Ayurvedic Treatment For High Cholesterol: Principles, Therapies, Medicine

High cholesterol – Hypercholesterolemia can be effectively tackled through Ayurvedic treatments (Panchakarma treatments) and medicines. 

Treating Hypercholesterolemia on the lines of Medoroga Chikitsa (treatment of Medoroga) –
Triphala Kwatha – decoction prepared using Triphala (Haritaki – Terminalia chebula, Bibhitaki – Terminalia bellirica and Amalaki – Emblica officinalis) should be added with honey and given to drink

Madhu-udaka – Honey added in boiled and cooled water or warm water is given to drink

Ushna manda – is a liquid preparation in the form of thin gruel wherein rice (1part) is processed in 14 times water. It is seen that the entire solid content is filtered out from the final preparation such that only liquid remains.

Chavyadi Churna – Powder prepared from Chavya (Piper retrofractum / Piper chaba), Jeeraka (cumin seeds), Shunti (ginger), Pippali (Long pepper), Maricha (black pepper), Shuddha Hingu (purified asafoetida), Saindhava Lavana (Rock salt) and Chitrakamula (root of Plumbago zeylanica) mixed in Sattu (flour made by mixing ground pulses and cereals, it is prepared by dry roasting grains and grams mainly barley or Bengal gram or chick peas, sieved and ground to a soft flour) and taken with honey

Talapatra Kshara – Alkali extracted from palm leaves mixed with Shuddha Hingu (purified asafoetida) given along with Manda (rice gruel, hot)

Phalatrikadi Churna – Powder of Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), Shunti (ginger), Pippali (Long pepper), Maricha (black pepper), mixed with taila (sesame oil) and lavana (rock salt)

Guduchyadi Churna – Powder of Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus) mixed with Takrarishta (fermented medicinal drink prepared with medicinal herbs and buttermilk) and honey

Triphala Churna – Powder of Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) mixed with Takrarishta (fermented medicinal drink prepared with medicinal herbs and buttermilk) and honey

External treatments –
Udwarthana means massage done over the body with herbal powders in an upward direction i.e. from below upwards (against the traditional pattern of massage which is done from above downwards) with a moderate and tolerable friction.

Udwarthana is said to be the best treatment in diseases caused due to morbid meda (fat), ama (immature essence of nutrition formed in the stomach and is circulating all over the body, owing to its sticky and immature nature tends to block the srotas or channels of nutrition of the body and cause various diseases and damages in the body) and vitiated kapha conditions.

Udwarthana is also found to give extremely good results in obesity, over-weight and hypercholesterolemia conditions. When combined with Virechana (therapeutic purgation), Vasti (herbal enemas), disease modifying herbs and formulations, diet and lifestyle modifications, Udwarthana has found to reverse the pathological process and deplete the stores of bad fat from the body. Some of the important formulations for Udwarthana are listed as mentioned under –

Haritakyadi Udwartana – Powder made of Haritaki (Terminali chebula), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Nimba patra (leaves of neem plant), Amra twak (bark of mango tree) and Dadima twak (bark of pomegranate tree)

Mocharasadi lepa / udwarthana – Application or udwarthana with Mocharasa (resin of Silk cotton tree or Bombax malabaricum) and Samudraphena churna (powder of cuttlefish bone)

Vasadi udwarthana – Shankha Bhasma (ash of conch shell) mixed in Vasa swarasa (juice of leaves of Adhatoda vasica)

Haritaki Udwarthana – Powder of Terminali chebula should be used for udwarthana

Babbula Patra Udwarthana – udwarthana with leaves of Acacia Arabica followed by udwarthana with powder of Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) followed by hot water bath.

Jambavadi Udwarthana – paste of Jambu (Eugenia jambolana leaves), Arjuna pushpa or phala (fruits or flowers of Terminalia arjuna) and Kushta (Saussurea lappa)

Priyangwadi Udwarthana – with paste of Priyangu (Callicarpa macrophylla), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and Chandana (sandalwood)

Other medicines used for Udwarthana –
Triphala Churna
Kola churna
Kola-kulattadi Churna
Kottamchukkadi Churna

Other strategies in treating Hypercholesterolemia

Deepana – Pachana medicines (appetizers, digestants, ama-expelling medicines) –
As we have already discussed earlier dhatu-agnimandhya (depletion of tissue fire and metabolism) developed on the backdrop of jataragni mandhya (errors of central, core or gut metabolism) are the principle causes for of hypercholesterolemia vis-à-vis medo-roga, we need to address these key issues. By addressing the agni and balancing it we would have balanced the fat metabolism. For this to happen, Deepana and Pachana herbs shall be administered.

Deepana medicines are those which kindle the agni, i.e. the metabolic fire and act like appetizers. They rectify and enhance the metabolic process which had gone weak.

Pachana medicines are those which help in digesting ama (digestants) and removing them from the cells. Ama is a metabolic toxin. It is an intermediate product (bi-product) of digestion which by all means is harmful due to its harmful nature. Ama is the improperly processed or immature essence of digestion in circulation. Due to its sticky nature, ama tends to block the channels of the body and deprive the cells and organs of nutrition leading to cell and organ damage which in turn is the causative factor of all the diseases.

Most of the medicines of deepana and pachana category will act on the virtue of one or more of the katu (pungent), tikta (biter) or kashaya (astringent) tastes, ushna guna or veerya (hot nature or potency) and katu vipaka (post digestion effect). Many medicines act on the virtue of prabhava (disease modifying effect). All these taste and qualities mentioned above are best in destroying ama, kapha and excess meda.

3 elements tend to accumulate in excess in the body cells and channels and obliterate the smooth functioning of the system. They are – ama, morbid kapha and morbid meda. Deepana and Pachana medicines along with Vamana (therapeutic emesis) and Virechana (therapeutic purgation) will enable to destroy all these 3 pathological elements and help in regressing the pathology, hypercholesterolemia in particular.

The best medicines used for Deepana are –

  • Pippali – Piper longum
  • Pippalimula – Root of Piper longum
  • Chavya – Piper retrofractum
  • Chitraka – Plumbago zeylanica
  • Shunti – Zingiber officinale
  • Amlavetasa – Garcinia pedunculata
  • Maricha – Piper nigrum
  • Ajamoda – Trachyspermum ammi
  • Bhallataka – Semecarpus anacardium
  • Hingu – Ferula foetida
  • Madhya – alcoholic or fermented products (medicated)
  • Lavana –salt
  • Ativisha – Aconitum heterophyllum
  • Kiratatikta – Swertia chirata
  • Hingu – Ferula foetida
  • Triphala – fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis
  • Mishreya – Bishop’s weed
  • Shatapushpa – Anethum sowa
  • Jeeraka – Cumin seeds
  • Krishna Jeeraka – Black caraway
  • Takra – buttermilk
  • Pippalyadi group of herbs
  • Bilwadi group of herbs
  • Guduchyadi group of herbs
  • Amalakyadi group of herbs

The first 5 herbs are called Panchakola

Ama-pachana – The best medicines which can get rid of ama are –

  • Dhanyaka – Coriander
  • Musta – Cyperus rotundus
  • Pippalimula – Roots of Piper longum
  • Maricha – Piper nigrum
  • Shunti – Zingiber officinale
  • Lavanga – Syzygium aramaticum
  • Shaileya – Permelliya perforate
  • Mulaka – Raphenus sativus
  • Erandakarkati – Carica papaya
  • Nagakeshara – Mesua ferrea
  • Haridra – Turmeric
  • Daruharidra – Berberis aristata
  • Haritaki – Terminalia chebula
  • Amalaki – Emblica officinalis
  • Bibhitaki – Terminalia bellirica
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Vacha – Acorus calamus
  • Patha – Cissampelos pareira, Cyclea peltata
  • Katuki – Picrorrhiza kurroa
  • Ativisha – Aconitum heterophyllum
  • Ela – Cardamom
  • Bhallataka – Semecarpus anacardium
  • Chitraka – Plumbago zeylanica
  • Kiratatikta – Swertia chirata
  • Trayamana – Gentiana kurroo
  • Patola – Trichosanthes dioica
  • Chandana – Santalum album
  • Murva – Marsdenia tenacissima
  • Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia
  • Parijata – Nyctanthes arbortristis
  • Karavellaka – Bitter gourd
  • Shigru – Drumstick
  • Shana – Crotalaria juncea
  • Tila – Sesame
  • Sarshapa – Mustard
  • Atasi – Flax
  • Tikta skanda – bitter group of herbs
  • Pippalyadi gana – herbs belonging to Pippalyadi group
  • Dashamula – 10 roots
  • Haridradi – Herbs belonging to Haridradi group
  • Vachadi – Herbs of Vachadi group

Langhana –
Langhana means lightening therapies. These are the therapies which induce lightness of the body and establish health. While producing lightness, langhana measures remove the heavy components whose morbidity is causing blocks in the body tissues, organs and channels, namely the ama, meda and kapha.
Among these Vamana and Virechana are excessively helpful in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. They help in throwing out the morbid kapha and meda. Virechana also helps in expelling the morbid pitta.
Read related: Langhana Therapy – A Unique Ayurvedic Treatment Principle

Managing morbid Kapha in hypercholesterolemia –
After knowing the role of kapha in causing the medo roga, we need to tackle the morbid kapha in order to address hypercholesterolemia.

Avoiding kapha aggravating food and lifestyle activities will be the first step to avoid accumulations of morbid materials in the body. Avoiding Kapha aggravating things will also help reduce accumulation of bad fats in the body. Read related: Causes for Kapha Dosha increase
Remedies for vitiated kapha – Read here

Treating on the lines of medovaha sroto dushti (contamination or vitiation of channels related to fat metabolism) –

Avoiding the Causes for vitiation of Medo vaha srotas (mentioned below) –
Avyaayaama – Lack of exercise
Diva swapna – sleeping during day time
Medhyaanaam cha ati sevanam – eating luxurious, fat rich, fried and caloric foods in excess
Vaaruni – excessive consumption of an alcoholic product called Varuni

Management of diseases caused due to vitiation of Medovaha srotas –
The vitiation of Medovaha srotas and the diseases caused therein should be managed on the lines of treatment of Medoja rogas (fat related disorders) mentioned in Ashtau ninditeeya chapter (chapter 21 of Charaka Sutra Sthana). I have already explained in detail the treatment of medoroga.

Other important remedies:
सततं व्याधितौ एतौ अति स्थूल कृशौ नरौ।
सततं च उपचर्यौ हि कर्षण बृम्हणैः अपि॥(च.सू.२१/१६)
गुरु च अतर्पणं चेष्टं स्थूलानां कर्शनं च्प्रति।
कृशानां बृंहणार्थं च लघु संतर्पणं च यत्॥(च.सू.२१/२०)
वातघ्नानि अन्न पानानि श्लेष्म मेदो हराणि च।
रूक्षा उष्ण वस्तयः तीक्ष्णा रूक्षाणि उद्वर्तनानि च॥
गुडूची भद्रमुस्तानां प्रयोगः त्रैफलः तथा।
तक्रारिष्ट प्रयोगः च प्रयोगो माक्षिकस्य च॥
विडङ्ग नागरं क्षारः काल लोह रजो मधुः।
यव अमलक चूर्णं च प्रयोगः श्रेष्ठ उच्यते॥
बिल्वादि पञ्च मूलस्य प्रयोग्ः क्षौद्र संयुतः।
शिलाजतु प्रयोगः च स अग्निमन्थ रसः परः।(च.सू.२१/२१-२४)
प्रजागरं व्यवायं च व्यायामं चिन्तनानि च।
स्थौल्यम् इच्छन् परित्यक्तुं क्रमेण अभि प्रवर्धयेत्॥(च.सू.२१/२८)

 

Karshana – Thus Karshana or thinning therapy is the best in combating the diseases related to vitiation of Medovaha srotas.

Guru-Apatarpana – The person who is obese should be given guru ahara (heavy to digest food) at the same time administering Apatarpana (under-saturating or thinning treatments and medicines) chikitsa. As already said, medoroga has a complicated amalgamation of vata and meda in the pathogenesis. Apatarpana includes light foods and medicines which thin the subjects, therefore it is antagonistic to meda. On the other side these medicines and foods have guru guna (heavy nature) which is antagonistic to laghu guna (light quality) of vata. Thus Guru-apatarpana is a skilful adaptation of medicines and food in hypercholesterolemia.

The below mentioned are the best in the business of dealing with the disorders taking origin from vitiated Medovaha srotas –

  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia),
  • Musta (Cyperus rotundus),
  • Triphala (fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica, Emblica officinalis),
  • Takrarishta (alcoholic preparation prepared from buttermilk),
  • Makshika (honey),
  • Vidanga (Embelia ribes),
  • Nagaram (ginger),
  • Kshaara (alkali),
  • Ash of Kala loha (black iron) with honey,
  • Powders of Yava (barley) and Amalaki (Indian gooseberry),
  • Bilwadi panchamula (5 roots beginning with Aegle marmelos) with honey,
  • Use of Shilajatu with decoction of Agnimantha
  • Prajaagara – awakening at night times
  • Vyavaayam – sexual intercourse (frequent)
  • Vyaayaamam – Exercise (frequent)
  • Chinta – Mental strain

Role of Panchakarma in the management of hypercholesterolemia
Panchakarma is highly beneficial in the treatment strategy of hypercholesterolemia; in fact it should be the first line of treatment.

Vamana – Therapeutic emesis will help in getting rid of morbid kapha and ama which are precursors of meda accumulation.

Virechana – therapeutic purgation is the best in business to eliminate excess meda in the body. It forms a useful combination with Udwarthana and the results are worth appreciating.

Vasti – some lekhana and medohara vastis (fat eliminating enemas) have been described in the Ayurvedic treatises which are highly effective in medoroga especially when Vata is dominant or when Medo avrita Vata (functions of vata obstructed by clouding fat) is on the backdrop. Even in these cases, vasti gives good results when administered after a course of Virechana.

Classical formulations for Hypercholesterolemia –
Kashayam (herbal decoctions) –

  • Guggulutiktakam Kashayam
  • Mahamanjishtadi Kashayam
  • Varadi Kashayam
  • Varanadi Kashayam
  • Tiktakam Kashayam
  • Guluchyadi Kashayam
  • Aragwadhadi Kashayam
  • Aragwadha mahatiktakam kashayam
  • Nimbamritadi Panchatiktakam Kashayam
  • Gandharvahastadi Kashayam etc

Asava-arishtam (fermented herbal drinks) –

  • Ayaskrity
  • Kumaryasavam
  • Aragwadharishtam
  • Lodhrasavam
  • Panchakolasavam
  • Punarnavasavam
  • Devadarwarishtam etc

Vati and Guggulu (tablets and Guggulu preparations) –

  • Arogyavardhini
  • Navaka Guggulu
  • Kanchanara Guggulu
  • Medoharavidangadi Lauha
  • Tryushanadi lauha
  • Navayasa lauha
  • Vadavagni or vadavanala rasa
  • Trimurti rasa

Churna (herbal powders) and Bhasma (ash preparations) –

  • Vidangadi Churna
  • Triphala Churna
  • Navayasa lauha
  • Amrutadi Churna
  • Vanga bhasma
  • Tamra bhasma etc

Proprietary medicines for hypercholesterolemia –

  • Tab Abana (Himalaya Company)
  • Tab Cholesterolcare (Bacfo)
  • Cap Garlicon (Phyto Pharma)
  • Cap Hartone (Swadeshi)
  • Cap Digit (Vasu)
  • Cap Amrita (Chirayu)
  • Tab Arjin (Alarsin)
  • Cap Punerjatu (Pavaman)
  • Cap Decrin (Phyto Pharma)
  • Cap Decrin Plus (Phyto Pharma)
  • Cap Defet-5 (Ayulabs)
  • Cap Fizi slim (Fizikem)
  • Cap Lipan (BAN)
  • Cap Lipidsol (Anuja)
  • Cap Lipon (Shrushti)
  • Syrum Liposem (KAPL)
  • Cap Lipved (Bal Vedics)
  • Cap Obelin (Trio)
  • Tab Obenyl (Charak)
  • Cap Obis (Alopa)
  • Cap Ref (Capro) etc

Pathya Apathya (beneficial and non-beneficial diet and lifestyle practices) in Hypercholesterolemia

Pathya (beneficial things) –

  • Medicines and herbs enlisted in combating the medovaha sroto dushti (as above)
  • Medicines and herbs enlisted in combating morbid kapha (as above)
  • Medicines and herbs which act as deepana, pachana, rukshana and langhana
  • Vamana – therapeutic emesis
  • Virechana – therapeutic purgation
  • Vasti – therapeutic enemas
  • Udwarthana – herbal powder massage
  • Vyayama – exercise
  • Purana shali – old rice
  • Mudga – green gram
  • Kulattha – horse gram
  • Lekhana vasti – fat depleting enemas
  • Parishrama – indulgence in physical works
  • Chinta – worries, grief
  • Maithuna – indulgence in sex
  • Adhwa gamana – walking and jogging
  • Kshaudra – honey
  • Jaagarana – keeping awakening over night
  • Yava – barley
  • Aswapna – avoiding sleep

Apathya (non-beneficial things) –
Excessive consumption of foods and lifestyle activities which cause indigestion and cause sluggish metabolism, form ama
Excessive consumption of food and lifestyle activities which increase fat levels in the body (meda)
Excessive consumption of food and lifestyle activities which increase or vitiate kapha in the body

Single herbs effective in hypercholesterolemia –
The single herbs useful in hypercholesterolemia have been dealt in various sub-topics of this article. They are the herbs mentioned in the list of –

  • Deepana herbs
  • Pachana Herbs
  • Langhana herbs
  • Medohara herbs
  • Kapha alleviating herbs

Few Tips to keep bad fats away (Gist of tips to prevent hypercholesterolemia) –

  • Keep away from over eating
  • Get indulged in regular daily exercises (Physical and Mental activities) and avoid sedentary life style.
  • Avoid calorie rich diets and the diets derived from carbohydrates and fats (Medhya-Fat rich and fat enhancing food, Shleshmala ahara-foods which cause vitiation of kapha in the body which in turn causes Obesity and CVD, Madhura anna rasa-Foods and drinks rich in sweet taste, Sneha-Oil rich foods etc)
  • Therapeutic starvation – Only water, no caloric drink with vitamin mineral and protein supplements in very obese (Langhana, Apatarpana etc)
  • Undergoing Panchakarma therapies (Ayurveda cleansing and detoxifying therapies), Yoga and Naturopathy will surely help. Among Panchakarma therapies – Vamana (therapeutic emesis), Virechana (therapeutic purgation) and Vasti (medicated enemas) are highly beneficial in reducing weight and thus aiding in recovery from fat induced heart ailments.
  • Udwarthanam (powder massage done in the reverse direction of traditional massage) is a widely practised Ayurvedic treatment highly effective in weight reduction.
  • Monitoring stress, dealing with conditions like Depression etc are essential. Soothing Ayurvedic massages (Abhyanga), pouring of medicated liquids over the head (shirodhara) and body (sarvanga dhara) in streams etc treatments along with meditation and Yoga are good inclusions in weight management programmes and cardiac protective treatments. Releasing the heart from the clutches of morbid fat is the key.

Just before finish,
Accumulation of bad fats are always dangerous and alarming signs of many life threatening disorders to invade you in future, hypercholesterolemia is one among them. With erratic lifestyle and diet practices, this condition is on a rise. Disciplined lifestyle practices and a proper control on what and how much we eat might help in keeping this condition at a long distance from us. But if your body mathematics is already showing certain amounts of bad fat accumulating in your tissues and channels, don’t panic!! You have the best remedies in Ayurveda!!!

 “Control, Avoid and Expel Bad” should be the thought for the modern world, the principles being alike in Ayurveda and the present day medical sciences
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)


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