Monthly Archives: January 2012

Amlapitta: Acidity, Heartburn, Gastritis as understood in Ayurveda

Definition:

It is common for many of us to face a burning sensation in stomach and chest at times. This is in most cases due to excessive secretion of acidic material in the stomach. This in medical terms referred as acidity or gastritis. In Ayurvedic terminology, this is referred as amlapitta, amla means the super sour taste and Pitta is the Dosha. This means there is excessive secretion of Pitta Dosha (one of the three doshas) in the stomach.

Amlapitta process:

When the Pitta Dosha is disturbed from its normal state by taking viruddha bhojan (incompatible food), vikrita bhojan (stale food), ati amla (too much sour, spicy food), vidahi (decayed) and other food that is harmful to pitta dosha like fried, fermented food, smoking, alcohol etc, then the aggravated Pitta Dosha takes seat in stomach and produces Amlapitta or hyperacidity.


Causes:

  • Eating of spicy and highly seasoned food like chilly, pickles, etc.
  • Prolonged ingestion of aspirin or some anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Prolonged alcohol , tea , coffee ingestion
  • Heavy smoking
  • Stress & anxiety
  • Excessive intake of hot drinks
  • Irregular habit & time of diet


Symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of desire to eat which may persist for 1-2 days
  • Heartburn or sour belching
  • A sense of abdominal distension
  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting of blood or blood in stools
  • If gastritis persists there may be eventual development of anemia

As per modern sciences these symptoms can be correlated with different conditions or their aggregate like Acid Peptic disorder (Urdhwaga Amlapitta & Kaphaj Amlapitta), Peptic ulcer (urdhwag Grahani/Amlapitta), duedenal ulcer (adhog grahani/Amlapitta), Reflux Oesophagitis (Urdhwaga Amlapitta) Crohn’s Disease, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, etc.

Complications:

  • Gastric ulcer
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Gastritis ( chronic)
  • Chronic Anaemia

Antaj, an Ayurvedic Preparation, Provides quick relief from flatulence (gases), abdominal distention, hyperacidity, heartburn. Improves digestive function. Protects mucosa from damage and promotes healing. Can be given as adjuvant to anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. Relieves symptoms of indigestion and thus, improves appetite.

Dose

Syrup Antaj 2 tsp twice a day

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Common Eye Problems in Winter

Winters can be harsh and especially for the eyes. The most common eye complaint in winter is dryness, which results in burning and itching sensation in eyes and at times a feeling of foreign body sensation.

This may be due to

1. Cold and dry air in atmosphere

2. Low humidity level in air inside the home or office (especially in AC rooms)

3. Increased quantity of dust in air from post monsoon dried soil due to change in direction of wind (up to monsoons, the direction of wind is from west to east while it changes in winter from north east to west south)

Spending time outdoors on windy winter days can also have a drying effect. People who wear contact lenses are the ones most likely to experience this problem, but it can affect anyone, particularly peri- and post-menopausal women who may have eye dryness because of loss of estrogen.


Over time, dryness
can cause blurred vision or damage the cornea, which can also lead to blurriness. People residing in snow or more skiing, skating or shovelling snow, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s reflection on ice or snow can damage the eye’s surface, causing an inflammation of the cornea called keratitis.

Dry Eye syndrome is common in winter because of cold, dry outdoor air and dry indoor heat. Symptoms include pain, blurred vision, a scratchy or burning sensation, or even watery eyes as the eyes try to compensate for the dryness. Because both dry eye and allergies can cause watery eyes, differentiating the two conditions can be difficult and may require an eye examination. Dry eye can occur at any age, but is more common among older adults, especially post-menopausal women. Severe dry eye can make one more vulnerable to corneal infections, which can permanently affect the vision.

Farmers are more exposed to eye problems in winter. Early winter is the period of rearing the grains from the most of the ready crops. While in rearing processes of grains, flake particles, increased production of pollen grains from weeds can directly harm the eyes of farmers. Common problems are injury from such objects, allergic conjunctivitis from pollen grains, blockade of nasolacrimal duct, infectious conjunctivitis, etc.

The Diwali festival arriving in early winter causes air pollution due to gases from fireworks. Carbon monoxide from these constituents is most harmful to cornea causing atrophy of superficial epithelium layer of cornea. Also a small fraction bound to hemoglobin in the circulation also causes chronic toxicity to retina and also vasospasm of retinal vessels.

Further, due to the cold climate, the metabolism of the body needs increases thereby requiring increased nutrition. Malnutrition and improper food habits leads to deficiencies of vitamins like A,C & B complexes. This may affect health of eyes. Common problems are Night blindness, Bitot’s spot, conjunctival xerosis (all due to Vitamin A deficiency), sunken sclera, blurred vision, etc.

Eye Care in Winter

Keep eyes moist. This will protect it from most of the problems arising in winter. Secretion of Lacrimal glands (tears) also itself acts as antiseptic, preventing infection of eyes. To increase spontaneous production of tears (secretion of Lacrimal gland in eye) is natural shield of eyes. According to Ayurveda, regular (daily) Anjankarma has been advised as per sheetritucharya. Jiwadaya Netraprabha, a pure herbal and safe Anjan (medicine for Anjankarma) stimulates lacrimal glands to increase tear production. Also, its ingredients give nutrition to different eye structures to be strong enough to counter different eye problems in winter.

Winter and Eye Care

Winter often brings with it a variety of health concerns. Some people wonder how they are going to shed the weight they gained from stuffing themselves with irresistible holiday treats. Others worry about the manner in which they would be able to avoid their loved ones catching cold, cough or other cold related diseases. With so much on everyone’s minds, it is not surprising that many neglect to take care of their eyes during winter. Understanding how winter’s changes create new hazards for the eyes enables people to take precautions that will preserve their vision for many seasons to come.

“As the seasons change, so do the health risks that surround us,” points out Craig M. Wax, D.O., an osteopathic family physician from Mullica Hill, NJ. “Many times, we don’t realize that some of the changes that accompany winter pose hazards to our eyes.”

A number of people, especially skiers, snowmobilers, and other snow lovers look forward to winter each year. For them, it means swishing down the slopes or speeding through the snow. “What winter outdoor enthusiasts don’t realize is that they spend extended periods of time in intense reflected sunlight,” explains Dr. Wax. “Overexposure to the winter sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays without proper eye protection can temporarily harm the eyes or even cause photokeratitis, a condition comparable to a sunburn except sensitive tissues of the eyeball are the ones receiving the burn.” Although photokeratitis may heal with time, the best way to preserve your vision is to avoid excess UV ray exposure, adds Dr. Wax.


Cool winds and drier air can irritate the eyes while outdoors. “Winter’s harsh weather can make it the furthest thing from a wonderland when you’re eyes are consistently dry and irritated, especially for those who wear contact lenses,” asserts Dr. Wax.


Dry eyes can be a problem indoors too. Indoor heat used during winter months tends to rid the air of moisture which can dry out and irritate eyes. “Although most cases are mild, irritation and dryness can be extremely uncomfortable causing a person to excessively rub their eyes further irritating and sometimes scratching them,” says Dr. Wax. “However, there are ways to relieve discomfort.”


Using eye drops, such as Jiwadaya Netraprabha which can be purchased at your local drug store, a few times a day often relieves dry and irritated eyes. Placing humidifiers throughout the house to increase indoor levels of humidity also provides relief.


“These simple adjustments will help protect your eyes all winter long,” contends Dr. Wax, “but we must remember that the best way to preserve our vision is to take good care of our eyes no matter what season it is or what we are doing.”

“Simple household tasks such as painting, using chemical cleaners, working on an engine or cutting wood expose our eyes to liquid chemicals that can burn or flying particles that can scratch and even puncture an eye,” warns Dr. Wax. “Proper protection must be worn to prevent injury.”


If an accident does occur, seeking proper treatment is crucial to preventing permanent damage. When a foreign body is embedded in the eye:

· Never rub or press on the eye. Attempt to remove it by leaning over a basin and gently flushing the eye with luke warm water. This method is most successful in removing smaller particles, such as dirt or sawdust from the eye.

· Seek medical attention if you cannot flush out the foreign body at home or the eye has been scratched.

· If medical assistance is needed, cover both eyes when waiting for help. The unaffected eye must be covered to prevent movement of the affected eye. If the object is small, use an eye patch or sterile dressing. If the object is large, cover the injured eye with a small paper cup taped in place and the other eye with a patch or sterile dressing.

When an eye has been exposed to dangerous chemicals:

· Immediately flush the eye with lukewarm water for 15 to 30 minutes.

· Call for emergency help.

· Cover both eyes with sterile dressings, and keep them covered until help arrives.