Understanding Diabetes from Ayurveda Point of View
Diabetes is a common lifestyle condition, and around 537 million adults worldwide are living with this condition as of 2021. While modern medicine states there are two types of diabetes– Type I (diabetes insipidus) and Type II (diabetes mellitus), the ancient medicine system of Ayurveda gives a more profound view. It categorises diabetes or Prameha into 20 different types. Let’s delve deeper to understand Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes!
Ayurveda and Diabetes
Ayurveda mentions a group of diseases called ‘Prameha’, which translates to ‘Obstinate Urinary Disease and includes all conditions related to the urinary system, including diabetes. Based on the prominent dosha, Prameha can be grouped into the following:
- Kaphaja Prameha
- Pittaja Prameha
- Vattaja Prameha
Going by this classification, diabetes arises from a predominant Kapha disorder with a diminished Agni function, which means a low metabolic rate that increases blood sugar levels.
While diabetes insipidus arises due to a predominant Kapha dosha, diabetes mellitus occurs due to a Vata dosha.
1. Hetu or the Causative Factors of Diabetes
Ayurveda states the two primary causative factors for Prameha are:
- Sahaj or Hereditary
- Apathyanimittaj or improper diet and activities
Based on these, the common reasons that can lead to the development of diabetes are:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Sleeping for long hours or sleeping during the day
- Consuming milk products
- Consuming excessive sweets or sweetened items containing jaggery
- Consuming meat from domestic, aquatic or marshy animals
- Consuming food items that activate meda, mutra, Kapha
- Other foods and substances that trigger Kapha
2. Pathogenesis of Prameha
According to Ayurveda, diabetes develops when there is a disturbance in the body fluids or Kleda. Kleda is a material in which the water element is predominant, and the three doshas regulate this Kleda. At a broader level, improperly processed doshas, dhatus, mala and ahara are blamed for developing various types of Prameha.
3. Nidana Panchaka or Diagnosis
Nidana or Nidana Panchaka is one of the many diagnostic methods used in Ayurveda. The most effective way to manage the disease is prompt diagnosis and early treatment. The Nidana Panchaka method includes five aspects that are evaluated to reach a conclusive diagnosis:
- Nidana (etiological factors)
- Purvaroopa (primordial symptoms)
- Roopa (signs and symptoms)
- Upashaya (likes and dislikes)
- Samprati (pathogenesis)
The diagnosis of Prameha and Madhumeha also depends on the tridoshas as an imbalance in them is said to cause diseases, including diabetes. Other diagnostic methods for diabetes in Ayurveda include Ashtavidha Pareeksha, Dashavidha Pareeksha, and Chaturvidha Pareeksha.
4. Management of Prameha with Ayurveda
When a disease is diagnosed early, it is easier and quicker to manage it. According to Ayurveda, the reversal of pathogenesis or Samprati is easier when the diagnosis is made earliest. Ayurvedic treatment for diabetes includes:
Prameha Chikitsa (Treatment)
Diet: For Prameha management, Vaidyas recommend light eatables like cooked rice with moong soup, barley, bitter vegetables, cooked shashtika rice and trina dhanyas, and food recipes of yava with honey to reduce the Kapha dosha and ghee preparations.
Herbs: Different herbs used in alleviating Prameha are Haridra, musta, ativisha, Iodhra, arjuna, nimbi, Triphala, kutaja, vacha, dipyaka, aguru, Chandana, ativisha, survha, darvi, etc.
External Applications: Different exercises, baths, lotions, sprinkling water over the body and application of ointment made of tvak, sevya (ushira), aguru, ela, and Chandana, medicated oils, and massages are also helpful in managing Prameha.
The primary difference between modern medicine and Ayurveda is their approach to disease. While modern medicine treats diabetes as a lifestyle condition, Ayurveda for diabetes aims to identify and treat the root cause.
If you are looking for an effective, long-term solution for your diabetes, get an Ayurvedic consultation with experienced Vaidyas and nutritionists on Ayuvi to help you manage your diabetes. With Ayuvi, get personalised Ayurvedic health care tips and inculcate a prevention-oriented, natural way of living.