Friday, 28 August 2009
Charak Samhita: Did swine flu find mention in Ancient Ayurvedic texts
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 27: Did swine flu, which has killed hundreds of
people world-wide, find a mention in Charak Samhita, the ancient
Ayurvedic text dating back to the third century BC?
The Department of Ayush suggests that Charak Samhita and other
ancient Ayurvedic medical books had made references to symptoms
that are similar to swine flu. The Ayurvedic texts had classified viral
ailments and epidemics including those with symptoms of swine flu
under "Vaata Kaphaja Jwara" category.
According to Charak Samhita, which deals with internal medicine, the
outbreaks of Vaata Kaphaja Jwara are noticed during autumn/spring, in
seasonal change and in moderate climatic conditions.
Soon after swine flu claimed its first victim in the country, the
department of Ayush constituted a group of experts to study the health
problem. Several Ayurveda experts and research councils were
involved in the task of finding remedial measures to curb the spread of
the novel human influenza virus. The experts in their report traced
swine flu to Vaata Kaphaja Jwara category and came out with a number
measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
"The new swine flu virus is just a mutant of the already existing virus.
Ayurvedic texts deal extensively with viral ailments. The symptoms of
swine flu appear in these texts, particularly in Charak Samhita. It has
given a list of do's and don'ts to prevent such ailments. It has also
advised certain preventive measures to build body immunity against
attack of seasonal diseases," senior Ayurvedic physician Dr M Chandra
Sekhar of Institute of Panchakarma and Research, Hyderabad.
According to Charak Samhita, one should avoid kapha provocating diet
like curd, cold food, fruit juices specially citrus, fermented food and
take hot water instead of cold water. One should use decoction made up
of any one or combination of tulsi, ginger, black pepper, long pepper
and guduchi (Tinospora) every morning.
"Ayurvedic medicines like sudershanghana vati, sudershana churna and
samshamani vati improve the host defence mechanism. The medicines
can be taken by normal healthy persons as well as those who have mild
cold, cough, body pain etc. However, in serious cases, people should
go to the nearest screening centre," the Ayush document on swine flu
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