costs: We compared the total therapeutic cost if everyone with seasonal allergies in the US followed Ayurvedic and allopathic therapies for a 6-month allergy cycle. The allopathic therapy costs were over $2 billion compared to Ayurvedic therapy costs of around $1 million.
Clearly 21st century healthcare will be benefitted by what Ayurveda offers in terms of safety, effective and cost-savings.
Another case verified by modern science came to us from the owner of a clothing business. His doctor told him his cholesterol levels were too high. We gave him yogaraj guggul and advised him to have little or no animal products. Every few months he would call to tell us the results of his cholesterol tests; levels consistently reduced until his cholesterol returned to normal.
Uterine Fibroids/Ovarian Cysts
While many clients have come to us with this condition, it seems the majority are women who moved to the US recently, live in the city, and are experiencing the stresses of city life along with an unfamiliar (and unhealthy diet).
The formula we use includes the herbs shatavari, ashoka, dhanya, musta, manjishtha, kakamachi, amalaki and haridra. Other suggestions include proper diet and taking walks by the water or in forests or parks to attune oneself with nature. The symptoms begin to disappear within a week or two. Reports from their doctors find the disappearance of the fibroids. Sonograms show ovarian cysts shrinking and disappearing within 2 to 5 months [5/21/97;7/16/97; 10/12/97].
This is the most common problem with women during menstrual cycle years. Anger and impatience are symptoms of Pitta excessed PMS. Cold limbs, dizziness, cramps, and anxiety are symptoms of Vayu excessive PMS. These are the two most common sets of symptoms we hear. The same herbs used for uterine fibroids above are used for PMS. Clients report relief within 1 week. Each person is also advised to follow his or her Ayurvedic dosha food plan.
This is another common disorder of our clients. The same herbal formula and food suggestions used above are given for these symptoms. One woman was so pleased with the results that she organized a lecture at our local library to introduce the Ayurvedic concept to the community.
We have found red raspberry leaves to be a quick and effective therapy for all forms of nausea including morning sickness. The best experience we had was with a woman whose chiropractor referred her to us. He tried many therapies to relieve her nausea but to no avail.
This woman was carrying her second child. Her symptoms were the same as when she was pregnant with her first baby. She became so nauseous that she couldn't eat anything at any time of the day or night. Even a taste of food from a spoon would produce emesis. She was frightened, not wanting to undergo the same situation as during her first pregnancy.
When she came for a consultation she was given 1/4 teaspoon of red raspberry leaf powder and some water to wash it down. After about a minute she was asked how she felt. Her response was, 'If I am not sick now, it won't make me sick; I can eat this herb'.
Herbal tonics to strengthen her immune system and her baby's were suggested. By this time she was so excited that she could eat something and not get sick that she became child-like. She jumped up and followed the practitioner to sample the tonic (chyavan prash), eagerly smiling. This was quite a change from the frightened looking woman who first entered the center.
The tonic was also successfully eaten. Happy and hopeful, she took these products home with her. A few weeks later a mutual friend of hers and ours was at the center. I asked how the woman was doing. She was living a healthy life; her eating habits were back to normal.
Several of our pregnant clients took herbs to boost their immune systems in order to have more energy during pregnancy. Along with the chyavan prash tonic, they took herbs including shatavari. Not only did they report a great boost in energy from the herbs, but also when the baby was born, they were extremely healthy with lustrous eyes. [Do not take herbs during pregnancy without the guidance of a knowledgeable health care practitioner]
Whether discussing anxiety, fear, worry, anger, impatience, or lethargy, mental stress is the most common concern among our clients. Our herbal therapy includes gotu kola, ashwagandha, bhringaraj, shank pushpi, bala and sandalwood. Clients report that results are almost immediate.
We also discuss home, career and life habits that seem to create the stress and suggest more constructive habits and thought patterns.
Ayurvedic Pet Therapy
Yes, pets also react well to Ayurvedic herbs. In fact, they are extremely sensitive. Intuitively they know the herbs are helpful. Many clients report that when they bring home the bag or bottle of herbs their cat or dog attack the contents trying to eat them. Below are some illustrations of how Ayurveda is applied when healing animals.
Kidney tumor- One Scotty was diagnosed with a large malignant tumor on their liver. It seems to be a disease common to Scotties. The veterinarian could do nothing and gave the dog about one month to live. The Scotty's owners brought the dog to our center. The main herbs given were manjishtha and guggul.
Other herbs were given for secondary symptoms such as liver infection, cough etc. Spiritual counseling was offered to the clients, discussing the true nature of humans and animals are their eternal soul. Counseling was provided to help the dog's owners to better deal with the life and death issues with their pet.
The Scotty loved the herbs. Within a few days the dog was becoming healthier and livelier. The dog lived in good general health for an entire year. During one of his medical checkups the veterinarian was amazed to find the liver infection had completely healed.
One day the dog simply stopped eating the herbs and peacefully died a few days later. The owners were better able to accept their Scotty's passing and were glad he was able to live in general good health for much longer than the veterinarian had predicted.
Skin parasites/skin patches- The Scotty's owners referred another family with a Scotty to our center. The dog was constantly biting and scratching his skin. Hair was falling out in clumps. The vet diagnosed the dog with some sort of skin parasites. We gave the dog manjishtha for blood and skin purification and kutaj, the best anti-parasitical herb. Within a few weeks the condition was completely healed. We have had similar success with many dogs and cats with this condition.
Bladder sand/Incontinence- Several dogs were diagnosed with bladder sand by their vets. We gave them gokshura and within a day or two the incontinence cleared up. By their next check-up at the vet the sand was gone.
Bronchitis- We have had several cats with bronchitis. The same herbs given to people for colds and flu (above) are successfully used for this condition.
Emotional Imbalance- One cat owner had an emotional breakup of a relationship. The cat seemed to reflect the trauma of the experience. Gotu kola was given to the cat to calm his mind. Rose flowers were given to calm the emotions and heart. When the owner brought the bag of herbs home the cat jumped on the table, tore through the bag and began eating the herbs. His emotions began to become balanced in a few days.
Infection/Inflammation- The owners of the Scotty referred our center to their sister who breeds horses. Their two most common health concerns were inflammation and infection, and colds. We gave the horses herbal antibiotics like turmeric and guduchi for the infections. Herbs for the colds included pippali, ginger, and vasak. The horses are responding very well to the herbs and the breeder now orders the herbs in large quantities.
These case studies briefly show how Ayurveda theory and therapies are applied. Further, the cases reveal just how effective Ayurvedic therapies can be, and that none of the clients experienced side effects. Patients, doctors, and insurance companies would be well advised to investigate this well-tested health care system, which has the additional benefit of cost effectiveness.
© Copyright 2000. Swami Sada Shiba Tirtha, D.Sc. All rights reserved
This article is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. For all health concerns you are advised to consult with a duly licensed health practitioner
Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha, D.Sc. is the author of the Ayurveda Encyclopedia. He is the founder of the Ayurveda Holistic Center & its school of Ayurveda-offering a 2-year certification program leading to Ph.D. [distance learning & local]. Swamiji has completed a research project comparing costs of Ayurvedic treatment with Allopathic treatment costs. He also founded the Swami Narayan Tirtha Math (monastery), in Bayville, Long Island, NY. Swamiji has published the books, Yoga Bani, Instructions for the Attainment of Siddhayoga, and Guru Bani, both by Swami Shankar Purushottam Tirtha. Visit his website at http://ayurvedahc.com