India has nearly 30 million individuals with heart disease and the highest number of heart failure deaths anywhere in the world. Alarmingly, population studies indicate an increasing rise in the prevalence of heart disease. Further, heart disease is no longer an issue restricted to elderly individuals as nearly 35% of patients are below 50 years of age and 10% below 30 years of age. Because coronary heart disease is a chronic condition, individuals are required to intake medications for the remainder of their lives. Ayurveda is primarily a holistic discipline that can improve the health of the heart and even offer a cure for coronary heart disease.
An unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle with poor levels of physical activity and high consumption of unhealthy, processed foods are the primary causes of coronary heart disease in India. This adoption of the “western lifestyle” causes the accumulation of cholesterol plaque in the arteries, which causes a restriction in blood flow, thereby causing or worsening heart disease. Ayurvedic treatments for optimum heart health include specialised diet plans, herbal concoctions, therapeutic practices, as well as Yoga and Pranayama. These heart disease treatments help in controlling and even eliminating the causative factors of coronary heart disease. Mentioned below are reasons that show that Ayurveda may have a solution to the problem of heart disease.
A published work suggests that ancient Ayurvedic writings could hold potential treatment to the problem of coronary heart disease. Research indicates that Ayurveda treatments can help in increasing the uptake of oxygen and reducing systolic blood pressure.
Poor blood circulation leads to a reduced supply of blood to the muscles of the heart, thereby causing ischemic heart disease, which is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of heart-related deaths in India. Ayurvedic treatments such as Hrid Basti (a warm herbal decoction that is used topically) helps in improving local blood supply through vasodilatation and reducing spasms of the intercostal muscles. In addition, Ayurvedic herbal treatments that include Terminali Aarjuna help in increasing the force of the contractions of the heart muscles, ultimately leading to improved circulation of blood.
Ayurvedic practices such as Pranayama and Yoga Asanas are effective in improving the cardiorespiratory system’s efficiency. This improvement will help in curing heart disease because a strong cardiorespiratory system increases the ability of your heart to pump blood, thereby improving the supply of oxygen and reducing cardiac risks.
High levels of cholesterol pose several health problems, the most important being atherosclerosis, which is a condition marked by a formation of thickened plaque on the inner walls of the arteries. An unhealthy diet and lifestyle lead to an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol levels, while simultaneously reducing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. Ayurveda treatments for heart disease may comprise of therapeutic massages with sesame oil. This oil is known to lower LDL cholesterol levels, thus reversing atherosclerosis to a great extent.
Arteries are elastic in nature, which allows them to successfully stretch and distend while the heart pumps blood through the body. This elasticity is extremely important because it makes sure that blood pressure is relatively constant. Ayurveda treatments help in maintaining the arteries’ elasticity and preventing them from eventually hardening. This drastically reduces heart failure risks and can even help in curing coronary heart disease.
Stress (both physical and mental) makes the body release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol increases blood sugar levels whereas adrenaline causes a drastic increase in heart rate and elevation of blood pressure levels. This is why prolonged durations of stress have a huge impact on the health of your heart, making stress one of the leading causes of coronary heart disease in India. Research has shown that Ayurveda treatments such as Swedana or fomentation are especially effective in dealing with heart conditions because it promotes physical and mental cleansing, thereby helping in the reduction in the levels of stress and anxiety.
Ayurveda treatments for coronary heart disease are beneficial because they have a lot of advantages, including no side effects, easy access, long-lasting results, highly economical, and causing improvement in overall health.
This article is reviewed by Dr. Ashwini Konnur