As with any disorder, there is no direct correlation of low bone density to any specific condition mentioned by Ayurveda. This article will explain how Asthi Kshaya (bone depletion) correlates with low bone density, as well as how it can be managed with Ayurveda.
Ayurveda states that Asthi Dhatu (bone tissue) is Pitruja Avayava (inherited from the parents) and specifically all hard tissues or organs are said to be derived from the father. In other words, the health of the father’s genes determines the lifelong vitality of each child’s bone strength.
Low bone density can be related to the malformation of nutrition which deteriorates the dhatus. Dhatu Poshana Krama (nutrition and tissue formation) are formed in a chronological order that is inter-locked by a chain mechanism by which each dhatu nourishes the succeeding dhatu. The formation of each tissue is dependent on the nutritive quality produced from each preceding Dhatu agni (digestive process of each dhatu).
Asthi dhatu (bone tissue) is the next dhatu to be formed after Meda dhatu (fat tissue) and a precursor of Majja Dhatu (bone marrow). Which means Meda dhatu leads to the formation of Asthi dhatu, and Asthi dhatu leads to the formation of Majja dhatu.
Dhatu Precursors to Asthi Dhatu
Dhatu Successors to Asthi Dhatu
For Asthi dhatu (bone tissue) to be formed in a healthy, qualitative, and quantitative way, the preceding dhatu’s need to form properly. If there is a pathological increase or decrease of the Asthi dhatu precursors, the bone formation and maintenance become disturbed. This leads to poorly formed bones that are brittle.
Asthi Dhatu Kshaya (depletion of bone tissue) is a condition which correlates with low bone density. When a digestive disturbance occurs, it is called Agni vikriti. When agni is decreased, it’s called Agnimandhya (hypo-functional agni), this leads to Ajirna (indigestion), and the low functioning digestion results in ama (undigested foods). Ama continues to accumulate and further deteriorates the dhatu agni’s by blocking the channels that carry nutrition.
Among the many causes which lead to Agnimandhya, the pathological increase of kapha is the main cause. Agni is diluted by the excess kapha which slows the normal function. On the contrary if agni is increased it’s called Atyagni (hyper-functional agni), here the food moves through too fast and is not properly digested. This also causes poor nutrition and leads to the qualitative and quantitative depletion of the tissues. Among all the causes leading to Atyagni, a pathological increase of pitta causes Tiksnagni (fast or sharp digestion) and vata causes Visamagni (inconsistent digestion).
Medo Dhatvagni the precursor to Asthi Dhatvagni
The Medo dhatvagni (agni in fat tissue) digests the nutrition and materials provided to it by its precursor Mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) and converts it into Medo dhatu (fat tissue). The remaining small portion is used in forming the succeeding Asthi dhatu (bone tissue).
When Medo dhatvagni decreases, excess meda (fat) is formed causing medo vriddhi (increase of fat). The fat keeps producing and takes all the nutrition and leaves little to form Asthi dhatu. When Medo dhatvagni increases there is depletion of fat tissue, causing medo kshaya (decrease of fat) and there is less nutrients supplied to Asthi dhatu.
Among the symptoms of Medo dhatu kshaya, there is one Svapanam katyaha which means weakness in the hip region or susceptibility to fracture, which is common symptom of low bone density.
Symptoms of Medo Dhatu Kshaya
Symptoms of Medo Dhatu Vriddhi
Asthi Dhatvagni Vikriti
When Asthi dhatvagni decreases, there is an excess formation known as Asthi dhatu vriddhi and when Asthi dhatvagni increases, there is deficient formation known as Asthi dhatu kshaya. Asthi kshaya can be compared to low bone density. Among the symptoms of asthi dhatu kshaya, there is one Majjani saushiryam which means loss of majjā (bone marrow) matrix or materials. Majja saushiryam indicates loss of bone density.
Symptoms of Asthi Dhatu Kshaya
Symptoms of Asthi Dhatu Vriddhi
Vata and Asthi Dhatu
Each dosa has a home location in the dhatus, vata’s location is the asthi dhatu. Vata which has undergone a pathological increase due to a vata disturbing foods and lifestyle activities will deplete the asthi dhatu. When vata undergoes pathological decrease, it causes increase in asthi dhatu. Therefore, the increase of vata is one of the causative factors leading to low bone density.
Vata Prakopaka Karanani (causative factors for vata vitiation)
Among the causative factors for Asthivaha sroto dushti (contamination of channels providing nutrition for bone tissue formation), Vatala ahara vihara (vata increasing foods and activities) is mentioned.
Among the symptoms of Asthi pradoshaja roga (disorders due to contamination of bones) is asthi bheda (splitting pain or fracture in bone) and asthi shula (bone pain) have been mentioned.
Phakka roga is explained in Ayurvedic Pediatrics as compared to Rickets (vitamin D deficiency).
Three Types of Phakka Roga
Ayurvedic Management - Medoroga Chikitsa
Ayurvedic Management - Asthi Dhatu Kashaya Chikitsa
Panchakarma or the five cleansing measures of elimination (detoxification therapy) is first line of treatment for Medoroga which has led to Asthi Dhatu Kashaya. The five therapies are completed in chronological order and adapted according to the disorder and all its affects.
Vasti - among all five therapies, vasti is considered the best therapy for vitiated vayu. Specifically, ksheera vasti (enema with milk and bitter herbs) and sneha vasti (enema with ghee and bitter herbs) are the most effective for alleviating vitiated vayu and mitigating low bone density.
Protocols for Vayu Vitiation
Correction of Agni, Ajirna, and Ama
Disturbance of digestion and metabolism that causes indigestion is the foundational cause of low bone density. Loss of appetite, indigestion and any symptom related to upper or lower gastro-intestinal tract persisting for any length of time requires correction.
Indigestion should be corrected by administrating ghee processed with dipana (agni stimulating herbs) and pacana (digestion promoting and ama destroying herbs). Both dipana and pacana herbs maybe combined into one remedy. Depending on the condition, the herbs may also be administered as churna, kashayam, or kwatham. Some product choices include:- Guggulutiktaka Ghritam, Guggulutiktam Kwatham, Mahatiktaka Ghritam, Mahatiktam Kwatham.
These products will also correct the digestion and metabolism of Dhatugata agnimandhya (low tissue metabolism). They strengthen the tissues, especially Medo dhatvagni and Asthi dhatvagni.
Ayurvedic Management - Bhanga Chikitsa
In cases of fracture, the bone is assessed and may require resetting before applying any of the following therapies.
Ayurvedic Management - Phakka Roga Chikitsa
For more in-depth information, order this book from Arya Vaidya Sala from our store, Relevance of Purificatory Treatment in Degenerative Diseases.Reference:
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