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Expert Article: Managing Digestive System Disease Naturally In Rainy Season

Diarrhoeal disease, acid peptic syndrome, gastritis, and other abdominal problems were common epidemics during the monsoon season. The disease is commonly observed in Asian and African countries. Public hygiene and sanitation have considerably reduced the burden of death due to diarrhoeal disease in the last few years. Still, at the same time, the prevalence of autoimmune response and autoimmune diarrhoeal disease incidence is increasing. There is also an increased incidence of irritable and inflammatory bowel disease; patients suffering from chronic IBS often observe increased symptoms during the rainy season.

As we have narrated in the previous that there are changes in biorhythm in rainy season according to Ayurveda all the three Doshas - bio humour gets provoked in the season. The digestion and metabolism remain at their low in the season, and food taken may get fermented or putrefied that leading to the formation of bio-toxins in the body that is labelled as Ama in Ayurveda; this Ama has a tendency to block micro-channels of the body, interact with enzyme and block their receptor sites that leads to impaired metabolism and hence the result of the manifestation of diseases.

To follow and communicate easily, the Indian medical system, with the help of mythological characters, designed various rituals that should be observed during the four months of monsoon. Typically the festivals with the observation of fast start from the eleventh day of the bright moon fortnight of Ashadha month (Ashadha Shukla Paksha 11) to 11 days of the bright moon fortnight of Kartak month (Kartak Shukla Paksha 11) fall during this period which is corresponding to July to October months in the Gregorian calendar. Furthermore, it has been communicated as folklore proverbs that to eat less during the Sharad, use milk in Sharad, etc., seasonal purification was also opined to be performed during this period.

Interaction of environmental factors and individual health

Kala (vernacular translation - time) is important in Indian geographic conditions. There are six seasons, viz. Shishira (late winter), Vasant (spring), Ghrishma (summer), Varsha (rain - monsoon), Sharad (autumn) and Hemant (early winter), which is not observed in major part of the globe. This climate condition changes body mechanisms; these physical stressors produce changes in the tissue's homeostasis, eventually leading to ailments.

Clouding of atmosphere, increased moisture, lack of air movements, warmth in the atmosphere leads to changes in digestion - digestive - vital fire, these changes can lead to the formation of metabolic toxins, free radicals, an intermediate product of metabolism which may, in turn, block the receptor sites of an enzyme that eventually leads to increased toxins due to increased non-metabolised biomaterials in the body that hampers the vital functions of body tissues.

Preventive health by acquired non-specific immunity

Immunity ensures disease-free status and maintenance of normal homeostasis of the body. Today's medical system primarily focuses on specific immunity, potent but has a limitation mediated through immunoglobulins synthesised by body resources when exposed to an infection or inoculated with vaccines. With the high specificity nature of the immunoglobulins, they can only neutralise specific antibodies/antibodies, thus minor microbe changes (specifically antigenic identity if different the system doesn't get triggered). On the other non-specific immunity offers immunity against all types of threats - microbes, physical, chemical stressors, metabolic disease and even cancer to some extent. With its holistic approach, Ayurveda enhances non-specific immunity with the help of different medicaments, lifestyle changes, diet as per circadian rhythm and Rasayana drugs. This is named Yuktikruta Bala (acquired immunity) in Ayurveda.

Digestion - regulating Agni naturally

Agni is a vital fire or digestive fire that regulates all metabolic functions in our body. The status of an individual's health and longevity depends on Agni. It is narrated that if Agni performs its functions, the person will live long, and if smashed, the person would die". Therefore, the primary objective of medicinal management is to restore normal homeostasis.

Medicaments for digestion - regulating Agni naturally

Certain medicaments have promising effects on gastric and liver functions. These medicines are known as Agni Deepak and Pachaka. The latter can help digestion of food and Ama, i.e. the intermediate product of metabolism. Still, some effects remain for a short time, and restoration of normal digestive function is not established, whereas the former acts on regularising digestive physiology. The latter is to relieve symptoms and the former for curative purposes. This can be explained by the illustration that the fire used for cooking would differ from the fire used for illumination.

Medicaments commonly used for preventing disease and promoting health during the rainy season are as below:

1. Ginger - Dry and fresh ginger, commonly known as Suntha and Adu in vernacular names, possess digestive properties. This is commonly used in Indian homes and especially as condiments or adjuvant. The abundant phenolic in ginger were gingerols, shogaols, and paradols. It has been observed in numerous experimental trials that ginger improves immunity and regulates digestion & metabolism, antimicrobial actions, anti-inflammatory actions, and anti-oxidative actions. It has been observed in the study conducted by Nafiseh Shokri Mashhadi and their team that Ginger can be used for treating numerous diseases like degenerative disorders, alimentary tract disease, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes mellitus, and cancer.

It can also be used for controlling metabolic disorders and autoimmune diseases, as it can control and scavenge reactive oxygen species that may result in oxidative damage to tissues. This suggests that the medicine can also help to prevent ageing as oxidative stress is a very important factor of tissue damage that leads to ageing. The team also observed that it could be used to treat various inflammatory conditions (microbial and non-microbial causes). Shaopeng Wang and their team members opined that the alkaloid gingerols present in ginger possess antioxidant and anticancer effects and inhibit cancerous activity.

2. Pipplimula - This is the second medicine condiment in the average Indian home. piperine, piperlongumine, sylvatin, sesamin, diaeudesmin piperlonguminine, pipermonaline, and piperundecalidine were important phytochemical compounds and active components found in the plant. It is commonly used for curative & preventive management of chronic bronchitis, asthma, constipation, gonorrhoea, paralysis of the tongue, diarrhoea, cholera, chronic malaria, viral hepatitis, respiratory infections, stomachache, bronchitis, diseases of the spleen, cough, and tumours. The piperine in the plant stimulates digestive enzymes of the pancreas, enhances the digestive capacity and significantly reduces the gastrointestinal food transit time. It has been observed that piperine attenuates and reduces symptoms of human metabolic syndrome in HCHF-fed rats by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress [1].

Diet planning for digestion - regulating Agni naturally

Diet is considered as biggest medicine in Ayurveda; diet ought to be prepared with condiments like Panchakola (ginger, long pipper, Chavya, chitraka, Pipplimula), in grains rice harvested in sixty days, wheat and barley can be taken. Green gram with sindhav salt (rock salt) can be taken in cereals. Makshika, i.e., honey, ought to be used in the diet. In a cloudy atmosphere, i.e., Durdin food containing sour materials, salty and buttery (fatty foods) ought to be avoided.

Groundwater can be used after proper purification, or harvested rainwater can be consumed. River and pond water is not preferred. Water therapy can be used for better digestion and alkaline water. This can be done by preparing water preparations. This may be of different ardha, chaturtha, shodhasha etc. this can be prepared by boiling water (without a lid) to half, one-fourth or one-sixteenth part; this gradually improves the quality of water and increases alkalinity. This also reduces reactive oxygen species, which improves digestion, metabolism and immunity.

Statutory instructions: The article is presented to increase the awareness about Ayurveda on the traditional knowledge of Ayurveda from old texts and applicable as per interpreting the ancient Ayurveda text. Readers can read and get informed about Ayurveda; contact the Ayurveda physician or Ayurveda Hospital for more details and consultations.

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