The cell of the human body is a highly complex unit in which various organelles and enzyme systems undergo metabolic activities, continuously. The maintenance of these cells and their normal functioning is dependent upon the immediate environment of the cell, the continuous supply of nutrients, and the elimination of carbon dioxide and other metabolic products. During this process, there is continuous death of cells and also the regeneration of new ones. This degeneration of cells may have the following reasons:
1. Due to chemical changes in tissue
2. Deposition of abnormal material in tissue
3. Degenerative disease.
Cell degeneration is the over-accumulation of damaged cells that may hinder other processes in the body. It is also important to balance homeostasis, which is necessary to maintain healthy organisms and prevention of disease. It also is a defense mechanism against foreign organisms like bacteria and viruses, which are removed during cell degeneration. But when this degeneration goes wrong, it leads to the development of tumors, cancer, auto-immune conditions, and neurodegenerative diseases.
The phenomenon of the natural death of the cell is explained in Ayurveda. It is coined as “Swabhawoparmwada”. The term “Swabhawa” means natural and “Uparam” means destruction. Thus, as a whole Swabhawoparmwada means self-destruction or natural destruction. Any disturbance in the equilibrium of formation and destruction of the cells causes the imbalance of Dhatus (tissues) in the body. Whereas, when a proper equilibrium is established, it leads to balance in Dhatus. The reason this destruction is caused won’t matter at the tissue level, because when equilibrium is disrupted, tissues /cells tend to regenerate or disintegrate accordingly. The reason for annihilation can’t be determined as it is an automatic process. Thus, their creation is due to certain causative factors but they get destroyed automatically, without caring about any causative factor.
But, due to an imbalance in the degeneration of cells, Ayurveda has explained various abnormalities like cancer, Autoimmune condition, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Cancer: Cancer is caused due to mutation in the cells which have the ability to divide uncontrollably and form an abnormal mass of cells in the body. These cells have great potential to divide and invade other parts of the body with great speed. Ayurveda defines cancer as an imbalance in Tridoshas, Dhatus, and Triguna. In this case, the degeneration of mutated tissues is at a very slow rate, while the generation of those same cells is at the maximum rate. An imbalance in the formation of Dhatus leads to such cancerous conditions. Further, Ayurveda also proposes a safe cure for these tumors without any side effects. It comprises herbal medicines & therapies, increasing the quality of life, diet, Rasayana drugs, Panchakarma therapy, etc.
Auto-immune conditions: Ayurveda discovers the root cause of autoimmune disorders by looking at what caused the inflammation and working backward – lack of cellular communication causes inflammation, and this communication can be broken down due to Ama accumulated in the cell; this Ama is caused by low Agni and Ojas. Thus, the root cause of autoimmune diseases according to Ayurveda is due to low Agni and weak Ojas. The treatment in Ayurveda focuses on restoring Agni and Ojas and naturally curing autoimmune diseases. The treatment includes therapies like herbal medicines, Pizhichil, Njavara Kizhi, Shiro Basti, and Abhyangam along with Panchakarma and Yoga.
Neurodegenerative disease is a condition in which the neurons are affected in the human brain. The nervous system is entirely built of neurons which also incorporate the brain and spinal cord. Neurons do not duplicate and are not replaced in case of any dead neurons. In neurodegenerative disease, there is a serious weakening condition that results in dynamic degeneration and death of nerve cells. It can be caused due to hereditary and sporadic conditions which describe a breakdown of the nervous system. In Ayurveda, neurological
problems are described in the context of Vatavyadhi. Thus, the treatment in Ayurveda corresponds to rectifying the imbalance in Vata Dosha and maintaining harmony between Pitta and Kapha Dosha so as to eliminate the disease. The incurable neurological problems are proven to be successful if treated by Ayurvedic medicines and Panchakarma therapies.
Degenerative diseases affect the function or structure of the tissues or organs, which deteriorate progressively over time, due to lifestyle choices. As age passes, the body tissues degenerate gradually, and this is known as Kalaja Jara i.e. natural aging. This is controlled by various systems within the body. But, if this degeneration starts early, it leads to various diseases like Osteoarthritis, Degenerative disc disease, hardening of blood vessels, Parkinson’s disease, graying of hair, Alzheimer’s disease, Cataract, Diabetes, Dementia, etc.
Ayurveda serves a range of treatments for these degenerative diseases:
Basti- Includes correction of imbalanced Vata dosha.
Shastika Shali Pinda Sweda- It is employed for the treatment of chronic Vata diseases.
Abhyanga- Involves massage of the body with warm oil.
Patra Pinda Sweda- This therapy is employed in order to manage complicated back pain.
Panchakarma- It is employed to purify the body up to the cellular level after proper lubrication.
Thus, Ayurveda proves to be an effective tool to eliminate degenerative diseases. It serves various therapies and medications which are natural and prevent the growth of disorder and prevent it at an early stage.