Ayurvedic Explanation of Migraine
As per Ayurveda, two doshas are responsible for Migraine. These are - vata and kafa dosha. Vata is the prime dosha which associates with kafa and establishes it in half of the head thus blocking the channels present there. It creates an excruciating pain. Thus the aggression of vata and kafa dosh are understood to be responsible for causing migraine... more in the transcript below.
Migraine Video Transcript
Headache has become so common these days that every second person is suffering from it. When we talk about its solution then people take some medicines as they wake up in the morning and go for their work. In the evening when they return from work they again take medicines so that they get a sound sleep. But people don’t get rid of their problem and probably they don’t know that the headache which seems like a simple problem could be a symptom of underlying serious problems.
Headache is a common problem among most of the people. Headache can occur in entire head region or in different parts of head as well as in neck. Headache may occur due to various reasons which can be put under the following three categories. Primary headache includes migraine, tension, cluster headache. Headache due to tension is the most common one. It affects females, the most. All these three headaches are not fatal but if they are left untreated for a long period of time then they can affect the quality of life.
Today we have with us, a Senior Ayurveda Expert, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora to discuss the problem of headache. We welcome you to our show, sir.
Q. First of all, please tell us that why has the problem of headache become so common these days?
A. As I always say, the root cause for any disease lies in poor dietary habits and inappropriate lifestyle. The kind of diet and lifestyle that we have adopted today, aggravates vata dosh. According to Ayurveda, pain cannot exist without vata dosh or wherever there is pain there is vata dosha. Eating non-fresh food, spicy-rich food etc. or not eating at right time are the reasons which aggravate vata dosh. Similarly regarding lifestyle, we do not get good sleep or live in stressful conditions. Vega-vidharan (it might be a new word for you) refers to controlling the pressure of urine or stool which people often do in professional environment. This is a big reason for vata-prakopa. Vata dosh gives pain in head after which people take pain killers to continue their work. But here I would repeat the same line which you said earlier, the seemingly common headache could be a indication of other big and serious problems. Thus headache should never be ignored.
Q. I have heard that Ayurveda has a vast description of various types of headaches. So, what are different type of headache?
A. Ayurveda mentions eleven types of headaches: vatik headache (where vata dosha is predominant), paitik headache (where pitta dosh is predominant), kafaj headache (where kafa dosha is predominant), sannipataj headache (where all the three doshas are involved), kshayaj headache (which is due to certain weakness), krimij headache (where some worms enter into head), raktaj headache (due to abnormality in blood), ardhavivedak headache (i.e. migraine), anantvata headache (where headache is associated with cervical symptoms), suryavrat headache (which happens as per the state of sun) and shankhak headache (in which there is severe pain in temples).
Q. If there are eleven different types of headaches, do they all have different reasons or the reasons are clubbed into one?
A. It is a very relevant question. To answer this I would remind you of something which I said earlier. I had said that according to Ayurveda, pain cannot be without the presence of vata dosha. Thus, all the headaches have the involvement of vayu. In addition to this, sometimes pitta gets disturbed because of which you get pittaj headache, sometimes there is impurity in blood and you get raktaj headache. So, if you ask me the common reason which is present in all different types of headaches, then I would say it is vata dosha.i,e, impure vayu.
Q. We were talking about migraine so, are all headaches, migraine? I am asking you this because whenever somebody suffers from headache for a long time he says that he has migraine.
A. It is not so. I told you about eleven different types of headaches. The patients of vatik headache complain that their headache starts suddenly and it is more severe during night. Also, head massage with oil gives them relief. The patients of paittik headache complain that they get a sensation of burning in their head. Their eyes burn and drinking a glass of cold water, or coconut water provides them relief. Similarly kafa has a tendency of giving heaviness so the patients of kafaj headache experience heaviness in their head as if a 100 kg weight has been put on his head. When the headache is due to cold/cough or nazala then it is called kafaj headache. In sannipataj headache, cumulative symptoms of all the three doshas are seen. Sometimes the headache happens suddenly, sometimes it occurs with burning sensation and sometimes with heaviness in head.
Q. This was about four types of headache and their common symptoms. Now please tell us about the other types of headaches and their reasons, as well.
A. After these four types, there is raktaj headache. Often you would see that when someone has a headache, he would not normally go for its proper diagnosis. Instead he will pop in a painkiller and resume his work. Readers, many amongst you, would have experienced headache yourselves and when you have it you want someone to give you a head massage. The headache where massage gives relief is vatik headache. The patients who have raktaj headache would not even tolerate touch of a finger on his head. I mean to say, while vatik headache’s patients want head massage, raktaj headache’s patient cannot even tolerate a touch. As you see, these are so different and when they are so different how can they have a common treatment. So it is wrong to treat every headache in a common way. We are wrong when we do not get a proper diagnosis done for our headaches and ignore it by taking just a pain relieving pill. This is a wrong approach and in fact, we should get a proper treatment for our headaches after a complete diagnosis. If you don’t do that, it is not only the headache which will keep bothering you for a long time but the painkillers that you take to kill the pain, while they may initially seem harmless but ultimately they would damage your kidneys, liver and form ulcers. This is the stage when patients approach us but by then the damage has been done.
Kshayaj headache results from certain weakness in the body. Sometimes due to nutritional deficiencies and sometimes due to some diseases, we feel weakness. In this period, sometimes our head spins and sometimes we get headaches. This headache is what we refer to as kshayaj headache. To resolve this, we don’t need painkillers but we need proper nutrition. Such patients should be provided with a good nutrition so that his weakness goes. In this situation, if the patient is given painkillers then it will add to his trouble. When he is already going through weakness while recovering from some other disease, the pain killers will cause side effects and bother him more. What I mean to say is, it is very important to understand the type of headache that you are suffering from because then only you will get the proper treatment for it.
Now talking about krimij headache, it is a condition where some worms enter our head. Neuro-cystisarcosis is what we term this condition as, in modern science. I feel very proud to tell you that even being ancient, Ayurveda has got descriptions of all diseases. The terminology or the names could be different but the symptoms remain the same. In neuro-cystinarcosis, the larvae of some worms make their way into our brain. This creates headache and sometimes epileptic fits are also seen to happen. This condition has vast explanation under krimij shool in Ayurveda. There is no such disease which is described in modern science and it is not written about in the Ayurveda.
Another type is ardhavivedak i.e. migraine. In this vata dosha takes kafa along and establishes it in half portion of the head. This creates a severe pain in the form of migraine.
Anantvata is yet another type of headache in which patient tells us that his headache originates somewhere in the neck and covers the entire head. So, this is a condition where in addition to headache, cervical pain is also experienced. The manya vein of grewa gets involved in this condition.
Suryavrat is a condition, where the headache rises as per sun. When the sun is at its peak, the pain is most severe and with sunset the pain itself resolves.
Shankhak, which is referred to as trigeminal neuralgia in modern medicine, is a condition in which patient has a severe pain in his temples.
This was about various types of headaches and their symptoms. And if a proper diagnosis is made then they have complete treatment as well.
Q. Coming to migraine, what are its basic symptoms?
A. Migraine has been referred to as ardhavivedak in Ayurveda. The patients of migraine have severe pain in half of their head. Besides, we consider this pain of neuro-vascular origin. This means that in some cases we find gastric symptoms and in some case we find neural symptoms. The patients who show gastric symptoms complain about nausea and vomiting along with headache. The patients who show neurological symptoms have spinning head and photo-phobia (wants to stay away from light as it deteriorates his condition). So generally if the patient has headache along with nausea, vomiting out seems to be resolving his headache, he is intolerant towards noise and light and if exertion aggravates his headache then these are the basic symptoms which indicates that the patient is suffering from migraine.
Q. What could be the reasons of migraine?
A. In context of Ayurveda, we believe that two doshas are responsible for this situation. They are vata and kafa dosha. Vata is the prime dosha which associates with kafa and establishes it in half of the head thus blocking the channels present there. It creates an excruciating pain. Thus the aggression of vata and kafa dosh are understood to be responsible for causing migraine. In context of modern medicine, its etiology is not clear which means the basic reason for the disease is not known. But when we come to the pathology, then it is said that because of unknown trigger there is secretion of a chemical called cerotinin, in our body. Cerotinin stimulates the release of another chemical called P-substance. P-substance becomes a reason of depolarization of nerves. Depolarization cause inflammatory changes in nerves which gives rise to pain. Due to release of these chemicals only, the trigeminal ganglion gets affected and the pain is initiated. In terms of modern science, neuro-vascular theory is quite accepted theory. Apart from this, in migraine there is an important role of genetics. It is often seen that in 80-90% of the cases, there is a family history of the disease. There could be involvement of genetics but the etiology is not known. But according to me and in Ayurvedic terms too, our diet and lifestyle have a big role in migraine.
Q. We had discussed it early in our conversation that though it might seem very common, but headache could be an indication for other serious problems too. So, in what kind of serious problems do headaches come as initial symptoms?
A. See, if the common ailments are left unattended they may acquire the form of fatal diseases. Eg. I told you about kafaj headache. It happens because of sinus. Sometimes you have the problem of sinus but fortunately you do not suffer from runny/stuffy nose. Sinus goes undetected but the headache is there for which you take pain killers and go on. But internally the disease is damaging your ears, eyes and causing greying of hairs, hair-fall, or causing asthma. What I mean to say is, even a common disease becomes fatal if left unattended. Similarly, if the headache is due to worms (as in neurocystisarcosis), early detection can make the treatment simple. I don’t mean to scare you but the brain tumours have headache as the only initial symptom. Hence, anyone who is suffering from headache for sometime, I would strongly recommend that he meets a doctor, so that a proper diagnosis can be prepared. The diagnosis may rule out vatik, paitik and kafaj headaches and it is possible that a CT scan or MRI could reveal the presence of some type of coiling or vascular defect or a tumour due to which the patient is having headaches.
Q. I don’t think anyone of us knew it before that there are so many types of headaches. True that Ayurveda defines eleven types of headaches but does allopathy also classify headaches in some way?
A. Generally, allopathic science divides headaches into following three categories:
- Tension headaches: it contributes approximately 60-65% to the total no. of cases found.
- Migraine like headaches: it contributes approximately 35-40 % to the total no. of headache cases found
- Cluster headaches: it contributes around 5% of the cases
Q. You keep talking about lifestyle. I was just wondering, is it possible to get rid of headaches by just making changes in our lifestyle? Do you have any tips on this?
A. When we talk about improving our lifestyle and that too in today’s context then I would like to mention a shloka of Bhagwad Gita. As it is, today our desire towards material things have increased so much that we all are in a race to accumulate as much as possible. We just never get satisfied with what we have achieved. This competitive mentality of acquiring things should go. E.g. if it is car, we desire one car initially but when we have acquired one we desire for one more and then one more and so on or if it is house then from one home, we want a bungalow then a farmhouse and the list never ends. We need to get rid of this mentality. Once you are able to do this, you will see that your life will become peaceful and your lifestyle will become cool. Doing this much will provide you 70% relief from headache.
Q. In short, if we learn to remain satisfied with whatever we have then we will be able to get rid of our problems specially, headache. Are there some home remedies available? I mean, is it possible to create a paste or something with the kitchen products, whose application or consumption could provide instant relief from headache?
A. Since our today’s topic of discussion is migraine, let me tell you home remedies for the same. The patient should prepare a halwa with about ½ spoon jaggery and little ghee (i.e. clarified butter). In this halwa, add pure camphor (edible one) in quantity equivalent to a chana dal (i.e. split bengal gram). Now, this preparation has to be consumed an hour before sunrise. Repeat this procedure for three days in continuity, in every month. In few months, you will see that your migraine would disappear. There is one more remedy available. You might be familiar with aak plant. This plant bears flowers which are white from outside and purple from inside and if you break its stem, milk like sap is secreted. You have to consume a drop of this milk mixed with little jaggery, one hour before sunrise. This too needs to be done for three days in continuity. Out of these two, whichever remedy you may use but after this you have to do a special treatment with yourself. You have to chose a place in your house where there is no air, your fan and AC are switched off and at such place you have lie down covered with blanket so that you sweat. This increases the efficacy of remedy/medicine by about 10 times. We have practised this on many patients and they are free from migraine.
Q. I am sure people are definitely going to use these remedies. But now, I am quite eager to know about the medicine that you have developed to provide relief from this disease.
A. As you know, when I would talk about its treatment I would work on vata dosha, kafa dosha, stress and stomach in cumulative manner. So we have worked on all these aspects and with the help of various herbs and minerals we have developed Ardhari capsules. I am surprised that you are not asking me the question that earlier I always used to tell you treatments in form of some churna (i.e. powder), chutney (i.e. paste), kaddha (decoction) and things like that and suddenly I have started providing capsules, why so? You know what my patients used to tell me about my earlier form of treatments....most of them would say....though the treatments are good but somehow we are not able to take them. That’s why I thought of providing Ayurveda treatment in form of capsules and tablets so that people can conveniently use them and benefit from them. There are so many things which are very difficult to consume as they are not palatable but capsules make them convenient to be consumed. I think one of the main reasons behind the popularity of allopathy medicine is that they are quite convenient to be consumed. You can carry them everywhere with lot of ease and take them when required. We thought about it and successfully developed capsule forms of Ayurvedic medicines which are made out of herbs and are quite effective in providing control as well as cure. I am sure this effort of ours will be liked by people and they will get cure as well. So, ardhari capsule is a sure shot cure for migraine, in itself. Those who take it regularly for three months will definitely get lifelong relief from their problem of migraine. Those who have severe problem should take two capsules, thrice a day and those whose problem is not very serious, should take two capsules, twice a day. In short I would say, Ardhari means an enemy of migraine.
We have some people here who have used Ardhari capsules. Let’s find out from them that what difference it has made in their lives.
- When I had approached Dr. Arora for the first time, he had recommended Supragya. On reaching home, I was still not convinced. I was thinking that why should I use it if I have no problem as such. But since he had advised, I thought about trying it. I took it in the night and repeated it next morning as well. I saw a very positive change in myself. I used to suffer from pain in legs and almost permanent severe cold. It was like I had the problem of pain and cold, all 12 months in a year. In the morning when I found that my pain was gone and even I didn’t have cold, I was really amazed. But I thought probably it wasn’t due to this medicine and may be its something else. I left it at that. But I continued to take this medicine for around a month. Since the first day of its use, neither my pain nor my cold have come back. *
- My work is such that I have to wake up early in th morning. Earlier, whenever I used to get up early, I got a headache. For this, I started taking pain killers. But the pain killers started giving their side-effects. When I met Dr. Arora regarding my problems, he gave me Ardhari capsules. I took the medicines for three months and I am absolutely fine now. I have no problems now. *
- I have to work on computers for long hours. Due to this I used to get headaches. When I consulted doctors, they told me that I had migraine. I took various pain killers but they failed to provide me any relief. When I met Dr. Arora, he gave me Ardhari capsules. I took the medicine for almost 2-3 months and I am completely free from my headaches now. *
* Results may vary person to person
As you saw, so many people have experienced the change in their life and Ardhari capsules have provided them with cure from their problem of migraine. If you or any of your acquaintances are suffering from the problem of migraine, I would suggest that you should use Ardhari capsules and benefit form them.