23/07/2024

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Hypochondriasis – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Hypochondriasis – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Hypochondriasis is a condition in which there is a preoccupied fear of having a serious disease which persists despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance. The preoccupation is invariably chronic, causes clinically significant distress and is not delusional in nature. The core feature of hypochondriasis is not preoccupation with the symptoms themselves, but rather the fear of having a serious disease, which is based on the misinterpretation of bodily signs and sensations as evidence of disease.

The Ayurvedic treatment of hypochondriasis is aimed at improving the patient’s ability to cope with the symptoms, rather than trying to eliminate the symptoms. Therapy is aimed at improving the will power, confidence and health-perception of the patient; in Ayurvedic terminology, it would mean improving the ‘Oj’ dhatu of the patient. Medicines like Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis), Marich (Piper nigrum), Pippali (Piper longum), Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Bhallatak (Semicarpus anacardium), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Abhrak-Bhasma, Trivang-Bhasma and Suvarna-Bhasma are used on a long term basis for this purpose. Medicines like Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Jayphal (Myristica fragrans) and Khurasani ova (Hyoscyamus niger) are used to treat associated anxiety and restlessness.

For patients who display a predominance of ‘Vat’ dosha, medicines like Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani, Maha-Vat-Vidhvans-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Ekang-Veer-Ras, Vish-Tinduk-Vati and Agnitundi-Vati can be used. Other medicines like Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Naagbala (Grewia hirsuta), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Tapyadi-Loh, Punarnavadi-Mandur, Lohasav and Drakshasav are used to reduce the ‘Vat’ dosha, to improve the immune status of the body and to strengthen the mental constitution of the patient. Massage of the entire body using medicated oils like Mahanarayan oil, Chandan-Bala-Laxadi oil, Mahamash oil and Maha-Saindhavadi oil is also very useful for this purpose; as also repeated, medicated enemas using Maha-Sahachar oil and Ksheer-Bala oil.

It is very important to establish a good rapport and understanding with the patient, and to avoid repeated investigations and multiple medical consultations. Psychotherapy and cognitive and behavioral therapy are also quite helpful in treating hypochondriasis.