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AYURVEDA FOR GERIATRIC CARE

AYURVEDA gives top priority to geriatrics. The term geriatrics is derived Greek word, Geri - old age and latrics - care. It is the branch of medicine concerned with the care and treatment of elderly. In ayurveda, this is called "Vridhopacharaneeyam". The word geriatric has also a close link with the Sanskrit word 'Geeryadi'which means degenerated.

According to Ayurveda, human body consists of seven constituents (Sapthadhathus) -rasa (lymph), raktha (blood), mamsa (flesh), medas (fat), asthi (bone), majja (marrow) and sukla (sperm). The dhathus get degenerated due to the body's prolonged structural changes. During old age we cannot enhance the capacity of dhathus, but it can be pro-tected and rejuvenated.

Legend has it that when Maharishi Chyavana got afflicted with certain diseases related to old age and found that his energy dissipated, he started taking 'Chyavanaprash,' a remarkable tonic and anti-ageing medicine (rasayana), whose main ingredient is 'goose berry' (phyllaanthus emblica). And on systematic consumption of this rasayana, the Maharishi completely recovered and obtained youthful vigour and vitality. Thus Chyavanaprash has a unique status m the treatment of so many obstinate cases like medhakshaya (loss of memory) or Dementia. Gooseberry, one of the main ingredients, plays a pivotal role in the management of old 'age diseases and also a memory booster. This will protect the eye and safeguard vision. Gooseberry taken along with honey acts as an energy booster.

Rasayana is a special treatment therapy. It is of two kinds, 'Kutipravesikam and Vathathapikam'. Erect a small hut with only one small door and small holes in place of windows and put the patient in for a couple of months, according to the severity of illness. The patient is given suitable rasayana and when the stipulated time is over he will be totally free from the illness and could gain robust health.

'Vathathapikam' means the patient can take suitable rasayana without much restrictions. The ultimate aim of the rasayana treatment is to cure the patient from diseases and help attain longevity.

A more remarkable rasayana can be prepared by 'Bhallathaka' (semi carpusanacardium). In Malayalam this is called "Cherkuru". It is a poisonous nut which will produce considerable side-effects if not purified well. If well purified. It will act as 'nectar'.

A decoction has to be prepared with this nut and process with sufficient quantity of ghee as per formua. Finally, this unfinished product has to be vigorously churned by adding sufficient quantity of sugar and milk and kept air-tight for over seven days. This is called 'Amritha Bhallathaka Grytha'. Extra ordinarily tasty, this rasayana slows down ageing process.

Sankupushpi, Brahmi (Gratiola monieria) and Mandukapparni (Hydro Cotyle Asiatica) are also found effective and can be taken as per the expert advice of a physician. The juice of the above medicines with honey also acts as a memory booster.

Abhayangam (applying gingelly oil all over the body) protects the eye and enables one to get rid of greying, fatigue, muscle, spasm, rheumatism etc to a large extent. Nasyam, vasthi, njavarakizlii, elakizhi and sirovasthi are also beneficial in curing so many ailments.

Observance of truth and discipline - free from anger and fast lifestyle - is foremost to lead a systematic life that leads to good health and longevity.

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