Ayurveda is considered as an ancient science that deals with almost all facets of human life. It is structured with eight (8) different limbs and hence is known as Ashtaanga Ayurveda. Out of these eight (8) limbs, Baala chikitsa is considered as the science/branch of pediatrics in Ayurveda. This branch of Ayurveda is also known as Kaumara bhritya and it provides in-depth information about taking care of a child from its birth to its various stages of growth and development. This includes, the proper diet of a baby, proper regimens to be followed according to the age and season, and knowledge about various diseases that affect babies along with their remedies. Through this article Dr. Kunal M Kohil brings to light the importance of a few herbs and certain home remedies that are useful in treating various pediatric diseases.
Bala chikitsa in Ayurveda gives a lot of emphasis to proper diet and regimen (aahaara & vihaara) for managing various diseases and leading a healthy life. Ayurveda has remedies for the treatment and management of all kinds of diseases. Most health experts, however suggest that children should not be administered chemical medicines and antibiotics. According to them, herbal or Ayurvedic treatments can assure us a healthy next generation.
Following are some of the common diseases or problems encountered by children or babies along with their Ayurvedic treatment/remedies.
- Stomach aches
Stomach ache is a common problem among kids be it in a new born baby or a few year old kid. This problem is easily understood in a few year old child, but is a big issue in a newborn baby who is unable to explain what he/she feels. In such cases, the situation is tricky and certain physical changes need to be observed.
If the size/diameter of the stomach has increased, and if the baby starts crying on just touching the stomach, then one should conclude that the baby is suffering from stomach ache.
If the pain is for a baby who is still feeding from its mother, then the main reason behind this situation is the irregular diet of the mother. In such cases, treatment should be given to the mother and not the baby.
A simple herbal remedy for this condition is the application of Hingu churna (asafoetida) along with water. This is a common ingredient found in most kitchens an should be applied in the umbilical region.
Another home remedy is by using Ajamoda (celery). This is also a very commonly used herb in our daily diet. This is applied similar to how asafoetida is applied. Here, powdered celery is mixed with the optimum amount of water and this paste is applied to the stomach.
In addition to these, breastfeeding mothers should take Ajamoda, Jeeraka, Saidhava, Lavana etc. to avoid digestive problems like gas accumulation in feeding babies.
- Constipation/Problem in excretion of stools
Many-a-times it is observed that a baby faces problem in stool excretion or the excreted stool is usually very hard or the baby has to apply heavy pressure during excretion. Once this is observed, treatment should be done as early as possible.
In such conditions, Eranda taila (castor oil) should be applied to the stomach of the baby.
Draksha or dried black grapes, can also be used in this situation. 10-15 dried black grapes should be soaked in warm water for a while. After some time, this water should be given to the baby.
If it is for a child who is on a full diet, than Haritaki (chebulic myrobalan) powder is suggested. Half teaspoon powder of Haritaki along with an equal amount of castor oil should be given to the child.
Also, applying castor oil to the anus of the baby helps in relieving the problem to an extent. This will smoothen the excretion process and baby will face fewer problems during excretion.
This condition is identified by the presence of white colored spots on the face of the baby. This condition usually creates a loss of appetite in the baby.
Here, Vidanga (false black pepper) is considered as the best remedy. Its fine powder should be mixed with honey and given to the baby.
Another drug that is very effective in this condition is Ativish. The root of this plant is boiled and given to the baby. This will kill the worms and will help to improve appetite in the baby.
Now-a-day tonsillitis is a common problem found in children. In this condition the various symptoms observed are – a pain in throat, problem with eating/drinking, pain during speech, redness in the throat, etc. Main cause of this disease is viral infection. Simple treatments for this problem is to enhance the immunity of the baby as this will reduce the chance of any kind of infection to the baby.
Haridra – turmeric is very helpful for children suffering from tonsillitis. Its powder is given to the baby along with salt and warm water. Children suffering from tonsillitis should use this water for gargling.
Sitopaladi churna with honey also shows good relief in children suffering from tonsillitis.
Children often get wounded while playing outdoor games. In such cases, Haridra – turmeric is the best remedy. Here, turmeric powder is sprinkled over the wound. This helps to stop bleeding, reduce edema, prevent infection and will help to increase the speed of healing.
- Prickly heat
This is one of the most common problems found in children. In summer, due to the extreme heat and sweat, children are known to suffer from skin irritations like itching, burning, etc. Here, a mixture of Nimba – Neem leaf powder, Chandana – Sandalwood powder, Dugdha pashan, Rose water etc are applied to the affected area. This powder will absorb sweat, keep the skin dry, will show anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity and gives soothing relief to the skin during summer.
- Immunity enhancer
There are a number of remedies mentioned in Ayurveda to boost the immunity of a baby. Out of those, few are mentioned below.
- Gold treated water:
This is a very simple and effective method for enhancing the immunity of the baby. A small piece of pure gold is kept in one liter of potable water. This water is then boiled till half its portion evaporates. Once the water cools, the piece of gold is removed and this water is given to the baby. This water is known to enhance the immunity of the baby as well as improve the intellectual power of the baby.
- Suvarna praashan:
In Kaashyapa samhita it is mentioned that-
Suvarnapraashanam hyetan medhaa agni bala vardhanam|
Aayushyam mangalam punyam vrishyam varnyam grahaapaham||
Maasaat param medhaavi vyaadhibhirna cha dhrishyate|
Shadbhirmaasaihi shritadharah suvarnapraashanaad bhavet||
This means, the process of Suvarna praashan is very much beneficial. It protects the baby from hazardous infection. The intellectual power of a baby will increase by taking Suvarna praashan for one month duration. While a six month duration of Suvarna praashan will make the baby so smart that the baby will not forget any lesson or instruction which is given to him/her.
The process of Suvarna praashan is very easy. A piece of 24 K gold of 1-2 g weight is taken. Unused, pure gold piece should be used for this purpose. Ornaments should be strictly avoided. This gold piece is tritrated with honey. Tritration is continued till the color of the honey changes. This honey should be now given to the baby. When given to the baby on a daily basis this shows miraculous results.
Ayurveda provides a lot more remedies than the above mentioned details of various diseases and their treatments. Here only a bird’s eye view of the Kaumaara bhritya or Baala chikitsa is given. Before practicing these remedies one should take proper guidance from an authentic Ayurvedic physician so as to assure the safety of the baby or child. Even though some drugs are totally harmless a proper and genuine guidance from a Vaidya is essential. The intention of this article is only to provide some information. Self-medication should be strictly avoided. It is advisable to visit Vaidya for any health issue.
Stay healthy… stay blessed…
Sarve santu niraamayaa….!
Kunal M. Gohil
Dept. of R.S. & B.K.