We all are dependent on food for proper nutrition. But, why do we eat food? Do you remember that rumbling noise from your stomach? Your brain sends signals to your stomach to release an appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin that causes your intestines and stomach to contract to produce that rumbling sound. Our eating habits directly or indirectly depend upon appetite. It is a measure to know how much food can be consumed by a person. Appetite varies from person to person. It is different for different types of people. Wonder why your doctor asks you about your appetite when you visit them? A good appetite is essential for overall health. Whereas there are a number of conditions that can lead to decreased or increased appetite. But this can be treated with good medications and a healthy lifestyle.
Appetite can be defined as a natural desire to eat food to satisfy the body’s needs. The natural desire to eat food does not remain stable. It is different in different types of Prakriti (Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha), lifestyle (passive or active), age, gender, stress, emotional well-being, habits, eating disorders (Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa), certain medical conditions (Thyroid disorders, PCOD, infection, kidney diseases), medications (Morphine, Chemotherapy) drugs (Cannabis, ganja, hash, hashish), stimulants, pregnancy, etc. Decreased desire to eat food is termed anorexia whereas an increased desire to eat food is termed polyphagia. Eating a balanced diet on time can prevent a shift in your appetite. Appetite changes can lead to weight loss or weight gain, lethargy, fatigue, mood swings, certain medical conditions, and malnutrition. Loss of appetite and increase in appetite can be a sign of an underlying disease condition. Diseases like Hyperthyroidism, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypoglycemia, and Anxiety show an increase in appetite (Polyphagia) whereas diseases like HIV, chronic liver disease, hepatitis, chronic kidney disease, Hypothyroidism, and cancer show a lack of appetite (Anorexia).
Therefore, Appetite is related to immunity which in turn results in good or bad health. Certain herbal formulations followed with a good lifestyle can help in stabilising appetite leading to good health.
CAUSES OF ANOREXIA( LOSS OF APPETITE)
- Disturbed eating patterns
- Liver disorder
- Over self-consciousness
- Stress/Peer pressure
- Fear of gaining weight
CAUSES OF POLYPHAGIA (INCREASED APPETITE)
- Eating disorders like bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating/Disturbed eating patterns
- Endocrine disorders like hyperthyroidism
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Premenstrual syndrome(PMS)
- Certain medications like steroids
SYMPTOMS OF ANOREXIA (LOSS OF APPETITE)
- Weight loss
- Loss of muscles mass
- Irregular bowel habits
- Dry skin
- Dry and brittle hair and nails
- Prominent eye orbits
- Vitamin deficiency
SYMPTOMS OF POLYPHAGIA (INCREASED APPETITE)
- Overeating accompanied by the usage of emetics and purgatives(Bulimia nervosa)
- Weight gain
Diagnostic tests done to evaluate Anorexia nervosa/Hyperphagia are given below
- Physical exam: The doctor will evaluate sudden weight loss/weight gain, skin color changes, and dryness in skin, hair, and nails.
- Laboratory tests: Lab tests include certain blood tests, Liver function test, and renal function test to evaluate the root cause.
- Psychological assessment
According to Ayurveda, Anorexia is correlated with Aruchi (lack of desire to eat food) which is due to Agnimandya (low digestive fire). It is caused by the aggravation of tridosha(vata, pitta, Kapha) and psychological factors. Decreased digestive fire causes the formation of ama(undigested food) which leads to abnormal rasa formation thereby blocking channels. Irregular digestive fire causes unbalance in dhatus providing little nutrients to dhatus and causing weight loss, giddiness, fainting, yawning, malaise, dry hair, and nails. Whereas, Hyperphagia is correlated with Bhasmak rog in Ayurveda. Bhasmak rog is a condition in which there is no satisfaction after eating food. Patients’ hunger cant be satisfied with the amount of food eaten by them. It is also called bhasma agni. The patient keeps on binging food after some time. According to Acharya Charak, there are different types of Aruchi
- Vataj Aruchi: It is vata dominated. There will be an astringent taste and dryness in the mouth.
- Pittaj Aruchi: ti is pitta dominated. The mouth taste will be bitter.
- Kaphaj Aruchi: It is dominated by Kapha. The mouth will be sweeter in taste accompanied by loss of appetite.
- Sanipataj Aruch: It is Tridoshaj in nature. Symptoms of all three types of aruchi(vata, pitta,kapha) will be seen.
- Agantuj Aruchi: Vatta predominant symptoms are seen.
TREATMENT OF ANOREXIA
Ayurveda gives effective results in the treatment of Anorexia by stimulating digestion and digesting ama. In anorexia, Upwas(Fasting) and Deepan-Pachan medicines are indicated.
- Upwas (Fasting): Fasting stimulates the digestive fire and removes ama from the body thereby opening channels and increasing appetite. Upwas should be followed by laghu supachya ahar (light and easy-to-digest foods) like rice water, thin gruel, and rice porridge.
- Deepan-Pachan: Deepan Panchan can be done by taking Chitrakadi Vati (2 tablets with warm water twice or thrice a day), Lahsunadi Vat i(2-3 tablets twice daily with warm water) Hingwastak Churan (2-4 grams with warm water twice a day). Triphala ghrita etc.
- External therapy includes Abhyangam, and Sirodhara to relieve stress.
- Acharya Chakardutta mentions Ginger to be taken with salt in agnimandya. Various other herbs like Pippali, Amalaki should be taken to treat anorexia.
TREATMENT OF HYPERPHAGIA
Ayurveda gives very effective results in the treatment of Hyperphagia. Medicines and foods which pacify pitta are indicated in bhasmak roga.
HERBAL REMEDIES FOR DISTURBED APPETITE BY PLANET AYURVEDA
Planet Ayurveda provides the best combination of effective herbal remedies as an Appetizer care pack for the treatment of disturbed appetite. For natural and herbal treatment always look for natural products which contain pure extracts and are formulated under GMP guidelines. Planet Ayurveda products are scientific and certified. They are free from any chemicals, additives, and preservatives. Planet Ayurveda products are formulated by MD Doctors and are 100% natural, pure, and free from side effects.
- Chitrakadi Vati
- Livo Plan Syrup
- Lavan Bhaskar Churna
1. Chitrakadi Vati
Chitrakadi vati is a traditional medicine that contains Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), 5 types of salts (Saindhava Lavan, Samudra Lavan, Suvarchala Lavan, Vida Lavan, Romaka Lavan), Shunthi (Zingiber officinale), Maricha (Piper nigrum), Pipalimooola (Piper longum), Hingu (Ferula asafoetida), Chavya (Piper chaba), Ajmoda (Trachyspermum roxburghianum). Chitrak present in chitrakadi vati balances vata and kapha. It is deepaniya in nature which stimulates digestive fire. It is laghu (light), ruksha(dry), tikshana (hyper) in guna (character). This formulation is useful in a number of disorders like anorexia, haemorrhoids, worm infestation, cold, and arthritis.
Dosage- 2 tab twice daily with plain water after meals
2. Livo Plan Syrup
Livo plan syrup is a herbal medication that contains Bhringraj(Eclipta alba), Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), Shyonaka (Oroxylum indicum), Rohitaka (Tecomella undulata), Bhumi amla (Phyllanthus niruri), Trayamana (Gentiana kurroo), Patol(Trichosanthes dioica), Ghrita kumari(Aloe barbadensis), Pitpapada (Fumaria indica), Sharpunkha (Tephrosia purpurea), Dugdhapheni (Taracum officinale), Kasni(Cichorium intybus), Sugar syrup. The liver plays an important role in digestion and appetite so Livo plan syrup is indicated in anorexia. Herbal ingredients in Livo plan syrup are hepatoprotective and remove toxins from the liver. Amla present in Livo plan syrup is a Rasayan (Rejuvenator) which helps in the healing of liver and intestinal mucosa.
Dosage- 2 tsp twice daily with plain water after meals
3. Lavan Bhaskar Churna
Lavan Bhaskar Churna is an ayurvedic formulation that contains Samudra Lavana (Sea salt), Saindhava Lavana (Rock salt), Kala Namak (Himalayan black salt) Dhanyaka (Coriandrum Sativum), Pippali (Piper Longum), Pippalimula (Piper Longum), Tejpatra (Cinnamomum tamala), Krishnajiraka (Carum Carvi), Nagakesara (Mesua ferrea), Talishpatra (Abies Webbiana), Amlavetasa (Garcinia pedunculata), Vid Namak, Jirak(Cuminum cyminum), Shunthi (Zingiber officinale), Maricha (Piper nigrum), Anardana(Punica granatum), Ela(Elettaria cardamomum), Tvak (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). It contains substances that improve appetite and treat Agnimandya. It balances Kapha and Vata. Lavan Bhaskar Churan treats indigestion, belching, and flatulence.
Dosage- 1 tsp twice daily with plain water after meals.
Contact Planet Ayurveda Support Team to provide you the costing/ordering and delivery information at – email@example.com or Call at 0172-521-4030 (India), +91-172-521-4030 (Outside India) or Whatsapp at (+91) 9915-593-604
In order to live a healthy life one should regulate their eating habits and must take good measures to tackle stress. From the above article, it is clear that digestive fire plays a major role in regulating our appetite. So, next time when you are less hungry try to treat your ama with fasting, deepan-pachan herbs and if your hunger can’t be satisfied go with pitta pacifying medicines. Liver health is important to have a good appetite. So avoiding hepatotoxic drugs and going with hepatoprotective herbs is the right choice to go with.