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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is that which affects the nervous system. It is also known as Paralysis agitans.

Men are more affected than women. The most vulnerable age group is above 50 years.


Calls called substantia nigra are responsible for producing packets of a chemical called DOPAMINE - a chemical neurotransmitter, that carries signals between the cells. The cells of substantia nigra regularly send dopamine to a second structure in the brain called striatum, which, with the help of dopamine coordinates body movement. Once these cells cease to produce dopamine, the patients' movements too stop.

Luckily, Parkinson's disease can be checked with the help of the drug Leva-dopa, though it does not offer a permanent cure.


Parkinson's disease is caused by the very gradual deterioration of "junctions", popularly known as ganglia in the nervous system. These junctions are situated at the base of the brain and once affected, affect muscle control and movement in turn. The exact cause for this deterioration is not yet known fully.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms usually develop over a long span of time, initially these are unnoticeable.

  • Tremors begin in a hand or limb when the muscles are at rest.
  • These tremors progressively get worse and spread to both sides of the body.
  • As a result, walking may become stiff and unbalanced.
  • Posture is usually very stooped and stiff.
  • Even simple routine tasks become very difficult and sometimes impossible to perform.
  • Depression is common.

Herbal Medicines

In the early stages, Parkinson's disease is treated with physiotherapy.

Ayurvedic Remedies

Ayurveda recommends a herb known as Kapi Kachhu, botanically known as 'Mucuna pruriens', for this disorder. Incidentally, this contains dopamine in natural form, the synthetic version being prescribed in modem medicine. ½ to 1 tsf of the powder well mixed in a cup of milk is given twice a day. There are many useful drugs in Ayurveda for this disease, known as 'Kampa Vata'. The drugs generally used are Suvarna Bhupati Rasa, Brihat Vata, Chintamani Rasa. These are gold-based compounds, and are as such to be used under the care of an Ayurvedic physician. The Ayurvedic line of treatment also includes massage with some medicated oils like Maha Mashadi Tailam etc. The Ayurvedic approach usually gives good response in many patients, without any ill effects.

Notes * Even though no exact cause is known, there is no evidence that Parkinson's disease is hereditary. * About 1 person out of 200 has Parkinson's disease.
* Ayurvedic management offers some hope.
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