Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder usually seen in the elderly population. This disease is characterized by tremor, stiffness, slowness of movement and impaired balance and coordination. Usually the symptoms persist and worsen over time. Although there is currently no cure, there are many treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease is known as “Kampa Vata” in Ayurveda. The comprehensive treatment which is advised in the treatment of disturbed Vata dosha is recommended in this disease too.
Levodopa is considered the standard of treatment in Parkinson’s disease, and the herbal medicine Kapikachhu (Mucuna pruriens) contains levodopa in the natural form. This is used in powder form or tablet form of aqueous extract. High doses are given, which are very effective and do not usually exhibit the side effects seen with the modern chemical molecule.
Other Ayurvedic formulations which are used in Parkinson’s disease are: Visha Tinduk Vati, Agni Tundi Vati, Maha Yograj Guggulu, Abhrak Bhasma, Shrunga Bhasma and Brihat Vat Chintamani. Herbal medicines which are useful are: Dashmool (Ten Roots), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) and Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina). Most of these medicines are believed to stop or slow down the degeneration of brain cells and probably help in impulse transmission in the intact cells.
The above mentioned medicines can be safely added to the current modern medicines for Parkinson’s disease. The herbal medicines can be given long term and significantly reduce tremor and stiffness, and improve body coordination. Patients gain confidence and find it possible to resume their social life and have regular outings.
Some physicians advocate full body massage with Maha Narayan oil (containing mainly Asparagus racemosus), medicated enema called “Niruh Basti” with Dashmool oil, and “Anuvasan Basti” with Sahachar (Barleria prionitis) oil.
Most of the Ayurvedic formulations mentioned as “Rasayanas” (rejuvenatives) may probably be quite useful in Parkinson’s disease, and indeed, all diseases resulting from ageing and degeneration, however, not much research has been done in this area.