Understanding the concepts of disease as expanded in Ayurveda and applying it to the human being of modern day, whose lifestyle and environment are the key instigators of modern diseases was an immense task for researchers at Neeta’s Herbal. The solution required an understanding of the concept of disease, both in the modern sense as well as that of Ayurveda.
The modern concepts of disease are derived from the knowledge that all life is based on cells, which is an aggregate making up higher organisms, such as human beings. Even though every cell has a specific function or roll to play, it is only through effective communication among all cells that physical well-being is ensured. Typical cells make up tissues such as nerves, blood vessels, muscle and bones.
Some cells form elaborate structural elements, such as cartilage and bone, whereas other cells manufacture special products such as hormones and cytokines*. Finally, cells such as nerves are specialized in that it conducts information from one location to another. Distinct population of cells also makes up organs such as the kidney, liver and skin. The skin itself is made up of about 1 billion cells. On the other hand, despite specialization, all cells have certain elements in common; a central nucleus (which contains DNA and genetic material), surrounding cytoplasm (which contains the machinery of cell function), and an outer cell membrane (which receives and transmits signals to other cells and to the environment).
In the case of the skin, coordinated activities of the cells require coordination through communication. Cells usually communicate through…
b) Releasing and receiving molecules (requiring a receptor at the other end)
c) And through nerve transmission
All three aspects operate in causing skin diseases. Disease may be caused by faulty release, abnormal molecules or by faulty receptors.
In modern medicine, the cause of skin disorder can therefore be concluded as being due to faulty cell function, which can be brought about by pathogens (bacteria, viruses etc), by environmental factors, such as excessive UV rays from the sun, chemical carcinogens from a polluted environment or by other means.
The most common explanation science gives us is that our body’s immune system, responsible for fighting against foreign bodies entering into the system, destroys hair follicles inducing natural hair loss. The reasons for alopecia patches are multitude. Hair follicles are cup shaped structures from which the hair grows. So, our body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the follicle cells, impedes the growth of hair and induces alopecia patches. The genes, according to the general perception, are not the only contributors and researches have revealed that both external and internal factors may constitute alopecia patches.
Alopecia aerate, the irksome disease, can occur to anyone irrespective of age. But researches have revealed that it is in between the third and fifth decades of one’s life that the problem seems to be at its peak. Alopecia patches in some may be smooth and pain-free. But in some others, it can induce an itching sensation.
Ayurveda takes this understanding further to explain that such changes in cell function are just not caused by the effects of ultraviolet rays or chemical carcinogens directly, but by the inherent weakness within the body constitution, which makes the attack by ultraviolet radiation or chemical carcinogen easier. Thus, not all human beings exposed to sunlight get skin cancer, but only those with an inherent weakness within the body constitution. Thus, the emphasis is on bringing the human body to a proper balance using an active regime of herbal remedies and change in diet, lifestyle and exercises.
*Cytokines are relatively small proteins that are produced by the cells and released from the cell surface. The protein regulates the behavior of adjacent and distant cells.