It is essentially a clinical syndrome of characteristic chest pain produced by increased work of the heart. It is usually relieved by rest. In most cases, it is manifested in front of the chest and mostly over the sternum. It may spread towards the left or right side of the chest. The pain radiates towards the left side very often. It may spread to the arms, neck, jaws and even the upper part of the abdomen. The left shoulder and the left arm are very often affected. The common man calls it heart disease. In Ayurveda it is known as bridroga. It is of several types depending upon the characteristic features of the pain. If the pain is acute, and of shifting nature, this is usually known as vatika bridroga. If it is associated with burning sensation, then it is called paittika bridroga. In kaphaja bridroga, the pain is usually very mild and it is associated with heaviness, nausea and cough.
It is caused by the obstruction to the coronary arteries. These are the blood vessels which travel through the wall of the heart and nourish the heart muscle. Since the heart muscle spends a huge amount of energy, it needs ceaseless nourishment. It naturally demands a good supply of blood. Any impairment of these blood vessels interferes with adequate blood flow to the heart muscles. If this blood flow is significantly diminished then the heart signals its difficulties by registering pain or discomfort in the chest.
Arjuna is the drug of choice for the treatment of this disease. This is a big tree and its bark is used as medicine. The powder or decoction of its bark is given to the patient during and even after the attack. The powder is given to the patient in a dose of 1 gm., four times a day. If the heart disease is of vatika type, it is mixed with ghee. If it is of paittika type, then milk is used. In kaphaja type of heart disease it is mixed with honey or pippali powder. For decoction usually 30 gm. of the raw powder of the bark of the drug is boiled with approximately 500 ml. Of water and reduced to one-fourth. This is then filtered, honey or ghee is added to it, and given to the patient. With honey, the decoction should become cold before mixing. Ghee is mixed, when the decoction is warm, and is given to the patient as such. There are many preparations of this drug, Arjuna. Arjunarishta is commonlyused by physicians. Six teaspoonfuls of this liquid drug are given to the patient twice daily after food with an equal quantity of water. Arjuna is boiled in cow’s ghee, and this medicated ghee is given to the patients in a dose of 1 teaspoonful twice daily on empty stomach, mixed with a cup of warm milk. This preparation is known as Arjuna ghrita. This medicine should not be given to a person having a fat body. This is likely to add to his fat and may create more problems.
Other medicines used for different types of heart diseases are Hridayarnava rasa and Prabhakara vati. These medicines are available in the form of tablets. Two tablets are given to the patient, three or four times a day, depending on the seriousness of the disease.
At the time of acute attacks, Mrigamadasava is the ideal drug. It is a liquid medicine and given to the patient in a dose of ½ to 1 teaspoonful mixed with equal quantity of water. These medicines are to be used even after the attack has subsided. On exertion the patient may get the attack any time. It is, therefore, necessary for the patient to use the medicines mentioned above for about 6 months continuously.
|Diet||Fried things, pulses and their preparations, and groundnut oil are prohibited. Ayurvedic physicians allow butter or ghee, and not groundnut oil. Cow’s ghee, cow’s milk and cows’ butter are useful for the patient. Buffalo ghee and buffalo milk are not recommended. Stimulants like tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks are very harmful for such patients.|
|Lifestyle||Ayurveda considers the functions of heart and mind interlinked. Disturbance in one affects the other. Therefore, patients having heart disease are advised by the Ayurvedic physicians to refrain from anxiety, worry, excessive sexual intercourse and wrathful disposition. All efforts should be made for the patient to have good sleep at night. Even rest during the day is essential. He should never be permitted to remain aware at night for long.
The patient’s bowels should move regularly. If there is constipation, he is advised to take a glass of water early morning and go for a walk every day.