Activate the digestive fire
An increased cholesterol level is a common disease in modern times. However, regarding the human body, you can say: without cholesterol nothing works. Ayurveda strengthens the digestive fire so that fats can be better metabolized.
In the 18th century already cholesterol has been discovered in gallstones as an essential component of all animal cells. And in fact, nothing happens in the human organism without cholesterol. How does Ayurveda see the presence of this natural substance in the physiological process of the organism?
Ayurveda does not consider the organs but the seven body tissues, the dhatus, as the basic anatomical unit of the body. [SS1] In them, the unbalanced doshas, the bioenergies, can manifest themselves as pathogenic factors. If they are not removed and brought into balance, this can lead to chronic diseases, such as disorders of lipid metabolism and high cholesterol levels.
According to the Ayurvedic doctrine the organs serve:
- As the place of action of the functional principles, the three doshas – the bioenergies Vata, Pitta and Kapha
- Agni, the digestive fire, the fire of transformation
- The Srotas, the transport channels of the body
Cholesterol, from the Greek words “cholé” (bile) and “stereós” (firm), plays an important role in biosynthesis in the liver. It produces bile acid, an important component of the transformation chain responsible for the metabolism of fats from food. Since the liver has a lot to do and digest, it needs an optimally functioning digestive power for this process, meaning a strong digestive fire (Bhuta-Agni), the elemental fire to transform the constituents, earth, water, fire, air and ether.
Overcharged digestive system
If too little bile juice is produced, the digestive fats are not optimally metabolized. Without compensatory measures in therapy, diet and lifestyle it leads to an overload of the digestive system, which inevitably causes a change in blood lipid levels. This may result in elevated cholesterol levels, which narrow the vessel walls due to deposits and subsequently lead to calcification, the so-called arteriosclerosis.
The cause of elevated cholesterol levels may be a disease of the liver bile system. On the other hand, an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to increased values: wrong and above all a too fat diet, lack of exercise or ongoing stress and anger.
There are new scientific theories that say that the diet has no direct influence on the level of cholesterol, as it is formed in the liver at 90 percent. However, it has been proven that stress influences cholesterol levels. A person with stress and anger has a lack of digestive power, the right kind of digestive fire which is needed to metabolize food.
Why does the body need cholesterol? It is needed
- For the elasticity of red blood cells
- For the function of cell membranes
- For the formation of bile acids for fat digestion
- For the formation of vitamin D.
- For the psyche
- To support the immune system
- For the formation of the sex and stress hormones
- For the brain development in the baby
- For the normal development of the embryo
The various characteristics (Gunas), the qualities of the symptoms, the clinical pictures, the Doshas, the quality of the body channels (Shrotas) and the waste products (Malas), the various digestive fires (Agnis), are an important component of the Ayurvedic diagnostic procedures.
Cholesterol is similar in its characteristics to fatty tissue (Medadhatu) and Kapha Dosha. These are cold, heavy, sticky, oily, sluggish and slimy and shaped by the elements of water and earth. They lack in heat and fire (Bhuta-Agni), especially for the elements earth and water, in order to metabolize them entirely. This is exactly where Ayurveda therapy helps. Where coldness, heaviness, inertia, stickiness of the earth and water elements prevail, treatment is carried out with the opposite elements heat, lightness, liquidity to dissolve and remove the slags.
Depending on the particular constitution and the respective disease pattern, herbal preparations are used, which are specially oriented on Kapha reduction and drainage. The removal is supported by oil massages with Pitta and Kapha reducing oils. In order to guarantee the sustainability of the therapy, the patient has to adapt lifestyle and diet. This includes both stopping from smoking and losing weight. Regular exercise supports the optimal body circulation and helps to care for enough oxygen in the body. Breathing exercises and yoga also help to support the elasticity of the vessels.
Often high cholesterol levels are accompanied by high blood pressure (hypertension). A specific change in nutrition activates and strengthens the digestive power, metabolic functions and excretory processes that can positively influence blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The focus is on a Kapha and Pitta reducing diet, which should be predominantly warm and easily digestible. Sugar, saturated fats, fried meals, flavor enhancers and nitrites should be absolutely avoided.
Since stress has been proven to have a negative effect a lifestyle correction is crucial. Breathing exercises, yoga, exercise in the fresh air and other relaxing activities have a positive influence and help to balance the physical and biological processes.
If you consider the fact that the cholesterol consumption increases as one gets older – the general rule was 200 plus the age – a question arises: Can a cholesterol level of 200 mg / dl, which is the value of a young person, be healthy for an elderly person as well? However, certain medication can have a positive effect on the values, but the symptoms return if the medication is stopped.
Certainly in some cases Ayurveda can only accompany conventional medication. However, the autonomy of patients and the regulation of self-healing forces should always be an integrated part of the treatment.
Seven Dhatus (body tissues)
- Rasa-Dhatu is the plasma tissue (blood plasma). It is responsible for the transmission of food in the body down to the smallest cell.
- Rakta-Dhatu is the blood tissue (red blood cells). It is responsible for oxygen uptake and its distribution in the body via the blood.
- Mamsa-Dhatu is the muscle tissue. It serves as an energy store for physical strength and locomotion.
- Medha-Dhatu is the fatty tissue. It lubricates and greases the joints and provides moisture and elasticity to the body, brain, spinal cord, liver, kidneys and adrenal glands.
- Asthi-Dhatu is the bone tissue. It supports the body and gives structure.
- Majja-Dhatu is the bone marrow tissue. It fills the cavities of the body and cares for the communication between the cells, the body tissues and the organ systems.
- Sukra-Dhatu stands for the reproductive tissues of the male and Artava Dhatu for the reproductive tissues of the female. They are responsible for procreation, stress and emotion management.
The three Doshas
- Vata (ether and air) stands for the movement principle. It is rough, dry, cold, light, subtle, moving and clear.
- Pitta (fire and water) stands for transformation and adaptation. It is hot, slightly oily, penetrating, fluid, sour, flowing and spicy.
- Kapha (water and earth) stands for structure and connection. It is heavy, cold, soft, oily, sweet, stable, slimy and sticky.