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Mar 3, 2014

Fertility through Ayurveda

 Functional Enhancement of the Female Reproductive System Restoring Fertility through Ayurveda

Introduction
The causes of infertility have been studied from current scientific knowledge, and integrated with Ayurvedic principles of restoring health by balancing the three dosage (the three aspects of the psycho-physiological constitution of man), and recommendations have been made for reversing infertility, using ancient Ayurvedic knowledge. Building of Ojas and utilizing those herbal formulations, which have been known and used for centuries to aid in conception, have been suggested. Methods of coping with or making changes to the dietary as well as the psychological factors have also been considered and suggested. Use of prescription medications has been discouraged, due to their well known and lasting side effects.

Couples desiring to have a child but not succeeding in conceiving are in constant search of a miracle cure. Because of our dependence on western medicine, they seek assistance from allopathic fertility clinics, to no avail, and only turn to natural healing methods as a last resort. This paper explains both the scientific understanding of the causes of infertility as well as the Ayurvedic means of pinpointing, correcting and reversing the causes of infertility.
“Ayurveda”, the ancient Indian Science deals with the three dimensional psycho physiological constitution of man. It looks at the human body as a whole, integrative, and looks not to the treatment of disease but to the building of the human body by detecting and correcting the interferences in the nervous system and major organs. This paper addresses the chemical, physical and physiological components which have been known to cause infertility, and offers solutions for restoring the natural process of fertilization by removing the interferences which cause infertility. Ayurveda refers to the fundamental principles, the three dosha, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which function not only through physiology but also throughout nature as a whole. The varying degrees to which these principles are expressed, determines our psychological and physiological tendencies, creating our different strengths and vulnerabilities. The interference which Ayurveda refers to, is the imbalance of the three dosha, ojas, gunas and dhatus and the extent to which they are either depleted or in excess. Ayurveda aims to bring about a perfect balance of these fundamental principles in the body. Referring to the anatomy and physiology of the female body, this will be accomplished by enhancing the endocrine system in general and the pituitary gland in particular, as well as the central nervous system in general and the hypothalamus and the L4-S4 pelvic nerves in particular.
Diseases of the female reproductive system
Ayurveda has a special branch of gynaecological medicine for the treatment of diseases of the female reproductive system. These diseases are primarily reflected in the disorders of the menstrual cycle. Other more severe conditions can develop from the hormonal imbalances that disturb the menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is an indication of the state of the health of the female. A regular menstrual cycle, the absence of pain and tension, smooth flow and balanced emotions are indicators of good health. However most females suffer some discomfort and pain during this period.

The normal function of the reproductive system and the menstrual cycle, can be affected by many factors, e.g. excessive physical exercise, diet, life-style and above all emotional instability, which creates an imbalance of the ojas, three dosha/humors and the seven dhatus. The following are disorders and diseases of the female reproductive system
Menstrual disorders of the female reproductive system
Most gynaecological disorders involve irregular, delayed or difficult and excessive menstruation. These difficulties are treated with therapies which balance the three dosha/humors. These symptoms are normally due to Vata imbalance and in some cases Pitta and Kapha. These disorders are the following

Amenorrhoea (Anartava)                 Dysmenorrhoea (Rajakshinata)
Menorrhagia (Raja-Vriddhi)             Metrorrahagia (Rakta Pradara)
Leucorrhoea (Shweta pradara)        Uterine cysts and tumors
Pelvic Inflammatory diseases (PID)

Endometritis and Endometriosis and last Miscarriage and abortion.
Ayurvedic Anatomical and Psycho-Physiological Considerations :
Summarized below is a review of some anatomical co-relations of causes of infertility by psycho-physiological constitutional types.

Vata
The mouth of the cervix is dry. Fallopian tubes become dry due to vaginal dryness. Uterus prolapses. Due to dryness, sperm can not stick to conceive, Hormonal imbalance, Excessive flow.

Pitta
Excessive bleeding, inflammation and pain

Hot flow, burning pain in the uterus.
Fallopian tube inflammation, stopping of ovulation and abnormal function.
Small blisters, fibroids, ulcers.
Due to heat, sperm can not survive to conceive.
Big tumors occur due to Rakta derangement
Ovarian cysts occur due to Pitta-Vata aggravation.
Yellowish, strong odour, hot flow.
Kapha
Cool, stickiness, cysts.

Thickening of uterus lining.
Excess Kapha leads to white discharge, irregular bleeding and irregular cycle times.
The primary causes of Infertility
An Ayurvedic Perspective
1. Diminished shukra and ojas
Shukra, (the sperm) the reproductive fluid, is the tissue which leaves the body during sexual intercourse to unite with the ovum during ovulation. Zinc is a major factor for a high sperm count, as are nutrients which enhance thyroid function. The spinal pathways for the digestive organs and the male genitalia are the same and therefore antagonists to digestive enzymes can also impair male sexual function, zinc level and therefore the ability of the sperm to merge with the ovum.

Ojas is the purest form of all tissues. Strong Ojas is very essential for fertility in particular and immunity, strength and brightness in general. Signs of diminished Ojas are fear, worry, loss of complexion, emaciation, roughness, cheerlessness, pain in the sense organs, and decreased immunity.
The following ailments can cause female infertility:
Celiac disease, and ovary malfunction increase the risk of female infertility often presenting itself as Endometriosis (epidemiological studies indicate that between 25% and 50% of females afflicted with Endometriosis are infertile). Luteal Phase Defect is a frequent underlying cause of female infertility and Ovarian Cysts are responsible for many cases of Female Infertility. Excessive production/secretion of Prolactin (hyper-prolactinemia) can cause female infertility.

Ojas, Stress and Central Nervous System (CNS) Interference
The signs of diminished Ojas above are caused by persistent emotional stress from anger, fear, worry, prolonged fasting, extreme exertion, excessive sex (according to constitution), too much exposure to the sun, sleep deprivation and a cold-dry diet. Hans Selye showed the link between the CNS and Immunity in 1946 and Lichstenstein further elaborated on the Physiology of fear and anger in 1955, and the physiological effects of fear and anger on all body systems, including the CNS, endocrine, immune and reproductive systems.

In addition chemicals such as alcohol and tobacco and foods such as caffeine, refined carbohydrates as well as medications all impair physiological function. Studies of teratology have created a list of 71 teratogens that deform the embryo and possibly impair ovulation and /or fertilization.
Ayurvedic medicinal Herbs for infertility
The most commonly known and used herbs such as Shatavari (Asparagus Racemousus), Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), Amlaki (Emblica Officinalis) and herbal formulas such as Mensu and Chyavanprash are extremely useful formulations which help create the synergistic hormonal balance between the F.S.H. and the LH. Some herbs have been sued specifically for reversing infertility.

Dietary management of Infertility – Adding or avoiding certain foods
Dietary management, strict compliance and adherence to Ojas building foods, is to avoid the substances which diminish the Ojas. This is critical as it regulates ovulation and enhances fertilization. Food such as ghee, milk, dates, almonds, Basmati rice and avocados help replenish and build ojas.

The following substances cause, increase and exacerbate female infertility, and must therefore be avoided.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and other artificial flavoring and colouring (Nutra Sweet etc.)
Trans-Fatty Acids which can cause female infertility and cancer.
Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
Tobacco smoking etc.
Recommendations for fertility from and Ayurvedic Perspective
a) Dr. Athavale quotes “Conception occurs only when:

An individual soul is ready for rebirth, i.e. to undergo the fruits of actions of his past lives. Sperm and ovum are healthy.
b) Maternal passages i.e. fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina are healthy, patent and well developed.
c) Intercourse (Ritukala) takes place at an appropriate time i.e. between 4th and 16 day counting from the first day of the monthly period.
Ayurvedic Health Enhancement
1. Rejuvenation therapy (Rasayana)

The word for rejuvenation in Ayurveda is Rasayana, which literally means “Path of Rasa”. Dr. Robert Swoboda quotes: To walk the Path of Rasa you must purify and nourish your physical Rasa Dhatu, since Rasa is the raw material from which the other dhatus are formed. Healthy Rasa Dhatu is the first step in the physical production of healthy Shukra, from which Ojas is directly produced. Careful selection of food tastes (Rasas) and control of emotions (Rajas), ensures production of healthy Rasa Dhatu and therefore healthy Shukra and Ojas. Because sweet is the best nourishment for Shukra, therefore rejuvenation requires creation of powerful sweetness to the body and mind. Honey (Madhu) is made of pollen, the essence of plants and sugar (Shukra) is from the sugar plant, therefore both are increasing the human shukra, according to the principle of “like increases like”. As we all know that honey is predigested food by the bees themselves. The honey, can be absorbed by the body without having to be first predigested, therefore, honey is innately rejuvenating. Honey, like most rejuvenators are aphrodisiacs, because both classes of substances increase Shukra Dhatu. If rejuvenating effect is required, than you must avoid arousal and contain the energy within you so it can be digested into Ojas. Ayurveda separates the sciences of virilization and rejuvenation because virilization, besides increasing shukra, also involves techniques for enhancing both sexual pleasure and fertility. Charak, the chief Ayurvedic author, says “That the best of all virilizers is a partner who loves you.” Virilization is rejuvenation for Shukra Dhatu, and it is “pre-juvenation.” for the child. Virilization is a method for selecting the healthiest possible genes a couple can muster to create a child with the healthiest possible constitution. Increase in Shukra is also the goal of physical rejuvenation which requires strict discipline. The effect you obtain is directly proportional to the discipline you follow. Some self-controlled people use discipline alone for rejuvenation and utilize their inherent Prana, Tejas and Ojas. Modern research has proven that there are two guaranteed ways to live longer: decrease your body temperature, and decrease you food intake. It has been estimated that if normal body temperature could be reduced by a mere 3 F, we could possibly live an extra thirty years. If one cannot control your emotions perfectly, you will be unable to rejuvenate yourself with discipline alone because fiery emotion will burn away your Ojas as it collects, and frigid emotion will dry it up. Vata and Pitta usually need substances, Vata because their dryness exhausts Ojas, and Pitta because their inner fire burns Ojas. Even one month of physical and mental rest withdrawing from the world, is really a minimum to obtain any kind of significant effect, although any retreat even for few days is bound to be beneficial.
Rejuvenation substances must be consumed early in the morning well before breakfast so that it need not compete with food or digestion. This is important so that any abnormal metabolism or emotions which might develop during the day will not disturb rejuvenating effect. Rejuvenating substances must at least be consumed for three weeks for it to have a minimal effect, six weeks would be even better.
During this period the person must avoid everything, including extensive travel, loud music or extensive speaking, violent behavior, and any Vata disturbing activities that would destroy Ojas. Meditation and mild exercise are desirable during the rejuvenating period.
It is also very important that rejuvenation therapy is given according to specific constitution e.g. excess of vata should be eliminated between summer and fall, excess of Pitta should be eliminated in the interim between spring and summer and removal of excess of Kapha when winter has died and spring has not yet started.
The action of Rasayana regimens are
To increase body tissues

To increase digestive power
To increase the metabolic process at a tissue level or to improve endocrine gland function
To remove waste products or excess tissues in the body.
To increase the functional capacity of the brain
To increase the strength and immunity of the body.
To destroy diseases and establish homeostasis of energy, which prevents early ageing.
2) Ayurvedic Regimen for Optimal Health
Ayurveda is not just a system of medicine but a science of health promotion designed to increase our well-being and happiness in all aspects. It shows us not only how to treat disease but how to live in such a way as to arrive at optimum health and the maximum utilization of our faculties, which according to Yoga and Ayurveda are almost unlimited.

 Maintenance of a healthy life by one’s own nature
According to the Ayurvedic science of life and the Yogic science of self-realization, harmony is our natural state. Yet to maintain this condition we must know our nature and learn to live according to its real needs. This is the key to health. It is this science of self-care that teaches us to live healthily and happily until death.

In order to achieve a healthy and happy life, each one of us should observe certain disciplines or duties. They are the following
Daily regimen
Dietary requirement according to individual constitution

Seasonal regimen
Occasional duties
Precautionary observances in sexual activity.
General rules of conduct for the well-being of society
Precautionary measures against untimely old age.
Conduct and practices to achieve self-realization.
The Ayurvedic regime of right living is designed for maintenance of health, achievement of a long, healthy, active life, providing relief from pain and disease, allowing satisfactory enjoyment of the pleasure of life, and attainment of self realization. In short, Ayurveda helps the individual to achieve the four main objectives of human life. These are Dharma – service to society, Artha – service to family, kama-service to self and Moksha – self realizaiton
According to Sushruta, “An ideal healthy person is an individual who has a balanced constitution. People who have a balanced condition from birth are able to digest the correct amount of food and maintain proper elimination. Their systems and organs function normally and they have a happy state of mind.
Therefore, even if the couple is fertile, the inferior quality of sperm and ovum, disease of uterus, improper diet, physical weakness following a disease and psychological factors may delay the conception.
Conclusion
Although modern science has an excellent understanding of the causes of infertility from a typical, fragmented understanding of the female reproductive system, it fails to incorporate in its therapeutic approaches, the immune, digestive, circulatory and nervous systems, all so essential for the process of fertilization. Similar to western medicine’s management of all diseases, infertility too is managed only by looking at the female reproductive system components. Ayurveda, on the other hand, looks at the individual constitutional types, enhances the body systems that integratively participate in the process of fertilization, and hence serves as a better alternative for reaching fertilization. It accomplishes that by building the Ojas, enhancing F.S.H and LH. synergic balance, increasing eggs in the ovaries, stimulates the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in a way which indirectly induces the ovaries to ripen and release eggs.

In this manner, we are actually avoiding the harmful affect of medications such Clomiphene, which reportedly increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 250%.
It is therefore the author’s hypothesis that managing the emotional and chemical factors utilizing an Ayurvedic understanding of the Psycho-physiological composition of man and creating synergic hormonal balance and building the Ojas, are the two most significant factors in restoring fertility.
From beginning to end
Plant a seed of grain, in a desert of sand,

where the sun is strong and climate wrong,
where there’s not simple shade, or a drop of rain
for the growth of this little seed of grain
With the hot sun’s shining rays, stroking
the little seed of grain, in a hot desert sand,
silent winds, cries the little seed of grain,
bring me, strong winds and stormy rain.
For I loudly cry, take me to a far place,
where the soil’s moist, soft and rich,
for a little seed of grain will gladly, sprout its shoot, and grow to a rich,
lustrous green, healthy and fertile pitch.

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