The history of Anorexia begins with the ancient religious fasting and continuing into the medieval period. At the present time, with the progress in the field of neuroscience, the researchers are focusing on Anorexia as a biologically based mental disorder
Anorexia is an eating disorder, which means having no desire for food even if the person is hungry or food is available according to his/her taste and preference.
Anorexia is known as Aruchi in Ayurveda. The condition can arise due to stress, change in lifestyle or wrong eating pattern.
Causes of Anorexia
A combination of biological, environmental and some psychological factors cause anorexia. It may also be a symptom related to poor appetite or digestive abnormality. Nowadays, it is also linked with the desire of being thin and skinny, especially in girls.
It is the most complicated mental disorder in the present day. There is no reliable source of the causes of this disorder.
In Ayurveda, anorexia is known as Aruchi. It is caused by aggravation of three humors (Vata Pitta Kapha). The dominance of a particular dosha or humor may involve. Sometimes, causes may be fear, anger and excessive mental stress. The incomplete food digestion in the body may also form AMA (toxins) in the body, which may also results in the anorexia.
Some causes according to ayurveda are as follows:
According to ayurveda, anorexia is a condition of consuming insufficient food that does not help in improvement of growth, strength and vigor.
Ayurveda is based on the principle that the universe is made up of five elements. These are air, water, fire, ether and earth. These elements are represented in human beings by some energy. When any of the energy accumulates in the human body beyond the desirable limit then the body loses its balance, causing Anorexia.
Symptoms of Anorexia
People with Anorexia may have physical, behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms. There are many symptoms found in the patient suffering from Anorexia. These can be:
Other physical Anorexia symptoms:
Other physical Anorexia symptoms may include:
Every individual has a distinct body balance of three humors. The well being of individual largely depends on getting a right three humors balance to get rid of Anorexia. Ayurveda suggests some nutritional guidelines and lifestyles to help individual in recovering this disorder. Ayurvedic treatment of Anorexia is discussed below:
Ayurvedic herbs help in increasing appetite and getting rid of Anorexia. Some Ayurvedic herbs have soothing effect on mind of an individual. They can help in maintaining the connection between mind and stomach. The following herbs that are highly effective in Anorexia are easily available from “Pure Herbal Ayurved Clinic”, best Ayurveda clinic in Melbourne, Australia.
Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng)
Ashwagandha is the best herb that helps in gaining weight and increasing appetite. This herb gives strength to the nervous system and detoxifies the body by improving digestion system. It removes psychological causes of anorexia.
In a study conducted by Anup Patil et al on wistar rats, it was found that oral administration of alcoholic root extract of Withania Somnifera has shown anti anorexic effect in stress and lipopolysaccharide induced anorexia. Ashwagandha possesses antistress, adaptogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, immunomodulatory, antiulcer and rejuvenating properties.
Black pepper is a digestive stimulant. It helps with digestion in the stomach and stimulates the liver to produce more bile salts to emulsify the fats in the intestines. It corrects the digestion of fats and carbs. It stimulates appetite and suggests the brain to eat more. Therefore, black pepper is an effective cure for the anorexia.
‘Practice of Ayurveda’, is a detailed book by Swami Sivananda. In this book he mentions about an ayurvedic formulation called pippali arishta, the chief ingredients of the same are black pepper, nagarmotha and small cardamoms. This formulation is very useful for anorexia as it increases the digestive fire and helps in the loss of appetite.
Rock salt is a remedy to treat anorexia. It calls forth the appetite and let the individual feel hungry. It is also digestive ayurvedic medicine used for indigestion, flatulence and gas.
Cardamom contains some essential oils that work as digestive stimulant and appetizer. Cardamom also works on the brain and reduces stress and mental fatigue. It treats the anorexia associated with mental disorders.
Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus)
Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus) is also called nut grass. It contains essential oils, terpenoids, cadalene, calamenene active principles. Nagarmotha is carminative, analgesic, diuretic, anthelminthic, anti-dysenteric and anti-inflammatory. It induces desire of eat and stimulates appetite, so it is beneficial in anorexia.
Vacha (Acorus calamus)
Vacha is acorus calamus, used in mental and psychological disorders including anorexia. It acts on the brain and stimulate the desire of eat.
According to a study by Rupali Singh et al, it has been found out that Vacha (Acorus calamus) is an excellent herb for the treatment of Anorexia because of its wonderful power of stimulating and normalising the appetite.
Hing is used in a variety of diseases including digestive ailment such as indigestion, loss of appetite and anorexia. It acts on digestive system due to its digestive stimulatory effects.
Shirodhara is one of the ayurvedic therapies that can be used to treat psychological causes of anorexia.
Virechana is purgative therapy in ayurveda. It removes accumulated toxins from the body and enhances appetite.
Herbal Ayurvedic Medicines and Natural Remedies to Cure Anorexia
The following Ayurvedic herbal medicines are widely used in chronic forms of Anorexia by millions of Ayurvedic doctors.
Yoga and Anorexia
Yoga can be a great tool in treating eating disorder. It helps in reducing stress and depression and creates a state of balance in the body. It can promote self-esteem and positive body image in treating this disorder through cultivation of confidence, openness and inner strength. The yoga poses that work best in treating this disorder are crab pose, mountain pose, pigeon pose, squat pose and many more.
Lifestyle changes for Anorexia
The best lifestyle changes to overcome Anorexia are to have healthy attitudes towards food and body. The steps to develop healthy attitudes are:
Fresh lemon is very helpful for this type of disorder. Squeezing some lemon in a glass of water and adding some sugar and salt to it will make a healthy drink to have before meal in order to get relief from this disorder.
Fresh juices of grapes, pomegranate and orange can act as appetite booster.
Anorexia is a serious mental illness that can be fatal if not taken care in time. It involves an intense fear of gaining weight. The recovery of this disorder includes a healthy diet and the individual suffering from this disorder should work with “Pure Herbal Ayurved Clinic” to construct a balanced diet plan meeting all nutritional needs and treatment of anorexia.
1.Anup Patil, Vijay Raje, Nilesh Darekar, Sunil Karale, ‘Effect of alcoholic root extract of Withania somnifera on experimentally induced anorexia in rats’, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHYTOTHEARPY RESEARCH, ISSN 2278 – 5701, https://www.earthjournals.in/ijpr_113.pdf
2.Rishabha Malviya, Rupali Singh, Pramod Kumar Sharma, ‘Pharmacological Properties and Ayurvedic Value of Indian Buch Plant (Acorus calamus)’, Research Gate, 5(3):145-154, June 2011,
3.Swami Sivananda, ‘Practice of Ayurveda’ https://www.esamskriti.com/essays/pdf/sivananda-practice-of-ayurveda.pdf
Dr. Gurnam Saini
Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery
MD Alternative Medicine
Panchkarma Detox Expert
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