Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, is a classic motor neuron disease affecting the nerves coming from the spinal cord. ALS most often occurs in adults from the age of 50 to 70. The cause of this disease is unknown; however, inflammation of the nervous system due to immune dysfunction is believed to be responsible for the progressive degeneration seen in this disease. Symptoms include progressive muscular weakness, cramps, wasting and spasticity. ALS can be either classic, sporadic or familial.
Ayurvedic medicines have a very good therapeutic potential in the treatment of disorders of the nervous system. This can be put to good use in treating ALS. Medicines like Trayo-Dashang-Guggulu, Tapyadi-Loh, Yograj-Guggulu, Mahavat-Vidhvans, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Kaishor-Guggulu and Dashmoolarishta are very useful in healing the damage done to the nerves and nervous system. Herbal medicines like Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) and Dashmool (Ten Roots) are also very useful in this condition.
Medicines which act on the ‘Majja’ dhatu (tissue) of the body are also very effective in treating this condition, and include medicines like Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Gugggulu, Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus). In addition, localized therapy can also be used, in which medicated oils are used to massage the body, followed by medicated steam fomentation. Medicines used for these procedures are: Mahanarayan oil, Mahamash oil, Mahasaindhav oil, Dashamool qadha (decoction) and Nirgundi qadha.
Ayurvedic treatment, taken for long periods in ALS, can considerably improve symptoms and delay the progression of the disease. For a disease known to cause death within 2-7 years, and no currently known cure, Ayurvedic treatment definitely has a lot to offer in reducing morbidity and mortality.