INTRODUCTION TO THE DISEASE
AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a syndrome which is caused by the virus HIV (Human immunodeficiency Virus). The virus after entering the body starts destroying CD4+ cells, a type of white blood cells that help to fight infection and disease. As a result the immune system gets weak and the person becomes more susceptible to infections and other diseases.
MODE OF TRANSMISSION OR CAUSES
HIV is transmitted through following ways:
- By sharing contaminated needles and syringes
- By having vaginal, oral o anal sex with the HIV infected person
- Through blood transfusion
- Infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivery and through breast feeding.
SYMPTOMS OF AIDS
The major symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite or anorexia
- Weight loss
- Susceptibility to allergies
- Skin irritation and body rash
- Breathing disorders, often leading to tuberculosis of the lungs
- Damage to the intestine resulting in diarrheoa, dysentry and gastritis
- Prolonged fever
- Nausea and vomiting
- Aching muscles and joint pain
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals
- Night sweating
AYURVEDIC VIEW AND TREATMENT FOR THE DISEASE
According to Ayurveda, AIDS disease may be correlated with OJAKSHAYA which means loss of energy and in later stages it can be correlated with RAJYAKSHAMA.
The disease is caused by dominant kapha dosha. Kapha dosha along with other doshas tend to block the path for the flow of rasadi dhatus in their respective locations which leads to deterioration of sapta dhatus, thus resulting into the disease.
Ayurvedic treatment has proved to be beneficial in this disease without showing any side effects. The main goals in the ayurvedic treatment are:
- Strengthening the patient’s immunity with tonics and rejuvenators called rasayan. The tonics boost the patient’s immunity level, strengthen the system and stimulate the appetite.
- Purifying the blood in various ways, with the help of different medicines.
- Corrective measures are adopted to improve the condition of the liver.
- Ayurveda also recommends to increase the intake of ghee in diet. It also asks to avoid spicy and oily food. Ghee is recommended in the diet because it helps to eject or drive out the toxins from the body through purgation or emesis.
- Moderate intake of alcohol is also recommended since it has positive effects in removing blockages in the flow of rasadi dhatus and help in smooth flow of the blood.
- Patient should also do vigorous exercise. Heavy exercise heats up the blood and this helps in fighting against the viruses. If the patient is incapable of excercising or running due to weakness, then steaming or swedan is also recommended.
The following are some of the ayurvedic medicines that improve and help in making progress for the AIDS patients:
- Chayavanprash: It is the most useful and most popular rejuvenator tonic or rasayan in ayurveda which increases Oja and restores the digestive, excretory, respiratory and reproductive systems.
- Raktavardhak medicines help in building immunity
- Sookshma Triphala tablets help in keeping away the infection
Herbs that are beneficial in AIDS patient are:
- Amalaki – Emblica officinalis
- Bhumiamalaki – Phyllanthus niruri
- Yashtimadhu – Glycerrhiza glabra
- Shatavari – Asparagus racemosa
- Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera
- Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum
- Mandukparni – Centella asiatica
- Kutki – Picrorrhiza kurroa
- Saariva – Hemidesmus indica
- Manjishtha – Rubia cordifolia
- Haridra – Curcuma longa
- Punarnava – Boerhavia diffusa
- Pippali – Piper longum
- Chitrak – Plumbago zeylenica
The above mentioned herbs have anti-viral, immunomodulating and adaptogenic properties that help in maintaining cellular metabolism at an optimum level.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
Since HIV affects the immune system, one can be at a greater risk of developing food borne illness. So one can protect himself from food related illness by:
- Limiting sweets, soft drinks and foods with added sugar
- Including proteins, carbohydrates and a little fat in all meals and snacks
- Avoid eating raw eggs, meats or seafood and unpasteurized dairy products
- Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming
- Washing hands, utensils and cutting boards with soap and water after each use
- Eating healthy foods: take fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein rich diet. Healthy foods help keep you strong, give you more energy and support the immune system
- Get immunizations: This prevent infections such as pneumonia and the flu.
- Quit smoking
- Water safety is also required as water can carry a variety of parasites, bacteria and viruses. Drink boiled or filtered water.