Obesity Through the Eyes of Ayurveda

The longer the belt, the shorter the life!!

Obesity may be described as a condition characterised by excessive deposition or storage of fat in the body, or being more than one fifth overweight as compared to the normal weight range.

Ayurveda calls it as Atisthoulya or Medoroga and Charakacharya has included this category of people under “Ashta ninditha purusha” (undesirable constitution). A person belonging to Kapha prakruthi is most likely to experience this trouble. According to Ayurveda, obesity is regarded as “Kooposhana janya vyadhi”, which means various types of manifestations caused due to improper or abnormal nourishment. Obesity is a condition caused due to over nutrition.

Causes of Obesity may be summarised as

  • Excessive intake of food (both qualitative and quantitative)
  • Excess intake of heavy, sweet,cold,oily food
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of indulgence in sexual activity
  • Day sleep
  • Total absence of mental stress/always being joyful
  • Being relaxed physically and mentally
  • Genetic factors

Pathogenesis

Amongst the 7 dhatus( rasa,rakta,mamsa,meda,asthi,majja and shukra),only medas(fat) gets nourished, remaining other dhatus get malnourished.

  • Food having sweet taste, if consumed more ,it creates medo dhatu agni maandhya(low enzyme of adipose tissue)
  • Aama or toxins develop in the body
  • Aggravation of abdominal adipose tissue
  • Vayu/ vata changes its normal direction
  • Subsequently vayu enters into the digestive tract(abdomen)
  • It kindles the digestive fire(jaatharagni) in excess
  • Followed by excess or abnormal appetite
  • Excess heat digest and absorbs food faster than usual
  • Hence more food intake
  • It disturbs adipose tissue
  • Further tissues (asthi,majja and shukra) are not nourished properly
  • Finally, abnormal fat tissue is formed and accumulated in the body
  • Lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle also leads to improper food digestion in turn leads to medo roga( obesity)

Signs and symptoms of increased medo dhatu (obesity):

  1. Prominence of gluteal region,abdomen and mammary gland and its free movement due to excessive deposition of fat
  2. Incapable to do any physical activity (efficiency decreases)
  3. Exertional dypnoea
  4. Excessive thirst
  5. Excessive desire for food
  6. Excessive sleep
  7. Sudden development of breathing problem
  8. General debility
  9. Excessive perspiration (bad odour)
  10. Absence of libido
  11. Lowered life expectancy

Upadrava (sequelue) obesity leads to:

  • Diabetes
  • Paralysis
  • Heart disease
  • Loose body
  • Lack of energy
  • Joint problems

Treatment Principle and Line of Management:

“Guru cha apatarpanam cheshtam sthoolanam karshanam prati” -Charaka sutra stha

-The person is advised to take heavy food which does not have any nutritive values (which can cause weight reduction). –He is advised to take food which is heavy to digest so that it reduces the hunger of the person and function of the digestive fire.
-Dietary articles which will reduce vata dosha, meda(fat) and sleshma(kapha) are selected as these are opposite to the causative factors.
-Dry, hot and hard properties are best to treat this condition.
-Decoction made of guduchi (tinospora), devadaru,musta along with triphala is beneficial in treating obesity
-Slightly sour butter milk is good.
-Barley+powdered amla+honey is a good herbal combination to treat this condition
-Person should take food only after he gets hungry or only after digestion of the previous meal
-Barley, horse gram, grains like ragi bajra are useful
-Drinking hot water is advised.
-Exercise is a must!
-Pancha karma procedures like niruha basti, virechana will be helpful. Also dry powdered massage (udvartana).

Some herbal formulations to combat obesity:

Triphala kashaya
Mustadi kashaya
Varadi kashayam
Varanadi kashayam
Navaka guggulu
Medohara guggulu
Triphala guggulu
Arogya vardhini vati
Medohar Active Capsules

Pathya (food items which are indicated):

Green grams, lentils, cow gram, brinjal, butter milk, lemon juice, cabbage, tomato, millet hot water

Apathya(harmful)

Day sleep
Black gram
Sweet food
Heavy food
Dairy products

Yogasanas to combat obesity:

Surya namaskara
Paschimothasana
Bhujangasana
Shalabhasana
Halasana
Sarvangasana

Remember, long term treatment along with proper dietary restrictions and appropriate physical activities and yogasanas may lead to controlled status of obesity.

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