Ayurveda Approach to Genital Herpes


Dosha theory which help in diagnosis of the diseases.

According to ayurveda three doshas or three energetic forces control the activities of the body. These doshas are

1. Vata
2. Pitta
3. Kapha

VATA: The Vata dosha is the most important of the three doshas. It has been said in ayurveda classic books that " pitta , Kapha and all other body tissues are considered lame without assistance of VATA ." Vata dominates the lower part of the body, which is below umbilicus. The movements of body fluid, metabolism, elimination of waste products, semen ejaculation, pushing the fetus out of body, relaying stimulus to brain and response to organs and tissues, heart beat, respiration, body movements etc are assisted by VATA.

Vata dominated regions are intestines, lumbar region, ears, bones and skin.

Vata gets vitiated due to following reasons.

1. Controlling natural urges like urination, defecation, hunger, thirst, etc.
2. Late nights.
3. Irregular food habits.
4. Talking in a high pitch.
5. Over physical and mental exertion.
6. Consumption of spicy, dry, bitter foods.
7. Exposure to severe dry and cold climate.

The opposites of above-mentioned reason normalize the vitiated vata.

PITTA: The pitta dosha assists the body fire or Agni, which plays a major role in body's metabolic activities. The locations where pitta dominates are digestive system, skin, eyes, brain, and blood. Pitta maintains body temperature. The secretions like digestive juices pigments like melanin (bhrajaka pitta), hemoglobin (ranjaka pitta) are all types of pitta.

Pitta is dominant in regions of Umbilicus, stomach, sweat, lymph, blood, eyes and skin.

Vata gets vitiated due to following reasons.

1. Excess consumption of spicy, sour, salty foods.
2. Consuming alcohol in excess.
3. Over exposure to hot sunny climate.
4. Short temperedness.
5. Using dried vegetables.
6. Indigestion of food.

The opposites of above-mentioned reason normalize the vitiated pitta.

KAPHA: Kapha provides bulk to body, lubrications, moistness, fertility, stability, strength, and memory. Helps in binding process wherever necessary. This is heaviest of all doshas.

Kapha dominated regions are chest, neck, head, stomach, body fat, nose and tongue

Kapha gets vitiated due to following reasons.

1. Sleeping in daytime.
2. Consuming sweets, chilled food, in excess.
3. Consuming fish, sesame, sugarcane, milk and milk products.

The opposites of above-mentioned reason normalize the vitiated kapha.

When these doshas are in balanced condition the body remains healthy. If these doshas get imbalanced the body succumbs to diseases. Doshas get imbalanced frequently due to change in climate, seasons, lifestyles, diet etc. The treatment is to bring back the doshas to normalcy and expel the toxin or ama produced during the imbalanced condition.

Causes of Genital Herpes

Herpes is caused by a virus the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which belongs to the same family of viruses that cause chickenpox. There are two types of herpes simplex viruses

1. Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and mostly causes oral herpes
2. Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2). And mostly causes genital herpes

However, both type-1 and type-2 can occur in the genitals, oral area or both.Due to unhealthy life styles and diet the delicate balance between doshas get disturbed. This disturbs the body fire or Agni.(Agni is the body fire, which is responsible for transformation of one substance to another. It breaks down the food substances, eliminates toxins and wastes, maintains body temperature, and resists the invasion of microbes by maintaining strong body immunity.

The body fire, which is assisted by balanced doshas, digests the food completely to form Pakwa Anna rasa (the liquid form of food which is completely digested by digestive enzymes), which is ready to get absorbed by body tissues. According to ayurveda Pakwa Anna Rasa nourishes the body and its components to keep the body devoid of diseases. But when body fire is impaired there will be an incomplete digestion of food forming Apakwa Rasa (indigested food). The indigested food fails to nourish the body components leading to lowered body resistance.)

The disturbed Agni fails to digest the food and toxins get accumulated in body due to improper metabolism. Accumulation of toxins reduces the body immunity and paves the way for invasion by microbes.When a person who has low immunity comes in contact with HSV virus, he/she gets the genital or oral herpes.

Unhealthy lifestyle

1. Over eating
2. Sleeping in afternoons.
3. Over physical exertion.
4. Over mental exertion
5. Consuming food frequently even when not hungry.
6. Constant exposure to hot sunny climates

Unhealthy diet

Excessive consumption of

1. Salty, sour, hot, spicy food.
2. Sour curds
3. Alcohol.
4. Cheese
5. Charred and overcooked food.
6. Sesame, Bengal gram, horse gram, sesame oil, rice flour, garlic, fish.

Opposite foods

1. Curds, salt, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, sour fruits, meat, prawn, pork, should not be consumed with milk. The above-mentioned foods should not be consumed by mixing one item with another.

2. Sprouts, honey and milk should not be consumed with meat and fish.

3. Fish & milk: fish &sugarcane juice; jaggery & pork; honey & pork; milk & mango; banana & milk; are opposite foods.

The Transmission Of genital Herpes

A person can get genital herpes in following conditions

1. If he is sexual active and when he performs sex (oral or genital) with infected partners.

2. A person who has oral herpes transmits herpes to genital organs of a partner during oral sex and a person who has genital herpes transmits this to his partner during coitus when they have a genital contact.

3. The disease gets transmitted when mucous membrane comes in contact with infected area.

The disease gets transmitted mostly during active phase. But it may spread even during asymptomatic (when person is free of symptoms for a particular duration) phase. The virus needs a fluid media for its transportation. The body fluids like saliva, semen, vaginal tract secretions etc. Mucous membranes in mouth, vagina, urethra or open wounds facilitate the virus invasion due to their moistness.

In Genital herpes there is an imbalance of all three doshas (VATA, PITTA, KAPHA), which in turn vitiate lasika (lymph), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa) and skin (twacha).

The imbalanced doshas vitiate skin and the immunity of skin cells is lowered. The virus attacks these weak cells and starts exhibiting symptoms on affected area.

Local symptoms

1. Pricking sensation

2. Edema

3. Pain

4. Feeling of constriction

5. A sensation of ant creeping

6. Many small eruptions gathering in a small area.

7. These eruptions or blisters burst soon with exudates.

8. These blisters will have different colors according to involvement of doshas. (Blackish red or blue in vata, red, yellow, copper colored in pitta, shades of white in kapha).

The weakened body immune system tries to resist the virus invasion but fails to achieve the goal. In this futile attempt the following systemic symptoms are exhibited.

Systemic symptoms

1. Fever
2. Weakness
3. Indigestion
4. Impaired bowels
5. Increased frequency of urination.
6. Body pain.
7. Increased thirst.

Imbalanced vata causes the symptoms like pain, swelling and body ache

The imbalanced pitta and vitiated blood and skin cause

1. Blisters,
2. Change the color of skin,
3. Cause burning sensation, and fever.

The imbalanced kapha and vitiated lymph cause itching, tingling sensation.

After the first attack the virus moves from skin through the nerve paths to base of the nerve and becomes inactive. Now the herpes infected person will be devoid of all symptoms. But the imbalance of doshas still persists.

Reactivation of Virus to cause outbreaks

At unpredictable times, the virus becomes active. It multiplies and resurfaces on skin by traveling through the nerve path and exhibits the symptoms locally. The severity of symptoms of out break depends on the strength of body immunity.

The pelvis or shroni, nerves and skin are dominated by vata. When vata gets vitiated due to precipitating factors, it reactivates the virus dormant in base of nerve end and the virus travel through nerve paths to reach the skin surface.

Precipitating Factors

As we know the outbreaks have few precipitating factors like

1. Excessive exposure to sun.
2. Illness,
3. Poor diet,
4. Emotional stress
5. Physical stress,
6. Friction,
7. Steroids
8. Menstruation. 9. Emotional stress.
10. Genital trauma and intercourse.
11. Repeated infections such as a cold or pneumonia.

These factors increase vata and increased vata activates the virus, which is dormant.

Low Immunity The systemically imbalanced doshas interfere with the body metabolism by vitiating the body fire (agni). This leads to indigestion and malassimilation of nutrients, which in turn causes poor immunity. Due to decreased immunity the body fails to offer resistance to outbreaks.

Ayurveda Tips to avoid outbreaks

Avoid

1. Spicy, sour, fried and junk food, which aggravates vata.
2. Precipitating factors.
3. Sleeping in afternoon.
4. Meat products over fried or deep fried in oil or fat.
5. Charred and overcooked food.
6. Consuming opposite food like fish and milk etc
7. Physical exertion after a meal
8. Taking bath immediately after exercise or heavy outdoor work.

Include honey, pomegranate, and fruits of Emblica officinalis, legumes, dates and raisins in your diet.

Practice Yoga and Meditation to control emotional disturbances

Ayurveda References

1. Sushruta Samhita
2. Charaka Samhita
3. Madhava nidana
4. Ashtanga Sangraha
5. Yoga Ratnakara

Dr.SavithaSuri has been an Ayurvedic Practitioner since 1989. After getting a graduation degree in ayurveda (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) in 1988 from University of Mysore, India, she started practising ayurveda . Her articles about ayurveda have been published in news papers and websites. She is a regular health columnist to a regional news paper.

Dr.SavithaSuri lives in Mysore , Karnataka, India. She gives consultations in Mysore and also in Bangalore, the silicon valley of India.


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