Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a group of blood disorders characterized by a dysfunctional bone marrow resulting in ineffective blood-cell production. Signs and symptoms include anemia, fatigue, fever, heart disease, bleeding from different parts of the body, reduced urine output and shock. MDS can be either primary with no known cause or secondary, which results from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, viral infection, exposure to chemicals or a genetic predisposition.
The Ayurvedic treatment of MDS is aimed at reducing symptoms, treating the basic pathology of the disease and improving the quality of life. Medicines which act on the dysfunctional bone marrow form the main stay of treatment for this condition. These include Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Trayodashang-Guggulu, Mahamanjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Lohasav, Guduchyadi-Qadha, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Suvarna-Parpati, Suvarna-Sutshekhar-Ras, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Bhasma, Abhrak-Bhasma and Heerak-Bhasma. Herbal medicines which can be used for this purpose are: Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Chirayta (Swertia chirata), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica) and Nimba (Azadirachta indica).
Medicines like Tapyadi-Loh, Punarnavadi-Mandur and Lohasav are used to treat anemia. Vasa (Adhatoda vasaka), Naagkeshar (Messua ferrea), Laxa (Purified wax) and Sphatik-Bhasma are used to treat bleeding from any part of the body. Medicines like Arjunarishta, Dashmoolarishta, Drakshasav, Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma and Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani are used to treat fatigue, heart disease and heart failure. Medicines like Sukshma-Triphala, Laxmi-Narayan-Ras and Maha-Sudarshan-Churna are used to treat fever.
A special type of medicated enema, known as ‘Tikta- Ksheer- Basti’, is used to treat disorders related to the bone marrow. Milk is boiled with medicines like Guduchi, Amalaki, Musta and Patol. Other medicines like Panch-Tikta-Ghrut are added to this milk, which is then given in the form of enema. Repeated courses of such enemas are given for several months. This Panchkarma procedure has special importance in the treatment of MDS. Ayurvedic medicines can be given in combination with modern treatment for MDS, such as packed-cell transfusions.
MDS can either run an acute or a chronic course and often progresses to blood cancer, with a potentially fatal outcome. All patients affected with MDS should therefore be under the regular care and supervision of a Hematologist.