Fibroids in Ayurveda

By Aparna Dandekar, D.O.

When the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) begin to travel or leave their respective sthanams-- they can travel down to the dhatus. If they travel to mamsa(muscle) tissue and vitiate Mamsa Dhatu, each dosha display its own properties within Mamsa.

Vata is dry in nature, mobile, and rough. When it vitiates Mamsa, it shows its properties in Mamsa. Similarly, when Mamsa is vitiated by Pitta, someone will have muscle inflammation, redness, and hot, hyperemic, shiny (and acutely painful) joints.

When Mamsa is vitiated by Kapha Dosha, the patient will have growths such as fibromas and fibroids. Kapha, which is heavy and cohesive due to the presence of the earth element, causes increased thickness and density of muscle.

Increased vata in mamsa causes decreased Mamsa Dhatu. Symptoms of this vitiation includes emaciation of the pelvic, hip, and abdominal regions of the body. Joints and bony structures that would otherwise be covered with layers of muscle will appear large and may seem to protrude. The patient may have knobby knees or prominent iliac crests. He will also have joint pain, dryness of eyes, weakness, joint dislocation, muscle weakness, and overall fatigue. The increase of vata will affect his mind by giving him a lack of confidence and courage. An increase in vata in Mamsa can be attributed to factors such as a vata aggravating diet, advanced age, or even excessively strenuous exercise done without proper nutritional support.

The primary mahabhutas of Mamsa are Earth followed by water. Earth has the quality of heaviness and cohesivesness. Therefore when Mamsa dhatu is vitiated by kapha, the patient will suffer from the symptoms of excess Mamsa dhatu. He will have abnormal weight-gain as his muscle mass increases. He may have heaviness in the pelvic region. His muscles may be heavy BUT flaccid. This is because the water element of kapha causes flaccidity and poor tone. He may have increased muscle mass in the cheeks or pelvic area. The quantity of the muscle may be high, but the quality will be low. Despite more muscle mass, the patient will be fatigued. Kapha aggravating food and excessive sleeping are common causes of excess Mamsa Dhatu.

There are some basic protocols in Ayurveda for these problems:

For excess mamsa dhatu: Kapha pacifying diet and herbs (trikatu-- ginger, maricha and pippali). These herbs are pungent and hot in nature. They will reduce kapha dosha in mamsa dhatu. These herbs help stimulate and improve the quality of mamsa dhatu agni. Aerobic exercise can also be prescribed. It generates heat and burns kapha. Yoga therapy is also helpful.

For diminished mamsa dhatu: Vata pacifying diet (or Kapha aggravating diet) becomes a primary focus. Herbs such as Bala (banned for internal use in the US due to carcinogenicity) can be prescribed as an oil to be applied externally. Bala is sweet and unctuous in nature. Other herbs include Ashwagandha and Shatavari. Ashwagandha is pungent, bitter and astringent. It pacifying for vata and kapha. It should be given with caution in a pitta prakruti person. Shatavari is sweet, bitter and cold, and helps build muscle mass. Milk and wheat are heavy and can also build mamsa dhatu. Weight lifting exercises with light weights is recommended to increase bulk and length of muscle fibers. Yoga therapy is also very balancing. Chyavanprash is easy to incorporate into the diet and is widely available.