Bell’s Palsy in Ayurveda

Sep 24th, 2017
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Bell’s palsy is the most common cranial neuropathy and may originate from various kinds of damage to the seventh nerve. The facial nerve plays a crucial role in emotional expression.

Bell’s palsy disfigures or distorts the facial appearance causes considerable functional, psychosocial and aesthetic disturbance to the affected individual. The peak incidence is between middle-old aged and is higher in men than women. In Ayurveda, the symptoms, etiopathogenesis resembles with Ardita. It is a disease characterized by morbid vata dosha causing forehead creases and naso-labial fold loss, incomplete closure of eye, tearing, dysarthia, hyperacusis, deviation of mouth to opposite side, excessive salivation, taste disturbances and smell loss. Ayurvedic classics explain the treatment as Navan Nasya, Murdha taila, Netratarpan, Nadi Swedana, Upanaha with Mansa Rasa and Shamanaushadhi.

Bell’s palsy is the most common cranial neuropathy and may originate from various kinds of damage to the seventh nerve. The facial nerve plays a crucial role in emotional expression. Bell’s palsy disfigures or distorts the facial appearance. Impairments of the facial muscles causes considerable functional, psychosocial and aesthetic disturbance to the affected individual. Bell’s palsy could be congenital or caused as a result of infection, stroke, toxicity, and physical trauma, neoplastic, iatrogenic or idiopathic aetiologies. It can be unilateral or bilateral.

Among the causes of Bell’s palsy, idiopathic Bell’s palsy cases are the highest. It affects men and women equally and can occur at any age, but it is rare before age of 15 or above the age of 60.5 It constitutes 60 to 70% cases among all Bell’s palsy. The medical treatment and management of Bell’s palsy has its own limitations. It has been reported that in some cases up to 10% of patients are reported to have no recovery from the condition. Some studies have found that the Bell’s palsy is treatable to a complete cure in the early stages of development of symptoms. Several oral administrations of various medicines have been described in texts and are being used with fruitful results. Ayurvedic classics explain the treatment as Navan Nasya, Murdha taila, Netratarpan, Nadi Swedana, Upanaha with Mansa Rasa and Shamanaushadhi. The importance of the subject and its necessity to explore the exact mode of action has given an impetus to carry out a full-fledged study.

Bell’s palsy is due to the lesion of the pyramidal tract between the cortex and the middle of the Pons (upper motor neuron paralysis), the nucleus and the seventh cranial nerve (lower motor neuron paralysis). Bell’s palsy can manifested by two kinds of lesions i.e., Supra-nuclear and infra nuclear lesions.
1) A supra-nuclear lesion in the cerebrum or upper brain stem called as central facial palsy(upper motor neuron lesion
2) A lesion involving either the nucleus or the facial nerve peripheral to the nucleus termed as peripheral facial palsy lower motor neuron lesion)

• UMN lesion –lower part of face is affected as Upper half of face is controlled by pathways from both sides of cortex(bilateral representation) Since,lower half of face has ipsilateral representation,hence Left hemispheric damage paralyses the right lower face. Central Bell’s palsy
• Causes paralysis of only the lower half of the face on the contra lateral side. • Forehead movements are retained.
• Emotional movements are retained. Peripheral Bell’s palsy
• Paralysis of all muscles of face on the involved side.
• Unable to frown, close the eye, purse the lips, whistle.

The features of Ardita as per Ayurveda in modern parlance suggest the involvement of all cranial nerves as one or the other feature of their damage is present as a lakshana in Ardita. Also, the involvement of facial nerve is very obvious as it manifests with more number of symptoms than any other cranial nerve. This is the reason why the Ardita is frequently compared to facial nerve palsy even though unilateral involvement of all the cranial nerves is seen.
Livestrong gives a detailed account on Bell’s palsy and the diet related to it. A brief of which is as follows. Affecting one or both sides of the face, Bell’s palsy is a neurological disorder that affects the facial nerves. Often causing facial muscle weakness or paralysis, the condition can make talking, laughing, eating and swallowing a difficult task. Although diet does not have a direct impact on Bell’s palsy, eating a healthy diet with appropriate textures can encourage quicker healing and prevent choking. Bell’s palsy occurs when one of the facial nerves becomes damaged, resulting in temporary paralysis of the facial muscles. Typically, the condition only affects one side of the face. However, it can affect both sides of the face in some cases.

Symptoms of Bell’s palsy can vary from moderate facial weakness to complete paralysis. Along with muscle weakness or paralysis, symptoms might include facial twitching, drooping eyelids, drooping corner of the mouth, excessive saliva, impaired sense of taste, dry mouth, dry eyes or watery eyes. Bell’s palsy is most commonly caused by the herpes simplex virus. However, it can be caused by other types of viral infections or physical trauma. If Bell’s palsy affects one or both sides of your mouth, you might need to temporarily change your eating habits. Chewing on the side of the mouth affected by weakness or paralysis will likely be difficult. To prevent choking, avoid large bites of food or foods that are chewy, sticky or hard, such as caramel or thick cuts of meat. If most of the mouth is affected by weakness or paralysis, a soft diet may be necessary. A soft diet might include yogurt, pudding, ice cream, mashed potatoes, soup and soft cooked vegetables. If the entire mouth has been affected by Bell’s palsy, a full liquid diet might be necessary.

During a Bell’s palsy episode, there are not any specific foods you should eat to help treat or correct the problem. However, as with any disease or illness, it’s important to maintain a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. Focus on eating foods high in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Your Bell’s palsy diet should include plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, legumes, and healthy fats. If possible, avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, refined flours, sodium and cholesterol. Although these foods might not directly make your Bell’s palsy episode worse, they prevent the body from functioning at its optimal level, which could delay healing.
Vitamins and Minerals

Consuming plenty of vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and zinc will encourage nerve repair and growth. Although supplements are available, you can also increase your intake of these beneficial nutrients through your dietary choices. Foods high in vitamin B12 include beef, cheese, seafood, eggs and milk. Excellent sources of vitamin B6 include spinach, peppers, cauliflower, bananas and broccoli.

If you are having difficulty with chewing and preparing food then the following advice may help:
• Avoid hard, chewy foods as these can be difficult to prepare and choose a soft easy chew diet (such as pasta dishes, fish, well cooked meats and vegetables).
• Try smaller mouthfuls as these are easier to control and less likely to spill from your mouth.
• If your mouth is dry then make sure your food is moist by adding extra butter, gravy or sauces.
• Brush your teeth after meals to ensure no food debris is left behind or trapped inside your cheek. You may need to use your finger to clear any food debris from your cheek. It is important to do this in order to avoid tooth decay.
When you eat foods that contain protein, they are broken down in the body as amino acids. These amino acids are then used to build and repair any muscle tissue. This is great for those who are physically active or exercise regularly. This means you will be able to recover at a faster rate than if you were not to consume protein. Every tissue in your body is made up of protein and it is important to consume enough through your diet to replenish it. Protein is also needed to help your immune and nervous system.

The analogy I think of when discussing nutrition and our bodies is that of a race car. You need to put fuel in it every so often, change the oil and get new tires in order to maintain optimal performance. If you fail to do these things, eventually your body will break down and be worthless. However, if the right steps are taken, you will be well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle and reaping the benefits that come with this.
Foods such as carbohydrates give you energy to function properly throughout your day. In fact, muscle glycogen is an important element to helping you maintain your energy levels throughout your day. When carbs are ingested your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps the carbs to be stored in the muscles or as fat. Stored carbs in the body are also known as glycogen. Glycogen (stored carbohydrates) is important to have in your body before working out. They will be an energy supply and not only enable you to achieve better fat loss results, but also help your overall physique.

One of the main problems with people who are unhealthy is that they do not drink enough water on a daily basis. Instead, they substitute it for sodas and other drinks that are high in sugar. Water composes about 65% of the human body. It is needed in order for our bodies to survive. Water is just as important as eating a healthy diet. It can also act as a detox and cleanse your body.

Water gives cells shape and acts as a medium where body processes can occur. It is the well-known yet most important nutrient our body needs. It is also the most abundant type of liquid found in our body contributing 70% of our total mass. It helps to dissolve and carry the essential nutrients to all parts of the body. It is also needed to help maintain the body temperature and aids to carry away the body’s waste products.
Minerals regulate our body processes and also make body tissues. Minerals make our body work properly same as vitamin play the role but it doesn’t prevent weight loss. Although we get it form our daily foods, so we don’t need to take it separately. Minerals boost our immune system. Some important minerals are Chloride, Calcium, Copper, Chromium, Fluoride, Iron and Iodine. These types of minerals can be found from our daily food or liquid supplement like salt, soy sauce, milk, vegetable oils, whole grains, cheese, nuts etc.

The system of ranking different sources of proteins is called the Biological Value (BV). The higher the BV, the faster the protein is absorbed and used within the body. Here are the best sources of protein and their BV’s:

Whey Protein – Derived from milk, this protein is by far the best source available. With a maximum BV of 157* note that normally a BV cannot be higher than 100, but keep this amount in mind as an approximation* , this protein is absorbed the fastest and most efficiently. Found in powder form and mixed with milk or water, it can be found in supplement/health food stores, but I recommend ordering it of the one and only www.bodybuilding.com. This way, you get the best for your buck. Some good quality brands are Prolab, Sportpharma and Optimum Nutrition(all of these brand name products can be found on this site).

Milk Protein – This protein is a blend of casein and whey ahs a maximum BV of 91. The whey is fast acting and provides you with protein quickly and the casein in milk is slow developing, this is why many bodybuilders drink milk before they go to bed. A very convenient source as well, and can be added to whey shakes to get some slow developing protein also. Casein supplements are also made in powder form.
We know that we must provide our bodies with proper nutrition to combat the wear and tear from daily living. However, it seems that we often ignore this truth as we disconnect from how what we eat affects our health. Providing ourselves with good nutrition is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies with what they need to function at their optimal best.
Our bodies run automatically 24 hours a day. As adults we make the choices for what we put into our bodies and the outcomes are based on our individual choices that we make each and every day.

Just like a car, if we put poor quality fuel in the tank, the car will eventually wear down quicker than if we were to take better care and put in quality fuel. It is an investment in keeping our car running as efficiently as possible, so why wouldn’t we do the same for our bodies?

The car analogy is why nutrition is important for our bodies. We often live our lives without really thinking about what is going on inside of our body systems and so we may be unaware of what could be wearing down or in need of better attention until we start having some problems.

AnjhanaPriya@asanajournal.com'

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