Ayurveda is much more than consuming herbal medicines. It is about living a healthy life by preventing or overcoming various medical conditions one may come across due to an unhealthy diet or environment. One of the conditions on a rise in women is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Those who are looking for natural ways to get some relief from PCOS can go for Ayurvedic treatment, which includes a combination of herbs, therapies, and a healthy lifestyle to improve the condition.
Can Ayurveda Help Treat PCOS?
Ayurveda is quite effective for PCOS treatment. Ayurvedic treatment of PCOS involves the use of herbs to boost fertility and maintain a balance of hormones. It also requires you to go through various types of therapies and maintain a balanced diet. All these play a vital role in overcoming PCOS-related problems.
What Causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome According to Ayurveda?
Ayurveda claims that the human body has three types of forces (doshas) in it, namely, vatta, pitta, and kapha. They are the three principal doshas which circulate within the body and aid in performing vital bodily functions. An interruption in the harmony of these forces (doshas) of energy become the cause of diseases.
According to Ayurveda, both men and women, have Shukra Dhatu (semen), which is essential to keep the reproductive health in check. It consists of androgen (male) and estrogen (female) hormones. Any imbalance in the levels of these hormones may cause infertility.
PCOS has multifaceted etiopathogenesis. It can be a result of stress, disturbance in HPO axis, hyperandrogenaemia, or some genetic causes. Usually, an imbalance of hormones in women causes excessive secretion of androgens, causing the formation of cysts in the ovaries, which is medically known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Dos and Don’ts for PCOS Patients According to Ayurveda
Just like in the case of any other treatment, Ayurvedic treatments require you to follow certain parameters for an effective treatment. Given below are some dos and don’ts for PCOS patients.
- It is recommended that you cut down on the intake of milk and milk products with the exception of buttermilk.
- It’s better to opt for low-fat milk. Ensure that you boil the milk before consuming it. You may want to add a pinch of ginger or turmeric before boiling it to decrease the Kapha increasing quality of milk.
- Follow a natural sleep pattern, and refrain from sleeping in the afternoon as it may interrupt your sleep cycle in the night.
- Say goodbye to all sorts of junk food.
- It’s advisable to restrict the consumption of red meat, deep-fried food. However, you may feast on fish.
- Sugar-based products are considered unhealthy, as sugar increases Kapha. You may want to opt for honey instead, which is believed to reduce Kapha. Women with PCOS must limit their sweet consumption, but balance the excess calorie intake with workouts and yoga.
- You must consume flax seeds, almond, pine nuts, chilgoza, hazelnuts walnut pistachios are good. one should consume.
- Consuming potatoes or sweet potatoes in low to moderate quantities. Excessive consumption can cause weight gain and affect the blood sugar levels.
- It is recommended that you avoid undertaking any physical or mental work that can cause undue stress.
- Restrict your use of oral or hormonal contraceptives.
- It’s recommended that you have a balanced, high fibre diet with low glycemic index (GI). Also include natural and unprocessed foods. whole grains, legumes sprouts, low carbohydrate foods, fish, green leafy vegetables, healthy fats like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and berries like grapes, blueberry, and blackberries.
- Consume wheat or rice in moderate quantities as these are known to increase Kapha.
- Include herbs such as cinnamon, garlic, and fenugreek in your diet.
- Drink herbal teas such as spearmint tea or green tea.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and narcotics as these are known to impact menstrual cycles negatively.
Useful Ayurvedic Herbs to Treat PCOS
PCOS treatment involves a blend of several herbs for strengthening one’s reproductive system, controlling insulin resistance and facilitating a balanced level of hormones. Not only this, these herbs help relieve inflammation arising due to the appearance of cysts on the ovaries. Some of the herbs also work wonders against other issues such as digestive disorders, increase in weight, insulin sensitivity, etc. In short, these herbal medications perform the same function as the medicines in allopathic treatment. However, unlike allopathic medication, it does not have any side-effect on one’s body if you act as advised by your Ayurvedic practitioner.
Below are some of the herbs that help in the treatment of PCOS for your reference. But before we that, please be advised to take any of the below listed herbs only after an assessment by your doctor and on his/her prescription only because for effective treatment therapeutic dose matters.
1. Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus)
Shatavari is a rich source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, folic acid, and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. Presence of these makes this herb a perfect antioxidant which protects the reproductive system in females. It also helps in improving insulin sensitivity owing to its anti-diabetic properties. Another benefit is that it aids in enhancing fertility as well.
2. Shilajit (Purified Asphaltum)
Shilajit is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a great immunity booster, rejuvenating the reproductive system in women. While suffering from PCOS, many women witness heavy bleeding, which results in iron deficiency. This exudate from rocks found in the Himalayan region is well known for its iron increasing properties which helps in preventing iron deficiency.
3. Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)
Turmeric is known for its diverse uses- be it for cooking, in beauty products, and even for medicinal purposes. Its medicinal properties are of great relief to women. It helps in improving insulin resistance, detoxifying the female reproductive system, eliminating acne, etc.
4. Vibhitaki (Terminalia Belerica)
This plant has a lot of health benefits to offer for PCOS patients, and improving sugar metabolism is one such benefit. Vibhitaki is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Additionally, it’s known for curing digestive complexities as well.
5. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum)
Cinnamon, not only has a refreshing fragrance and taste, but it also helps in regulating blood sugar levels. It’s known for boosting fertility and improving insulin sensitivity.
6. Karavellaka (Momordica Charantia)
Even though it tastes bitter, this fruit is charged with anti-diabetic properties. Treating digestive disorders, relieving inflammation, boosting immunity, and preventing cancer are other benefits one can take advantage of from the consumption of this herbal fruit.
7. Guduchi (Tinospora Cordifolia)
This one is known to regulate blood sugar levels in one’s body. Here’s the best part– it is quite useful in boosting sex drive and immunity in females. Guduchi is used for treating liver conditions such as hepatitis and various types of cancers as well.
8. Neem (Azadirachta Indica)
Neem is full of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-diabetic, and sedative properties. That’s why it is used in various consumer products ranging from toothpaste to beauty products and medicines. It is an amazing blood purifier and helps in maintaining healthy skin. Neem is also used to treat acne and almost all sorts of skin disorders.
9. Amala (Emblica Officinalis)
Widely known as the Indian gooseberry, this fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and is an antioxidant. It helps reduce inflammation and weight. Fibres present in this fruit helps maintaining a healthy digestive system. It is also good for strengthening the immune system.
10. Lodhra (Symplocos Racemosa)
Lodhra is a rich source of compounds called flavonol glycosides which are highly effective in reducing uterine disorders. Regulating ovarian hormones and improving fertility are other benefits this herb has to offer.
11. Meshashringi (Gymnema Sylvestre)
This herb is used to maintain uterine health. It is known to improve insulin sensitivity and has anti-diabetic properties.
12. Ashoka (Saraca Indica)
Ashoka is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. It aids in repairing the endometrium and heals the damage inflicted to its sensitive lining due to inflammation. It is effective in regulating estrogen levels as well. It also has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which help in protecting the urinary tract from bacterial and fungal (especially Candida) infections.
13. Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula)
Terminalia chebula is a rich source of vitamin C and other minerals such as selenium, copper, potassium, and manganese. This herbal tonic has anti-tumour, and anti-inflammatory properties, and helps in relieving complications such as constipation, flatulence, colitis, etc.