The heart is the most important organ of the body which pumps blood to all the other organs in order to keep them functioning. The heart has to work tirelessly for every living second of our life. It is no wonder then, that the heart is the organ that undergoes the highest degree of wear and tear in the human body. In Ayurveda, all heart diseases are collectively known as Hridaya Roga. Depending on their doshic cause, the heart diseases could be Vataka Hridaya Roga, Paittika Hridaya Roga and Kaphaja Hridaya Roga. These three have slightly differing symptoms as follows:-
– Vataka Hridaya Roga is characterized by acute pains which are not localized at a particular point. This is the heart disease caused due to the vitiation of the vata dosha.
– Paittika Hridaya Roga is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest cavity. This is the heart disease caused due to the vitiation of the pitta dosha.
– Kaphaja Hridaya Roga is characterized by mild pain in the chest, accompanied by heaviness, nausea and coughing. This is the heart disease caused due to the vitiation of the kapha dosha.
Almost all kinds of heart diseases are triggered by the blockage of the coronary arteries, due to which the blood supply to the heart is reduced. The main reasons for this obstruction in the blood supply could be choking of the arteries due to the wrong kind of food, obesity and even mental worries and tensions.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Heart Diseases
1. Alfalfa (Medicago satina)
The juice of the fresh alfalfa is very effective in clearing the congestion of the arteries. The juice has better effects if it is taken along with the juice of a fresh carrot.
2. Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)
Arjuna has properties in increasing the stimulation to the heart. Its bark is used in Ayurveda for this properties.
3. Digitalis (Digitalis purpurea)
The digitalis herb is renowned all over the world for its benefits in heart care. The herb can stimulate the activity of all muscle tissues, including those of the heart. It improves the nourishment of the heart and rejuvenates the heart from its basic wear and tear. The digitalis herb also helps in correcting problems that may occur in blood circulation to the heart.
4. Ephedra (Ephedra gerardiana)
The ephedra has fantastic heart stimulating properties. It is especially beneficial in strengthening hearts that are damaged due to infections of pneumonia and diphtheria.
5. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic is one of the best-known remedies in heart care. It can break down the cholesterol accumulated in the coronary arteries. Having a few cloves of raw garlic every morning can also reduce the possibility of a heart attack.
6. Onion (Allium cepa)
Scientists have proved the properties of the onion in allaying heart attacks. It also reduced thrombosis of the heart and reduces the accumulation of blood cholesterol.
(2) Diet for Heart Care
Contrary to popular belief, some sources of fats are actually good for the heart, and they must be included in the diet. The fats that are harmful for the heart are the trans-saturated fats, which are also labeled as hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening. These fats can remove all the proteins, fibers, minerals and vitamins from the body, leaving behind only toxins.
But fats that are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated are good for the heart. These fats are contained in olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil and ghee. Such fats should make up for about 15% of the food requirement.
At the same time, remember that fat-free diets are extremely harmful for the body. These diets do not contain any fats, which prohibit the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. This can only bring death faster.
All stimulating foods such as tea, coffee, alcohol and chocolates must be avoided by heart patients.
(3) Ayurvedic Concepts for Heart Care
The preferred drug for people with heart problems is the arjuna. The modes of giving this drug depends on the doshic cause of the ailment.
1. If the person has a vata dosha-related heart disease, then the powdered bark of the arjuna is given mixed with pure ghee.
2. If the person has a pitta dosha-related heart disease, then the powdered bark of the arjuna is given mixed with milk.
3. If the person has a kapha dosha-related heart disease, then the powdered bark of the arjuna is given mixed with pippali powder or with honey.
Medicines prepared using arjuna as the main ingredient, such as Arjunarishta and Arjuna ghritam can also be given in some cases.
In addition, there are other medicines for heart care such as Hridayarnava rasa and Prabhakara vati, which are given in the form of tablets. If the person has suffered an acute heart attack, then Mrigamadasava is found to be effective.
(4) Home Remedies for Heart Care
1. A glass of lemon juice must be drunk daily. Lemon juice contains vitamin C, which helps to dissolve the cholesterol. Amalaki can also be used for this purpose.
2. Have a cup of parsley tea daily. Parsley must be also included in the salad along with beet roots. This helps the proper functioning of the heart.
Ayurveda believes that the heart and the mind are interlinked. Problems with one of them can affect the other. Hence it is necessary that a person with a weak heart must keep the mind devoid of tensions and worries. It is very beneficial if the person devotes their time in religious meditation and yoga. This will strengthen the brain and thus the heart.