RASAYANA THERAPY AND ITS ROLE IN PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT OF AGEING

Dr. B.I. Mathapati Dr. B.I. Mathapati,
Professor,
Dept. of Rasashastra & Bhaishajya Kalpana,
A.L.N. Rao Memorial Ayurvedic Medical College, Koppa
Introduction:
Ayurveda has put special emphasis on the care of ageing and age related problems by innovating a special branch of medical knowledge called rasayana where the phenomenon of ageing has been viewed in relevance of nutrition and immune functions. Some of the rasayana are also tissue specific and disease specific for example medhya rasayana and hrudhya rasayana.Ayurveda does not merely believe in adding the number of years to life but it advocates adding life to the each year. This may be one of the reasons that the first aim of Ayurveda is to preserve and promote the health of healthy persons. To fulfill this aim, Ayurveda maintains two separate branches (1) Rasayana (2) Vajikarana.

Discussion:
Defnition: This is special branch of medicine which prevents ageing, gives longevity, strength and also destroys various diseases.

Life span: Every tissue, organ and channel of the body is gifted with the reserve force. This is put into action when that tissue or organ is overloaded with work. Total combined effect of the reserve force of all the tissues, organs and channels is called as the life span of that individual.

Definition of ageing: It is a terminology representing multifactorial, inevitable biological phenomenon characterized with many changes in the body.Ageing is an inevitable phenomenon of life associated with a range of structural and functional changes in the body. Because of ageing the human system becomes prone to a variety of age related disease which needs special care. As the number of the elderly people in the population is increasing significantly because of increased life expectancy, the problems of the aged are becoming more and more overt in present times warranting development of suitable strategies to combat the situation.

Ageing according to Ayurveda: According to Ayurveda parinama can be taken as the factor for ageing. Jara is a natural process which may be timely or untimely according to acharya Sushruta. Now a day’s early onset of ageing is common with the symptoms like wrinkling, graying etc improper food, unhealthy lifestyle and mental tensions are important in the onset of early ageing along with the environment pollution. Which is an unavoidable factor in this scientific era. These enhance the release of free radicals and fasten the process of ageing.

Causes for apachaya in old age:

Vata vruddhi

 Vishamagni & jataragni mandya

 Dhatu kshaya

 Oja kshaya

 Decrease in immunity power

 Jara or ageing

Characters of Dhatukshaya

Sl no Dhatu’s Dhatu kashaya laxanas in old age
1. Rasa Rough skin, wrinkling hair and graying hair
2. Rakta Rough skin, appearance of patches on the skin, diminishing of beauty, loss of elasticity
3. Mamsa Hallow cheeks, mild joint pain, dryness, general weakness
4. Medha Numbness in different parts of the body, emaciation, feeling of emptiness in joints, decreased luster
5. Asthi Loss of movements, brittle and hard nails, cracking of nails, decreased luster of teeth, gum, loose teeth, graying and falling of hairs, rheumatic complaints
6. Majja Brittle bones, dementia, emptiness of bones, giddiness
7. Shukra Lack of libido, emaciated buttock, shrunken eyes

Factors for ageing: Environment factor and genetic factor are two main factors responsible for ageing. Free radical theory is one of the acceptable theory regarding causes for ageing. Rasayana or rejuvenation is the ideal therapy which can counteract the above facts. It may be used in the form of food, medicine or behavior. Here rasa means essence of food and ayana means circulation. It enhances the nourishment of all tissues and cells.

Need of Rasayana: Today’s life style is very hectic and practically every person suffers from over exertion i.e. physical and mental. There is feeling of insecurity and stress and strain is increasing. The diet is also changing; people are eating more and more fast foods, food with preservatives and junk food. Similarly organic fertilizers are being replaced with chemical ones and use of pesticides is also increasing. All these leads to poor nutrition of the body. There is increasing tendency of lethargy and lack of exercise. Habit forming substances are increasing like smoking, tobacco chewing etc. All the above causes result in early ageing, lack of strength and immunity. This leads to depression and recurrent illness. Acharya Sharangadhara has described that with each decade of life the individual looses certain qualities hence he should select proper rasayana for every decade.

Rasayana phala:

The benefits of rasayana are longevity, good memory and intelligence, freedom from diseases, youthful age, and excellence of luster, complexion and voice, optimum strength, good functioning of sense organs. Rasayana creates new tissues in the body having optimum quality and it prevents ageing.

Rasayana karma:

  1. It provides proper nutrition to each tissue.
  2. It increases jataragni and as well as dhatvagni and hence the function of pancha bhoutik agni also gets improved.
  3. Hence all the tissues in the body are formed having their best qualities.
  4. It removes the kleda, ama and other waste products which are actually responsible for ageing process. These waste products are also called as free radicals and rasayana removes these free radicals from the body. This action of rasayana is known as anti oxidant and it has now been found in most of the herbs having rasayana action.
  5. It gives strength to the srotasas or channels in the body.
  6. It increases ojas and strength of the body.
  7. It normalizes the doshas in the body.
  8. It is also useful in maintaining the satva quality of the mind. Hence the mind and the sense organs and the motor organs become optimum in their qualities.

Why Rasayana in Geriatrics: Every mans scare, a multifactorial and inevitable biological phenomenon is ageing. The proportion of elderly people is constantly increasing along with age related diseases. Even though it is impossible to adopt all the things certain changes in life style like practice of rejuvenating diet, medicine, yoga will certainly help to prevent many diseases as well as to overcome many problems related to ageing.

Rasayana medicines: Amalaki, Madooka parni, Shatavari, Shilajatu, Lashuna, Vacha, Bhallataka, Pippali, Haritaki, Guduchi, Bhibitaki and Ashvagandha.

Hareetakyadi Rasayana : This is excellent tonic for old age and increases functions of all sense organs and all systems.

Lohadi Rasayana :  After one year of using the rasayana, which is excellent for preventing all geriatric diseases.

Mode of action of Rasayana drugs: Some drugs like Ashvagandha and Shilajatu nullify the effects of stress and drugs like Gambhari improve nitrogen balance and promote tissue building. Guggulu clears the channels and enhances the nutrition to all tissues and cells. Amalaki and Bala contain antioxidants which help in the scavenging of free radicals released. Achara Rasayana acts as psycho immuno modulator, reduces stress and thus prevents the release of free radicals.

Achara Rasayana: Speaking truth, not expressing anger, forbidding intake of alcohol, sexual intercourse, peaceful, speaking sweetly, indulging in medication, takes ghee and milk daily, who is devoid of ego, acts according to rules will be imparted with qualities of rasayana.

To give up falsity and adopt sadvrutta is the way for healthy and happy life devoid of sufferies. Further more it is good of the individual, his surroundings and the society of which he is a part a wholesome living promotes a wholesome environment. Under the light of holistic definition of Ayurveda the achara rasayana is a comprehensive package for health promotion.

Achara rasayana advantages or benefits: Rasayana chikitsa is incomplete without adopting achara rasayana; of course one who has admitted achara rasayana is most suitable person to undergo rasayana chikitsa observing achara rasayana itself bring many bimolecular level rasayana effects. The complete positive and promotive health care is achieved through achara rasayana.

The whole concept of rasayana therapy is oriented to enhance quality of health in an individual which one of the two prime mottos of Ayurveda treatments. This rasayana therapy can be planned into two ways according to Charaka

  1. Vatatapika rasayana – which is suitable for day to day life.
  2. Kutipraveshika rasayana – it is serious programme in a confined environment to certain period of time.

These rasayana therapies can be planned as per the need and requirement of the individual seeking for the treatment.

Now a day’s prevention of the diseases is achieved by immunization specifically against the each disease but the number of the diseases is so much that practically it is not possible to immunize a person against all the diseases. On the other hand the concept of rasayana seems to increase the general immunity so that one can live a long span of youthful life free from the diseases. It may provide an umbrella against the diseases and ageing by promoting the physical and mental health. All these points generate an idea about the Ayurveda believes in promoting the general immunity of a person so that he can fight out any type of disease.

Rasayana mainly deals with promotion of physical and mental health. The properly and timely uses of rasayana drugs promote youthfulness, provides longevity, memory, intelligence, complexion, body glow and best physical strength as well as of senses. The rasayana have multidimensional mode of action through nutrition dynamics.

Remarkably modern pharmacology and clinical medicine are actively conducting series of studies on anti ageing drugs, disorder of senile stage of human body and aging process, the vast knowledge of Indian medicine, the science of life itself, is competent source of potentials in regard to the concepts, principles, drugs and medicine including the management of ageing disorders, preservation of health, comprehensive fitness of body and mind and rejuvenation of life with longevity. Thus the anti ageing herbal drugs have wide prospects in the world prospective.

Other measures used for increasing the immunity were Vajikarana, seasonal administration of shodhana and practicing the rules of dinacharya, sadvrutta and achara rasayana.

Conclusion:

Our aim is to make elderly healthier and happier by assisting in over coming their psychological, physical, physiological problems by a healthy life style Rasayana. As many of our senior citizens suffer from multiple disorders which may need lot of medications, many a times they are not able to withstand the impact of strong medication.

1. Many of the rasayana drugs possessing immunomodulatory and anti oxidant effects in prevention of ailments, preservation of health and curative measures against the diseases including various psychosomatic, chronic, degenerative and auto immune disorders. Scientific investigations results have been diverted towards herbal drugs which are found to be potent source of anti oxidant agents remarkably validating great significance of rasayana therapy as a thrust area of anti ageing herbal agents crediting Ayurveda for the medicine of the millennium.

2. Many herbal drugs of potential as anti ageing herbal agents have been referred in Indian medicine and large number of compound preparations is recommended under rasayana therapy. These carry multiferous scientific importance.

3. Consider elder persons as senior citizens because they are like jewels.

4. Rasayana therapy is ideal for to postpone ageing.

5. The nano technology, biotechnology, molecular biology, nuclear, medicine, electronic instrumentation and technology, cell biology, tissue culture studies etc are new applied science fields helpful in updating the ancient proven results of rasayana.

6. The whole concept of rasayana therapy is oriented to enhance quality of health in an individual which one of the two prime mottos of Ayurveda treatments.

References:

  1. Charaka Chikitsa sthana 1/1/5,6
  2. Charaka Chikitsa sthana 1/4/35
  3. Charaka Chikitsa sthana 1/4/27,28
  4. Charaka Chikitsa sthana 1/3/30,31
  5. Ashtanga Hrudaya Uttaratantra 39/1,2 & 144
  6. Ashtanga Hrudaya Uttaratantra 39/179,180
  7. Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa sthana 30/3 & 30,40
  8. Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa sthana 28/27
  9. Sharangadhara Samhita
  10. Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthana 19/4
  11. Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthana 29/27
  12. Yogaratnakara
  13. Bhaishajya Ratnavali
  14. Yogachintamani
  15. Siddhayogasangraha
  16. A Hand book of Ayurveda by Bhagawan Das edition 1994
  17. Ayurveda and Yoga therapy by Subhash Ranade Anamol Prakashan Pune
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