By Dr. Babina NM
It is estimated that there are 28 lakh people infected with tuberculosis (TB) in India, with nearly 4.8 lakh dying from it every year. On top of that, numerous cases of missing patients every year go undetected or unregistered and need to be brought under the system to ensure better diagnosis and treatment. Primarily affecting the lungs, mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria causing tuberculosis, can be easily transmitted from one person to the other through tiny droplets in the air via cough and sneeze. As a result, those with TB usually experience symptoms like coughing- up blood, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, fever, chills, night sweats, and loss of appetite. The disease can also spread to other body parts, including bones, lymph nodes, brain, heart and kidneys, through the bloodstream. This can lead to various ailments or diseases in the body apart from tuberculosis.
Only through a strong immune system, one can avoid getting sick even if the body harbours the bacteria. Conversely, people with a weak immune system are at increased risk of getting infected with TB. On top of that, it becomes challenging to treat those with this disease when the TB causing bacteria becomes drug-resistant. This mostly happens when patients don’t adhere to the doctor’s suggestions and carry on with an unhealthy lifestyle. Such habits make the medication ineffective. Practicing yoga on a regular basis and following a healthy lifestyle can help tackle the disease’s symptoms and play an important role in the management of the disease.
What Do Studies Suggest?
As per a study published in — Respirology, yoga has a complementary role in TB management. It combats the disease by opening-up the chest and maximising the intake of oxygen through deep inhalation. The ancient practice also supports and strengthens the immune system, besides reducing stress a major reason for a weak immune system.
In another study, a 24-year-old unmarried woman with pulmonary tuberculosis who practiced yogic breathing techniques for 8 weeks, for 45 minutes daily, showed marked improvement in body mass index, weight gain, pulmonary function, symptom scores and above all better quality of life.
Naturopathic Remedies for Tuberculosis
Naturopathy believes that a person is born healthy and strong and that they she can stay that way by living in accordance with the laws of nature. A proper diet, fresh air, exercise, sunshine, meditation, and the right mental attitude, all play their part in keeping the body and mind fit.
Foods Rich in Zinc
Sunflower seeds, nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds are great sources of zinc. They provide the body with large amounts of nutrients to fight against diseases like TB.
Garlic contains a compound known as Allicin, which is active against the bacteria that cause TB. Studies have proven that garlic extract can help contain multi-drug resistant TB, which is an important concern in developing countries.
Crushed black pepper can help in treatment of TB. Its anti-inflammatory properties clear the lungs and reduce discomfort and pain.
Mint assists in clearing the respiratory tract, ensuring the free passage of air. It is also rich in antioxidants and immunity-boosting components that protect the body from the risk of infections.
Yoga for Tuberculosis
Some of the yogic poses to practice for those suffering from tuberculosis are:
Performing kapalbhati asana on a regular basis can strengthen the lungs and increase its capacity. This asana can also improve the function of the kidneys and liver. Kapalbhati asana generates heat in the body that potentially kills toxins. Moreover, the asana boosts the immune system, uplifts the mind, rejuvenates the brain, improves concentration and activates the chakras within the body.
Also called the triangle pose, this asana improves the function of the immune system and strengthens liver function., besides improving the flow of blood within the body. Trikonasana improves digestion and enhances the physical and mental equilibrium.
Also known by the name cobra pose, this asana can open-up the chest and help clear the lung and heart passage. It enhances blood circulation and menstrual irregularities, and elevates mood, besides providing comfort from fatigue and stress.
While there are various medications and treatments available for tuberculosis, the cogency of such treatments can be enhanced to a great extent by the use of yoga and naturopathy. Unfortunately, drug resistance is intensifying in people each passing day. There’s an urgent need to start capitalising on the best therapies from all orientations to combat tuberculosis in a robust way.
(The author is a Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)