Chronic Kidney failure or chronic renal failure (CRF) or chronic terminal kidney disorder is very common these days with loss of kidney functions. The alteration in kidney functions is visible in the form of swelling on the face and feet, fatigue, muscular weakness, dry, itchy skin. Mainly the diabetes, hypertension, urinary tract obstructions and immunological disorders are the cause of chronic renal failure. The severity of this CRF is graded from stage I to V depending upon the kidney functions.
Ayurvedic View :
The kidneys are mentioned as vrikka in Ayurveda. Shotha is the name for swelling. Some books in Ayurveda have mentioned vrikka vicar (kidney disorders) separately while many have elaborately described the shotha vicar its types and effective methods to manage them.
Causes according to Ayurveda :
According to Ayurveda urine formation starts in intestine itself although filtration takes place in kidneys. Imbalance of agni (fire element ) disturbs the process of formation and filtration of urine, Malformed urine leads to accumulation of wastes in the body.This unwanted accumulation is known as ‘ama sanchaya’ (toxin accumulation) in Ayurveda. This ‘ama’ accumulation manifests as – loss of appetite, tiredness, heaviness, puffiness around the eyes excess water in the later stages and abnormal values of Creatitnine, Urea ,GFR e.t.c. On the basis of different factors, damage at different levels of filtration apparatus can take place.
So, Chronic kidney disease is a condition of the mutravaha srotas (The body channel that is related to the urinary system of the body and its normal functioning). The damage to the tissues is contributed by the imbalance in the three doshas (body humors - Air, Fire and Ether/ Vata, Pitta and Kapha) mainly the vitiated Vata element and the raised Kapha element which leads to the blockage of various channels of the Mutra vaha srotasa leading to impaired functioning of the kidneys.
Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment options :
The Ayurvedic treatment of chronic renal failure is based on three principles:
(i) Treating the damaged kidneys - The damage done to the kidneys can be repaired using medicines like Punarnavadi Guggulu, Gokshuradi Guggulu, Gomutra Haritaki, Chandraprabha Vati and Punarnavadi Qadha (decoction). Herbal medicines useful in this condition are: Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Neem (Azadirachta indica), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata) and Patol (Tricosanthe dioica).
(ii) Treating the body tissues (dhatus) which make up the kidneys - According to Ayurveda, the kidneys are made up of the "Rakta" and "Meda" dhatus. Treating these two dhatus is also an effective way to treat the kidneys. Medicines used are: Patol, Saariva, Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Chirayta (Swertia chirata), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Chandan (Santalum album) and Shunthi (Zinziber officinalis).
(iii) Treating the known cause - Ayurvedic medicines are especially useful in treating renal causes resulting in acute organ failure, which include diseases like glomerulonephritis, acute interstitial nephritis and acute tubular necrosis. Medicines like Chandraprabha-Vati, Gokshuradi-Guggulu, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Chandrakala-Ras, Sutshekhar-Ras, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Shankh-Vati, Panchamrut-Parpati, Yava-Kshar and Surya-Kshar are very effective in treating these conditions. Primary glomerular diseases like membranous nephropathy and glomerlonephritis can be treated using Punarnava, Gokshur, Saariva and Manjishtha. Secondary glomerular disease resulting from diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis etc. can be treated accordingly, using the medicines appropriate for those diseases. Similarly, suitable Ayurvedic medicines can be given for other causes like polycystic kidneys, prostate enlargement and neurogenic bladder.
Why to choose Ayurvedic option ? :
The advantage of using Ayurvedic medicines in chronic renal failure is that in most patients, the kidney damage can be either partly or fully reversed, the frequency of dialysis can be reduced, and the increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases can be significantly reduced. Thus, Ayurvedic medicines have the potential for an important therapeutic contribution in all the stages of this condition.
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