Ear is known to be the organ for the sense of Balancing & Hearing, It is monitored by the 8th cranial nerve i.e., vestibulocochlear nerve. It consists of two branches i.e. Vestibular which monitors the balancing part & the cochlear part and is responsible for hearing. Acoustic schwannoma is a benign & a slow growing tumor, which is developed on the vestibulocochlear nerve (8th cranial nerve). Thus, pressure exerted from the tumor may lead to loss of hearing and imbalance.
Here, in this article let’s take a brief about this disease, its Ayurvedic aspect & herbal remedies for managing this ailment.
As already stated above, Acoustic Schwannoma is a tumor. It is manifested as a result of uncontrolled production of Schwann cells. Schwann cells are those that act as a protective sheath that normally wrap around axons (length of nerve fibers) to insulate, protect and give support to the nerve fibres. With the increase in size of acoustic schwannoma, it starts exerting pressure on the nerves that performs the functions of hearing & balancing of the body. The condition is usually unilateral (one-sided) or having asymmetric sensorineural type hearing loss, tinnitus and balance loss. As the tumor starts increasing gradually, it can interfere with the trigeminal nerve i.e. the nerve responsible for sensation of face & can result in numbness of face. This condition can also affect the nerve responsible for the proper functioning of facial muscles resulting in facial weakness. Even more if the neuroma continues to grow, it will eventually exert pressure on the neighboring brain structures (such as the brainstem and the cerebellum) which can lead to very serious complications including death.
There are 2 types of acoustic neuromas:
- Unilateral acoustic schwannoma. This type of neuroma affects only one ear. This is the most common type of benign tumor occurring in nerve cells related to the ear. There is no specific age discrimination as it can occur in individual of any age group mostly between 3rd to 6th decades of life. Acoustic schwannoma may be caused by environmental factors that result in further nerve damage.
- Bilateral acoustic schwannoma.The type of neuroma that affects both ears simultaneously and this condition is generally found to be genetically inherited. This type of genetic condition is known as Neurofibromatosis-2 (NF2), which is responsible for causing this type of neuroma.
Sign & Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of acoustic schwannoma include:
- Sensory neural type of hearing loss that occurs generally in gradual fashion and commonly found unilateral or sometimes bilateral but affecting one side more.
- Tinnitus (tingling sensation or ringing noise in one or both the ears)
- Balance loss which causes difficulty in standing or moving.
- Vertigo (giddiness).
- Numbness in the face which gradually leads to weakness of facial muscles and paralysis on the side of the tumor.
In rare cases, an acoustic schwannoma can grow up to the brainstem and become fatal.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Clinical symptoms may give initial clues about the disease. Other examinations include audiometry, electronystagmography, auditory brainstem responses and other scanning techniques such as MRI or CT SCAN. Magnetic Resonance Imaging is the best confirmatory test for the detection of these neuromas.
Acoustic Schwannoma managements are:
- surgical removal of tumor
- Radiation. Surgical removal of tumors may affect the hearing and balance. Also it injures facial nerves during surgery.
As there is no direct correlation of Acoustic Neuroma in the Ayurveda, and it is a benign tumor of nerve fibres it can be correlated with tantrika-arbud. Being related to the ear, this tumor is termed as Karangat- tantrikarbud. Moreover, as it is related directly with the nervous system i.e. vitiation of vata dosha is the key factor responsible for the disease. By avoiding vata increasing diets & life style that reduces vata dosha, can help in managing the condition. Also, the medhya dravyas (nervine tonics) play a key role in supporting the condition.
Management of Acoustic Schwannoma
Ayurveda, the ancient and most basic science of life & medicine, can play a key role in supporting of the patients affected with this type of condition. By following proper nutritious diet & lifestyle methods, along with Ayurvedic herbs & medicines, the patient can get wonderful effects & relieve in almost all of its symptoms.
Ayurvedic line of management for the disease include:
- Shodhan Chikitsa
- Shaman Chikitsa
- Lifestyle modification.(Pathya Palan)
Shodhan chikitsa include vasti & nasya. Panchtikta Kshir Vasti (enema) is useful in Tantrikaarbuda. Brahmi Taila Shirodhara can also show great results in making the patient’s mind stress free. In Akshin Balmamusa Rogi (Patient having good physic) we can use virechana and Vaman karma for immediate relief in acoustic schwannoma. Pratimarsh Nasya of Shadbindu Oil and Avapidak Nasya of Durva Swaras (Juice) are useful to treat symptoms in acoustic Schwannoma.
Sthangat Raktmokshan karma (Local Blood out letting) is also helpful in Acoustic schwannoma. Increased Kapha and Vata dosha can be reduced by using Agnikarma in Acoustic Schwannoma. Chirkaritva guna (Chronicity) of Vata Dosha will be reduced in Acoustic Schwannoma by using Agnikarma.
Shaman Chikitsa is focused on keeping the mind of the patient strong & healthy to deal with the ongoing diseased conditions. In Shaman Chikitsa, many Deepaniya and Pachaniya herbal drugs are used to reduce the symptoms of Acoustic Schwannoma. Also as discussed above, vitiated vata dosha must be corrected to get great benefits from the causes & symptoms.
Planet Ayurveda is an herbal manufacturing company that manufactures herbal medicines in the strong adherence to the Ayurvedic texts. Planet Ayurveda’s herbal products are made from natural sources and are well purified & processed accordingly, being made under strict supervision of our experts.
Herbal Remedies as Suggested by our Expert for Acoustic Schwannoma: (BD means twice a day)
- Kanchnaar Guggulu- 2 BD
- Gotu kola Capsule – 1 BD
- Guggul- 1 BD
- Brahmi Capsule- 1 BD
- Sarivadi Vati – 2 BD
- Curcumin- 2 BD
- Graviola Capsule – 1 BD
- Swaran Basant Malti ras – 1 BD
- Kanchnaar guggulu is the best medicine used for reducing any kind of swelling or inflammation in the body. Due to its anti-inflammatory effect this medicine is used in Acoustic neuroma to decrease the gradually increasing size of the tumor as it has the ability to shrink the tumor.
- Gotu Kola Capsules, Brahmi Capsules and Graviola capsules are the single herb formulations. They help in supporting this diseased condition by giving strength to brain & brain cells. Gotu Kola capsule contains the standardized extract of Mandukaparnie. Centella asiatica, Brahmi capsules has extract of Bacopa monnieri and Graviola capsules are composed of the extract of Annona muricata. These three drugs are considered as one of the best brain & nervine tonic. Thus, they help in promoting nerve health & also giving strength to nerve fibres to deal with the neuroma.
- Guggul is also a single drug preparation available in the form of capsules. It is the resinous extract of Commiphora mukul. Guggul exhibits wonderful properties of reducing inflammation & lipid lowering. Triterpenoid of Guggul act as anti-inflammatory and Eugenol act as antioxidant, that help to reduce tumor.
- Curcumin capsules are purely vegetarian prepared using the standardized extract of Curcuma longa. It contains many antioxidants which are essential for scavenging various toxins from the body & also promotes healing.
- Suvarna Basant Malti Ras is used to balance the vitiated Vata dosha & acts as a nervous tonic. Also, it is a preparation that includes the ash of purified gold is the best medicine used for dhatu kshaya. It has proven properties to improve the immune system and prevent various life-threatening disorders including tumors like Acoustic Schwannoma. Along with gold there are other bhasmas (i.e. purified fine powdered extract) blended in the tablets, of moti (pearl) & yashad (silver). Suvarna Basant Malti Ras increases Ojha Guna in body.
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Diet & Lifestyle Modifications: (Pathya Apathya)
Avoid taking junk food, alcohol, cold products, smoking,etc which aggravate vata Dosha. Taking healthy meals including vegetables and fruits are helpful to prevent acoustic Schwannoma.
Lifestyle modifications include Pranayama i.e. breathing exercises. The important pranayama are:
- Bhramari pranayam
- Naadi shodhan pranayam
- Ujjayayi pranayama
- Bhastrika Pranayama
- Anulom Vilom Pranayama
Apart from these, the asanas such as Shavasan, Svastikasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, surya namaskar, sukhasan & padmasana are useful in this condition.
As discussed above, there is much possibility to manage the above condition with Ayurvedic herbal products & lifestyle modifications also, the patient can be prevented from further various life threatening complications. Despite going for painful & life threatening surgeries & costly investigations again & again, the patient can switch to relatively less or even side effect less natural mode of treatment i.e., Ayurveda.