The term ‘Anorexia’ refers to loss of appetite. When this loss of appetite turns into an eating disorder, it is referred to as ‘Anorexia Nervosa’. Those suffering from Anorexia develop a loss of interest in eating and an aversion towards food. The aversion could be due to various reasons such as fear of being obese, stomach upsets, unhealthy eating habits, indigestion, stress or prolonged illness. Often, Anorexia could just be temporary and mild anorexia may be treated at home with some dietary and lifestyle modifications.
In Ayurveda, Anorexia is known as ‘Aruchi’ or reduced interest in food, or loss of taste. According to Ayurvedic experts, it is a condition caused due to low digestive fire (low agni). This low digestive fire not only creates poor appetite, but also leads to indigestion and bloating in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ayurveda believes that Anorexia may be caused due to imbalance of vata, pitta and kapha doshas, and other psychological factors like anger, fear and stress that can cause harm to your digestive process. This, in turn, leads to accumulation of ‘ama’ or toxins in the digestive tract, thereby hampering the sense of taste.
Here are a few suggestions from Ayurveda on how to manage Anorexia:
Ginger – Trikatu Remedy
Trikatu is a traditional Ayurvedic blend comprising equal parts of pippali, black pepper and ginger aimed at gastric support. The powdered form of this blend can be mixed with water and consumed adding a tablespoon of honey.
Another option is to just combine a piece of ginger with a pinch of lime juice and rock salt and chew it up after dinner, as it is believed to aid digestion, apart from stimulating taste buds.
The herb is used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese treatment system. It can be consumed in the form of tea or tincture and helps with digestion, appetite, treatment of stomach problems etc. It can be had in the form of a supplement too.
Cardamom is considered an appetizer and a digestive stimulant. Therefore, it not only helps in treating anorexia, but can also help in managing other associated symptoms like depression and stress. Cardamom can be used in powdered form, added to tea, foods and other beverages. You can also eat cardamom seeds directly for instant results.
Asafoetida, also known as ‘Hing’, is a crucial ingredient of Indian cuisine. It is a pungent spice that helps increase appetite and aid digestion. It is very effective in relieving spasms and indigestion. The powder is added to standard dishes or just mixed with buttermilk and consumed for improving digestion.
Mix about 500mg of asafoetida powder with half a cup of hot water. To this add a teaspoon of grated ginger, a tablespoon of honey and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well and cover. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink when still warm.
This is an effective Ayurvedic solution when dealing with loss of appetite. The plant is rich in terpenoids, cadalene, calamenene and essential oils. On regular consumption, the herb can considerably improve appetite and increase your desire to eat.
Lifestyle modification also becomes essential if you are suffering from anorexia. Try to incorporate these changes into your lifestyle to overcome this temporary phase in your life:
- Find your own ways to relax, whether it is indulging in your favourite hobby, or listening to music or anything that can help you relieve stress.
- Develop realistic expectations in life.
- Chart out a proper meal plan, which should essentially be five small meals a day, with necessary nutrients.
- Avoid junk food and carbonated drinks.
- Make sure you do yoga, and exercise for minimum of 30 minutes a day.
- Find time for meditation
- Sleep for a good 7 hours every night.
Remember, it is important to stay healthy. Hence, it becomes inevitable to prevent and cure Anorexia, if it is bothering you. If the loss of appetite is due to certain illness or disorder, then the above tips may not be of much help. In that case, you should consult your medical practitioner to find the root cause of your lack of appetite.