Anyone who has been trying for a baby without success knows how difficult it is to deal with the stresses and strains that arise when one of the partners may be infertile – or even sterile. What is the difference between the two? Infertility is the failure to conceive after one year of regular sexual attempt without contraception, while sterility is the inability to conceive- or cause conception. Infertility is relative term while sterility is absolute.
Many couples today are turning to Ayurveda for the treatment of infertility, for this ancient system of holistic healthcare is backed by 5000 years of expertise in this field. Kerala, the tropical paradise in South India is a popular global destination for all forms of Ayurvedic treatment, especially infertility. This is because in addition to its legendary families of Ayurvedic physicians who have evolved their own personalized procedures for the successful treatment of infertility, Kerala’s salubrious climate and breath taking beauty combine to create an atmosphere of serene relaxation that acts as a stress buster- and stress is one of the factors that is best avoided if infertility treatment is to be successful.
The Ayurvedic Concept
Ayurveda has developed a special branch to deal with problems of infertility known as Vajeekarana, which means ‘to make one potent like a Vaji- or a horse’. The name is derived from the fact that horses have always been a symbol of virility in ancient cultures. Ayurveda states that reproductive health depends on the health of the Shukra Dhathu, or reproductive tissue, in both men and women. In women Shukra tissue produces the ovum as part of the monthly cycle, and in men it produces semen. The Shukra Dhathu itself is created as part of a long chain of metabolic transformations, starting with the digestion of food and including the transformation of food to nutrient fluid, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and finally, to Shukra tissue. There are all together 7 dhathus, and because the first six dhatus are the raw material for forming the reproductive dhathu, all of the dhathus must be completely healthy in order to form healthy reproductive tissue.
There are two kinds of foods and herbs that help enhance shukra dhathu, and therefore help enhance fertility. One is called bringhana, and these foods strengthen all the seven dhatus. The second type is called Vrishya and these foods and herbs target shukra dhathu in particular. Brighana foods include fresh organic fruits and vegetables,whole grains, dairy proteins , soaked almonds and walnuts, sweet, juicy fruits such as mangoes, and dried fruits like dares and figs. Vrishya foods include asparagus, broccoli, milk and spices like cumin and awjaiin.
An Ayurvedic physician will begin treatment for infertility by first determining the constitution of both partners. The next step is to clear any blockages, and strengthen weak reproductive, digestive and nervous systems. The actual treatment can be divided into Shodhana Chikitsa and Samana Chikitsa. Shodhana Chikitsa includes panchakarma therapy for purification and rejuvenation- the most important of which are medicated enemas. Shamana chikitsa has specific Ayurvedic formulations made to individual requirements. According to Ayurveda, preparing for conception can be easily compared to the process of farming. Just like the health of a crop depends on the quality of soil, seed, timing of sowing, and amount of watering it gets, the health of a baby depends on a healthy uterus, sperm, timing of conception and nourishment. If these factors are taken care of, a couple can expect to be blessed with a healthy baby after a successful course of Ayurvedic treatment.